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New initiative aims to improve Baltimore City School's dropout rate

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Posted at 9:32 AM, Sep 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-21 06:52:31-04

A new initiative by the United Way of Central Maryland is pushing Baltimore City, and central Maryland students, to stay in school.

On Wednesday the organization announced an education initiative called "On Track for Success" that it says will have a significant, positive effect.

The program is being offered to 9th graders at Ben Franklin High School and 4th through 8th grade students at Maree G. Farring Middle School in Baltimore. Also, students at Meade Middle School in Anne Arundel County will have access to the extra resources. 

"We were able to really dig down deep and look at the kids that really needed help," said Principal Ben Crandall of Farring Middle School, "which sometimes weren't the kids that we thought they were based on what we were seeing."

"On Track for Success" logs data on attendance, behavior and course work and flags students who are deemed at-risk for dropping out.

Many of the problems students are having have nothing to do with academics.

"Some young people in certain zip codes have lots of large holes of support in their safety net and they tend to fall through. They tend to be the ones who end up being high school drop outs," said City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises.

The United Way of Central Maryland struggling students will get access to academic coaching, counseling and even health resources to alleviate problems distracting them from the classroom.

Last year 2,300 in central Maryland didn't graduate high school, which is two out of every 25 students.