The NoDropouts "Points of Light" Report, Vol. 1

Since joining the Lyle School District’s NoDropouts program a few months ago, Christian has had an “on again, off again” relationship with his schoolwork. But in the past few weeks, something has changed. He’s re-engaged. He’s working hard. And, his mentor says, “he has a vision of where he wants to be.” His plan is to graduate by August — and if he continues on the pace he’s on right now, that’s just exactly what he’ll do.

Bradley came to NoDropouts with several years of high school behind him — and not a single credit to show for it. But just a few weeks into his time in his Oregon-based program, he’s blown through the enrollment course and the first quarter of English. He still has a long way to go, but for the first time in a long time, he’s experienced an academic success — and it seems clear that he likes the way it feels.

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Troy knew he’d messed up.

Okemos Public School policy strictly prohibit weapons on campus. In bringing a knife to school, Troy had broken a “zero tolerance” rule.

“I got expelled,” the high school sophomore said. “Pretty much there was nothing I could do about it. And at that point, I really didn’t know what I was going to do.”

School leaders needed to enforce the rules, but they also wanted to make sure Troy had every opportunity to finish his high school education. Students like him are one of the key reasons why they launched a NoDropouts program. The program places students who can not or will not attend a traditional school into online learning programs, surrounded by multiple layers of support, including certified teachers, expert mentors and local advocates.

After four months of hard work, Troy had earned more than three academic credits — keeping him on pace to stay with his graduation cohort. With letter of support from NoDropouts teachers, mentors and local advocates, Troy applied for re-admission to his school and was accepted.

Troy’s mother said her son “is very excited to be back with his peers.”

And Troy said he has newfound appreciated for the privilege of attending school.

“I feel lucky,” he said. “It turned out pretty well.”