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November 2012

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Report Card Mentoring Conferences Inspire Students to Stay on Track

At Detroit Collegiate Prep High School, students recently donned blue blazers, white shirts and ties to talk with 24 business professionals about first-quarter grades, analyze students' course performance and set goals. The community leaders also gave students encouraging advice to advance their academic and career goals.

This popular practice quarterly report card conferences is a Talent Development Secondary best practice, and across the country, community leaders are coming into Diplomas Now schools to meet with students one-on-one to review report cards with them.

"Report card conferences grant a student the opportunity to have an adult and a leader in the community sit down and have a genuine conversation with them about their grades," says Derrick Moore, the school transformation facilitator at Booker T. Washington Senior High School in Miami. "Many of our underserved students receive report cards but lack the presence of an adult in their lives who cares about their academic achievement. As a result, many of our students lack motivation, concern and interest in excelling both behaviorally and academically, which may lead them to possibly dropping out of school." ... Read more on the Diplomas Now site.

All Boys Empowerment Panel Motivates Students to Work Harder, Dream Bigger

As the school year got underway, William K. Ragland II, a Diplomas Now coordinator at South High School in Columbus, grew concerned about the lack of motivation among the school's ninth grade boys and their frequent displays of disrespect toward the females both teachers and classmates.

So Ragland and Brenda Scott, the school's City Year impact manager, devised a plan to introduce the school's ninth grade males to positive men from the community who could serve as role models and help the students start planning for their futures.

With just a few weeks' planning, South High held its first "All Boys Empowerment Panel" on Oct. 16 in the school's auditorium. There, students and adults spent the morning talking about subjects ranging from handling pressure and adversity; overcoming a poor home life; the importance of education; treating girls and women with respect; and the importance of following rules and respecting adults.

"We wanted to address the need for our ninth-grade boys to have a more positive outlook on life," says Ragland, a school transformation facilitator. "We wanted to help them identify more positive male role models who have been where they are and have gone on to become successful."

The adults included business and banking executives, a local pastor, a firefighter from the Columbus Fire Department (who happens to be a South High alumnus), the executive director of City Year (a Diplomas Now partner), a city parks and recreation representative and the school's principal. ... Read more on the Diplomas Now site.

Diplomas Now Earns National Recognition as a Together for Tomorrow Challenge Winner

The U.S. Department of Education and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) have recognized Diplomas Now in New York and the United Way of New York City as a Together for Tomorrow (TFT) Challenge winner for the 2012-2013 school year! Together for Tomorrow is a joint initiative of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the DOE and CNCS. The TFT Challenge aims to better connect schools with exceptional community organizations to improve struggling schools. As an honoree, Diplomas Now has demonstrated the strength of its initiatives and will stand as a successful example to others committed to education reform. Read more about the challenge and the award here.

Pennsylvania First Lady Applauds Feltonville School and Diplomas Now for Commitment to PA Youth

Diplomas Now's Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences of Philadelphia was honored last month by a visit with Pennsylvania First Lady Susan Corbett, who said the initiative is "vital to keep students engaged and focused on their futures."

The visit marked the official launch of Corbett's Opening Doors initiative in the Philadelphia region. Opening Doors aims to increase the number of students in Pennsylvania who graduate from high school on time by providing them with guidance and support to stay in school. Corbett travels across the state to talk with school administrators and students and to visit schools and programs that are making strides to keep students in school.

Read more about the visit and Opening Doors here.

Senator Landrieu Visits Broadmoor Middle School, Commends DN Efforts

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., last month paid an afternoon visit to Broadmoor Middle School in East Baton Rouge. The senator's visit included two classroom experiences. She spent time with the eighth graders in a math classroom and participated in tutoring sessions in the City Year room where corps members were helping students with math and English assignments. Her next stop was an Early Warning Indicators (EWI) meeting where she saw the intervention system at work. She also attended a roundtable session in which members of the Diplomas Now collaborative shared their roles in the school. Landrieu was impressed with the work being done and praised the Diplomas Now effort. She also expressed a desire to help develop strong connections between services offered by Diplomas Now and services offered by the East Baton Rouge Parish and school system. She hoped this would happen soon and would result in an even more comprehensive approach to helping students and families, especially students who need the greatest assistance.

Detroit Collegiate Preparatory School Named DPS School of the Week

Detroit Public Schools last month named our Diplomas Now school, Detroit Collegiate Prep, School of the Week! The honor recognizes outstanding schools that work to ensure all students are ready to obtain a college degree after graduating from high school. Congratulations and thanks to all of our partner organizations in Detroit for their dedicated commitment to keeping students on track for college success. Read the story here.

Diplomas Now In The News

Louisiana PBS Features Diplomas Now

Louisiana PBS recently featured Diplomas Now and the impact the program is having at Broadmoor Middle School in East Baton Rouge. Watch the story here.

American Teacher Showcases Diplomas Now Success in Detroit

The American Federation of Teachers national publication, American Teacher, presented Diplomas Now's outstanding success at Detroit Collegiate Prep High School and in schools across the country: "At Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School, if you fall down, someone will catch you. ... That makes a whole world of difference."

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