WNYC's education reporters are teaming up with the Radio Rookies to explore the drop-out crisis, from inside one high school. And it is a crisis in pockets of New York City despite rising graduation rates overall. At West Brooklyn Community High School, anywhere between 45 percent and 65 percent of eligible students earn a diploma. We will bring the voices of the real experts: the West Brooklyn students, educators and counselors who every day are defining what it means to make up for lost time, and what it takes to stay on track to graduation.
The series is part of American Graduate, a public media initiative supported by the Corporation of Public Broadcasting.
For Paula Dinh, the path to graduation has been a long one, with times when she questioned her ability — and desire — to finish high school.
High school students who are chronically absent can get another chance. WNYC's The Takeaway explores how intensive social-emotional supports at one NYC high school pay off for many students who might otherwise drop out.
"Just because our students are older and have dropped or transferred out of traditional schools does not mean they are inherently difficult," wrote a teacher. "At least not more than any other adolescent."
Many students at West Brooklyn High School take the Regents exams multiple times. And there are more than a few who come to school solely to prep for the tests. The higher score requirement increases the pressure on students already facing an uphill battle to graduate.
A high school diploma is only the beginning of what my students need to secure a better future. As the principal of a transfer high school, I am a strong believer in job training and college experience for my kids while they are still in high school.
To enroll at West Brooklyn Community High School, students must buy in to a certain level of support and counseling. In exchange, the school promises to keep them on track to graduate, no small feat for those who have struggled in at least one high school before this one.
Educators at one Brooklyn high school focus on getting their at-risk students across the threshold of the building. Sounds simple, right? Think again. In the first of a series called Educating on the Edge, we see that tracking attendance here involves a lot more than roll call.