ChristinaMused

Conversations at the Dinner Table*

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From a Distance

The boy, one of my first regulars for credit recovery, is the same now as I’ve ever known him. The adults at school speak reverently about the Corner He’s Turned and the Changed Man he’s becoming, but that must have been before I got there, because far as I know, he’s always been just what he is. Hard working, but prone to distraction. Determined, but fighting homelessness and abandonment. On probation, like most of his friends, but with an optimism for the future he knows is his if he works for it.

Which is why the column of “W’s” where there should have been a weekly grade report—W for withdrew, dropped—turned my stomach inside out. The grandparents he was staying with were among my most frequent contacts as we checked in with each other, at first more worry than sense, then just routine, all of us grown confident in the boy’s abilities and graduation requirements ticked off one by one. Why didn’t they tell me they were moving him? And why in the middle of senior year?

The school secretary spilled the story: boy caught with pot, grandparents kicked him out, bouncing between friends and relatives again. She tsk tsked at the strides he had made and the house of cards falling in, and she relayed the possibilities of his enrolling at another school, depending on who might take him in for a few months.

The IM I sent to my colleagues, credit recovery coordinators in neighboring schools, was to the point. Look out for the boy, and if he registers at your school, go get him into your program so he can graduate. They all agreed to keep an eye out. We have programs in 80% of the schools in the county, so I figure it’s a long shot he ends up in any of them, but if he does, I’ll know. And he’ll know he’s still got my support, even from a distance.

Filed under teaching dropouts

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