Two programs merge for one mission -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Two programs merge for one mission

July 30, 2007

Albany--  Georgia has one of the highest school dropout rates in the country. Keeping kids in school, especially those with learning challenges, is a huge challenge itself. Now two community groups, Albany Dougherty Community Partnership for Education and Communities in School, are coming together to improve student performance and graduation rates.

Good news--  more students remained in Dougherty County classrooms this year. The dropout rate went down.

Bad news--  it is still a problem and it's one that 17-year-old Crystal Cauffman almost faced.

"When I was younger I had a lot of problems retaining the stuff, keeping it in my memory," said Cauffman.

Since she couldn't retain information easily, she was enrolled in the Dougherty County School System's Performance Learning Center, a non-traditional learning environment for students. "The way they have the program set up, it's wonderful. The work, the teachers are real nice. The teachers actually act like they care," said Cauffman.

That's just one of many programs that reach out to students and will now be beefed up with the creation of the Communities in Schools of Albany Dougherty. It's a partnership for education. "We found a way working with everybody, everybody has been very cooperative in helping us to continue serving those kids," said Executive Director Lynn Borders.

The programs will use combined resources to prevent dropouts, increase grades and ultimately help troubled students be successful. "Those are students who will go on and either continue their education, go to work, bring money to the community and pay taxes instead of living off of the opportunities that would be provided to them otherwise," said Borders.

It's already worked for Crystal.

"If I would not have attended that program, I would not have graduated high school," said Cauffman. And it's a milestone for her and her family.

"I was the first in my family to graduate and that program helped me achieve that," said Cauffman. She says college is the next step.

"I really don't want to call it an honor because in a way it is and in a way it's not but my family is very proud of me and seeing that they're proud of me makes me want to go out and accomplish more," said Cauffman.

Now with two organizations combining forces, more students may have the same story to tell.

This year 26 students graduated with the help of the PLC program. Another 75 are now enrolled. The organization will depend on grants and donations. You can help with the kickoff on August 7th by simply eating at local restaurants.  It's called Dine Out For Kids. 

If you eat at any area McDonald's, Roosters, or the Crowbar, money will be donated to the organization.  



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