MISD Using Collegiate Coaches to Inspire At-Risk Students

by Roma Vivas
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - NewsWest 9 talked to one M.I.S.D. Collegiate Coach, and she says it's all about letting students and their parents know there are options out there for them to get an education.

"Basically it's for us to target students that are at risk of dropping out of school, the whole point is to keep them on track to graduate," M.I.S.D. Collegiate Coach Patricia Flores, said.

So how is it decided which kids are at risk?

The coaches look at several factors, like credit hours taken and their scores in standarized testing.

"We target, first the repeaters, which are the ones who are repeating ninth grade for the second time and sometimes even the third time, of course that is based on age also," Flores said.

Flores also says these students have specific problems, so they need to be encouraged in a personalized manner to stay in school.

"I am talking relationship building I mean literally you have to come down to their level 'what is it that school isn't working for you,' because we want to be able to find out what other strategies we can come up with as a society, as a school, and we can meet the needs where they're at," Flores said.

And the job making sure these kids in school began even before school started.

"I started calling my repeaters list, the phone numbers that were there saying 'looking forward to seeing you at school the first day,' If I could not reach them, I started making home visits," Flores said.

In total, there are three Collegiate Coaches in the district, one for each high school and one for the two freshman campuses.

M.I.S.D. Officials say it's already making a difference in the students.

"So far it's great, I mean we are getting students that we weren't even targeting. We have 28-year-olds, 29-year-olds, 23-year-olds that are just realizing 'You know what I really still want my high school diploma and I want to go get it,' so we are doing all we can to accommodate them to get them in"

Having Collegiate Coaches in the district is new, so right now the district is finding out what strategies work and what doesn't, but the district says having them around is good idea.