Ron Miller’s social science class is packed with students on-track to graduate from Rialto’s Eisenhower High School. In June, just 66% of the school’s students tracked over four years actually received a cap, gown and diploma.
“I think a lot of people don’t have moral support...I think they should have reasons to want to be in school,” said Alyssa Vega, a student at Eisenhower High School.
Vega’s brother became one of those statistics that prompted district officials to develop a new plan for keeping kids in school.
“We’re going to continue to work with students until we have exhausted everything and we’re not done yet,” said Rialto Unified School District representative, Syeda Jafri. “We’re going to continue, we need the support of the parents at home and we also want to make sure that we are monitoring every child.”
That includes the 10-15% who may have simply moved on to another district.
Principal Art Sanchez cites efforts to combat truancy, one-on-one teaching and prep courses as successful tools in lowering drop out rates. “We are targeting the African American students, our Hispanic students, the social economic, our special Ed and our EL population.”
To keep them motivated, the school offers mentoring programs, after school tutoring, Saturday tutoring and Saturday classes.
That’s what 17-year-old Danny Morales said would have worked with some of his friends. Morales is the senior class president and an ASB leader who watched several buddies drop out of school.
“Because nobody believed in them...you know...that’s tough,” said Morales.
But for Vega, her motivation is simple.
“I just want to be able to help my family and give them what I didn’t have and I want to have a family who has good support and involved in school and sports and has a good future,” said Vega.