Discipline, Mentoring Programs Help BTHS 206 Students Stay In School
The culture of change is sweeping through Bloom Township High School District 206, as new programs educate students on life outside the classroom, while also working to keep students in the classroom as well.
One year ago in December, Bloom Township High School District 206 counted 29 students as expelled during the 2011-12 school year.
This year, the number has dropped—thanks to the district's efforts to keep students in the classroom through the use of the ASAP program and the district's new mentoring program, 'Ties That Bind.'
The mentoring program, which is regularly attended by 25 to 35 students, features guest speakers mentoring students about life, education and various other topics. The program is run in conjunction with Prairie State College.
“Students come to school an hour earlier than they're scheduled to,” Bloom Principal Michael Cambell said. “What we do is bring in guest speakers and do activities and build on a bond of unity.”
That bond of unity is stressed to students, Campbell said, and students are buying in.
“We've had financial managers come in to talk about finances, we've talked about the media and the power of the media,” Campbell said. “We talked about single-parent homes and those dynamics, as well. We're focusing on reaching outside the classroom and these speakers are coming from the community.”
Inside the classroom, the ASAP program is designed to keep students in danger of being expelled able to continue their education in the district.
“I had a vision of instead of expelling and the student is back in the street, let's just keep them in school and change their time,” said Superintendent Dr. Lenell Navarre.
The ASAP program brings students in trouble to the school after the school day and continues their education there, instead of during normal hours. The program is already paid for through the High School Graduation Initiative grant.
“It's been very beneficial to the students and it's helped us raise that graduation rate that we're looking for,” Navarre said.
The disciplinary and mentoring programs in the district, Navarre said that the positive changes in the district will continue into the future.
“I was recently asked, 'How are you going to change the culture of this district,'” Navarre said. “I told them, 'I'm not going to change the culture, I'm going to create you a new one.' I think that everyone is buying into that.”
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