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Migrant program to decrease dropouts

By Mindy Robinson
NC MEP-Rowan Education Advocate
More than 600 high school students in Rowan County dropped out before graduation in the past two school years (2007-09, NC DPI). One of the main goals of the N.C. Migrant Education Program (NC MEP) is to decrease the number of high school dropouts. On Friday, the NC MEP-Rowan will kick off the Together for a Better Education/Juntos Para Una Mejor EducaciŰn dropout prevention program at West Rowan High School.
Developed by specialists at N.C. State University Department of 4-H & Youth Development and Family & Consumer Sciences, the Juntos program has been held in more than 20 locations in N.C. and is aimed at eighth to 12th grade students and their parents.
Juntos is an activity-based, six-week long series of two- and-a-half-hour sessions held once per week, which engages youth and their parents in learning together about ways to succeed in school, prevent high school students from dropping out, and work together to gain access to college.
Just a few of the topics covered during the program are college entrance exams, advanced high school courses, college admission procedures, financial aid and scholarships and how to navigate the school system. The importance of parents and students working together to achieve goals is a central theme over all six weeks. Participants are also taught how to advocate for themselves and use community resources.
Previous participants of Juntos showed significant increases in learning, attitudes, and skills gained on pre- and post-test evaluations; parents report a significant increase in their monitoring their childís homework, meeting with school staff and increased skills and knowledge about the college application process.
Youth reported significant increase in their planning for after high school and sharing those goals with their parents; 92 percent of parents report increased confidence in working with their childís school and 93 percent of parents reported that they felt they had the information they needed to help their teenager successfully complete high school, according to ncfamilies.com/juntos/research.
Parents have said participation in the program has made them more able to ask for help for their child and better able to find information to get their child to college. They said they liked learning how things are in N.C. because things are so different from the systems in their home countries.
NC MEP-Rowan is very excited to have the opportunity to bring this successful program to Rowan County. More information about the Juntos program can be found online at ncfamilies.com/juntos Any other schools, businesses or organizations who would be interested in starting Juntos at their location are welcome to contact Mindy Robinson, NC MEP-Rowan, education advocate, at 704216-8980 or mindy_robinson@ncsu.edu for more information.

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