MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Sometimes students are headed in the wrong direction, and with proper guidance or steering, it’s possible for them to turn a corner and make the grade.
Diplomas Now, a program out of Johns Hopkins University, partners with the school community to reorganize the schedule so each student at risk has adults and those adults have the tools to improve achievement. The program, according to its website, serves approximately 26,000 students in 13 cities.
Derrick Moore, the program’s facilitator, monitors every student and can quickly identify those in the most trouble.
“We focus on all ninth and tenth graders whether they’re doing well or not. But we really focus on those who have those indicators. They’re not doing well in attendance, behavior, or choose performance in the classroom,” Moore said.
In order to get students “back on track” Moore says “we had to give something intense, some hard, serious talks and motivation” in turn, a student, who had an F grade, “in 39 weeks received an A.”
Moisés Arzu, now a senior at Booker T. Washington, was once one of those students. But now, thanks to the program, he’s turned his life around and has a bright future.
“I honestly thought I was going to be in prison or wind up dead.” Arzu said.
Arzu will graduate, with a scholarship, next Wednesday and will start at Fisk University in Nashville in the Fall.
Arzu said there are no words to express how he felt when he heard the news of his scholarship.
“I felt tremendously excited. My whole family was excited for me. There’s just no feeling to it. It’s just the ultimate,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Moore says he’ll introduce the program to a whole new set of kids in the fall from Booker T. Washington high school in Miami.