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April 2010 Vol. 17 No. 5 Focus on Dropouts, Disconnected Youth, & Diplomas

Connecting the disconnected

Photo: Harvey Finkle

Students Marlene Williams (left) and Sharidah Harper work on computers at the Re-engagement Center at 440 North Broad Street. Since opening in 2008, the center has placed about 2,800 former students in various educational and diploma-granting programs.

By by Bill Hangley Jr.

Demetrius Newton is sitting up straight in a chair at the District’s Re-engagement Center. He’s making eye contact with Bill Simon, one of the center’s three caseworkers, and answering every question clearly and thoughtfully.

Newton is 20 years old, and for the last 18 months, “all day, every day” his friends and family have been bugging him to go back to school. So, now he’s making the effort.

“But it’s been a struggle,” he says, ticking off a list of obstacles that he thinks stand between him and a diploma.

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Dropped out? No, pushed out

By by Wendy Harris

Like many 9th graders, Tiffany Burgos was excited when she entered Kensington High School for Business, Finance, and Entrepreneurship. She looked forward to her classes, relished the opportunity to study new subjects, and wanted to start the process of preparing for college.

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