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'Dropout Blitz' Reconnects Students with Bryan ISD

"We want you back."

That simple message full of meaning and sturdy umbrellas were all volunteers needed at this year's "Bryan ISD Community Dropout Prevention Blitz." Led by Superintendent Tommy Wallis, the Blitz brought dozens of district personnel, United Way staff and other volunteers together to fan out along 11 routes through Bryan--the goal being to find wayward students at home.

Despite a deluge of much-needed rain, spirits were high among the Blitz team members as they headed into the heart of Bryan armed with information about the credits each student needed to graduate.

Bryan High Counselor James Henry led a team and told one student, "Your future is worth it. You're so close to graduating, and imagine how much better the work you can find will be if you have a diploma."

The message is a familiar and heartfelt refrain each year for Blitz volunteers. Sometimes they head back to houses for a second visit, in hopes of connecting with young people about their future.

Doors that didn't open were left with a bilingual door hanger encouraging students to call the district and drop back in, instead of abandoning their education.

This year's Blitz team attempted to contact more than 140 students, along with about 30 students in the GEAR-UP college readiness cohort. While not every door opened, 38 students visited face-to-face with a Bryan ISD or communty volunteer and heard, "We want you back, and you've got options."

Those options include accelerated programs to catch students up for graduation, the GED, and a wealth of flexible class and learning schedules at the district's flagship alternative high school, Mary Catherine Harris.