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High School Dropouts Get A Second Chance At Their Education

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Mike Schuh 370x278 Mike Schuh
Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore City school system has had remarkable success in lowering its dropout rate.

Now, as Mike Schuh reports, they are holding sessions to welcome back those who stopped going to school.

After skipping school for three months, Darren Hebron, 17, decided it was time.

“I’m behind two years, so I have to do something,” said Hebron.

This is an all-day event, one they want you to know has a welcoming attitude.

“We help kids who’ve not been successful, not been in school all the time, find a new place. And that’s OK. Some things may not work out for kids. It’s a new place, a new start, a fresh start is what it’s all about,” said Lara Ohanian, Student Placement.

With events like this and fewer expulsions, the city has reduced its number of dropouts by two-thirds.

“To let them know we’re here, really they can come back any day. Last year, we had 1,500 kids enter our alternative programs,” said Ohanian.

In this program, the students are paired up with special academies which get them caught up, and gain credits on an accelerated schedule.

Darren’s grandmom brought him to this program, but educators know the former students must buy into returning.

“I was just sitting at home seeing my brother and sister go to school and I was just sitting there with nothing to do, thinking like, ‘I gotta do something with my life,’” said Hebron.

If you know someone who would benefit from this, the “Kids Come Back” event continues Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon at Baltimore City Schools Headquarters on North Avenue.

Any student or former student up to age 21 is welcome to come back and complete their education.

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