Program to keep Greenville County middle school students OnTrack to graduate shows positive results

An early intervention team at Berea Middle identifies students who are struggling, determine the root cause, and coordinate services to support those students. Provided photo.

A program to keep middle school students in the White Horse Road corridor in school and on a path to high school graduation is showing promising results.

OnTrack Greenville uses an early warning and response system to identify middle school students in the White Horse Road corridor — Lakeview, Tanglewood, and Berea middle schools, and Greenville Early College, a program for underachieving middle and high school students who scored between the 20th and 40th percentile on standardized tests in at least one subject and come from families whose income makes them eligible for free or reduced price school lunches — who are veering off track in attendance, behavior, and academic performance. Officials with OnTrack Greenville said a drop off in those areas could often indicate a student is beginning to disengage from school.

Paid for through a three-year federal grant and 10 local stakeholders, OnTrack Greenville matches students to customized supports that include a school-based health program, mentoring, summer learning programs, leadership and social-emotional development, and academic instruction.

When the program started, 14 percent of students at the schools were chronically absent, 58 percent had at least one behavioral referral, and 26 percent had an out-of-school suspension referral.

After two years of the program, there’s been a 20 percent reduction in the number of behavior referrals and out-of-school suspension referrals. There’s been a 6 percent decrease in the number of students receiving behavioral referrals. One school has seen an 18 percent reduction in chronic absenteeism.

Students in the program also showed a two-month learning gain, said Tobi Kinsell, OnTrack Greenville director.

In addition, 94 percent of the students who used the student-based health center returned to class after a visit, reducing the amount of time of instruction missed.

Working in the program are the United Way of Greenville County, Greenville County Schools, The Community Foundation, Hollingsworth Funds, Greenville Partnership for Philanthropy, Greenville Health System, Communities in Schools, Building Educated Leaders for Life, and Public Education Partners.



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