Reach Out to Dropouts Planned for September 26

Des Moines Public Schools is collaborating with United Way of Central Iowa to plan the first-ever Reach Out to Dropouts day in Des Moines on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009 — a school and community effort to re-enroll students in school.

Teams of volunteers from the school district and community will walk door-to-door from 8 a.m. to noon to the homes of students who have not enrolled in school by Sept. 9 and encourage them to re-enroll. All high schools also will be open that day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to provide information and begin the re-entry process for students.

Reach Out to Dropouts replicates an effort begun in Houston, Texas, in 2004 that has proven effective. The number of students who dropped out of school in Des Moines during the 2007-2008 school year was 710, an increase of 2 percent from the previous school year. This year the district’s goal is to lower the dropout rate by 10 percent.

“We believe our efforts will be successful and students will return to school and be on the road to graduation,” said Bryce Amos, executive director for the northeast region. “Reach Out to Dropouts day is just one part of a new overarching DMPS initiative — Destination Graduation — designed to provide a one-stop source for helping at-risk students graduate.”

Four hundred volunteers are needed for this event. Volunteers can sign-up to be “door-to-door walkers” or work in other capacities. To sign-up to volunteer, go to the United Way Web site: <>.