Well into the 2013-14 school year, administrators at Gov. Thomas Johnson Middle School in Frederick remained baffled about how to encourage a sixthgrade girl to attend school and end the repeated absences that already reached 40 days that year. Under school guidelines, they could opt to expel her. But it wasn’t the route they preferred.
“The student was extremely smart, very talented,” says guidance counselor Reginald Gunter. “But we weren’t making progress here.” So Gunter reached out to leaders of the nonprofit Project Alive that offers support for educational mentoring, family support and liaison services at the student’s neighborhood of Lucas Village, a low-income community in the city.
With the nonprofit’s help, Gunter learned about issues the student was facing at home and found ways to communicate. “I began to make inroads,” he says. Gunter was able to coax the student back into regular school attendance, but when her family moved out of Lucas Village and she changed schools, the problems began again.
Written by Christina L. Lyons, copyright 2015 Frederick Magazine