A young person drops out of school every 26 seconds in this country. In 2009, St. Louis Public School District suffered a dropout rate of 22.8%, compared to 4.2% statewide and 8.7% nationally. The devastating dropout rate not only highlights the sad reality of lost potential but costs our region and our country enormously. To address high dropout rates, poor academic proficiencies, low graduation rate and other risk indicators, Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club operates two 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CLCC), at Adams and Columbia Elementary Schools, serving 80 students ages 6 and up at each location.
Project director Jason Acklin oversees fifteen staff members at these schools who work directly with the students for 3 hours each day, 5 days a week during school hours. By providing a low teacher-student ration, our 21st CLCC’s can provide homework assistance and instructional activities differentiated to the specific needs of students. The program focuses on academic skill enhancement designed to enable youth to become proficient in educational basics like mathematics and communication skills, apply learning to everyday situations, and embrace technology to achieve success in a career.
21st CLCC staff have daily access to these youth, and continuously communicate with the schools’ faculty and administrators. Teachers, principals, and school counselors share quarterly report cards, MAP scores, daily attendance, and teacher surveys on student behavior. Our 21st Century staff also track daily program attendance.
Including parents and family members in the program is an important part of student progress. Enrollment in 21st CLCC includes a contract signed by both students and parents agreeing to participate in the program. Club staff engage parents directly by attending PTO meetings and with personal phone calls to report positive and negative behavior at the Club. Emphasizing open communication between the adults in each child’s life creates an environment of support and trust.