Program Urges Las Vegas Dropouts to Return to School - 8 News NOW

Program Urges Las Vegas Dropouts to Return to School

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LAS VEGAS - At 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Clark County School District Superintendent Dwight Jones, Clark High School Principal Jill Pendleton and volunteers prepare for a conversation that could change a life.

Around the corner and up the stairs of one valley home, they meet 17-year-old Jose Pineda and his father Rafel.

"Nice to meet you," Superintendent Jones tells them upon arriving.

Jose is visibly uncomfortable, but he tries to be frank about why he dropped out of Clark High School.

"Was it just that it was more fun to go somewhere else or what was happening?" Jones asked him.

"Yeah, it was more fun," Jose replied.

Jose says he would wake up early and pretend to go to school. In reality, he hung out with two friends who also dropped out.

He's one of 300 CCSD students who received house calls Saturday as part of the district's Reclaim Your Future initiative. "It's about keeping it real, and we know that our young people have so many challenges," Jones said.

The biggest challenge is keeping students in school. That's where Bridget Phillips from the School Community Partnership program comes in. She rounds up dedicated volunteers so students stay motivated.

"We're pairing them one on one with caring, trained mentors, so the students know that there's somebody else out there that's going to be working with them," she said.

Back at the Pineda home, everyone is ready, because Jose promises not to quit.

"If you'll shake on it, then I'll take that as your commitment to do it, and the next shake you and I will do is as you cross that stage, as… your principal has described. Fair enough? So alright let's do it," Jones told Jose.

"He says he knows he has to do it," Rafel added.

When the district started this initiative last September, 1,500 students were identified as non-returning. So far, 530 have returned.

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