‘Graduation Walk’ Helps Identify Obstacles to Students’ Success

Teachers and volunteers participate in program to help students succeed despite obstacles. (WHO-HD)

DES MOINES, Iowa – Teachers in the Des Moines Public School District spent the weekend visiting the homes of students who are at risk of not graduating.

Classes began on Wednesday, but hundreds of teachers and volunteers have their minds focused on the end of the school year.

The “Graduation Walk” focuses on supporting high school and middle school students who are behind in credits or have a high number of absences. Volunteers knocked on the doors of more than a thousand students.

District Superintendent Tom Ahart said by going door to door, students are able to better explain what`s keeping them from excelling in the classroom.

“There`s transportation issues there is food insecurity issues. There’s housing insecurity issues. Once we figure out what that issue is we connect them with a community partner and United Way has been wonderful in helping us make those links,” said Ahart.

This is the ninth year of the program. Last year, the district saw graduation rates increase by three-percent.