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Districts Take Steps to Get High School Students Back in the Classroom

Districts Take Steps to Get High School Students Back in the Classroom

January 24, 2020

“We’ve gotten ourselves locked into this system where everyone learns at the same pace and that’s not plausible for human beings,” said Richard Marquez, who served as a special adviser to the Secretary of Education during the Obama administration. Marquez now runs a charter school — Texans Can Academy.

Texans Can Academy specializes in helping students who struggle in a traditional school find a path to graduation.

“Yeah we’re a charter, but we’re not a charter,” he said. “We don’t compete in the public school, we compete with the street.”

Marquez said his faculty is encouraged to not just learn why each child left school, but to make sure the basics are covered. For example, there’s an in- house eye clinic for students.

“If they can’t see, that’s why they didn’t learn to read,” he said. “All of them get tested when they walk in the door, we know who needs glasses and then we put them all in glasses.”



A former high school dropout himself, Marquez said he wanted all educators — public and private — to figure out a way to work together to develop connections and support for the families of students “at risk” of dropping out before it actually happens.

“Knock on the door and not say your child is not in school we’re going to punish you, but say your child isn’t in school what can we do to get your child there?” Marquez said.

Some traditional schools are doing just that. Garland ISD sends counselors door-to-door not just to talk to parents, but the students themselves. They develop relationships and it’s working for students like Geo Vazquez.

“He actually came to my doorstep and knocked. That means he actually cared about me in order to finish school,” Vazquez said. “He went out his way tried to get me back in school and here I am, finishing up.”

It’s that kind of care that Felicity Martinez said she needed when her grandfather passed away, and she was lost.

“I know I want to graduate I had a whole year to go,” Martinez said.

She is back in school with plans to go in the military, and a pledge she’s made to herself to finish, if not for herself, for the man who never let her down.

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