by Holly Duncan
At EIRO, we believe the best way to see a community flourish is by partnering together and listening to one another. One of the ways EIRO has helped churches partner with our community over the past three years is through RISE, a peer-mentoring program at Tucker High School.
Adult volunteers, including members from local churches, meet regularly with upperclass students to provide training and support. In turn, these juniors and seniors walk alongside their underclass peers, students identified by the school as needing extra support. For an hour and a half each week, adult volunteers build relationships with these “Leaders” and “Achievers,” helping them reach self-determined academic and personal goals and developing key assets to bolster their success.
EIRO has always believed in the value of this program and its impact on the students, but we were encouraged when the Georgia Department of Education recently released data showing the graduation rate in the DeKalb County School District (where Tucker High School is located) has improved over 10 percent since 2013 when RISE began. Tucker High’s graduation rate is currently at 90.4%, a 3.5 percentage point gain, and one of only nine schools with rates above the state average. This is a huge boost for our community!
We know RISE is not solely responsible, but THS Principal James Jackson appreciates the support, “EIRO has played an important part in our success. We’re grateful for RISE and its support from the community.” EIRO is grateful for all the administrators, teachers, staff, and volunteers who have invested in our local students and their education. As we conducted our extensive community listen project earlier this year, one of the re-emerging themes and opportunities for improvement has been education.
Parents, community leaders, administrators, and neighbors all agreed that supporting our schools is an immediate and long term need. R. Stephen Green, the DeKalb County School District Superintendent recently told local news sources, “There is much more that needs to be done, but we have the right formula of motivating the students, involving parents, supporting teachers and reaching out to the community.”
And EIRO is grateful to participate in the positive changes in our schools and city. We are hopeful the RISE program can continue to be part of ongoing improvement at Tucker High School.
As we look toward 2017, we’re excited about the programs and projects we have planned to keep connecting churches and our community. And we will continue to listen and partner with our neighbors. We are glad to be a bridge between listening to community needs and bringing together partners to respond.
But we need your help. What does a gift to EIRO provide? When you give toward EIRO, you are helping to bring people together to join community flourishing. Would you consider a year end gift to EIRO to help us continue this transforming work? Thank you so much!