According to the U.S. Department of Education almost 1 out of 3 Louisiana students will fail to finish high school. That is why the North Louisiana National Association of Black Social Workers is taking on what they refer to as the 'dropout drip' as part of March social work month.
"We're alarmed at the high percentage of African-American youth that are not completing their education," NABSW Shreveport President, Andrew Wilson, says.
At an event that lasted several hours on the campus of Southern University at Shreveport, educators from Caddo and Bossier parishes were invited to meet with social workers and members of the community to begin a dialogue to slow the dropout rate.
"I think the beginning of the solution could very well start with a person in this room, and so I want to meet that person and join with them and see what happens," says Michael Hicks, Program Director for the Alliance for Community Development and a former Caddo Parish Schools counselor. "I just think it's an excellent opportunity for us to expand the conversation of dropouts beyond just teachers and educators," Hicks added.
Suggestions included improving literacy rates, setting graduation paths with children before they reach kindergarten and most importantly, finding mentors in the local community.
Members of the education panel on hand challenged those in attendance to start mentoring programs between local churches and schools.