Grant Money Helps Dropout Programs

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Two years ago, Bryan's school district decided to help students in danger of dropping out by creating the GRAD program, which stands for Gaining Responsibility and A Diploma. Now the district will receive over $300,000 in grants to enhance the program.

"One of the things that we want to do is expand and make sure our parents feel welcome to come and be apart of the program," said Nancy Preston, a GRAD counselor.

"It's helped me a lot because I came here with about four credits, now I got 16, so I'm catching up, said Jesus Ramirez, a GRAD student.

GRAD counselors and teachers realize that some students may have academic, family or behavior problems, so they provide flexible hours and one on one interaction. That's what senior Jesus Ramirez appreciates most.

"I'm glad I'm here because we're like a family here and everyone looks out for each other and they help us get in the right direction, said Ramirez.

Hearne ISD will also be receiving $80,000 in grant money. It will be used for a program aimed at helping students pass the TAKS test.

"It will give us some software, put kids in computer labs, give them individual programs on those computers and it will provide multi-media things in reading and math," said Susan Jackson, with Hearne ISD.

School officials say it costs extra money to keep kids from falling through the cracks and that's why any additional funding is critical. One GRAD participant who expects to graduate in May has some words of encouragement for students headed for the wrong path.

"Not to give up, to keep trying. If I can do it, they can do it to," said George De Luna, a GRAD student.

Calvert, Huntsville, and Conroe ISD will also receive some of the grant money.