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More than just a welcome: how can I help?

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Each year, there are students we worry about: the ones that start classes but don’t finish. Just over a year ago, Blaine Learning Lab staff sought to understand what was impacting their withdrawal and how we might support them to return. 


Placement Specialist Janine Paulson meets with each student, which includes asking questions regarding their reasons for enrolling and potential barriers to attendance. “I hear many of the same barriers each year,” Janine said. “The need for childcare, transportation, and, more commonly now, the need for the right technology.” 


If Janine can identify barriers and motivations early, Metro North staff can provide referrals to community partner services to address these barriers prior to a student starting class. Then she follows up a few weeks later. What has helped this effort significantly are the relationships the site has developed with various community agencies and awareness of vital resources, which have been collected in a master document.


Janine recognizes that her efforts won’t overcome all barriers. “The hope is that these relationship-building efforts not only support better attendance and retention but demonstrate to each student that their school cares for their overall well-being.”