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Gary shows that with help, structure, real gain is possible

January 15, 2016

Gary is a student transfer from Indiana who enrolled at Meyzeek Middle and in the Collaborative Learning After-School Program (CLASP) in August 2014. He lives with his father, and his father’s live-in girlfriend, who are both recovering addicts.

In Gary’s first year at Meyzeek, he received two separate two-week suspensions from school for fighting. In October 2014 during one of the incidents, Gary broke the arm of another student during a physical altercation in. In addition to receiving a two-week suspension, juvenile court officials ordered Gary to serve 200 hours of community service for inflicting the injury.

SSLivesHere-300x300His transition to Meyzeek was difficult. He missed 14 school days, nine of them “unexcused.” His attendance in CLASP was equally poor, and adapting to the out of school time (OST) structure and behavior guidelines proved difficult for him.

Gary is being treated for ADHD, and his behavior reflects that diagnosis. Early on in CLASP, he had trouble following simple instructions, staying focused and controlling his impulses.

He often used inappropriate language, and tended toward physical confrontation responding to even the most trivial conflict. Several time in his first five months in CLASP, Gary physically threatened other students enrolled in CLASP, requiring staff to intervene to calm the situations.

He refused to complete classroom assignments or homework, resulting in a 1.8 grade point average.

While much of Gary’s behavior was undesirable and often disruptive, he demonstrated positive attributes. Staff noted his curious intellect, a willingness to lead student led portions of the program, and to help OST staff and peers with daily responsibilities.

Staff spoke several times with Gary’s father about his son’s attendance, and the importance of attending CLASP regularly. They shared with Gary’s father hos much greater impact CLASP has on student behavior and academic progress when enrolled students regularly attend.

Staff worked the father to create a plan that would allow Gary to attend more OST program days, and more consistently.

Gary began the 2015-16 school year by attending CLASP’s summer program. His attendance continued to improve during the fall school term.

Seeing the progress, staff handed Gary more responsibility during OST programming, such as leading activities, helping peers with homework and other assignments he had a demonstrated ability to do.

Gary handled all of these assignments with excitement and ease. He developed as a leader and showed a positive influence, particularly to younger students in the OST program.

During the first half of the 2015-16 school year, Gary missed only two days of school, both excused absences. Improved attendance at Meyzeek and the OST program coincided with a dramatic improvement in his academic performance.

In December 2015, Gary was named to the school’s Honor Roll, raising his cumulative GPA to an impressive 3.4.  Staff received positive reports from Gary’s teachers about his academic participation, and he showed much greater focus and self-control during out of school time and events.

CLASP staff can’t take all the credit for Gary’s turnaround, but there is no doubt the support and encouragement provided by his family and the OST program played a role.

On the final day of OST programming for the 2015 year, Gary’s achievements were recognized in front of the entire OST group, including Gary’s father, who told staff, “I don’t recognize this kid (Gary) anymore. I cannot believe how proud I am of him, and I could not have done it without CLASP. You guys do amazing work.”