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Reversing The City's Dropout Crisis: City Year Gets Engaged In Jacksonville's Schools

Florida Times-Union

A national organization that has a presence in dozens of American cities has picked Jacksonville as its latest site.

City Year partners with challenged schools and young people, uniting them in the cause of providing hands-on help to struggling students. 

And that help is needed, because there is a dropout crisis in this city - statistics show one in three students in Duval County don’t make it to graduation.

Volunteer tutors and mentors found through AmeriCorps sign up for a year of service in high-need high schools nationwide. Through City Year’s student intervention and support model – called Whole School, Whole Child – diverse teams of highly-trained, young adult AmeriCorps members serve full-time in grades 3 through 9 to help improve student attendance, behavior, and course performance. According to research, all of these are indicators of a student’s likelihood of graduating from high school.

During City Year Jacksonville’s Start Up Year in 2012-2013, twenty City Year corps members have been piloting the Whole School, Whole Child model at Matthew W. Gilbert Middle School and Andrew Jackson High School.

"This year, we're expanding to Ed White and Raines High Schools, and also Northwestern Middle School," says Jeff Smith, Executive Director and Vice President of City Year Jacksonville. "The goal is to expand into 10 schools by 2015-2-16."

You can learn more about the program at

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.