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Atlanta revisits dropout prevention program | Education

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Atlanta revisits dropout prevention program

ATLANTA - A couple of non-profit organizations originally facing the Atlanta Public Schools' budget ax are now down, but not out.

Teach for America (TFA) is safe. Another group, Communities in Schools (CIS) Atlanta, has a meeting planned for later this week with APS leaders.

On Monday, the APS board approved the fiscal 2013 budget, but board members had concerns about some of the programs it cut.

Communities In Schools is a dropout prevention program in 20 states that actually started in Atlanta Public Schools 40 years ago.

The program has a staff member in every APS middle and high school, as well as some elementary schools, who work with families to make sure kids stay in school.

"It might be a home visit to a parent," said Patty Pflum, executive director of Communities in Schools Atlanta. "We know that child's not been in school and we got to find out what's going on, not just that your student didn't show up today, but say, what can we do to help? Why are they out and what can we do to help?"

APS board members "expressed concerns about ensuring that Atlanta's students and families continue to receive critical support services. CIS of Atlanta's leadership will meet with APS leadereship this week to revisit the continuation of the partnership," CIS said in a statement.

As for Teach for America, APS learned it doesn't spend anything for the program because it's funded through the state's federal Race To The Top grant.

Teach for America is considered the Peace Corps of the educational world because it recruits recent college graduates who are trained as teachers and commit to spending at two years in classrooms.

TFA plans to provide as many as 50 new teachers to APS for the coming school year.

The program began training new teachers in Atlanta this week.