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GaDOE continues efforts to locate and support rural students who have disengaged from school during pandemic

MEDIA CONTACT: Meghan Frick, GaDOE Communications Office,

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October 28, 2022 – The Georgia Department of Education is continuing the statewide effort to assist school districts with locating and supporting students who have disengaged from school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

GaDOE, in continued partnership with Graduation Alliance, has dedicated $5 million in ESSER COVID-19 relief funds to the location, engagement, and individual support of up to 50,0000 students in rural areas who have disengaged from school or are chronically absent due to COVID-related school disruptions, who are in danger of failing one or more classes, or whose families have requested additional support. 

"We must not overlook students who need our support as we continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic," State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. "School closures, quarantines, and varying instructional models caused some students and families to disengage from their education. Continuation of this project allows us to maintain and expand our work in collaboration with Georgia school districts to locate these students and extend needed support."

During the 2021-2022 school year, ENGAGE Georgia worked with 18,830 students and supplied districts with key actionable data insights through a dynamic data dashboard, including providing referral information for students facing housing insecurity and transportation issues, among other challenges. This program is for chronically absent, at-risk, or disengaged students. Each student who opts into the program is assigned a personal Academic Success Coach who helps them identify and overcome barriers preventing them from engaging with their education. The program will provide the following supports for up to 50,000 students in rural areas of the state:

  • Outreach Counselors to locate and reach out to students who have disengaged or are not consistently attending or progressing
  • Academic Success Coaches who provide enhanced support, based on intervention support level and needs of the student, aimed at breaking down barriers to engagement and academic success
  • Data collection and communication, in coordination with GaDOE, aimed at reducing the administrative burden on districts by providing strong logistical support through developing an outreach and communication strategy and readily available templates and structures for data reporting.

“Students can always use a little extra support," said Dr. Bronwyn Ragan-Martin, GaDOE Deputy Superintendent for Rural Education and Innovation. “ENGAGE Georgia provides our students with coaches who offer personalized support to help them overcome barriers and be their best — at school and in everyday life. Our goal in continuing our partnership with ENGAGE Georgia is to address some challenges students face, such as chronic absenteeism, and help lead them to academic success."

“My Academic Success Coach was very helpful in addressing my situation and would not stop until she had gotten the answers she needed for me," a Peach County School District student wrote after a recent interaction with their Academic Success Coach. “She is an awesome person – she stayed with me until the end, getting all the help I needed to resolve my issue."​