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GaDOE launches effort to locate and support rural students who have disengaged from school during pandemic

MEDIA CONTACT: Meghan Frick, GaDOE Communications Office,

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November 8, 2021 – The Georgia Department of Education is launching a statewide effort to assist school districts with locating and supporting students who have disengaged from school as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

GaDOE is partnering with Graduation Alliance and dedicating $5 million in ESSER COVID-19 relief funds to the location, engagement, and individual support of up to 50,000 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 cannot allow students to fall through the cracks," State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “We know that school closures, quarantines, and varying instructional models have caused some students and families to disengage with their education. This project will ensure we're working alongside school districts to locate these students and extend the support they need." 

In partnership with GaDOE, Graduation Alliance 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 to 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 the development of an outreach and communication strategy and readily available templates and structures for data reporting

 “I am pleased that this work will focus on the rural districts in Georgia where many of our disengaged students are difficult to locate," said Dr. Bronwyn-Ragan Martin, GaDOE Deputy Superintendent for Rural Education and Innovation. “Most of the staff in small districts have multiple roles, so my hope is that having this extra layer of outreach will prove to be invaluable in pulling students back into school."

“The affiliation between the GaDOE and Graduation Alliance could not have come at a more opportune time," Pelham City Schools Superintendent Floyd Fort said. “Never before has there been a higher need to identify and re-engage students. The pandemic has created a disconnect never seen before. I applaud all efforts in this regard."​