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Drop Out Summit Will Explore Ways of Reducing Numbers

By Mark Scott

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-835139.mp3

Buffalo, NY – A grassroots community activist in Buffalo is organizing a summit meeting this week to develop a strategy for reducing the high drop out rate at city high schools.

Joy McDuffie's day job is as a foreclosure specialist with the Western New York Law Center. Last fall, she traveled to Rochester for a statewide drop-out conference where the problem in Buffalo was barely mentioned. So, McDuffie decided to organize her own conference in Buffalo to discuss ways of keeping kids in school.

McDuffie says 1,600 children were expected to drop out of city schools this year. But she says solving the problem shouldn't rest solely on the district itself.

One of the ideas McDuffie has is the creation of a mentoring problem in which people from the community would mentor at risk students. Among the people assisting McDuffie with this week's summit is Buffalo Rising editor Elena Cala Buscarino, who talked about an innovative outreach effort where schools are set up in vacant storefronts.

The drop out summit takes place Wednesday at the Montante Cultural Center on the Canisius College campus. McDuffie says representatives of Buffalo schools, Catholic Charities, the University at Buffalo and a host of other agencies and government offices have signed up.

Registration information is available at the website, www.bflodropoutprevention.org.