When the school bell rings this fall, high school freshmen will enter a period when they are most at risk of drifting away from school and the hopes and dreams of their families, statistics on local students show.
That’s why United Way of Dane County joined with the Madison Metropolitan School District on Tuesday in hosting a forum of parents and students to strategize on better ways to help students succeed.
Some 25 parents — and a half-dozen incoming ninth-graders — talked about their hopes for high school. The forum, held at James Wright Middle School, was part of the work of United Way’s Delegation on Disconnected and Violent Youth, which seeks to improve community support for young people and their families so students stay interested in and attending school, and away from drugs and crime.
“Disconnected” youth are not committed to school or work, underachieve and are alienated from adults, said Corey Chambas, co-chairman of the United Way delegation and CEO of First Business Financial Services. “They are really on the wrong path,” he said. United Way estimates there are 3,000 “disconnected” youth in Dane County.