Mpls. Schools Work to Bring Back Students Who Haven't Finished Requirements

Updated: 02/01/2013 11:00 PM KSTP.com By: Naomi Pescovitz

Minneapolis Public Schools are on an intense search. A program called "We Want You Back" is looking for one thousand or more former students who had all the credits to graduate from high school but did not receive diplomas.

The students would have graduated from 2000 through present, but didn't pass one or more of the state standardized tests.

"When we call and say 'hey, you need to get your diploma,' they are a little bit shocked, they might be a little bit bewildered or whatever. But when we explain to them that this is all you have to do, they are shocked even more," said Lorraine Rhodes-Dix, We Want You Back Coordinator.

Time is of the essence. In 2010, the state started using the GRAD exam instead of the MBST.

"In 2014 those students who have passing scores under the MBST test, will no longer be accepted, those passing scores will no longer be accepted. And so those students will have to start all over and test in each one of those core content areas, reading, math and writing, all under the GRAD realm," Rhodes-Dix said.     

Rhodes-Dix and her staff have been working to identify and contact students who didn't pass in order to help them get diplomas before they have to take all of the tests again.

"Taking three tests entirely over even if you've passed it in previous years and having that being wiped out, and now with all of the new information and all that's going on with new testing, I think that would be a terrible burden," Rhodes-Dix said.

Lin Ly is a Re-engagement Specialist for the We Want You Back Program.

"Doing all the digging that we can do to try to find some of these students' phone numbers," Lin Ly said.

Ly says some former students are surprised to hear from the district when they call.

"After explaining to them the essence of this, the importance of taking this exam, they are then shocked that they can still do it, and then they are elated that this is it. If they just pass these exams, they can have a high school diploma," Ly said.

There are still several chances to take the state exams this year. Click here to learn more or call (612) 668-1200.