PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN) — Over the last year and a half, schools have adjusted again and again.
"The pandemic definitely has caused this kind of disengaged sort of student," said Pima County Superintendent of Schools, Dustin Williams.
In Pima County, around 18,000 16 to 21-year-olds have been out of school for 30 or more days and are off track to graduate with their class. In the entire state of Arizona, around 100,000 students are in the same position.
"A big reason for disengagement is sometimes mental trauma. It could be poverty, It could be issues at home. For whatever reason, something has happened to get that student off track," said Williams.
Pima County wants to give those students another chance. Williams said a new program will get them re-enrolled in the classes needed to graduate.
"If we can help a student be more successful in their life, we want to be that starting point," said Williams.
Pima County has partnered with Grad Solutions. The education provider offers flexible class schedules to students ages 16 to 21.
"These programs are still rigorous. We're accredited. The diploma these young people are earning, they're actually earning them. They're not just getting a pass and getting a diploma," said Grad Solutions Executive Director of Marketing, Christopher Dickinson.
Fifteen students have already enrolled in the program since its launch, this month. A total of 50 are expected to be on board by mid October.
"How we do it is not like a traditional school. We are combating all sorts of different things to break down every single barrier we possibly can so they have the ability to achieve their goal at graduation," said Dickinson.
Enrollment is open for Pima County's High School Diploma Recovery Program. Click here to enroll.