Reengagement in Allentown

Annually, anywhere from 200 to 300 students drop out of Allentown schools. The Allentown ReEngagement Center gives these young people a chance to reconnect to education.

On September 2015, the Allentown School District, already involved in drop-out prevention programming, opened the Allentown ReEngagement Center designed to bring the students who have dropped out of school back into educational settings to earn their diploma or GED and to support Allentown’s dropout population.

Frankie shares his story of how the Allentown ReEngagement Center helped him to get back to school

The initial and continued development of the ReEngagement Center stems from a collaboration between the Allentown School District (ASD), Communities in Schools of the Lehigh Valley (CISLV), and the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board (LVWIB). In 2017, ASD entered into an updated contract with CISLV, which supports two FTE reengagement coaches.

These Reengagement coaches track down students aged 17 to 24 who have dropped out, and find ways to help them address the reasons for their disengagement from school. After attending to these obstacles, the center helps students to earn their high school diplomas or GED’s.

Additionally, ReEngagement Center employees connect students to job training resources through Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment. Staff also coordinate closely with CISLV support staff who work in the district’s two high schools and with staff at the WIB’s CareerFORCE one-stop center for out-of-school youth. CISLV has ready access to the ASD data system to enhance operations the ReEngagement Center. Furthermore, staff work closely with the local literacy center that provides a class specifically for students aged 17-24 who come through the Reengagement Center. The collaboration with the literacy center has proven invaluable, as it has allowed students who come to the Reengagement Center immediate placement into small classes with students of a similar age and background.

WIOA youth contractor ESDI has devoted one FTE staff member to cross-connect dropouts with employment and related supports and services. This staff member maintains a principal office at the Reengagement Center in a school district multi-purpose building alongside the CISLV coaches

Promising Practices

  • Allentown REC staff provide a considerable level of case management services, continuing until and sometimes past the time of graduation or receipt of GED.

2015-2016 Activity

  • During the 2015-2016 academic year, the Allentown reengagement center placed 151 students in educational programs, and 114 of the cohort received their diploma, graduated, or were still enrolled at the end of the year.
  • The Allentown REC currently seeks to collaborate more with community organizations and employers to expand their collective impact.