Reengagement in Philadelphia


In May 2008, Philadelphia opened one of the nation’s first dropout reengagement centers to improve the city’s faltering graduation rates.

The School District of Philadelphia and the city’s Department of Human Services worked together to establish and staff the city’s first Re-Engagement Center (REC).  Currently, the Center is staffed with a District Program Manager, a District Case Manager, two Department of Human Services Case Managers and three Undergraduate Interns.  Since opening in June of 2008, the Philadelphia Re-Engagement Center has served over 15,000 residents.

As a part of the School District of Philadelphia’s Opportunity Network, the Re-Engagement Center aims to give students who are disconnected from school or who are in school but struggling to succeed, the chance to return to school and earn a high school diploma. Its mission: to provide referrals to high quality educational programs and supports that prepare, ensure and empower all Philadelphia students to achieve their full academic and social potential.

The Philadelphia Re-Engagement Center assists disconnected youth, ages 16-24 by assessing their individual needs and providing alternate paths to graduation. Young adults meet with knowledgeable and supportive staff who assess academic needs and directs students to a best-fit program. In addition to school placement, the Center provides students with access to non-academic supports such as childcare, employment and housing.

A small percentage of Re-Engagement Center visitors are adults over the age of 24. The REC Staff can assist adult learners with understanding their high school transcript, information on adult diploma programs offered in the city and information about the Pennsylvania GED and HiSET equivalency exams.

Reclaim Your Dream . . . . . . . . Embrace The Possibilities . . . . . . . Create Your Future

Promising Practices

  • Establish high quality relationships with school partners that can help students improve academically, develop new skills, and successfully transition to a post-secondary program.
  • Collaborate with community organizations, employers, service providers and other stakeholders to promote the shared vision of increasing high school diploma attainment and post-secondary enrollment in Philadelphia.
  • For the broader Opportunity Network -- develop strong organizational and instructional accountability measures for school partners and evaluate their progress using a research-based performance review matrix.

2015-2016 Activity

  • During the 2015-2016 school year, the center placed 1,490 students in education programs in the city.
  • More than half of REC visitors were between the ages of 21 and 25.
  • 74% of visitors in 2015-2016 received referrals to Accelerated High School Programs; 17% to the District’s Educational Options Program, and 9% to GED Programs in the city.
  • 66% of these students expressed interest in post-secondary education at a 2-year college, 4-year college or trade school.

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