Midland ISD Sees Success with XY Zone Program 10/2/13
CBS 7 News Reporter
October 2, 2013
Midland - It's been a steady problem across the state, but with more children filling our classrooms, educators face a bigger challenge of making sure every child graduates.
The dropout rate for males and females in Texas has not really moved for the last couple of years.
However, according to the Texas Education Agency, more males than females are dropping out in west Texas, especially in the Midland Independent School District.
To help curb the growing drop out rate, MISD Student Health Advisory Council has been implementing a new program that focuses on boys.
Over sixty-percent of the students in the XY Zone have no father figures in their lives. Volunteers in this program are stepping in to fill that void.
Name the situation, Mike Mills has probably seen it.
"It could be dads are in prison, dad may have passed away, some cases they just didn't know who dad was," Mills, the XY Zone coordinator at Midland High said. "We're seeing young men who are dealing with homelessness, issues with marijuana usage and then you have broken homes."
That's why he helped bring the XY Zone program to Midland.
Male students meet with mentors in a small group setting and get all of their issues out in the open, in a safe environment.
Art Killete, a former federal probation officer is a full time mentor at Lee High School
"You start to realize what it's like to be a teen in this day and age," he said.
"Our idea is if we can help them go through the outside these walls issues, it will help them succeed with what's going on inside these walls," Mills said.
Mills says the best part about this approach is that it's working. It's actually been so successful that they've been able to put two full time employees at both Midland High and Lee for the first time.
"When they walk into their Algebra class, instead of thinking about all the problems going on at home, we begin to clear some space so they can actually focus on what the teacher is saying," Mills said.
The success of the program can be seen in the numbers. Last year, 100 percent of the students stayed in the program. Eighty-eight percent graduated from high school. Seventy-five percent were able to move on to the next grade, thatís up from 57-percent the previous year.
As the XY Zone continues to grow, so does the need for more volunteers. Mills says the more volunteers there are, the more opportunity there is make a difference.
If you'd like to get involved...you can email Mike Mills at: email@example.com.