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Big Brothers Big Sisters Lend a Hand

A Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter in Missouri is drawing attention for its data-based tracking system—a system that allows the organization to flag "Little" brothers and sisters who are having trouble in school before their problems snowball.

The ABC Education Initiative now tracks 400 children in the St. Louis schools, writes reporter Jesse Bogan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The story (which was distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services) appears on the edweek.org website.

"The program looks for historical patterns in behavior and red flags, such as if a child falls to an 'F' in math and reading, or gets several disciplinary actions and tardies. The information is collected by Big Brothers Big Sisters and passed on to the mentor if needed."

Parents must sign a waiver in order for their children to participate. The St. Louis-based Eastern Missouri chapter began gathering data for the initiative five years ago; it hopes to double the number of children served by 2012. There is also talk of the effort becoming a national prototype.

What do you think of this innovation? Should more out-of-school organizations do something like this? Would your school system benefit from an out-of-school partner in this regard?

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