Giving Compass' Take:

• Threshold is a program aimed at getting nontraditional students - like dropouts - through high school using weekly one-on-one lessons and digital support. 

• How can philanthropy most effectively help students who have dropped out of school graduate? What kind of support do these individuals need in order to succeed? 

• Learn how teacher home visits are making a difference in Detroit.

It was well after homeroom had begun in most schools in central Maine when teacher Juliana Rothschild knocked on the front door of a student’s house. The student, Jessica Cousins, wasn’t in trouble for skipping school. Instead, school was coming to her. Rothschild transformed Cousins’ kitchen table into a makeshift workstation. They set up two laptops and began their weekly, three-hour class.

Cousins says she is “not a book person.” During her childhood of dealing with family strife, which took her to towns across rural Maine, rarely staying at a school for longer than a year or two, learning was never a priority. “It was never something I looked forward to — all day, every day,” she said. She dropped out shortly after her 16th birthday.

But last summer, Cousins’ mother-in-law told her about Threshold, a program developed by a Maine charter school aimed specifically at students who’ve dropped out, and she enrolled at age 18.

Threshold is akin to home-schooling, only with certified teachers, overseen by a brick-and-mortar school, who provide in-person lessons.

Rothschild serves as part teacher, part tutor for the program, visiting her 10 students’ homes for one-on-one classes each week. She designs individualized assignments that she hopes will engage students who’ve often struggled in traditional school settings.

Read the full article about Threshold by Robbie Feinberg at The Hechinger Report.