High school dropout turned teacher heads program aimed to keep k - FOX 32 News Chicago

High school dropout turned teacher heads program aimed to keep kids in school

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Forty-five years ago, Bill Palmer dropped out of Barrington High School. Now, he's teaching there, in the "Alternative Pathways" program, helping to make sure other students don't follow the same path.

"I guide them, coach them, counsel them, encourage them," Palmer said. "I also send a strong message to them that I can't do it for them. they have to step up."

Palmer teaches what are called interpersonal communication resource classes. He focuses on students who are at high risk for missing out on a diploma and helps them overcome their barriers and transition to college or a skilled workforce.

"When they walk out of here next month, they're going to have a diploma under one arm, and a transition portfolio under the other arm," he boasted.

Barrington senior Hunter Grabowski says he was not on a path toward graduation, until joining Palmer's program.

"He sat me down, figured out exactly what I needed. and everything, and told me what I needed to do," Grabowski said of Palmer. "I've been getting it done so I'm graduating on time."

Guadalupe Rodriguez says her plans now include graduation and college. Before joining "Pathways," that seemed less likely.

"It's really taken me forward from where I was two years ago," she said. "If I would have never entered this program, I probably wouldn't' be as successful as I am now."

"They work hard, and they have a goal and that is to earn their diploma from their home high school....to walk out of here with a Barrington High School diploma," Palmer explained.

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