Every day we are bombarded with stories about how things don’t work. We hear tales of good intentions gone awry. We get reports of best laid plans bogged down in bureaucracy.
Money gets squandered. Projects are never on schedule. Promises are invariably broken.
So, it is very encouraging when we hear that something works – when a plan gets results.
This week, we saw encouraging evidence that things are going well at Harlem High School. When graduation rate figures were released Wednesday, Harlem had improved a staggering 16 percent from the previous year, moving it ahead of all the other high schools in the county.
That news might have surpised many, but it did not surprise those who have been working on a plan to improve graduation numbers at the school for the past four years.
Principal Dietmar Perez had been expecting a big change in that number.
He and other administrators have been carefully tracking the stats, so they were just waiting for the state to confirm what already knew: the plan was working.
The plan to improve academic engagement and student retention at Harlem involved not only tracking numbers, but paying attention to individual students and assisting them with their specific needs.
I’m certain that it took uncountable hours of dedication by staff and faculty. It also took the help of a great organization, Columbia County Community Connections, and a grant that funded special programs to assist students who had gotten of track.
They got results through the coordination and effort of a lot of people, working together and staying focused on a goal.
It’s a great example of how diffuclut problems can be solved, of how private and public partnerships can be formed to tackle tough issues.
Now, if only our leaders in Washington could learn such a lesson.
In another example of what comes from hard work and dedication, I would like to congratulate Lakeside High School senior Gerald Meixiong on his recent fouth-place finish in the 2013 Seimens Competition in Math, Science and Technology.
Meixiong was among six individual competititors that went to Washington, D.C, last week for one of the country’s most prestigious national academic competitions.
He came home with a $30,000 scholarship for his presentation on a new discovery involving the biochemistry of cell division.