California Educator

October 2015

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Thirteen-year-old Dianna is sitting on the couch watching TV on a Monday afternoon when Lora Palacios knocks at the door. Dianna reluctantly invites her into the small in-law unit she shares with her father, grandparents and others in East Los Angeles. Large portraits of the Virgin Mary adorn the walls of the tiny but spotless living room. Dianna stares sullenly at her feet. By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Photography by Scott Buschman Making It Through Middle School Early action and outreach helps prevent young dropouts Counselor Lora Palacios pays a visit to the home of 13-year-old Dianna, who has not been attending school. "I'm worried about you not going to school," says Palacios, a Pupil Services and Attendance (PSA) coun- selor at Belvedere Middle School in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). "School is important. I want you to do better. What's going on?" Dianna, who has depression and self-esteem issues, wasn't succeeding in regular classes, so she enrolled in an independent study program. However, she has 31 V O LU M E 2 0 I S S U E 3 F E A T U R E

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