As the afternoon begins, the more than 200 attendees at the Doing What Matters for Tuscaloosa's Children Conference have split into five groups to begin to talk about solutions to some of the problems facing the county's youngest residents.
"Parental involvement is the missing key for us," said Connie Coleman, a counselor at Hillcrest High School and a presenter for an afternoon session on Dropout rates and prevention. "I think parental involvement is the key to student success."
Coleman listed five common characteristics of students who drop out of school
1. Chronic attendance problems
2. Failing one or more courses of reading-language arts and/or math
3. Significant history of discipline issues
4. Being held back in one or more grades
5. Remaining isolated and uninvolved
"A dropout is no an individual problem, it's a societal problem" Coleman said. "Sometimes dropout cannot be avoided. It's our job to provide students options at this point."
Other topics that are being addressed in the breakout sessions: youth depression and suicide, advocacy with legislator, Impact Alabama, Drugs and youth.