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This is the reality facing students in McDowell County, a place perpetually ranked among the worst in the state by almost every measure. Twelve people a month die from drug overdoses here, while more than 100 people are on a waiting list to talk to rehab counselors via Skype. Three quarters of all students live in a home where parents can't find work in this one time coal hub that has slowed. The county leads the state in teenage pregnancies.

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"Then, with everything in place, the word was sent out to the poor: Come to classes because they are good for you. . Everything will be different for you from now on.""Their heart was in the right place and they came in with the grants and instituted these programs. Everything was fine for six months and they went away and the

only to fizzle when well intentioned visitors grew frustrated, bored or broke.

And when parent teacher conferences came around, fewer than half of the biological parents got invitations; the others were long gone, in jail or dead.

"How do you activate this community?" he said about this rural place.

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(AP) When school started here in the fall, 1 out of 7 classrooms was without a teacher; leaders couldn't recruit enough educators to this sparsely populated rural area at the southern tip of West Virginia.

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But that's not to say it will work here. Previous attempts at economic development in this southernmost corner of West Virginia have come in fits and starts, Fendi Roma Bags

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"Eight community centers were opened, each with a library and recreation area, classrooms for Head Start and well equipped sewing and cooking areas. Instructors were hired to teach adult education and home economics. Recreation directors were employed," The New York Times wrote in a 1966 article from here.

"In 10 years, hopefully you'll see a McDowell County that is thriving, schools are thriving and students are successful," Weingarten said. "Back in the 1950s, Main Street looked like a teeming urban street. There was nowhere to walk and nowhere to drive."

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What they're trying to do is overlay an urban strategy on a place where cellphones often lack a signal. Boston, Cincinnati and Oakland, Calif., all have created schools where the academic leaders work with community partners on education, health and social issues. Between lessons on Shakespeare and Charlemagne, students can have their teeth cleaned or meet with a social worker.

And similar attempts have fallen short in far more populous places where the challenges weren't as great.

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Classes had dismissed for the day but dozens of students stayed for after school programs that include dinner.

The county had almost 100,000 people in 1950, according to census figures. They lost more than a quarter of that population over the next decade and that number fell another 50,000 in 1970. By 2010, that number had dropped to 22,000.

It's not as though McDowell County is a stranger to outsiders' help. In 1966 alone, the county received $721,000 from federal anti poverty programs.

"You look into their eyes and they have the eyes of someone much older. They've seen so much," McGuire said. "So my role switched from being a principal to social worker."

If successful and sustainable, this model could help despairing rural schools elsewhere. It has no less a champion that Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

´╗┐schools rethink their role

as successful as we all hope and think it can be," Duncan said during a visit here. "The implications are truly national."

"It would be a real mystery to me how to do that in a rural area," said Paul Heckman, an associate dean at the University of California, Davis, School of Education.

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up and homes abandoned.

But here it is something new.

The American Federation of Teachers guided effort is called Reconnecting McDowell, and leaders hope it will stem decades of suffering, both physical and economic.

"In addition to reading, writing and arithmetic, we're also acting as their parents," principal Florisha Christian McGuire said as she walked through the halls in War's Southside School.

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The effort started out as a conversation between then West Virginia first lady Gayle Manchin and AFT President Randi Weingarten. During the past 18 months, the two high energy women called allies and pulled together more than 120 partners. Communications Miu Miu Sunglasses Amazon Uk firms replaced dial up Internet service with high speed upgrades, VH1 donated instruments for the bands, and volunteer firefighters are serving as mentors.

Heckman helped schools in Tucson, Ariz., set up a similar community based program. But there he had a more densely populated area.

He knows. Before joining President Barack Obama's Cabinet, Duncan ran Chicago's public schools and oversaw a shift to such a community focused model in many of those places of learning.

With this as the backdrop, the West Virginia Board of Education on Wednesday was set to formally alter the scope of these schools. The state took over the schools more than a decade ago and its leaders no longer will limit their mission to the traditional school day. The officials are going to try to turn the schools into a base, not just for the students but for all of those who live around here in small towns with names such as Cucumber and Johnnycake, where storefronts are boarded Fendi Bag Collection 2017

program died," said Manchin, now the vice president of the West Virginia Board of Education and among those expected to vote for expanding the schools' mandate.

Adult literacy, drug rehabilitation programs and basic medical care all will take place under the roofs of these schools. And in many cases, they're already under way even before the state approves the final deal that expands the schools' ambitions in exchange for some relaxed oversight.

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When officials turned on the mandatory security cameras at one elementary school, the rest of the building lost its Internet connection; the buildings weren't wired for this century.

"I think the lessons are not just for this county or for this state, but across this country, that this community effort, this collective endeavor can be Fendi Yellow Crossbody

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