Stanstead has long been stigmatized by those outside the community. This negative attitude pervades the classrooms as well, putting students at a distinct disadvantage before walking into the room. Phelps is working in concert with the schools to reverse this view held by too many; our students’ improving performance is the strongest champion to positive attitudinal change.
Dropout rates in rural areas are significantly higher than those in cities and our area is no exception. Compared to the Estrie rate of 15.1% and the MRC Memphrémagog rate of 15.4%, the dropout rate of Stanstead is significantly higher. According to the most recent data available from CartoJeunes, in 2012-13, 26.3% of youth in the Stanstead area dropped out of high school.
Due to declining enrolment in the area, large regional high schools are here to stay, unfortunately at the expense of the students they are designed to serve. Lengthy bus rides to and from the schools preclude many Stanstead area students from participating in after-school homework help and extracurricular music and sports programs, further isolating them from a well-rounded high school experience that others enjoy. They become disenfranchised from the outset and this only worsens over time.
Phelps was specifically designed to provide help and support at home. When the students step off the bus, they are home and in their community. Phelps’ wide-ranging programs allow them to receive the individual assistance and support they need while giving them a place of belonging. This approach has created an invaluable link and sense of responsibility to the community while building self-confidence in our participants.