F.A.C.T.S. is a program in which at-risk high school students pair up with and tutor second grade students.
During the 1992-93 school year a needs assessment indicated an excessive dropout rate at East Boston High School. The Headmaster, unhappy with the numbers, initiated a study group to research the effectiveness and possible implementation of an alternative program for the at-risk high school population. From that effort, the F.A.C.T.S. (flexibility, acceleration, competency based, teamwork, service) Program was established. The program is geared towards students who have had a difficult time in the mainstream for a variety of reasons. Many are teen parents, some have had previous trouble with the law and most have never found their place in the academic and extra-curricular life of school.
In the spring term of the 1994/95 school year, the program's managers submitted a proposal to pair F.A.C.T.S. students with second grade students at a local elementary school. The principal and teachers embraced the idea and the existing collaboration began.
F.A.C.T.S. students focus on children's literature in their English class, study child psychology and learning styles, design their own lessons and learn responsibility and commitment. Thirty of the students leave the high school to work with the second graders. Accompanied by their teachers, they go into the elementary school twice a month and spend forty-five minutes to an hour reading, writing, talking and drawing with their thirty second grade partners.
In addition to the individual mentoring aspects, the students designed and ran a citywide book drive in Boston, which collected over one thousand books to give to the young children.
Both the elementary students and the F.A.C.T.S. program students are experiencing success with this program. One second grader began the program unwilling to work with a partner and unable to read a single phrase successfully. By the end of the school year the student was reading whole stories to the class. The F.A.C.T.S. program volunteers are put into leadership positions that bring out their best qualities and build their self-esteem.