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Lincoln Park High School principal doing 'porch visits' during pandemic to keep encouraging students

Stock porch image
Posted at 12:05 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 12:16:33-05

LINCOLN PARK (WXYZ) — As the COVID-19 pandemic caused schools across the state to shift to virtual learning, Lincoln Park High School Principal Dan Mercer devised a way to continue to engage with his students that didn't involve more screen time, just a porch and good conversation.

Mercer began working with his staff to reach out to students who were having unique academic, emotional or other challenges during the pandemic to schedule what the school is now calling "porch visits."

Discussions revolved around a variety of topics from internet access, concerns over grades, mental health and more, according to the school.

"We just weren’t reaching these students through traditional means, and we have a duty to serve the academic, social and emotional needs of every student,” Mercer said in a press release. “The families are really appreciative."

Mercer said they've been doing up to 25 porch visits a week, with each check-in lasting around 5-10 minutes.

While the district returned for partial in-person learning on Jan. 19, the plan is to continue to porch visits into the near future. Mercer said the program has "helped contribute to a nearly 50% reduction in the number of students with failing grades at the high school. "