One student told ABC30 how proud he was to finally earn a "B" on a math test after being in the Men's Alliance Program. Organizers say those in the program have gone from being students who start fights to those trying to prevent them.
This isn't your traditional class, if you look around you'll notice ties, button up shirts and no girls.
Tyler Wilkerson: "I have to admit the first day I came into class, which was a big problem for me, having no girls in the classroom."
These young men in Fresno Unified's Men's Alliance Program say not long ago their lives were on a rocky path.
Tyler Wilkerson: "I'm known for being a hot head. Any little thing can make me go off."
Emanuel Vasquez: "I used to be a trouble maker everywhere I went I caused trouble."
Students known for having poor grades, low attendance and behavioral issues were chosen for the course. Teacher, Peter Beck can relate to his students.
Peter Beck: "What makes me get across to these guys, I was them."
The lessons taught in this room you can't learn from a book. Things like self-discipline, positive leadership and simple acts like being on time.
Peter Beck: "You need to be on time because when you go to work they're not going to care that you missed the bus."
For many at risk teens it's all about making a connection.
Emanuel Vasquez: "It looks like they care cause I used to think no one cared."
Peter Beck: "That's why I greet them at the door. That may be the nicest thing they hear that day."
And the students are getting it -- they are now leaders on campus
Emanuel Vasquez: "I've been called a gentleman. I've never been called a gentleman before."
Attendance is up, grades are climbing and suspensions are way down.
So far this school year, the three schools have had only 34 suspensions, compared to 347 in the 2009-2010 school year.
Tyler Wilkerson: "Now that I have these skills and taking my time and doing these tests right I actually have a better chance of getting into the colleges I want."
Next year Fresno Unified is looking to expand the Men's Alliance Program to Fresno and Roosevelt high schools.NEWS BY LOCATION | ABC30 BLOGS | DISCUSSION FORUMS
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