Dropout recruiter gets students off streets, back in school

Posted by Aja Williams on

While students are studying and searching their books for answers, Charlie Bean is looking for the students to fill the class. 

His job? To get kids who have dropped out to drop back in and finish high school or receive a GED.

Bean works as a dropout recruiter for St. Louis Public Schools and has been successful in getting kids off the street and back in the books.

His method? He works to make a connection with students as a trusted adult who doesn’t judge, has faith in them and challenges them to find their best selves.

In the past 5 years, Bean has brought back 3,000 students and been able to see more than 150 graduate. In addition, Bean said that a number of those students have moved on to go to college, trade or vocational school or into the military. He also said that several return to volunteer and give back to the community.


The Check and Connect Program, which started at the University of Minnesota, is being funded through a high school initiative grant out of the U.S. Department of Education.

Bean said that the key thing adults must remember is to be passionate in helping students and give them love. Most importantly, be real to the students and to yourself, and that will help them.

Bean has been recognized as a part of the American Graduate Champions series.

Champions commit their time, skills and resources to make sure that young people succeed. He or she is an individual who plays an active role in improving educational outcomes for students.

If you know someone who is a champion for students, recognize them here.