The Calallen Independent School District is teaming up with two other school districts for a program aimed at helping students who have left school to return and obtain their high school diplomas.

The Dropout Recovery Program, which will be based out of Calallen, is being offered in conjunction with the Odem-Edroy and Taft independent school districts. Anita Danaher, assistant superintendent for the CISD, said the program is being funded by a $125,000 U.S. Department of Education Investing in Innovation Fund i3 Grant.

"We are tremendously excited about the opportunity to help these kids realize a better future," she said. "That's our focus in this - to find those kids who have been out of school for a year, for whatever reason, and maybe realized that wasn't a good decision for them."

Students enrolled in the program will work with a teacher 20 hours every week. Classes will take place from 2 to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday, at Calallen Middle School. Students from Odem-Edroy and Taft will be bused to the campus every week to participate in the program on those days, as well, Danaher added.

The program will include credit recovery, financial incentives, child care, social services, dual credit courses through Del Mar College and Texas A&M University-Kingsville, GED assistance, Craft Training Center career training and strategic tutoring for students who only need to pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills Exit Level test, according to information provided by the CISD.

Students can also receive up to $3,500 toward higher education for completing either their high school graduation requirements or GED and become college or career ready, Danaher said. That portion of the program is being funded by an additional $130,000 from the U.S. Department of Education and will run through December 2011, she added.

The program's $125,000 will only run through the end of this school year, Danaher said, so the district will have to reapply for the grant next year in order to keep the program running the way it is designed now. If not, changes will have to be made, she added.

Superintendent Arturo Almendarez said he was excited about the program making its way to Calallen, adding he hoped to see students utilize the chance being presented to them.

"I think it's a wonderful opportunity for students who may not have completed their high school (requirements) and I think they should take advantage of it," he said.

Registration was held Tuesday and Wednesday at Calallen High School for local students interested in participating in the program. The first DRP classes are scheduled to begin on Monday.