Kids are lining up to get in, but it's not the typical hot spot. There's no food or drinks allowed, but pencils and paper are encouraged. It's a place seventh grader Sydney Given has made a permanent part of her school week.
"It's a good idea, and it gives kids a place to study without parents. And all the noise," Given said.
Given's first chance to tutor came last year, when the cafe opened its doors in the Fulton Middle School Library. Guidance Counselor Nawassa Logan is the driving force behind the program.
"Kid's coming from fifth grade have an after school program they can go to. When they come to middle school, there wasn't anything. So after you get parents asking whether you have a program or anything. No we don't have anything," Logan said.
The cafe is a response to what Logan felt was a lack of transition for students. The chance to "catch up" can come two ways. Students who miss assignments can receive tickets from teachers requiring that they attend. A phone call lets parents know their child will be staying late. Staff at the cafe said keeping parents in the loop is key. That means fewer surprises when report cards roll around. It's those without tickets that keep the cafe's future bright.
"There are some kids who keep getting assigned, assigned, assigned then one day you're looking for his slip and he doesn't have one. He's just there because he knows there's a good solid hour he's going to be able to get homework completed."
Now in it's second year, Logan is looking at the cafe's numbers and she's happy with what she sees. About 500 students attend Fulton Middle School, and 46 percent dropped by the cafe at some point last year. 62% of attendees saw their grades improve. Now in the second quarter of this year, 30% have attended and 86% of those who came in have seen improvement.
"Kids appreciate the fact that it's not classroom time, they don't make us come in and be quiet, and I'm getting some help! I think the response has been great."
Logan continues to shoot for her overall program goal of 75 percent of all students handing in all of their assignments completed and on time every day.
"We are educators, and that's what we're here to do, and yes, you need to parent but you can beat that horse to death. Yes, you have some parents that are not out there making sure students complete assignments, but that's what we're here for. That's what we're doing."
For now, Logan hopes to welcome new students, and eventually more tutors, like Given.
"My parent's like me tutoring. They think it's a good way for me to get out of the house and to get more responsibility and helping others."
To learn more about the Catch Up Cafe, visit the Fulton Public Schools website.
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