Getting a good understanding of dropout and graduation numbers can be tough, as one Utah district is finding

As the saying goes, torture numbers long enough, and they'll tell you anything.

That seems particularly true for dropout and graduation rates.

The federal government changed how graduation statistics were calculated a couple years ago, and that was supposed to make such calculations easier.

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New Mexico bill wanting to take driver's licenses from dropouts won't help students succeed

A lawmaker in New Mexico has filed a bill to take away driving privileges for teens who drop out of school.

Republican State Senator and former school board member Craig Brandt pre-filed the bill, according to KRQE.

This is his second try to get such a bill passed — last year it didn't even make it out of committee.

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Cleveland School District takes early approach to dropout prevention

The Cleveland School District in Mississippi is going back to the beginning to prevent dropouts.

Officials are working with students as young as pre-kindergarten to help boost graduation rates, according to the Clarion Ledger.

“I think that the road to graduation starts at the pre-K level. Right now we have six pre-K classes within the district, and we work in collaboration with Bolivar County Community Action Agency Head Start Centers,” Thigpen said.
“The state has published early learning standards for 3- and 4-year-olds, and we are trying to make sure that children are working on those early learning standards,” she said.

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Canadian program helps students with social, emotional and economic programs make it to graduation

To bring the new year to a close, let's look at an incredible program from our neighbors to the north.

The Vancouver Sun featured a student, Thea Luchak, who suffered from social anxiety badly enough that she began failing school.

She shut down socially and delved into the world of books. After reading some philosophy texts, she realized she needed to get her anxiety under control. She began pursuing her dream of creating art, and her fellow students began praising her. Just as important as her newly found self-confidence was an alternative program called Spectrum that is designed to help students who suffer from social, emotional or economic struggles.

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Florida looks at raising the dropout age to 18

Florida is mulling the idea of increasing its dropout age to 18.

State Senator Darren Soto argues that 16 is too young to leave school, and he wants to make sure students know that, according to WJHG.

“I believe that we need to make them stay in school until 18 when they at least have enough maturity to make the decision if they want to continue,” said Soto.

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Denver program helps at-risk students stay on track

Here's a heartwarming tale for the holiday season.

A program called Denver Kids Inc. in Colorado is helping about 1,000 at-risk students stay on the path to graduation.

The group hooks kids up with counselors who stay with the student from seventh grade on, inquiring about school, helping to solve family problems and pushing through other obstacles that might have derailed them from graduation.

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Arlington school district sets up competition to mine data for dropout prevention ideas

One school district has found an unusual approach to mine data to find new ways to prevent students from dropping out.

Arlington County in Virignia is choosing 10 different teams of data scientists and offering a $10,000 prize for the best ideas, according to the Washington Post.

The district has partnered with Kaggle.com, a San Francisco-based startup that hosts data-mining contests. The award money is coming from the CK-12 Foundation.

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Texas at-risk students earn awards for their achievements

Students in DeSoto, Texas are celebrating their successes as they continue through a pilot program to helps at-risk students graduate.

The 88 students who are part of Re-engagement in Education: Jumpstarting and Unleashing Victories (REJUV) were identified because they all showed the most number of 25 risk factors, especially four that affect dropping out: low achievement, retention / over-age for grade, low socio-economic status and poor attendance, according to Focus Daily News.

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Florida sees gains in graduation rates

Florida schools are getting closer to reaching the NoDropouts goal.

Recent graduation rate data showed that 75.6 percent of students earned their diplomas in the 2012-2013 school year, up from 74.5 percent the year before.

Even more impressive, there was a gain in every racial sub-group, except for Asian-Americans, who had the highest rate of 88.4 percent, according to State Impact.

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Leaders gather to find ways to re-engage dropouts in Los Angeles

Education and state leaders will gather Thursday, Dec. 12 to share ideas about how to re-engage the 100,000 dropouts living in the Los Angeles area.

Three different groups are coming together to host The Leadership Perspectives on Reengagement Forum: the National League of Cities, the National Youth Employment Coalition and Zero Dropouts.

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