adult relationship building
Lincoln Public Schools has something to celebrate.
The high schools there are enjoying their highest graduation rates and lowest dropout rates on record, reports KLKN.
"Increasing the high school graduation rate is the most important instructional strategic goal for our school district – and that makes perfect sense," said LPS Superintendent Steve Joel. "As we continue raising our standard of excellence at LPS, increasing numbers of LPS students leave our high schools with a meaningful diploma that serves as the gateway to better employment and a successful college career."
Everyone in the dropout fight knows there isn't just one silver-bullet solution to end the epidemic that is sweeping many of our students out of school.
Rob Belous, Graduation Alliance team leader in Michigan, was a student who was on his way out the door when a high school teacher anchored him — keeping him on his path to a diploma.
He's been paying it forward ever since. He had a successful military career, and then started helping at-risk students in some of Detroit's toughest schools as a teacher and then an administrator.
Kiera Wilmot was hoping to make a bang. Just not literally.
The 16-year-old science student had mixed some household cleaners in an eight-ounce water bottle, wanting to see how the chemicals would react.
Unfortunately, they went off like a small bomb.
“Honestly, I don't think she meant to ever hurt anyone,” Principal Ron Pritchard told a Tampa Bay television station. “She wanted to see what would happen [when the chemicals mixed] and was shocked by what it did. Her mother is shocked, too.”
Lincoln High School Principal Jim Sporleder wasn’t sure a new approach to student discipline would work — but when it did, he never disciplined using the old approach again.
The new approach worked so well that suspension rates in the Walla Walla, Wash. high school decreased by 85 percent.
So, how does Sporleder’s new discipline approach work?
Students at Lincoln were involved in gangs, kicked out of their former schools and sent to Sporleder as a last effort. So, Sporleder and his staff took action. When a student has an outburst or misbehaves in class, the teacher quickly reacts. Sometimes, the teacher asks the student to step out into the hall for a brief conversation about what’s really going on. Other times, the teacher asks the student if they are interested in spending the class period in in-school suspension to calm down.
Sapna Iyer, a high school English teacher at SIATech in San Diego, is making a difference in the lives of dropouts that have returned to school.
And her efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.
Iyer recently was chosen as one of four finalists for the "Most Hopeful Teacher in America" award.
Iyer was the only high school teacher chosen as a finalist — and the only dropout recovery teacher.
According to Gallup, Iyer has "demonstrated a unique capacity for changing lives by believing that students can have a better future and by giving them what they need to make it so."
Something clicked when I turned 30.
At that point, I had been away from school for almost 14 years. Since my mid-20s, I’d been tending bar or waiting tables — and that wasn’t bad work, but I couldn’t imagine doing it for the rest of my life.
I knew it was time to make a decision, but I was scared. I hadn’t done anything else for so long that I felt my options were limited — and when I thought about going back to school, I could only remember high school as something I couldn’t wait to get away from.
She only attended high school for a few weeks before dropping out. She got a job working at a Kentucky Fried Chicken. By age 15, she was married and had a baby.
But that was years ago. Now, Debra Duardo, once a high school dropout, is working toward completing a doctorate degree from University of California Los Angeles Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.
And, the Los Angeles Unified School District took away the interim portion of Duardo’s title last week, making Duardo the executive director of health and human services, according to a story published in Ampersand by UCLA.
Western Kansas University hosted a public media campaign to raise awareness of the dropout epidemic.
The university’s Public Broadcasting and the Educational Talent Search partnered together to bring the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s program that paired university students with at-risk middleschoolers. The mentoring relationship continues through high school graduation, according to an article in the College Heights Herald.
Students are trained on video equipment, audio, lighting, interviewing and storytelling. The students interviewed each other and created video diaries about the importance of high school graduation and why students chose to graduation. They will air on the university’s public station.
One of the students, Raymond Smith, a senior at Warren Central high school, said in his video that one of the reasons he wanted to graduate was because his sister dropped out.
Are you a mentor?
This January is the 12th National Mentoring Month, and it’s a great time to start making time to help a young person in your area.
The month was spearheaded by the Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR and the Corporation for National and Community Service. The goal is to connect adult mentors with young people to help give them guidance and help in their daily lives.
Students in a dropout prevention program in Hartford, Conn., are going to get even more help over the next two years.
As part of AT&T’s Aspire program, the Urban League of Greater Hartford has received a $210,000 donation to help fund the program, housed at Hartford Public High School, according to an article on CTNow.com.
The program, called the Urban League’s Youth Achievement Program, focuses on providing tutoring and mentoring to struggling ninth graders. The students stay in the program through 10th grade.