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Schools in Florida are mining data to determine which students are at-risk of dropping out thanks to a partnership with Diplomas Now.
“It’s easy to collect information and look at information,” Scott Crumpler, the South Florida field manager for Diplomas Now, told StateImpact. “But what you do with that information is the key element and key component of our program.”
The program takes the incredible amount of data the school district has collected — attendance, grades, test scores, behavior and demographics — and hooks up students with support services.
Leaders from school districts across the nation who are seeing high graduation rates shared their tactics with U.S. News this week.
These leaders head up districts with about a 90 percent graduation rate.
The three biggest lessons gleaned? Prevention, alternative paths to graduation and support from the community all help students reach the finish line.
A Florida superintendent has turned discipline policies on their head — and it's paying off in dividends.
Robert Runcie took over Broward County Public Schools about two years ago, and the changes he's made have been radical.
“Looking at the glaring expulsion, arrest and dropout rates for our black and Latino students, I knew that we had to do something dramatically different,” Runcie told NBC News.
Those of us in the fight against the dropout epidemic know that a student’s decision to drop out is not made overnight.
In some cases, a student’s kindergarten experience pulls them off the track of graduation, while others begin to lose interest in late elementary or middle school. In many cases, plain old demographics play a majorly disruptive role in a student’s education.
But many students who exhibit risk factors persevere and others who have low risk factors drop out. So how do you tell who is going to and who isn’t early enough to intervene?
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.
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."