When Daniel P. King became superintendent of the 32,000-student Pharr-San Juan-Alamo School District he leads in Texas' Rio Grande Valley, the district’s three high schools had been singled out as "dropout factories" in a seminal national report, 23 high school science teachers had resigned, gangs activity was on the rise and attendance was dropping.
The year was 2007, and the district was in crisis.
The graduation rate of the 2006-07 school year was 62 percent, far below Texas' statewide average of 77 percent.
Five years later, the dropout rate has been cut by nearly 90 percent. The district's graduation rate is now 88 percent — roughly 10 percentage points higher than Texas’ statewide average. And about 25 percent of Pharr-San Juan-Alamo's high school students were enrolled in at least one course that could earn them credit for college.
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.
A new program education leaders in Sacramento, California hope to launch is aimed at getting recent dropouts back to school.
In Stanislaus County, students over the age of 18 aren’t allowed to earn a high school diploma. Students who drop out and turn 19 have few viable options as a GED isn’t highly regarded, Superintendent Tom Chagnon told KCRA.
He knows students need a high school diploma to be successful, and he wants the program Comeback Kids to helps dropouts age 18 to 22.
The ballots have been cast and the votes tallied.
The winner of the first American Graduate Student Film Festival has been announced!
Howard University’s WHUT Anacostia Digital Media Club took top honors with its film “Be the Change.”
“The group created this video to encourage adults to become mentors to high school students. They can be the change they want to see and empower students to stay in school,” according to the American Graduate website.
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.
Texas school is helping students graduate by helping them feel connected to the school and providing flexibility
A new school in Arlington, Texas, is determined to graduate each and every one of its students.
How is the seven-classroom, 500-student school doing it?
By giving students flexibility and a sense of belonging.
"We don't want any of our students to drop out, and the more opportunities we can provide for those students, the better we are as a district," district spokeswoman Leslie Johnston told NBC Dallas-Ft. Worth.
Social workers are at the school to help kids navigate what can be bumpy social and emotional terrain.
Students also can attend on a temporary basis to earn credits before returning to traditional high school, or they can choose to graduate from the school.
When the high school dropout rate in a school district in Quebec hit 40 percent, the school board there decided enough was enough.
That devastating number of dropouts was seven years ago. This year’s numbers are in, and the dropout rate has decreased to 18.8 percent, which is only .2 percent higher than the province-wide average of 18.6, according to an article on CTV Montreal.
Not very long ago, Massey-Vanier High School in Cowansville was losing 100 students a year.
Tim King had some really insightful thoughts about what makes for a successful school in a guest column he wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times.
The founder & CEO of Urban Prep Academies, a network of all-boys charter public schools in Chicago and a lecturer at Northwestern University, said people are always asking him for the secret ingredient to creating a school that is filled with excelling, graduating students. The question has become even more common since he announced a 100 percent graduation rate at Urban Prep.
Say Yes to Education has become a mainstay in the dropout fight in Philadelphia and New York.
In 1987, a group of 112 Philadelphia sixth graders who were promised a free college education by philanthropist George Weiss if they graduated from high school.
Since then, the Say Yes program has grown considerably.
In addition to working with classes in Philadelphia, Hartford, Cambridge and Harlem, the group has expanded to work with entire school districts, such as Syracuse, N.Y. and Buffalo.