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."
This week, students, administrators and community members came together in Tecumseh, Mich., to do something they had never done before.
They gathered together to walk their community's street to tell dropouts "We want you back" in their first-ever Dropout Recovery Walk.
Each year, about 7,200 students drop out of Memphis schools.
While district administrators and community organizations are working hard to change that number, there are tens of thousands of adults in the city without a high school diploma, many of whom are struggling to find employment.
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.
The Moreno Valley Unified School District administrators are showing their dedication to increasing graduation rates by developing new programs for their students.
The school district is now planning to implement an online school that will combine independent study with required student-teacher meetings. Enrollment in the program will be limited to juniors, seniors and fifth-year students.
Independent Study programs work for some students but do not provide enough support for all students, according to assistant superintendent Martinrex Kedziora, who was hired by Superintendent Judy White after she took over the district in 2011.
The district’s on-time graduation rate has improved from 65.7 percent in 2010 to 74.8 percent in 2012, but it’s still second lowest in Riverside County. However, the improvement is attributed to numerous efforts. The district recognizes that a single program won’t work for every at-risk student, so leaders have worked to offer electives, manage records better and mentor.
America's Promise Alliance report 'Don't Call Them Dropouts' shines light on why students leave school
America’s Promise Alliance and its Center for Promise at Tufts University have released a new report about understanding why students leave school.
Aptly, it’s titled “Don’t Call Them Dropouts.”
Most students don’t leave school out of boredom or a lack of motivation, but rather because of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles they face in their lives — homelessness, abuse, life-altering health conditions and a lack of a support network, the report found.
Many dropout prevention initiatives are attempts to rescue, rehabilitate or revive students who have fallen behind in their studies after a few years in high school.
But the biggest impact, according to researchers from the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research, comes from a focus on the transition from middle school to high school.
A student’s freshman year is, after all, a key predictor of the likelihood of a high school student dropping out. If a student experiences low grades, a lack of course credit or poor attendance, they are more likely to be off track for graduation, and likely to drop out of school in 10th grade. In order to protect those at-risk adolescents, educators need to recognize how to keep a student on track during their freshman year of high school.
That’s why Jennifer S. Cohen and Becky A. Smerdon argue in their research article, “Tightening the Dropout Tourniquet: Easing the Transition from Middle School to High School,” that effective dropout prevention initiatives should include components that focus specifically on the ninth grade.
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.
Painting a picture of a “typical” high school dropout is not an easy task. The reasons behind a student’s decision to leave school can vary from specific life events, such as pregnancy or work obligations, to no longer seeing a reason to come to school due to boredom or frustration. One thing we do know is that the dropout crisis disproportionately affects high-poverty communities. Low-income students fail to graduate at five times the rate of middle-income youth and six times that of higher-income youth, according to a recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
So how can schools and communities in these high-poverty areas combat the high number of students dropping out of school? And where does expanded learning time (ELT) connect to preventing school dropouts?
In Michigan, homeless students and dropouts will have a new place to earn their education and seek shelter.
Covenant House, which is scheduled to open in August, anticipates an enrollment of 150, but it could double that number if needed.