The Institute of Education Sciences has just released an important new – and freely available – report on Preventing Dropout in Secondary Schools.
You can see the four primary recommendations in the graphic at the top of this post. If you go to their site, you can get many more details about each recommendation.
You can learn more about the background of the report here.
When I think about how the four recommendations apply to our school, it seems to me that:
We’re improving at “Monitor the progress of all students, and proactively intervene when students show early signs of attendance, behavior, or academic problems.” We have some great staff and outside community groups helping make this happen. However, we are a large urban high school and, like many others, we have lots of students facing challenges and the needs can sometimes be overwhelming.
It’s a resource challenge to “Provide intensive, individualized support to students who have fallen off track and face significant challenges to success.” We’re trying.
I think we’re doing a decent job at “Engage students by offering curricula and programs that connect schoolwork with college and career success and that improve students’ capacity to manage challenges in and out of school.” We can always do more, but I think we have a fair amount of classes and support that help us implement this recommendation.
We have been doing a great job, and continue to be doing a great job, at “For schools with many at-risk students, create small, personalized communities to facilitate monitoring and support.” I think we’re national model for having a large school divide into multiple “small learning communities,” and you can read more at The Best Resources For Learning About Small Learning Communities.
Of course, implementing any of these recommendations requires money. You can’t “squeeze blood out of a rock.”
It would be nice if decision-makers who control the purse-strings would also read this report. I noticed that a recommendation to use vouchers was nowhere to be seen (see The Best Resources For Learning Why School Vouchers Are A Bad Idea).