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Preventing High School Dropout: Understanding the Research and Useful Strategies to Address the Problem National High School Center Webinar December 13,

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Presentation on theme: "Preventing High School Dropout: Understanding the Research and Useful Strategies to Address the Problem National High School Center Webinar December 13,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Preventing High School Dropout: Understanding the Research and Useful Strategies to Address the Problem National High School Center Webinar December 13, 2006

2 National High School Center Webinar Agenda 2:00-3:15 p.m. I. Welcome and Introduction - Joseph Harris, Director, National High School Center, and Becky Powell, National High School Center (5 min.) II. “Preventing High School Dropouts: What the Research Says” - Dr. Russell Rumberger, University of California, Santa Barbara (15 min.) III. “What is Minnesota Doing to Increase Rates of Graduation?” - Dr. Camilla Lehr, Minnesota Department of Education (15 min) IV. “Preventing High School Dropouts in Minnesota” - Glory Kibbel, Minnesota Department of Education (15 min.) I. Q & A (20 min.) II. Closing - Becky Powell, National High School Center (5 min.)

3 Preventing High School Dropouts: What the Research Says Russell W. Rumberger University of California, Santa Barbara Webinar December 13, 2006

4 4 Overview 1. Introduction to dropout issue 2. Causes of dropping out 3. Solutions to the dropout problem 4. Implications for practice 5. Implications for policy

5 5 1. Introduction to dropout issue  Important issue for policy and practice  Debate on appropriate measures of dropout and graduation statistics  Severe economics consequences A single cohort of 600,000 dropouts costs $158 billion in forgone income and $58 billion in federal and state income taxes

6 6 2. Causes of dropping out  Reasons students report  Conceptual frameworks  Individual perspective  Institutional perspective  Statistical models that predict dropping out

7 7 POLLING QUESTION: What do you think is the most common reason for students dropping out of school? 1. Did not like school 2. Could not get along with other students 3. Felt did not belong in school 4. Missed too many days in school 5. Pregnant

8 8 Reasons dropouts leave school SOURCE: NCES, Educational Longitudinal Study, 2004

9 9 Individual Predictors: Demographic  Gender  Race and ethnicity  Immigration status  Disabilities

10 10 Individual Predictors: Attitudes and behaviors  Mobility  Academic achievement  Poor attendance (engagement)  Misbehavior  Low educational aspirations  Retention

11 11 Institutional Predictors: Families  Family structure  Socioeconomic status  Single-parent and step-parent households  Family processes  Authoritative parenting  Parental involvement (social capital)

12 12 Institutional Predictors: Schools  Social composition  Sector (Catholic)  Size  Teacher quality  Academic and social climate

13 13 Institutional Factors: Communities  Resources (social capital)  Peers

14 14 3. Solutions to the dropout problem  Programmatic interventions  Support programs  Alternative programs  Systemic interventions  Comprehensive school reform  School and community collaboration

15 15 Programmatic Interventions  Few rigorous evaluations have been conducted  Few programs have “proven” to be effective  Yet examples of proven or promising programs exist

16 16 Programmatic Interventions: What Works Clearinghouse ( )  To date, WWC has reviewed 14 studies  Only 4 studies have met evidence standards (or evidence standards with reservations)  The 4 studies evaluated 3 programs that have demonstrated positive (or potentially positive) effects:  ALAS (Achievement for Latinos through Academic Success)  Career Academies  Check and Connect

17 17 Programmatic Interventions: Examples of proven programs  Perry Preschool  African American 3 to 4 year olds  Improved high school graduation rate: 67% vs. 49% for control group  ALAS (Achievement for Latinos through Academic Success)  Latino 7th grade students in LAUSD  Reduced middle school dropout rate: 2% vs. 17% for control group

18 18 Programmatic Interventions: Features of effective programs  Nonthreatening environment for learning  Caring and committed staff who accept a personal responsibility for student success  School culture that encourages staff risk- taking, self-governance, and professional collegiality  School structure that provides a low student- teacher ratio and a small size to promote student engagement

19 19 Systemic Interventions: Overview  Potential to impact more students  More difficult to alter contextual factors in families, schools, and communities that contribute to dropout behavior  Schools: Hard to identify the resources, technical support, and incentives to transform or restructure existing schools in order to create features of effective schools  Few examples of promising interventions

20 20 Systemic Interventions: Comprehensive School Reform  Externally developed, research-based models have 11 components  Recent review (Borman et al., 2003) of 29 leading models found “significant and meaningful effects”  However, few focused on high schools and on dropouts

21 21 Systemic Interventions: CSR Quality Center ( )  Consumer-friendly reviews on effectiveness of CSR models  Evidence on student and other outcomes and on model provider’s services and support  18 middle and high school models reviewed: 4 with moderate evidence and 6 with limited evidence of positive effects on students achievement

22 22 Systemic Interventions: Challenges (MDRC report)  Creating a personalized and orderly learning environment  Assisting students who enter high school with poor academic skills  Improving instructional content and practice  Preparing students for the world beyond high school  Stimulating change

23 23 Systemic Interventions: Example of promising reform  First Things First  District reform currently in Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas  Develops seven critical features of schools to support students and teachers  Creates these features through three specific strategies: small learning communities, family advocate system, and improved instruction

24 24 First Things First: Results SOURCE: Gambone, M.A., Klem, A.M., Summers, J.A., Akey, T.A., & Sipe, C.L. (2004). Turning the Tide: The Achievements of the First Things First Education Reform in the Kansas City, Kansas Public School District (Executive Summary). Philadelphia: Youth Development Strategies, Inc.

25 25 4. Implications for practice  Address academic and social behavior  Focus on both individual and institutional factors  Begin early in students’ academic careers

26 26 5. Implications for policy  Large reductions in dropout rates will come about only through sustained, comprehensive reforms that target all ages and grade levels  Efforts must address both students and school, family, and community contexts  Success requires the will and capacity to act

27 27 What Is Minnesota Doing to Increase Rates of Graduation? Cammy Lehr, Ph.D. Minnesota Department of Education December 13, 2006

28 28 MDE Dropout Prevention, Retention and Graduation Initiative (2005–2008) Five Goals  Develop a comprehensive dropout prevention model  Develop student-level and school environment assessment tools to enhance development of effective programming  Increase statewide and local coordination to address dropout prevention  Provide support and technical assistance for local education agencies  Increase the likelihood of continued implementation of successful dropout prevention strategies and sustainability

29 29 MDE Dropout Prevention, Retention and Graduation Initiative (2005–2008)  7 Participating Districts  High school and feeder middle school partnership  Local leadership teams with a variety of active participants (school staff, administrators, community, parents, students)

30 30 Guiding Principles  Use of research-based information to inform decision making  Understanding of student engagement as the bottom line in preventing dropout  Understanding that dropping out is a process of disengagement  Importance of engaging children in learning early  Importance of effective instruction  Importance of creating a contextual match and relevance

31 31 Minnesota’s grant proposal provides a framework for districts to use in making decisions about how to engage students in middle schools and high schools using 10 dropout prevention strategies identified by the National Dropout Prevention Center These strategies can also assist in adding rigor to programming, building relationships, and establishing the relevance of instruction and education to students’ lives.

32 32 Engaging Students in School and Learning Using 10 Strategies  Professional Development  School-Community Collaboration  Family Engagement  Active/Individualized Learning  Safe Learning Environments

33 33 Engaging Students in School and Learning Using 10 Strategies  Literacy Development  Mentoring/Tutoring  After-School Opportunities  Service Learning  Alternative Schooling

34 34 Using the Three-Tiered Model Targeted (5%) Selected (10-15%) Universal (80%) Levels of Intervention

35 35 Schools Use a Series of Checklists and Templates to Guide the Planning Process  Checklist 1: Getting Started (due 8/31) Start-up activities, gathering of relevant data, needs assessment  Checklist 2: Data Synthesis and Implementation Focus (due 9/30) Reflection and synthesis of data; articulation of implementation focus  Checklist 3: Implementation Detail and Local Evaluation Plan (due 12/31) Implementation detail (what, who, timeline, etc.); evaluation plan with goals, objectives, and indicators

36 36 Checklist 1: Getting Started Conduct start-up activities  Establish local leadership team membership  Develop a communication plan  Plan and provide professional development (early orientation)  Identify other groups in your school and community already working on activities related to dropout prevention

37 37 Checklist 1: Getting Started Gather data to inform programming decisions (total and disaggregated by groups)  Student enrollment  Graduation rate  Attendance rate  Dropout rate  Additional data linked to risk factors (disciplinary referrals, numbers of suspensions, percentages of students failing classes or behind in credits, students with chemical dependency)

38 38 Checklist 1: Getting Started Conduct needs assessment  School climate/environment assessment  10 dropout prevention strategies assessment  Additional needs assessment data (locally developed ways of assessing student, school, and community needs with respect to preventing dropout, such as talking with students, conducting community focus groups, administering bullying surveys)

39 39 Checklist 2: Data Synthesis and Implementation Focus  What do your data tell you?  Demographics, enrollment, attendance, graduation rates  School climate assessment  Who are your most at-risk students and what are indicators of risk?  How is your school planning to respond? (incorporate information on strategies)

40 40 Checklist 3: Implementation Detail and Local Evaluation Plan  Information on what the school will implement to improve student engagement, learning, and graduation rates; delivery design; tailoring; resources needed; who will be responsible; timeline; types of costs.  Local evaluation plan (goals, objectives, indicators, data collection schedule)

41 41 What’s next?  Continued technical assistance  MDE liaisons  Programming guide  Web site up and running  Newsletters posted online  Professional development through existing workshops  Steering committee meetings  District-level meetings  Connections to local resources

42 42 How is it working?  Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing the fields…  The challenge is coordinating the efforts with the school, city, county, state, and federal programs and services  Discover resources available through MDE for rural districts  Build your bridge one brick at a time

43 43 How is it working?  Invest in the development of a diverse leadership team; it is important to have multiple perspectives at the table Conversations move from generalizations and assumptions to the realities of student needs and aspirations, school and community life – and on to real solutions  Coordination of school, local, tribal, and state agencies takes time and effort  Other programs and grants tie into this project very well

44 44 The intent of this journey is not just to raise rates of graduation, but to engage children and youth in school and to help them graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully meet the challenges life brings after completing high school.

45 45 MDE Go to learning support; safe and healthy learners; dropout prevention, retention and graduation initiative Safe_and_Healthy_Learners/Dropout_Prevention_ Retention_Graduation/index.html U of MN Essential Tools: Increasing School Completion dropout/default.asp Safe_and_Healthy_Learners/Dropout_Prevention_ Retention_Graduation/index.html

46 46 Preventing High School Dropouts in Minnesota Glory Kibbel Minnesota Department of Education Webinar December 13, 2006

47 47 Choice and Educational Options for At-risk Students in MN State Approved Alternative Programs Charter Schools Post Secondary Enrollment Options Online Learning Open Enrollment

48 48 This statute lists the 12 Graduation Incentives Criteria; students must meet 1 of the 12 in order to attend a State Approved Alternative Program Minnesota Statute 124D.68 Criteria were designed to identify students who are at-risk of not graduating from high school Interestingly, two criteria are not identified in this statute: Poverty level Special Education

49 49 POLLING QUESTION: Where should programming emphasis be placed with students at-risk of not graduating from high school? 1. Supporting social/emotional development 2. Providing math and reading remediation 3. Meeting students’ individual needs 4. Having all students meet the same programming requirements 5. Providing career education

50 50 Components and Strategies for Effective Alternative Education in Minnesota  Autonomy for program development  Establishment of a positive culture, with a focus on cultural acceptance  Relationship building  Small class sizes  The money

51 51 Strategies Within Alternative Education Programming The rational for having various strategies is to meet individual students’ needs so that students can be successful

52 52 Strategy 1: Independent Study  Designed for students 16+  Work is completed outside of the “bricks and mortar” school  Students meet with the teacher a minimum of 20-25% (on a weekly basis) of the credit to  Review student progress  Assess work  Discuss any social/emotional issues that the student needs help with  Students learn lifelong skills, such as self-direction, problem solving, and time management

53 53 Strategy 2: Project Based Learning  Students help design the course according to their area of interest  Students are responsible for using multiple resources, meeting state standards, and proposing their project to their learning manager before starting the project  At the culmination of the project, students have to present their results to a team of staff and students and be able to justify why they met the state standard (credit)  Strategy defies the concepts of “one size fits all” or everyone being on the same page, on the same day, at the same time

54 54 Individualized Educational Plan─ as defined in Minnesota Statute 124D.128 I. Current status Where is the student currently? II. Goal(s) Where does the student want to go? III. Activities How will the student meet his or her goal(s)? IV. Assessments How and when will the student know he or she has met the goal(s)? Date: March 10, 2006 Glory is in 10 th grade and is failing her English class, with attendance at 73%. By June of 2006, Glory will complete her English credit with a C or better. Attendance will be 80% or higher. At the end of each week, Glory will review her progress toward the English credit and her attendance. Glory will meet with her learning manager a minimum of once per week to review progress. Attendance will be charted daily. A personal assessment will be completed each Friday. All formal assessments will be reviewed by the learning manager at the end of the week. Strategy 3: Continual Learning Plan

55 55 No Matter What the Focus, Certain Elements Need to Be Incorporated 123A.06 CENTER PROGRAMS AND SERVICES. Subdivision 1. Program focus. (a) The programs and services of a center must focus on academic and learning skills, applied learning opportunities, trade and vocational skills, work-based learning opportunities, work experience, youth service to the community, transition services, and English language and literacy programs for children whose primary language is a language other than English. Applied learning, work-based learning, and service learning may best be developed in collaboration with a local education and transitions partnership, culturally based organizations, mutual assistance associations, or other community resources. In addition to offering programs, the center shall coordinate the use of other available educational services, special education services, social services, health services, and postsecondary institutions in the community and services area.

56 56 Framework for Targeted Services Where is it supported? Through legislation and general education revenue What is it? Support to the traditional system for students who meet at-risk criteria Why Targeted Services? 0 dropout rate How are services provided? 4 components need to be addressed, with programming designed by the school district Strategy 4: Extended Day Programming

57 57 We Need to Meet Students’ Needs─All of Them… According to a Haan Foundation study: It is not enough to do just the academics. Successful programs for struggling readers also must address their emotional and social difficulties.

58 58 Advantages of Targeted Services  Student performance and academic achievement increase  A safe environment is provided  Family connections are created  Attendance rates increase and truancy decreases  Student interest in school increases  Behavioral instances decrease  Grade retention is reduced  The daytime curriculum is reinforced and supplemented  New and different opportunities can be offered that address individual learning styles  Because of smaller class sizes, all aspects of youth development can be addressed

59 59 Q & A

60 60 Ways to Access Resources Offered by the National High School Center  National High School Center Web site:   Sign up for our E-Newsletter, E-News for Better High Schools, at


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