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THE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION CHALLENGE WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE CAUSES WHAT’S WORKING JOANNA H. FOX NOVEMBER 17, 2011 ATLANTA, GA.

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Presentation on theme: "THE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION CHALLENGE WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE CAUSES WHAT’S WORKING JOANNA H. FOX NOVEMBER 17, 2011 ATLANTA, GA."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION CHALLENGE WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE CAUSES WHAT’S WORKING JOANNA H. FOX NOVEMBER 17, 2011 ATLANTA, GA

2 Why the Nation’s Graduation Challenge Matters  There is no work in the 21 st century without a high school diploma and little work to support a family without some post-secondary schooling or training  This cuts off individual’s access to the American Dream, fractures communities, and weakens the nation

3 The Size of the Nation’s Graduation Challenge  4 million high school students in class of 2010  3 million will receive diplomas  75 percent overall graduation rate  60 percent graduation rate for low income and minority students  Grad gap = approximately 1 million students annually without high school diplomas  U.S. is now 16 th in the world for year olds with college degrees

4 4 Dropping Out is a Challenge Across the Country: Class of 2006 Promoting Power of High Schools by County

5 Progress is Possible: Changes in Weak Promoting Power High Schools 2002 to ChangeChange in # of students Number of schools TX ,162 SC ,561 TN ,160 AL ,427 IL FL GA ,462 MS ,231 KY ,246 NC ,590 Total ,585 National ,020 5

6 A U.S. Cohort, from Grade 1 to Diploma

7 A Georgia Cohort – from Grade 1 to Diploma

8 Georgia’s Trends by Different Measures Sample Text

9 Trends –10 County Metro Atlanta and Rest of GA Sample Text

10  What do we know about the reasons youth drop out of school?

11 Indicators and Influencers of Student Disengagement? (Yes and No?…) 11 Special Education, ESL Standardized Test Scores Course Failure Core Courses Elective Courses Poor Attendance Overage: 1–2 years, 2 years+ Behavior Repeaters Ninth Grade Repeaters Behavior Marks Suspensions Gender Socio-economic Status Parental Education

12 Dropouts’ Reasons For Leaving School Without a Diploma Top Factors Identified by Dropouts (Silent Epidemic)

13 Early Dropouts’ Reports About Why They Leave Before 10 th Grade Ends ))) Boys Girls Didn’t like school58% 44% Couldn’t get along with teachers 52% 17% Felt didn’t belong at school31% 14% Couldn’t get along with peers18% 22% Suspended too often 19% 13% Failing school 46% 33% Couldn’t keep up with work 38% 25%  Consult Grad Nation Tool 12 for further data. Source of table is NELS:88. Two Years Later, National Center for Education Statistics From NELS 88: Two Years Later: Cognitive Gains and School Transitions (an on-going longitudinal study by the National Center for Education Statistics) Consult Grad Nation Tool 12, for a more complete table

14 What We’ve Learned  Unlike the common cold, symptoms of dropping out don’t just “go away” over time  Dropping out is a long slow process  Students signal that they are disengaging or are disengaged from very early on  This gives us many years to intervene  Schools can’t do it alone

15 Trends –10 County Metro Atlanta and Rest of GA Sample Text

16  Indicators K-12

17 Early Warning Indicators of Student Disengagement – the ABC’s 17 Attendance Behavior Course Performance Student Engagement B A B C

18 Quantifying the ABC’s  Attendance – Missing more than 20 days or 10 percent of school  Behavior – Two or more behavior incidents, or moderate but sustained classroom misbehavior  Course-passing – Failing math or English in grades 6-9

19 19 Students Chronically Absent in Kindergarten & 1 st Grade Much Less Likely to Read Proficiently in 3 rd Grade No riskMissed less than 5% of school in K & 1 st t Small riskMissed 5-9% of days in both K & 1 st Moderate risk 5-9% of days absent in 1 year &10 % in 1 year High riskMissed 10% or more in K & 1 st Source: Applied Survey Research & Attendance Works (April 2011)

20 Chronically Absent Sixth Graders Have Lower Graduation Rates 20 Dropout Rates by Sixth Grade Attendance (Baltimore City Public Schools, 1990–2000 Sixth Grade Cohort) Severely Chronically Absent Chronically Absent Not Chronically Absent Source: Baltimore Education Research Consortium SY 2009–2010

21 Outcomes for Students with One or More Suspensions in Sixth Grade: Philadelphia 21

22 22 From Fast Facts

23 9 th Grade Indicators  Students who miss two or more weeks per semester during 9 th grade flunk on average at least two classes – even if these students come to 9 th grade with high test scores  (Allensworth and Easton, 2007, Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago)

24 Other Ninth Grade Indicators of Dropout Risk  Ninth graders with less than a C - average are more likely to drop out than to graduate.  Ninth graders with GPAs in the C – to D+ range (about ¼ of all ninth graders) who miss 1 to 2 weeks of school per semester need extensive support Allensworth, E. M., & Easton, J. Q. (July, 2007). What Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public High Schools: A Close Look at Course Grades, Failures, and Attendance in the Freshman Year. Research Report. Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago.

25 The Challenge How can we, as school, district, and community leaders, policymakers and practitioners use what we know about current dropout trends and the cost of dropping out – for individuals and for our community -- to motivate greater change in our schools, districts, region and state? 25

26 High rates of chronic absence often go unnoticed  In NYC 200,000 students miss a month of more of school  In Maryland, 83,000 do so -- nearly 20 percent of high school students  In Baltimore, 40 percent of students in a 6 th grade cohort missed a year or more of schooling over a five year period

27 27 Recent developments make accelerated progress possible: Common graduation rate calculations across schools, districts, and states for the first time Spread of early warning systems Enhanced state and city leadership National non-profits & businesses focused on increasing high school graduation rates Unprecedented federal support to transform dropout factories & feeder schools Accelerating Progress is Possible

28 Civic Marshall Plan Benchmarks of Progress  To earn 600,000 more diplomas for the Class of 2020 than the Class of 2008, we set benchmarks along the way:  By 2012, more students reading on grade level by beginning of 5 th grade; chronic absenteeism significantly reduced; needs assessments conducted for all dropout factory communities  By 2013, each low graduation school district has an early warning & intervention system; re-design of middle schools; a non-profit mentor for every off-track students  By 2016, all dropout factories are being transformed or replaced; transition student supports in grades 8-10; compulsory school age increased to 18 in all states; clear pathways to college and career

29 Civic Marshall Plan -- Postsecondary Readiness  Ensure students graduate high school prepared for postsecondary and career success  College on-track goals for the Class of 2020:  During Junior Year, students take college placement exams  During the 1 st semester of Senior Year, students apply to a postsecondary institution  By April 1, Grade 12 students complete the FAFSA application for financial aid

30 What’s Working Nationwide?  Using data  Changes in policy  Changes in practice  Public awareness  Superintendents, principals, teachers and others in schools and districts focus improvement efforts  Community members, businesses and volunteers collaborate with schools and districts

31 3-Tiered Intervention Model  School-wide: % of youth  Targeted: 1:15 to 1:20 adult/youth ratio  Intensive: 1:1 to 1:5 adult/youth ratio involving specialists (counselors, social workers, tutors) for the 5 to 15% of youth who need case-managed support

32 Link Early Warning Systems to Tiered Interventions  Use the data  Focus on identification and then intervention  Respond to the first signs that a student is falling off track  Build relationships and systematically apply school-wide preventative, targeted and then intensive interventions until student is on-track  Recognize and build on student strengths  Provide time, training, and support to teachers  Match resources to student needs but practice intervention discipline  Evaluate the effectiveness of interventions

33 The Diplomas Now partners harness and combine their unique assets to keep students on track college and career ready Core Function Means and MethodsAdditional Roles Whole School Research based instructional, organizational and teacher support On-track indicator data system On-site implementation and mission building support Scheduling, Staffing, and Budget supports Extra Academic Supports Extra Behavior Supports National Training and Tech Assistance Partner (Phil. Ed. Fund) Targeted Supports Whole-School, Whole-Child program 8-15 full-time, full-day corps members serving as near-peer role models to mentor, tutor, provide behavior and attendance coaching and extended day learning Positive School Climate Service Learning After School Intensive Supports School-based professional Site Coordinator Highly specialized and intensive interventions via case managed student supports and referral to outside agencies Brokered services through CIS partners Episodic Whole School Prevention Supports On-Track Indicator and Intervention System: Research-based and validated interventions of increasing intensity are employed until student is back on track to graduation. Interventions are constantly evaluated for their effectiveness.

34 Attendance Behavior Course Performance Diplomas Now partnered with three Philadelphia high poverty middle schools in These schools average 615 students, 84% of whom are eligible to receive free or reduced price lunch. Below are the aggregate results for all three schools from the School year. Diplomas Now Sample Results: Philadelphia Middle Schools # of Students with less than 80% Attendance # of Students with 3 or more negative behavior marks June 2009June 2010June 2009June % Reduction 78% Reduction 52% Reduction 55% Reduction Math English # of Students receiving an F in Math or English June 2009June

35 Schools + Communities CAN Make a Difference Characteristics of Successful Attendance Initiatives  Partner with community agencies to help families carry out their responsibility to get children to school.  Make attendance a priority, set targets and monitor progress over time.  Engage parents and students in identifying and addressing school, family, and community issues that contribute to chronic absence.  Clearly communicate expectations for attendance to students and families.  Begin early, ideally in Pre-K.  Combine targeted interventions with universal strategies that nurture an engaged learning environment, build a culture of attendance and ensure physical health and safety at school.  Offer positive supports before punitive action.

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40  United Way – 1 million new adult volunteers  Communities in Schools – program expansion  BGCA– outcome-driven focus and BE GREAT: Graduate!  NASBE – Project Pass  NCSL – Task Force on School Dropout Prevention and Recovery  City Year – national alignment to CMP benchmarks National Efforts

41  AT&T – CMP funding and support; data-driven enterprise  Bush Institute – Middle School Matters  Jobs for the Future – Back on Track to College program  Target – Read With Me initiative  Annie E. Casey Foundation – Campaign for Grade Level Reading  Pearson – CMP funding and support  NSBA – Data First training for school boards  Big Brothers Big Sisters: -- national alignment to CMP National Efforts

42 Room for Growth in Efforts  Tutoring  Summer School  Remediation  Guided Study Hall/Academic Support  Alternative Schools or Programs  After-School Programs Source of data in the next six slides: Dropout Prevention Services and Programs in Public School Districts: , Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics

43 At Least One Elementary School per District Offers: SE All, 20%+ poverty  Tutoring 93% 85%  Summer School 56% 61%  Remediation classes 76% 62%  Guided study/acad27% 32%  Alt. schools/programs 30% 25%  After-school programs57% 50%

44 At Least One Middle School per District Offers: SE All regions, 20%+ poverty  Tutoring 95% 86%  Summer School 65% 61%  Remediation classes 82% 70%  Guided study/acad. support61% 53%  Alternative schools/programs76% 49%  After-school programs57% 52%

45 At Least One High School per District Offers: SEAll regions, 20% poverty  Tutoring 95% 88%  Summer School 77%68%  Remediation classes 89%80%  Guided study/acad. support27%59%  Alternative schools, programs30%76%  After-school programs57%47%

46 What Does Data Tell Us About Support During Transitions? SE All, 20%+ poverty ES/MS, student mentor 8% 7% ES/MS, adult mentor 14% 13% ES/MS, advisement class 23%17% MS/HS, student mentor 13%15% MS/HS, adult mentor 27%30% MS/HS, advisement class 49%36% Source: Op cit, Table 5

47 Characteristics of Adults Who Offer Support in 20%+ Poverty Schools  Counselors, teachers & administrators who formally mentor students 63%, 68%, 76% (ES, MS, HS)  Adults employed by the district whose only job is to mentor students 9%, 11%, 16% (ES, MS, HS)  Community volunteers 36%, 34%, 34% (ES, MS, HS) Source: Op cit, Table 6

48  Examples of What’s Working in Georgia

49 Winning Hearts and Minds  Does everyone in the various communities – the school, the district, the parents, the students, the educators, the business community -- agree that high school completion ready for college and careers is necessary?  Does everyone agree that all students should tackle and succeed at rigorous curriculum? That students should be supported rather than “sink or swim?” That students may need help in getting to school and staying in it?

50 Policy and Practices Inventory Do policies and practices support graduation for all, specifically supporting students in staying in school and learning at high levels, not enabling students to leave or pushing them out? Do policies and practices support efforts to overcome difficult-to-change attitudes?

51 Relevant Publications 51 On Track for Success (November, 2011) Grad Nation: Progress and Challenges in Ending the Dropout Epidemic, Annual Report (March, 2011) and Grad Nation: Progress and Challenges in Ending the Dropout Epidemic (November, 2011) Graduating America (2009) Grad Nation (2008) What Your Community Can Do to End the Dropout Crisis (2007) Locating the Dropout Crisis (2005) All publications available at

52 52 Everyone Graduates Center Center for Social Organization of Schools Johns Hopkins University Joanna Fox,


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