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Robert Balfanz Everyone Graduates Center Johns Hopkins University March 2011 What New Hampshire Can Do to Achieve Zero Dropouts.

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Presentation on theme: "Robert Balfanz Everyone Graduates Center Johns Hopkins University March 2011 What New Hampshire Can Do to Achieve Zero Dropouts."— Presentation transcript:

1 Robert Balfanz Everyone Graduates Center Johns Hopkins University March 2011 What New Hampshire Can Do to Achieve Zero Dropouts

2 We are at the start of what promises and needs to be a transformational decade in American Public Education Common college and career ready standards Next generation assessments Individual level longitudinal data Push for greater teacher effectiveness Smart integration of technology Holds promise of revolutionary improvements

3 But too many students are still attending low achieving high-poverty schools where Achievement gaps become achievement chasms High school graduation is not the norm Few high school graduates complete college

4 In New Hampshire and the Nation A small percent of schools drive the dropout crisis and achievement gap Nationally, 1650 high schools produce 50% of the dropouts In New Hampshire 15 high schools produce close to 57% of non-completers. Ten of these schools may be losing 100 plus students per high school class (really good data should be available soon) The Good News is graduation rates are rising-national graduation rate up from 72 to 75% between 2002 and 2008, New Hampshire rate up from 78 to 83% (using federal average freshmen graduation rate measure)

5 If learning is inherently joyful and exciting and students want to succeed, why do some schools fail?

6 Because By and Large they are not Designed or Organized to Succeed

7 Three Hypotheses on Why Underestimate the degree or nature of a school’s educational challenge Fail to meet students’ needs Fail to integrate efforts to make attending school worthwhile with efforts to make schools places where students and teachers want to be and want to work hard

8 1) Understanding Educational Challenge Schools do not succeed when their educational challenge exceeds the available human resources that are wisely and diligently applied

9 Three Parts To a School’s Educational Challenge Academic Challenge - How many students enter the school behind grade level or without expected foundational skills or knowledge? Engagement Challenge - How many students enter the school having already been chronically absent, in behavioral trouble, or having failed a course because they did not turn in their work? Poverty Challenge - How many students enter school having experienced prolonged exposure to poverty, violence, homelessness, agency involvement, and/or lack of stable access to basic needs?

10 Philadelphia Case Study: The Educational Challenge of the Ninth- Grade/High-Poverty Neighborhood High Schools vs. Selective Admission Magnets

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12 We Will Know We Are Making Progress When... Schools commonly know in detail the scale and scope of the educational challenge they face They are organized structurally and programmatically with evidence-based practices to meet it Educational challenge influences resource allocation

13 Students who succeed at four transition points -- Grades – Succeed 2) Meeting the Needs of Students

14 At Each Transition Students Have Different Academic and Social Needs Pre-K and Elementary Grades - Core academic competencies and need to be socialized into the norms of school in a joyful manner Middle Grades - Intermediate academic skills (reading comprehension and fluency, transition from arithmetic to mathematics) and a need for adventure and camaraderie High School - Transition to adult behaviors and mind set and a path to college and career readiness, as well as the right extra help for students with skills below grade level

15 Challenges to Post-Secondary Success What worked in high school does not work in college Student effort is the final frontier -- I will apply myself when I need to Lack of college-going culture or expectations Pull of family responsibility Move from high-support to low-support environment

16 Major Finding Students in high-poverty schools who successfully navigate grades 6 to 10 on time and on track, by and large, graduate from high school (75% or higher grad rates) Students in high-poverty schools who struggle and become disengaged in the early secondary grades and in particular have an unsuccessful 6 th- and/or 9 th- grade transition do not graduate (25% or less grad rates)

17 In High-Poverty School Districts, 75% of Eventual Dropouts Can be Identified between 6 th and 9 th Grades

18 Students Must Be Motivated To Attend, Behave and Try Robert Balfanz and Liza Herzog, Johns Hopkins University; Philadelphia Education Fund The Primary Off-Track Indicators for Potential Dropouts: A ttendance - < 85-90% school attendance B ehavior - “unsatisfactory” behavior mark in at least one class C ourse Performance - A final grade of “F” in math and/or English or credit-bearing high school course Sixth-grade students with one or more of the indicators may have only a 15% to 25% chance of graduating from high school on time or within one year of expected graduation Note: Early Warning Indicator graph from Philadelphia research which has been replicated in 10 cities.

19 The cost of inaction is high. School disengagement, precedes involvement with the juvenile justice system and teenage pregnancy

20 The Good News: Attendance, behavior and effort drive achievement and enable students to stay on track to graduation This means we can have integrated solutions

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22 We Need to Combine School Transformation with Early Warning and Enhanced Student Support and Recovery Systems Highest needs students are over-concentrated in sub-set of schools Can be hundreds of students who need additional supports beyond a good teacher in every classroom Currently not enough adults are mobilized to meet these needs, leading to triage, burnout, disengagement, and high mobility rates among students and adults Students signal early and often that they need help; we need to recognize and respond to this with the right intervention at the right time at the scale and intensity required To do this we need to be able to mobilize and organize a “second shift” of adults for the school and school day Even best prevention and intervention systems will not catch all kids; effective back-on-track and recovery strategies/opportunities are needed

23 Early Warning Indicator Data Tool Without additional support to provide interventions at the scale and intensity required to meet each student’s needs, teachers can easy feel overwhelmed. Research has shown that when teachers feel overwhelmed by the level of challenge in high-needs schools, they will often lower expectations for students.

24 Link Early Warning Systems to Tiered Interventions Focus on effective intervention, not just identification Need to be able to respond to the first signs that a student is falling off track-No Triage Have diagnostic tools to deduce if student behavior is driven by academic, socio- emotional needs or both Systematically apply school-wide preventative, targeted and intensive interventions until students are 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 Remember you can get started with the data in your school

25 A Simple Grid for a Powerful Analysis Need Effectiveness Capacity

26 We Will Know We Are Making Progress When... Schools have strong prevention strategies and cultures that encourage students to attend, behave, and try Schools have readily accessible and teacher friendly diagnostic tools to understand the academic and socio-emotional needs behind student disengagement Schools are organized so teams of teachers work with manageable numbers of students, supported by a second shift of adults, with time built in and honored during the school day for collaborative data- driven work Clear and supported pathways to college and career readiness at the scale and intensity required from sixth grade to post-secondary

27 Big Challenge Ahead Integrating teacher review of benchmark data linked to assessments of new common standards and early warning indicator data linked to student behaviors Lack of time in the school schedule for two meetings Each piece of data informs the other

28 3) The Effort Gap The outcome of school needs to be worthwhile and schools need to be places where students and teachers want to be and work hard Because time and attention are limited we tend to focus on one or the other of these essential aspects

29 Needed Capacity building-for students,educators, parents, districts, states Build Teacher and Student buy in for the effort required to reach college and career readiness for all Re-Think School Day/Week/Year- to do this but avoid money traps along the way

30 Capacity Building Students-resiliency, goal setting, self management and organization skills Teachers-collaborative diagnostic and intervention skills (not a GP but House) Districts and States-managing a portfolio of schools with different structures and partners that provide capacities Districts and States- Being able to integrate a spatial analysis of the variation of educational challenges faced by schools with a longitudinal cohort analysis of who is succeeding and why, and how new cohorts may differ from prior ones

31 We Know We Have Made Progress When Schools and districts routinely put in the focus and energy preparing for the next cohort of students that professional football teams put into preparing for their next game Collaborative efforts between teachers, schools, districts and states establish the mutually supportive functions equal to those needed to put on a Broadway play We train with the intensity and the smarts of the Military

32 We need to be honest that there is a gap between teacher’s having high expectations and student’s having high aspirations and a strong belief that that they will be realized. This leads to diminished effort.

33 Re-Thinking the School Day, Week, Year to Enable Greater Teacher and Student Effort Time is underutilized asset but if we get extend time wrong it’s a money trap Area rip for disciplined inquiry and evaluation-States to the lead? How can we structure the school day/week to enable collaborative work among teachers and success supports and intellectual enrichment for students?

34 We Need Different Strategies for Different Types of Low Performing Schools Locked Capacity-Low Expectations Overwhelmed by Educational Challenge Habituated Dysfunction

35 Need to analyze and improve the odds of success before we start. Ask is there evidence of- Know-How- selecting effective reforms which match nature of the need Capacity- the ability to collectively implement the interventions and reforms at the scale and intensity required Will- the desire and belief needed to do the work required and to overcome obstacles and set backs Absence of Excessive Turbulence- change requires stability and focus

36 Need to Strategically Partner Low Performing Schools with Community Supports, a Second Shift of Adults and Technical Assistance to Meet the Scale and Scope of Student Need

37 An Example of Strategic Partnerships to Meet Educational Need and Increase Student and Teacher Effort

38 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.

39 What States Can Do Help Districts Map Educational Challenge in their Low Achieving Schools Develop Means to Assess if Proposed School Reform Designs will Meet a School’s Educational Challenge and if the School/District has the Capacity to Implement them Develop Interim Indicators for School Improvement Progress which at least for the Secondary Grades (6-12) include the A,B.C’s (Attendance Behavior, and Course Performance). Measure and Report on Chronic Absenteeism (missing a month or more of school-20 days).

40 What States Can Do cont. Help Support the Development, Spread, and Use of Early Warning and Intervention Systems-with a focus on intervention Develop and spread models for integrating review of benchmark achievement data and student early warning indicator data at the teacher (team) level. Help Develop Capacity among districts and schools through facilitated networks so we can learn from success, by creating a common repository of effective tools for different situations and types of low achieving schools, and strategic partnering

41 What States Can Do cont. Work together to figure out most powerful and cost-effective way to extend learning time Invest in building state capacity to help districts and schools with resource allocation-how people, time, and money can be better organized to meet a school’s educational challenge, meet the needs of students (in particular at key transition points) and to increase internal motivation and belief that hard work will pay off Join the Civic Marshall Plan to Build A Grad Nation

42 Building a Grad Nation & The Civic Marshall Plan  Contained within Building a Grad Nation, The Civic Marshall Plan outlines a targeted and phased approach for ending the dropout crisis and achieving the nation’s 90% graduation rate goal by 2020  Establishes annual benchmarks and accountability for measuring progress  Highlights the need for a multi-sector approach and the role of non-profits and National Service in ending the dropout crisis  Coauthored by Civic Enterprises, The Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins, and the America’s Promise Alliance  National graduation rate has increased to 75%  13% reduction in dropout factories  Still over 1 million dropouts per year

43 For More Information Visit the Everyone Graduates Center at Contact Robert Balfanz at


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