Vol 14, no 1 Header
National Dropout Prevention Center/Network Update
May 2014 - Vol. 14 No. 4

Dropout Prevention Update

Summary for May

A note from the editor: Due to an error in our Update template, some of our subscribers received our Update with no content. We are issuing this second mailing with a correction to the template that will remedy this problem. We apologize for any inconvenience to those subscribers receiving two mailings.

  1. 2014 Diploma Plan Institute
  2. 26th Annual National Dropout Prevention Network Conference
  3. Solutions to the Dropout Crisis Broadcast June 4
  4. From Our Research Fellows
  5. NDPC/N Publication Sale of the Month
  6. Top Stories
  7. Effective Strategies
  8. Policy Initiatives

2014 Diploma Plan Institute

June 18-20, 2014

Kingston Plantation, Myrtle Beach, SC

Come ready to work towards a customized, practical, and local plan for your school or school district to reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates. Get conference information and/or register to attend here or call 1-864-656-2599 for more information. All hotel room reservations need to be made by Thursday, May 22nd. Don't miss this opportunity!

26th Annual National Dropout Prevention Network Conference

November 2-5, 2014

The Galt House, Louisville, KY

Start making plans now to attend or exhibit at our 26th Annual National Dropout Prevention Network Conference, November 2-5, in Louisville, KY. We'll be at the Galt House, which is right on the riverfront in Louisville. Planned conference strands include Literacy; School Climate; Data Assessment and Continuous Improvement; Curriculum and Instruction; College and Career Pathways; Leadership, Policy, and Governance; Student Support Services and Intervention; Student, Family and Community Engagement; New Literacy, Media and Technology; Common Core and the At-Risk Student; and Alternative Pathways. The conference will also include an Administrator's Track for all school administrators, as well as a planned School Board Member Training. See a list of our fantastic partners and get more information about this conference here. This conference provides excellent professional development and is one of the best opportunities to network with colleagues and experts from across the country, all working to keep students on track for success! Registration to attend will open soon.

Solutions to the Dropout Crisis

A Place Where They Want to Be

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

3:30 - 4:30pm Eastern Standard Time

Photo of Mark Wilson

Students do better in school, are more likely to stay in school, and graduate from school when they find school to be a place they want to be.

Simple enough, but how is it achieved? In this edition of NDPC/N Solutions, we explore "How To" build a culture of success and engagement at school. Dr. Mark Wilson, the 2009 National Principal of the Year, shares methods and experience in building a school where teachers want to teach, students want to learn, and people are successful.

Look for more information to come via the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network's Facebook page and Twitter.

Participation in this webcast is free and no registration is required. The program will be archived in its entirety on our Web site. On the day of the webcast, sign on early to ensure your connection. Link to the broadcast at www.dropoutprevention.org/webcast.

Previous video and audio webcasts are now archived and can be viewed here.

From Our Reserach Fellows

Research Fellow Pat O'Connor was a featured expert in "The Dropout Dilemma," a town hall program focusing on low graduation rates in urban schools and the approaches being used in some urban areas of Ohio to address this crisis. Dr. O'Connor also spoke to Ideastream®, a public service media organization in the Northeast Ohio region, in an interview and article about the importance of early literacy efforts. Read "The Struggle to Read Often Puts Students on a Path to Drop Out" or listen to the broadcast.

Sale of the Month

Youth-Led Evaluation: A Guidebook

By Robert Shumer

This guidebook is an excellent teaching resource for instructing young people on how to evaluate their service-learning programs. This guidebook emphasizes the power of qualitative analysis and reflection, and highlights opportunities for students to employ these skills outside the service-learning arena.

--60% off retail price-- Order your copy now.

Top Stories

According to recent federal data, the national graduation rate has climbed to over 80% for the first time in U.S. history.

In the 2014 annual update of Building a Grad Nation, the authors conjecture that if states can keep up this pace of improvement, the rate could hit 90% by 2020. The authors point to three key factors that have driven the increased graduation rates: 1) awareness of the issue and spotlighting the problems; 2) accountability, higher expectations, and data-based decision making; and 3) communities answering the call with increases in quality public, private, and nonprofit supports for young people. The greatest increases for broad subgroups have been for African-American and Hispanic students.



To see the most recent NCES CCD data showing not only AFGR, but also Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR) data (which adjusts for transfers in and out and is a more precise measurement of cohort graduation) and Event Dropout Rates, link to the just released National Center for Education Statistics "Public High School Four-Year On-Time Graduation Rates and Event Dropout Rates: School Years 2010—11 and 2011—12" at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2014/2014391.pdf

Effective Strategies

Early Literacy Development

Early literacy bill defines dyslexia for first time: Dyslexia has been officially defined in Iowa law in an attempt to improve literacy among young students across the state. Following passage by the Legislature, Gov. Terry Branstad signed a bill this week that effectively establishes a definition for the reading disability in Iowa code and offers support for teachers so they can better evaluate student literacy and intervene as necessary.


The crucial role of mentors in STEM: Mentoring a young person in the STEM fields can start as early as in preschool, the benefits can last a lifetime and mentorship is crucial to reversing the achievement gap between black and white students. Dr. Dara Richardson-Huron, the CEO for YWCA USA, says mentoring opens pathways to achievement for young people through encouragement, and studies show students who have mentors "thrive" in nearly all STEM settings.

Mentoring students, and closing the STEM gap, without leaving the office: E-mentoring is among many opportunities available to AT&T employees through AT&T Aspire Mentoring Academy, which pairs students at risk of dropping out of high school with employee volunteers. Most of the mentoring is done face-to-face, but e-mentoring allows employees to interact with students without leaving the office, which makes it possible for many more people to help others.


Students hold service-learning day for Humane Society: Fifth-grade students at Eldersburg Elementary School held a schoolwide service-learning day to benefit the Humane Society of Carroll County. The day included informational sessions about pets and animal-themed games. The project helps teach empathy and helped the fifth-graders learn to plan, connect to resources, and become leaders.

Alternative Schooling

Virtual academy offers stable education alternative: The California Virtual Academy is a tuition-free, online public charter school that meets state requirements. Students take required state tests and graduate with a regular high school diploma. Students work with teachers, have classes, and collaborate with peers. CAVA is mastery based, so a student grasps a concept before moving on.

After-School Opportunities

Mayor proposes after-school programs at libraries: A proposed "Do Your Homework @ the Library" program would provide one-on-one assistance to students through the eighth grade with their school- assigned homework, and offer opportunities for skill development and reinforcement. The program would run for 36 weeks during the school's academic year.

Individualized Instruction

Small school puts big emphasis on individual instruction: Mountaintop Seventh-Day Adventist School differs from public school by focusing on more individualized learning and by not singling a student out for their accomplishments, according to Jean Brownlee, chairwoman for the Mountaintop Seventh-day Adventist Board of Education. "We have very high academic requirements and have small enough classes to work individually with the students," said Brownlee. "The school provides a very excellent education that is very closely supervised."

Career and Technology Education (CTE)

The National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE) has just released a new report on programs of study/career pathways. "Rigorous Tests of Student Outcomes in CTE Programs of Study: Final Report" offers findings from a four-year longitudinal field study of 6,638 students in three large urban school districts in three states. Researchers contend that programs of study/career pathways that combine college-ready academics with rigorous, industry-driven career-technical studies can be offered to high school students with no harm to their college aspirations. They also found that across the three districts studied, earning more CTE credits was associated with high school graduation—a finding corroborated by the NRCCTE's recent analysis of the impact of CTE credit-taking on surviving high school.

Policy Initatives

President Obama launched the "My Brother's Keeper" initiative to build ladders of opportunity for boys and young men of color. Hear the February 2014 remarks about the initiative. Read the fact sheet.


We appreciate comments from our readers. We invite new subscribers to receive the Dropout Prevention Update via our sign-up form. Please feel free to contact us at ndpc@clemson.edu