Vol 15, no 2 Header image

Dropout Prevention Update

National Dropout Prevention Center/Network Update
February 2015 - Vol. 15, No. 2

Summary for February

  1. 27th Annual At-Risk Youth National FORUM
  2. Save the Date and Submit a Proposal to Present! 2015 National Forum on Dropout Prevention for Native and Tribal Communities
  3. National Dropout Prevention Specialist Certification Program
  4. Tune in to Solutions to the Dropout Crisis
  5. NDPC/N Publication Sale of the Month
  6. Top Stories
  7. Effective Strategies
  8. Media
  9. Grant Applications
  10. International
  11. Students with Disabilities
  12. Congratulations

2015 At-Risk Youth National FORUM

2015 At-risk Youth National Forum

February 15-18, 2015

Embassy Suites at Kingston Plantation, Myrtle Beach, SC

We hope to see you all this coming week at the 2015 At-Risk Youth National FORUM in beautiful Myrtle Beach, SC. For more information or to register to attend, contact us or follow this link. Walk-up registration is also welcomed at the event.

2015 National Forum on Dropout Prevention for Native and Tribal Communities

2015 Forum on Dropout Prevention for Native and Tribal Communities

April 26-29, 2015

Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Prior Lake, MN

"Building Engaging Educational Communities for Native Students," is a professional development event sponsored by The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network in partnership with multiple native and tribal communities as well as departments of education and other agencies. If you are interested in submitting a proposal to present at this event or would like more information, please contact us or visit the Web page here.

National Dropout Prevention Specialist Certification Program

The National Dropout Prevention Network is offering a new National Dropout Prevention Specialist (NDPS) certification program for educators and those who work with and/or on behalf of students at risk of dropping out of school. The certification will verify participant knowledge and expertise in at-risk youth issues and strategies for raising graduation rates. The NDPS certification program is founded on NDPC/N’s research-based effective strategies, known youth risk factors, professional learning participation, and field implementation of acquired knowledge. If you are accepted into the program, you may begin work immediately at the very next NDPC/N conference or event. Contact us or go to this Web page for more information and to join our NDPS army of practitioners across the nation who are officially becoming better informed and networked, as well as recognized, in their fight to end the school dropout crisis.

Tune in to Solutions to the Dropout Crisis

This month’s show: "Competency-Based Learning"

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

3:30 - 4:30 pm Eastern Time

Photo of Dr. Ray McNulty

This month’s program will feature Ray McNulty, Dean of the School of Education, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), talking about competency-based learning. McNulty is a nationally renowned educator and proponent of reinventing our nation’s schools. On the February program, he will share ways in which competency-based education and learning are relevant and critical to student success. Viewers will increase their understanding of how competency-based learning raises the "standards of learning."

Participation in this webcast is free and no registration is required. This episode can be viewed on the day of the webcast here.

January’s show and all previous Solutions webcasts are now archived and can be viewed here.

Sale of the Month

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and Dropout Prevention

By J.M. Malloy and M.O. Hawkins (Eds.)

This thorough presentation of the PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) model provides educators with a systemic approach to dropout prevention. In addition, results from implementation in several New Hampshire high schools illustrate its strengths. This publication is being offered at half price ($5.00 each) for this month only.

Order your copy now.

Top Stories

New Congress, New Educational Agendas

February 3rd marked the one-month anniversary of the 114th U.S. Congress. The new legislative session brings with it a Republican takeover of the Senate; a few committee shakeups; and most importantly, a new educational agenda.

The primary educational objective for the Republicans this term is the retooling of the No Child Left Behind act, specifically addressing the standardized testing requirements and mandatory teacher evaluations attached to the bill. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the new chairman of the Senate Education committee, was quoted in Time outlining his plan to have a bill on the Senate floor by late February. The article and interview is available here.

For an overview of the history and potential implications of the recent education debates, see this article, published by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Effective Strategies

Systemic Renewal

A Practitioner's Guide to Implementing Early Warning Systems (EWS): The U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences released a guide in January outlining what is known about early warning system implementation, and further describes how states, districts, and schools can draw on the experiences and recommendations of EWS users throughout the United States.

Middle School Reform Strategy: Florida’s Duval School Board has unanimously approved a plan to reform the district’s middle schools to boost academic achievement and shore up enrollment at neighborhood middle schools. Among the new reform strategies, the district is exploring different grade configurations for middle schools, adopting academic themes, accelerated courses, and blended learning.

Early Childhood Education

Obama Announcing $1B for Early Childhood Education: President Barack Obama is following up on his promise to expand early education opportunities for tens of thousands of children by announcing a $1 billion public-private investment in programs for the nation's youngest learners, especially those in lower-income communities.

Neuroscience Improves Early Childhood Education Quality: When it comes to early childhood education, there has traditionally been a focus on what researchers call structural and relationship quality. The definition of quality has been enlarged by a new study conducted by Clancy Blair and C. Cybele Raver of New York University. The researchers are testing whether a curriculum based on promoting executive functions skills can improve children's educational progress. Executive function skills include children's ability to avoid distractions, pay attention, hold relevant information in their working memories, and regulate their impulsive behavior.

Early Literacy Development

City’s First Readers Program to Fight NYC’s Early Literacy Crisis: Alarmingly, 70% of New York City’s third-grade students are reading below grade level. Once they fall behind, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to catch up. The City’s First Readers Program, established as a result of a $1.5 million investment by the New York City Council, will support a coalition of eight organizations that are helping young children to become strong and accomplished readers.

After-School Opportunities

Well-Rounded After-School Programs are Essential to Year-Long Success: Learn what makes an after-school program effective, as well as the top six questions that the YMCA recommends parents ask to determine the best after-school program.

Individualized Instruction

Study Results Show Struggling Math Students Gain Using Personalized, Blended Program: Middle school students participating in a personalized, blended-learning math program showed increased gains in math skills—up to nearly 50% higher in some cases—over the national average, according to a new study from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Seattle-Area Schools Successfully Implementing New Dropout Reentry and Recovery Program: A Seattle metropolitan area has successfully implemented a new dropout reentry and recovery program, designed to reengage students through a combination of personalized instruction and online classes. The program, which targets students up to age 21, has already shown success in other regions of the state, and has enrolled six new students since opening its doors early this year.

Family Engagement

National Center for Families Learning Summit: The National Center for Families Learning will host a summit in Houston, TX, March 16-18, featuring an innovation showcase and their annual family teacher of the year honors ceremony.


Not only is February African American history month, but February 27th is also the one-year anniversary of President Obama's My Brother's Keeper Initiative. President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.

Through this initiative, the Administration is joining with cities and towns, businesses, and foundations who are taking important steps to connect young people to mentoring, support networks, and the skills they need to find a good job or go to college and work their way into the middle class. Get involved. Watch this video from February 27, 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZZLSUIlPTk

Grant Applications

Applications for New Awards; State Personnel Development Grants (SPDG) Program: A notice was published in the Federal Register on January 16th announcing the extension of the application period for the State Personnel Development Program. The purpose of this program is to assist State educational agencies in reforming and improving their systems for personnel preparation and professional development in early intervention, educational, and transition services in order to improve results for children with disabilities. The new deadline for application submission is now February 13th. For further information, contact Jennifer Coffey, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 4097, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-2600. Telephone: (202) 245-6673 or by email: jennifer.coffey@ed.gov.


Interactive Map Shows Countries That Topped the Best Global Universities Rankings: Last month, U.S. News released its 2015 Best Global Universities rankings. These rankings identified the top 500 institutions around the world. The methodology centered on academic research and reputation. The U.S. was the top-performing country, leading the world in number (134) and percentage (26.8) of ranked universities. Germany's institutions enjoyed the second strongest performance, with 42 ranked schools, good for an 8.4% share of the top 500. The U.K. came in third in terms of top-performing countries (the University of Oxford was the highest-ranked school outside of the U.S.). China also performed well in the 2015 rankings, leading all non-Western countries with 27 ranked universities.

Students with Disabilities

White House Issues Guidelines for Education of Incarcerated Students With Disabilities: The federal government is putting prisons on notice, reminding them that incarcerated students with disabilities are legally entitled to the same rights and protections granted to students with disabilities in public school settings. In practice, this means prisons are responsible for providing things like speech therapy, hearing aids, tutoring, and feeding tubes for students identified as needing them. How prison wardens respond will have an outsize effect on the nation's population of special education students. One study showed that one-third of all students in U.S. jails were considered to have disabilities, while the same was true for less than one tenth of all students nationally at that time.


Congratulations to Dr. Catherine Mobley, Professor in Clemson University's School of Business and Behavioral Science, who was recently honored with the Class of ’39 Award for Excellence. This award is presented annually to a member of the faculty whose outstanding contributions for a five-year period are judged to represent the highest achievement of service to the university, the student body, and the larger community. Since 1996, Professor Mobley has been involved in nearly 35 grants and contracts totaling more than $6.4 million. She was a key researcher in recent work with the NDPC/N and we are proud to continue to work with her while disseminating the findings of that work. Congratulations again, Dr. Mobley.


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