Vol 16, no 4 Header image

Dropout Prevention Update

From the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network
April 2016—Vol. 16, No. 4

Registration Open for 2016 Reaching the Wounded Student Conference

June 26–29, 2016

Embassy Suites Orlando-Lake Buena Vista South

Kissimmee, FL

2016 Reaching the Wounded Student Conference

Trauma-informed education is one of the hot topics in education today. Register to attend this event to be held near Orlando, FL, June 26-29, and learn how to identify and appropriately treat students who are victims of sporadic or chronic trauma, such as abuse, poverty, abandonment, or family instability. Learn tips to help you and your staff avoid compassion fatigue or empathy burnout. Conference strands include: School Safety, Emotional Literacy, Counseling/Therapeutic Insights, Creating Community, Learning/Academic Achievement, and Practitioner Health and Well-Being. For more information and to register, link here: http://www.cvent.com/events/2016-reaching-the-wounded-student-conference/event-summary-35fc6704885e4b68b1e91917284c5664.aspx

Registration Open for Diploma Planning Institute

July 21–22, 2016

Jonesboro, GA

2016 DPI Georgia

Teams working on school or district dropout prevention plans are encouraged to register for the July 21-22 Diploma Planning Institute to be held in Jonesboro, GA. This workshop is open to all. Staff from NDPC/N will lead your team through a framework for dropout prevention and through the development of a locally specific action plan that can begin to be implemented immediately upon return from the workshop. Click here to register and for more information.

Save the Dates for our Fall 2016 Network Conference!

October 2–5, 2016

Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center

Detroit, MI

2016 National Dropout Prevention Network Conference

2016 National Dropout Prevention Network Conference

Make plans to attend now. This is sure to be one of our largest, most exciting and informative network conferences ever! Check out motivational speaker Eric Thomas, with a hyped up video invitation to this conference! A call for proposals is now open thru May 15, 2016.

Diploma Planning Institute


In the last two years, NDPC/N has conducted more than a half-dozen Diploma Planning Institutes (DPI) in districts and states across the nation to help teams from schools/districts work on written dropout prevention plans. For more information on this service, visit NDPC/N’s home page at www.dropoutprevention.org; view a short video filmed during a summer 2015 DPI in Maine; and contact NDPC/N at 864-656-2599 or ndpc@clemson.edu for more details or to arrange a DPI for your state or region. An event open to all is planned for July 21-22, 2016, in Georgia. Link here or see the promotion above for more information on that DPI event.

National Dropout Prevention Specialist Certification Program

Specialist Certifiation Program

Join a growing army of educators and practitioners identified as working with and/or on behalf of students at risk of dropping out of school. The National Dropout Prevention Specialist (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. This certification verifies and strengthens dropout prevention experience and expertise and facilitates networking with others equally dedicated to dropout prevention. Go to this Web page for more information or contact us at ndpc@clemson.edu with any questions or to register for certification.

Solutions to the Dropout Crisis

“A Customizable Approach to Restorative Justice School Discipline: Replacing Ineffective, Punitive Consequences With Human-Centered Educational Practices”

April 12, 2016

3:30–4:30 PM ET

April Solutions

Traditional school discipline tends to be one-size-fits-all, punitive in nature, and largely ineffective in changing student behavior. Disciplinary practices that cause students to be removed from school for any length of time actually exacerbate most of the underlying causes of maladaptive behavior, contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline, and sever the already fragile connections to school, teachers, and peers that need to be strengthened in our most at-risk students. Restorative disciplinary approaches can deepen relationships, build character, repair communities, teach replacement behaviors, and foster resilience! Join Page Nichols and Pender Makin, Co-Founders of Maine’s Collaborative for Perpetual Innovation, as they provide viewers with the tools to:

  • Gain critical understandings about student misbehavior and about the way developing brains respond to school disciplinary practices
  • Learn how to implement restorative justice disciplinary approaches–on ANY scale (one individual teacher/classroom, a team, or an entire faculty can successfully implement the key practices; whole-school buy-in is not necessary for getting started!)
  • Learn tips for successful implementation (with students and with the other adults in your organization)

Link here on the day of the broadcast to join us for this program. Viewing this webcast is free and no registration is required. Tune in the second Tuesday of each month at 3:30 PM ET for new Solutions to the Dropout Crisis.

Note: In February, NDPC/N celebrated eight years of hosting and producing its professional development program, Solutions to the Dropout Crisis. This month, we are proud to announce a new premier sponsor of the program, K12, Inc., a leading technology-based education company and provider of curriculum and online school programs for students. Solutions viewers may have already noticed a new set, and soon will see more flexibility in program formatting and on-location filming. The NDPC/N extends sincere appreciation to K12, Inc. for providing the resources to take Solutions on the road and beyond!

Youth Engagement

National Dropout Prevention Center/Network Research Fellows are increasing their focus on the topic of youth engagement (in school and community) and how youth engagement relates to dropout prevention and graduation rate improvement. Along those lines, the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network Update eNewsletter plans to bring at least one article related to that topic to your attention each month.

Youth Engagement

In the best youth engagement activities in a school setting, teachers/adults and students/youth collaborate and work together toward the end goals of growing and learning. In a recent blog post, "Student Engagement: Appropriate Prepositions,” NDPC/N Research Fellow Terry Pickeral lists some prepositions to listen for in your school, prepositions that when used in reference to relationships between students and school personnel either indicate a climate of collaboration (prepositions such as beside, amid, with) or a climate more about opposition and conflict (prepositions such as over, against, versus). How is your school’s vocabulary related to “the journey to student and adult effective collaborations”? Check out all of Mr. Pickeral’s blog posts on student engagement and other topics here, and don’t miss another recent post, “Circle of Responsibility,” where Pickeral lists some suggestions to begin designing engagement strategies for youth currently less than engaged. (Photo by Mike Lietz, from a sculpture in front of the U.S. Department of Education)

Effective Strategies

Systemic Renewal

Achievement gaps, including significant differences in graduation rates and dropout rates, persist among certain groups of students. Early identification of students who either are already showing signs of struggling or who have risk factors that statistically put them in categories of greater risk can facilitate interventions and prevention strategies targeted at individuals or whole groups of students. Last month’s Solutions to the Dropout Crisis program focused on the work of Dr. Mariam Azin, a leading designer and researcher working in the area of early warning systems and predictive analysis. Read about Dr. Azin’s work on an early warning system specifically designed to prevent school dropout. The BrightBytes Early Warning System streamlines communication and follow up between students, educators, care providers, and local agencies and leadership. An effective early warning system can lead to whole system change, earlier prevention efforts, increased savings down the line, better utilization of resources, and better outcomes.

Safe Learning Environments

Buddy Benches End Recess Loneliness (from the U.S. Department of Education The Teachers Edition eNewsletter April 7, 2016). At more than 1,000 elementary schools around the world, buddy benches are being installed to eliminate recess loneliness. The idea is that if a child doesn't have a friend to play with, he/she can sit on the buddy bench and pretty soon a classmate will come over to invite him/her to play. (Read the story here.) The idea has taken off in the U.S. due to a second-grader’s recommendation at a Pennsylvania elementary school. (Read how it all started here.)

The U.S. Department of Education and American Institutes for Research Have Released Resources for Schools to Use to Assess School Climate (from the U.S. Department of Education The Teachers Edition eNewsletter April 7, 2016). A recent study on New York City schools found that significant gains in school climate measures, like safety and academic expectations, also means higher math achievement and lower teacher turnover (see story here). Related to these types of stories and studies, the U.S. Department of Education has released a set of tools to help schools measure school climate. The resources include free surveys that can be administered to students, staff, and parents. A database for benchmarking and comparing districts and school will be coming. For more information, visit https://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/edscls

Alternative Schooling

One of the eight key characteristics of the most successful alternative schooling models, as outlined by the NDPC/N at http://dropoutprevention.org/effective-strategies/alternative-schooling/ is “a learning program specific to the student’s expectation and learning style.” Every student has his/her unique learning style, learning preferences, and learning and educational needs. Often these needs and preferences are not easily addressed in regular classrooms or school environment. Alternative schooling options have arisen to satisfy and support students who need more customization and individualized instruction.

Providers of online curriculum allow for flexible scheduling and efficient, individualized instruction, assessment, acceleration, and recovery. By the use of technology and the sheer nature of this individualized instruction, often students are more engaged and motivated to succeed. Edgenuity is adding new courses, course customization, blended learning options, new implementation coaching, and more professional development for 2016. Click here to see an example of how Edgenuity trains school staff to utilize their curriculum. K12, Inc. offers 240+ courses and numerous online public and private school locations. Click here for videos on how K12’s tuition free online education works. Alternative schooling options include contracted instructional services to improve academic performance for at-risk and struggling students, such as Catapult Learning, which is the largest provider of K-12 contracted instructional services in the U.S. Catapult Learning is the recent recipient of a finalist for the 2016 EdTech Digest Awards for its assessment system, Evaluate. Alternative schooling can also take place with intensity in an in-school setting with the help of services such as those offered by AdvancePath Academics, which includes blended learning as well, and offers schools within schools. Click here for an interactive look at a typical “Day in the Life” example.

Career and Technology Education and Educational Technology

See this short news clip about one high school career center in Texas that uses 3D graphics, design, video editing, and a mobile STEAM lab (using 3D technology from ViziTech USA) not only to engage students but also to allow virtual learning through the product and through application of the product. Watch this video showing how 3D technology can introduce and give students virtual experience in complicated and sometime dangerous jobs, such as traffic control and criminal forensics. Look also for Dr. Sandy Addis’ interview with ViziTech USA’s Stewart Rodeheaver in an upcoming Solutions to the Dropout Crisis program.

Students’ understandings of the linkages between education prior to high school graduation and their lives post high school graduation can be powerful motivators for students to choose classes and graduate high school with intention and purpose. Counseling and instruction that students see as relevant and individualized can strengthen relationships and students’ perceptions of the value of school. WIN Learning provides a comprehensive career pathways curriculum that links academic subject performance and soft skills with career and college, or other postsecondary education, readiness. WIN’s Strategic Compass, Career Readiness System, and other related solutions encompass a series of fully aligned web-based programs that guide the learner through career exploration and planning process. WIN assesses foundational and college readiness skills and provides supplemental online education and training.


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