Vol 16, no 9 Header image

Dropout Prevention Update

From the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network
September 2016—Vol. 16, No. 9

Register for

2016 National Dropout Prevention Network Conference

October 2–5, 2016

Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center

Detroit, MI

2016 National Dropout Prevention Network Conference

It’s time to register for the 2016 Network conference in Detroit. The focus of this conference is youth engagement. Dynamic keynotes, more than 75 breakout sessions, educators from all 50 states and many countries, as well as various new features will make this a great professional development opportunity. Sign up for a two-day pre-conference Teacher Hackathon where you’ll join Ford Motor Company developers, UX/web/graphics designers, and product managers to form teams to build creative solutions to reduce dropout rates.

Detroit 2016

Bring a team and compete for a cash prize. Sign up for optional hands-on, pre-conference workshops. Join site visits to local Detroit schools. Attend the Motown opening reception with music provided by the Mosaic Youth Theatre, a Tech Ed breakfast, and as many breakout sessions as you can, including numerous youth-led sessions. Secure your hotel registration while rooms are available and register today at http://dropoutprevention.org/conferences/2016-national-dropout-prevention-network-conference/ The Marriott at the Renaissance Center is right on the beautiful and newly revived Detroit Riverwalk. Enjoy the Riverwalk and see Canada just across the river. You don’t want to miss this great event.

Submit a Proposal to Present and Save the Dates for 2017 At-Risk Youth National FORUM!

2017 At-Risk Youth Natinal FORUM CFP

"Connections That Build Resilience and Success"

February 19–22, 2017

Embassy Suites at Kingston Plantation

Myrtle Beach, SC

Visit NDPC/N’s Conferences and Events page to submit your proposal to present at the 2017 At-Risk Youth National FORUM and/or save the dates so that you can attend. The theme is “Connections That Build Resilience and Success.” We’re highlighting in particular those extracurricular, outside-of-core-academic relationships that are so important in dropout prevention. Come share your story and hear from others, including Clemson University head football coach, Dabo Swinney; the “Connection Coach,” Tara Brown; and inspirational speaker, Principal Baruti Kafele. For more information, link to http://dropoutprevention.org/conferences/2017-at-risk-youth-national-forum/

Save the Dates for

2017 National Forum on Dropout Prevention For Native And Tribal Communities

April 9–12, 2017

We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center

Scottsdale, AZ

National Dropout Prevention Center/Network’s 30th Anniversary Celebration

NDPC/N 30th

Mark your calendar for the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network’s 30th Anniversary Celebration on Monday, October 24, 2016, to be held at the NDPC/N home office located at 209 Martin Street, Clemson, SC. Drop in any time between 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM ET. The program will begin at 3:00 PM ET. If you can’t attend, the program will be live streamed beginning at 2:45 PM ET.

What Is a Diploma Planning Institute?


Does your school or school district want to or need to develop a dropout prevention plan? NDPC/N has developed a highly successful workshop called The Diploma Planning Institute (DPI), which is designed to help teams from schools/districts/states work on written dropout prevention plans. For more information on this service, visit NDPC/N’s web page visit NDPC/N’s web page http://dropoutprevention.org/diploma-planning-institute/ or contact NDPC/N (864-656-2599) or ndpc@clemson.edu for additional details or to arrange a DPI for your state or region.

What Is the 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 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. Visit http://dropoutprevention.org/services-certifications/national-dropout-prevention-specialist-certification-program/ for more information or to register for the certification program, or contact us at ndpc@clemson.edu with any questions. NDPC/N has begun posting our new certification program completers on our website. Click here to see and read about the first group of certification recipients—a celebrated group indeed!

Solutions to the Dropout Crisis

"Getting It Right: Wise Policy Makes for Effective Dropout Prevention"

September 13, 2016

3:30–4:30 PM ET

September Solutions

When do school policies lead to unintended consequences that can hurt some students rather than help? When is a policy review at the school level warranted to determine when a policy might be doing more harm than good through these unintended consequences?

Dr. Susan Bon, JD, Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policies at the University of South Carolina and Editor of the Journal of School Public Relations, examines policies that, while intended to help all students, have led to the opposite effect for certain subsets of the student population. At their worst, the unintended consequences of these policies contribute to higher student grade level failure and higher dropout rates.

This Solutions to the Dropout Crisis webcast looks at policies and programs including

  • Grade policy
  • Medication policy
  • Suspension and expulsion policy
  • Zero tolerance policy
  • Drug abuse policy
  • Attendance policy
  • Alternative education programs
  • Special education programs

Link here on the day of the broadcast to join us for this program. Viewing our Solutions webcasts is always 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, sponsored by K12 Inc. and FuelEducation.


NDPC/N is considering some format changes to Solutions to the Dropout Crisis. If you have a few minutes to provide feedback on how and why you use Solutions, please click HERE to take part in a brief survey. We hope to make Solutions even more useful to you, and your input is GREATLY appreciated.

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 Dropout Prevention Update eNewsletter plans to bring at least one article related to that topic to your attention each month.

YE Pics

Find opportunities and resources for youth at http://youth.gov/youth-voices, such as opportunities to participate, tools for success, and links and resources for support. See stories from young people as to what makes a difference for youth engaged in change. Learn from their stories and nominate young change makers in your community! Identify ways to plug in and how best to do it.

Effective Strategies

Systemic Approach

Interested in Early Warning Systems? Sign up for Education Week’s September 9 webinar, “Improving Graduation Rates: Predictive Analytics in Action,” with content from one of NDPC/N’s Innovation Partners, BrightBytes.

Safe Learning Environments

From the U.S. Department of Education’s OSHS PREVENTION NEWS DIGEST, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a report on the health risks of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) high school students that is based on the first nationally representative data of its kind. The report found that LGB youth experience substantially higher levels of physical and sexual violence and bullying and are at increased risk for suicide attempts and other serious negative outcomes compared to their heterosexual peers. According to the CDC, these data highlight the need for accelerated action to protect the health and well-being of vulnerable youth.

Family Engagement

Also from the U.S. Department of Education’s OSHS PREVENTION NEWS DIGEST, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released a report titled Family Interventions for Youth Experiencing Homelessness or At Risk of Homelessness. Family conflict is a key driver of youth homelessness; and most programs serving youth experiencing homelessness use some form of family intervention to address conflict and help reconnect youth when appropriate. This report summarizes existing evidence on family intervention strategies for youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness gathered through a literature review and supplemented with conversations with a small set of key informants. It also includes a summary of common elements of effective interventions and a discussion of gaps in the evidence base. One conclusion is that the field could benefit from cross-sector learning and collaboration between juvenile justice, child welfare, education, and runaway and homeless youth (RHY) systems and providers.

Early Childhood Education

“Recent Trends in Income, Racial, and Ethnic School Readiness Gaps at Kindergarten Entry,” published last month in AERA Open, finds that the gap in school readiness between rich and poor children entering kindergarten has closed significantly over the last decade. The report points to better availability of quality preschool, more spending on preschool children, and more focus on preschool literacy and enrichment activities due in large part to more information and accurate, effective messaging to parents and other caregivers. Read an NPR interview with one of the authors here.

Early Literacy Development

Read through a collection or articles on early literacy in an Education Week‘sSpecial Report on Early Literacy.” Articles include (a) a look at efforts to address challenges, especially in light of the waning influence of the federal Reading First program; (b) new read-aloud strategies and questioning techniques to help the youngest students learn to draw evidence from what they read; (c) a look at a successful statewide reading initiative in Alabama; (d) various state efforts to ensure students read proficiently by the end of the third grade; (e) a quiz that may surprise you as to what you know about early literacy; (f) how young students learn vocabulary skills through context and learning about the world; and (g) how fluency remains a neglected and misunderstood skill. Read an overview at the link above or go directly to a digital, interactive pdf here.

After-school/Out-of-School Opportunities

Resources designed for program directors, after-school and summer providers, and homeschooling parents can be found at a PBS Kids "Out of School Activities" page. Included is a link to several multisession learning programs free from The Electric Company. Read about innovative options for credit recovery through afterschool and summer learning programs in this excerpt from Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success, Terry Peterson (Ed.).

Individualized Instruction

The U.S. Department of Education hosts an informative web page on “Competency-Based Learning or Personalized Learning,” with examples of state and district efforts as well as additional resources.

Read an article from The Atlantic about some strategies schools and districts must consider to help reach and teach traumatized students. As Principal Jim Sporleder, whose school was featured in the documentary Paper Tigers, says, “Teachers like to tell students that if they work hard they will succeed—that it is in their control to pay attention, do their homework, and perform well in class. But those assumptions don’t work for children growing up in high-stress environments, such as those living in poverty.” Sporleder believes much of the current education system runs counter to the needs of kids struggling with trauma. “High-stakes testing—defining students by a test score—goes against everything research is telling us about how to help these kids,” he said. “It also leads to hostile environments where extremely stressed teachers are working with highly stressed students. It’s an unsustainable situation and needs to change.”

Education Week recently published a blog on “5 Ways Gifted Students Learn Differently.” Read an excerpt from Oak Crest Academy that summarizes the five points.

Call for Manuscripts

The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network publishes two journals: The Journal of At-Risk Issues and ENGAGE: The International Journal of Research and Practice on Student Engagement. We are soliciting manuscripts to consider for publication. Link to our “Journals” Web page for more information on each journal’s focus and audience as well as “Call for Manuscripts” guidelines for each journal. Contact ndpc@clemson.edu with any general questions regarding these journals and submission guidelines.


The U.S. Secretary of Education received 21,014 comments in response to an invitation to respond to the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) by August 1, 2016, regarding possible amendments to the regulations in that bill. To read through some or all of those comments, link to: https://www.regulations.gov/docketBrowser?rpp=25&so=DESC&sb=commentDueDate&po=0&dct=PS&D=ED-2016-OESE-0032

Funding Sources

Performance Partnership Pilots (P3), Round 3, FY 2016. The Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing Urban Development, Justice, and Labor; the Corporation for National and Community Service; and the Institute for Museum and Library Services invite state, local, and tribal communities to apply to become a Performance Partnership Pilot (P3) to test innovative, outcome-focused strategies to achieving better outcomes for youth who are disconnected or at risk of becoming disconnected from critical social institutions and supports. This third round of pilots offers up to 10 communities the opportunity to propose bold new ideas for how they would use P3 flexibility to transform the way they deliver services and improve outcomes for their disconnected youth. Learn more here or link to the Federal Register NIA. Average size of award: $200,000. Application Deadline: October 31, 2016.

The Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, Department of Education, also invites states, local, and tribal communities to apply for a Performance Partnership Pilots (P3) grant award. Click here for this Federal Register NIA description. The lead applicant must be a state, local, or tribal government entity, represented by a chief executive, such as a governor, mayor, or other elected leader, or the head of a state, local, or tribal agency. A grantee may award subgrants to the following types of entities: State governmental agencies; local governmental agencies, including LEAs; tribal governmental agencies; institutions of higher education; and nonprofit organizations. Average size of award: $200,000. Application Deadline: October 31, 2016.

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