Vol 17, no 5 Header image

Dropout Prevention Update

From the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network
May 2017—Vol. 17, No. 5

Registration Open!

Reaching the Wounded Student Conference

“A Trauma-Informed Approach to Helping Youth Beyond At Risk”

June 25–28, 2017

Rosen Centre Hotel

Orlando, FL

2017 RTWSC

Registration is open for the June 25–18, 2017, Reaching the Wounded Student Conference, “A Trauma-Informed Approach to Helping Youth Beyond At Risk,” presented by the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network and Hope 4 The Wounded, LLC Educational Seminars. The conference will be an excellent staff development event for school/district administrators, teachers, counselors, and community and faith-based youth practitioners and will be held in conjunction with the Freshman Success Conference (see below) so teams can travel together. Find out more at http://dropoutprevention.org/conferences/2017-reaching-the-wounded-student-conference/

The Freshman Success Conference

“Strong Start—Successful Finish”

June 25–28, 2017

Rosen Centre Hotel, Orlando, FL

2017 FSC

Registration is also open for NDPC/N’s new Freshman Success Conference, with its theme “Strong Start—Successful Finish.” Freshman success can be a key determinant of on-time graduation. This event is geared toward those working with eighth- and ninth-grade students and transitions to high school. Four strands for this event are: designing your school for success, supporting students in their journey to success, school culture that fosters success, and instruction that defines and guides academic success. Link to http://dropoutprevention.org/conferences/the-freshman-success-conference/ to find out more about those strands and this event. This conference occurs concurrently and in the same location as the Reaching the Wounded Student Conference. Your school district may want to send a team with some attending the Reaching the Wounded Student Conference and some attending the Freshman Success Conference. The hotel discount conference rate is $145/night—and this is June, in Orlando!

Diploma Planning Institute

August 21–22, 2017

Mackinaw Beach & Bay Inn & Suites

Mackinaw City, MI

Michigan DPI

The Diploma Planning Institute (DPI) for School Leadership and Administration Teams on August 21–22, 2017, is a two-day working event that guides school teams through a process that yields a practical improvement plan to increase student success with locally specific action steps that can be implemented in the coming school year. Michigan residents register here. Non-Michigan residents register here. Link to http://dropoutprevention.org/conferences/dpi-michigan-august-2017/ for more information on the event and booking your hotel accommodations.

Propose to Present and Save the Dates for the 2017 National Dropout Prevention Network Conference

2017 National Dropout Prevention Network Conference

October 22–25, 2017

Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel and Convention Center

Palm Springs, CA

2017 National Dropout Prevention Network Conference

The call for proposals to present at NDPC/N’s annual fall Network conference is open through May 26. This is NDPC/N’s largest and most attended conference each year. We’re on the West Coast, in Palm Springs, CA, this year, so please plan to join us for this exciting event. Check out the hotel location and sponsorship information. Look for more information to come on hotel rates and registration opening.

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 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 posts certification program completers, their bios, and their field projects on our website. Click here to see and read about this celebrated group of individuals and examples of how they implement dropout prevention in their arenas!

Solutions to the Dropout Crisis

“Reducing Dropout Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students”

Airs: May 9, 2017

3:30–4:30 PM ET

Click here to view the webcast.

May Solutions

The U.S. population is more diverse now and the number of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students is on the increase. It is estimated that as of 2014, minority schoolchildren make up approximately 50.3% of school enrollment. This means that the culturally and linguistically diverse students who used to be in the minority are now part of the majority.

As the numbers of CLD students in our education systems increase, their presence has a significant impact on teaching. These students have unique needs that require skilled educators who can differentiate instruction and provide culturally appropriate resources and learning opportunities to support their learning. Unfortunately, many CLD students face multiple barriers to academic achievement, high school completion, and postsecondary attainment. Practitioners, administrators, researchers, and others need to develop and utilize various strategies to address the challenges CLD students face. This will in turn work to reduce the number of students dropping out of our education systems.

This webcast, based on data collected from Ohio, describes the characteristics of CLD students and the approaches some veteran teachers are using to effectively teach and engage CLD students in order to ensure that they graduate. This presentation will

  • discuss characteristics and needs of CLD students,
  • discuss challenges experienced by teachers and students in CLD classrooms, and
  • share helpful strategies for teaching and engaging CLD students.

Supplementary materials and all necessary information about participating fully in this professional development opportunity are found on the webcast page. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact the National Dropout Prevention Center at ndpc@clemson.edu or 864-656-2599.

April’s Solutions to the Dropout Crisis webcast is now available for viewing.

“Increasing Support Systems for High-Potential At-Risk Learners in Rural Areas”

Aired: April 11, 2017

3:30–4:30 PM ET

Click here to view the webcast.

April Solutions

Gifted and high-potential learners attending rural schools are often isolated and underserved. What can be done to prepare educators, administrators, families, and communities to recognize and respond to the unique needs of these at-risk students? In this webcast, representatives of the Minnesota Department of Education discuss Project North Star, a federal research grant creating professional development materials and community resources intended to improve outcomes for these students.

This Solutions to the Dropout Crisis webcast looks at

  • challenges in identifying and supporting traditionally underrepresented gifted students;
  • the importance of school, family, and community partnerships to meet the unique cognitive, social, and emotional needs of gifted and high-potential learners;
  • key research findings related to Project North Star;
  • implementation of Project North Star’s three-pronged approach; and
  • ways to increase understanding and build capacity within schools and communities to sustain services that meet the needs of gifted students.

Solutions webcasts are always offered to you free of cost, 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.

Youth Engagement

National Dropout Prevention Center/Network Research Fellows have increased 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 presents at least one article related to that topic to your attention each month.

While NDPC/N Research Fellow Terry Pickeral says that he prefers qualitative research methods to explore, examine, understand, and analyze student and adult school experiences, he recently sent a link to laboratory research that provides another level of research supporting the fact that engaging students in their education yields many positive results. In an article from Smithsonian.com, titled “Students’ Brains Sync Up When They’re in an Engaging Class, Neuroscience Shows,” neuroscience gives new meaning to the phrase “get on my wavelength.” Read the fascinating article or look further into the research in the journal of Current Biology, and think of the implications!

Top Stories

Visit the website of the California Dropout Research Project to access a new statistical brief, The Narrowing California High School Graduation Gap between Black, Latino, and White Students, and the accompanying interactive graph illustrating the gap trends for all student subgroups and for each district in California. The data show that the graduation gap between White and Black students narrowed by 5.8 percentage points between 2009–10 and 2014–15, and the White Latino gap narrowed by 5.9 percentage points. While at the website, read research reports, such as Accounting for Delayed High School Graduates in California; view video clips from the video series Fresh Voices: California Ninth Graders Speak Out About Dropping Out; and learn more about the California Dropout Research Project at UC Santa Barbara. Thanks to EdResearch for bringing this to our attention.

New from NDPC/N

Do You Really Want to Drop Out

The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network has just updated one of its most popular print products, an eight-page booklet called Do You Really Want to Drop Out? Know the Facts. With input from several student focus groups (thanks to Kent State University and to New Beginnings Academy in Lorain, OH), this booklet is aimed toward middle and high school students who may be considering dropping out. The booklet is available in packs of 50 from the NDPC/N store. The Spanish translation is coming soon.

15 Eff Strategies Online Courses

Also newly available in the NDPC/N store is a series of online course offerings on our 15 Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention. Each course is individually priced so you can take one course or all available courses, depending on your needs, interests, and professional learning plans. Courses are self-paced and interactive, including video clips and self-assessments. Fourteen courses are available now. Two more, one on Systemic Approach and one on an Overview of Strategies, are coming soon. Go to http://dropoutprevention.org/15-effective-strategies-online-courses/ for more information including FAQs or visit the NDPC/N store at www.dropoutprevention.org/shop to register for one or more of the 15 Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention online courses.

The Economics of Education

Three recent articles or studies point to the fact that preventing dropouts makes good “cents.” Thanks to Dr. Hobart Harmon, Professional Consulting & Research Services, Timberville, VA, for bringing the first two to our attention.

School Quality and the Urban-Rural Migration of Firms estimates the determinants of the location or relocation from urban areas to rural areas by manufacturing and other firms between 2009 and 2012, including controls for land and labor costs, taxes, market size, agglomeration effects, natural amenities, and measures of school. According to the authors of the study, to the best of their knowledge, this is the first study of firm relocation between rural and urban areas within the United States and the only study to estimate the impacts of school quality on firm relocation behavior. Preliminary results from the models used suggest that lower high school dropout rates and smaller class sizes may increase the expected count of firms relocating from urban to rural areas.

Economic and community factors can “pull” students out of school. For example, The Effect of the Energy Boom on Schooling Decisions in the U.S., accepted as a poster presentation at the 2015 Agricultural & Applied Economics Association and Western Agricultural Economics Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (June 26-28, 2015), found that the U.S. energy boom negatively affected high school graduation rates. And PBS NEWSHOUR published a story in its Making Sen$e series titled “Is the Fracking Boom Causing a Dropout Boom?” reporting that the fracking boom increased demand for low-skilled workers, raised local incomes, and increased the high school dropout rates among male teens in areas with fracking.

Read about economic losses from school suspension in California in The Hidden Costs of California’s Harsh School Discipline. Every 10th-grade student in California enrolled in the 2011–12 academic year was tracked for 3 years to determine the degree to which suspensions predicted lower graduation rates at the state and district level. After controlling for common predictors of suspensions and school dropout, such as academic performance, the study found that suspensions alone result in a 6.5 percentage point drop in graduation rates! This estimated impact on graduation was then used to calculate the economic costs of suspension for the state and most school districts in the state. The total statewide economic burden was estimated to be $2.7 billion over the lifetime of the single 10th-grade cohort, including $809 million in direct fiscal costs to taxpayers. The economic impact of school suspension varies widely by school district, with California's largest districts incurring the greatest losses.

Effective Strategies


Read an op-ed by NDPC/N Research Fellow, Dr. Rob Shumer, titled “How to keep students engaged. And on course to graduate,” published last month in the Pioneer Press, out of St. Paul, MN. Rob points to students’ reasons for dropping out and then points to the value of increasing student engagement in the learning process through career and technical education, internships, service-learning, project-based learning, and participation in the community. He also references some of the societal impacts of students dropping out of school.

Alternative Schooling

The National Alternative Education Association provides resources for advocating for alternative schools and information on the association’s current policies on their Advocacy & Public Policy page. There you’ll find links to contact your U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and Governor, as well as an Executive Brief on NAEA policies.


Suzanne F. Lindt and Cody Blair provide an overview of the benefits of mentoring programs in middle school in their article, “Making a difference with at-risk students: The benefits of a mentoring program in middle school,” published in Middle School Journal. Lindt and Blair cover various literature on mentoring programs as well as discuss a specific example of a mentoring program at one middle school.

Funding Sources

(from http://philanthropynewsdigest.org)

NCTM Accepting Applications or Equity in Mathematics Grants

Deadline: 11/3/2017

Grants of up to $8,000 will be awarded to individual middle school teachers or small groups of teachers interested in incorporating classroom materials designed to improve the achievement of students with a previous record of underachievement.

NCTM Accepting Applications for Emerging Teacher-Leaders Grants for Elementary Math Teachers

Deadline: 11/3/2017

A single grant of up to $6,000 will be awarded to support the professional development of an elementary school mathematics teacher with mathematics content expertise.

Project Learning Tree Seeks Applications for Environmental Education Projects

Deadline: 9/30/17

Grants of up to $1,000 will be awarded in support of environmental projects that demonstrate service-learning, exemplify student voice, and involve at least one community partner.

National Science Teachers Association Invites Nominations for Shell Science Teaching Award

Deadline: 12/15/2017

The annual $10,000 prize recognizes an outstanding classroom science teacher (K–12) who has had a positive impact on his or her students, school, and community through exemplary classroom science teaching.

American Electric Power Invites Applications for Classroom Projects

Deadline: 2/23/2018

Mini-grants of up to $500 will be awarded for classroom projects that have an academic focus and promote academic achievement.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Accepting Proposals for Health Data for Action Projects

Deadline: 5/24/2017 (Brief Proposals)

Grants of up to $150,000 over 12 months will be awarded to projects that use available data to answer important policy-relevant questions.

Toshiba America Foundation Accepting Applications for Science, Math Projects

Deadline: Various

Grants will be awarded to middle and high school teachers who are passionate about making science and mathematics more engaging for their students.

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