Dropout Prevention Update
From the National Dropout Prevention Center
December 2018—Vol. 18, No. 7
The National Dropout Prevention Center is pleased to announce a new and exciting initiative in this volume of Dropout Prevention Update. Our topic-specific newsletters, guest edited by professionals in their respective fields of expertise will now be delivered digitally starting with this Winter 2018 issue!
Here’s a link to the Winter 2018 newsletter, guest edited by Ms. Jacinda Goodwin, Program Specialist at the National Center for Homeless Education. This issue’s topic is Homelessness and Education, and after reading this issue, we think you will agree that the topic itself is timely and also that delivering the formerly hard copy newsletter in this new digital format increases the timeliness of its delivery.
You can still print a hard copy if you would like and links will remain active on our website www.dropoutprevention.org. We hope you find this issue’s topic both informative and useful and that you are pleased with the new digital delivery method. We look forward to any feedback you would like to provide.
The NDPC Team
Register Your Team Today!
2019 At-Risk Youth National FORUM
February 17–20, 2019
Embassy Suites at Kingston Plantation
Myrtle Beach, SC
Registration is open for the 2019 At-Risk Youth National FORUM. Efforts to reach at-risk youth begin with CONNECTION. This year’s FORUM focuses on the skill of connecting. The conference offers breakout sessions and skill building workshops that help leaders build systems that are conducive to connections and that demonstrate skills to assist youth practitioners in their efforts to connect.
2019 1st Annual National Trauma-Skilled Schools Conference
June 23 - 26, 2019
Embassy Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista South
Registration is open for the 2019 1st Annual National Trauma-Skilled Schools Conference. Trauma and stress impact the way individuals learn and behave, presenting a significant issue for educators and learners. In recent years, school systems and educators have focused on becoming aware and sensitive to this issue. Awareness of the issue, however, is not sufficient. The National Dropout Prevention Center has developed a framework that helps systems and schools prepare their workforce become skilled to help students excel in the classroom and life. The Trauma-Skilled Schools Model does not just accommodate or add additional activity, it looks at changing the way we do what is already being done.
The 1st Annual National Trauma-Skilled Schools Conference will provide insight and skills to help educators move beyond awareness and sensitivity. It is time we become skilled in dealing with this critical issue! NDPC’s Trauma-Skilled faculty will deliver breakout sessions on building resilience, culture transformation, community engagement, staff readiness, and academic integration.
2019 National Dropout Prevention Conference
October 5–8, 2019
Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center
Registration is open for the 2019 National Dropout Prevention Conference. The National Dropout Prevention Center (NDPC), in partnership with The Colorado Department of Education, invites you to attend the 2019 National Dropout Prevention Conference, Gaining New Heights in Dropout Prevention, October 5-8, 2019. The conference is a valuable opportunity for superintendents, administrators, counselors, teachers, and other stakeholders interested in the improvement of graduation rates in their system, school or community. Strategies and programs will be featured from across the country that have proven effective in engaging and sustaining students through graduation.
The conference is designed to enhance the leadership skills of those seeking to strengthen interventions among school, community, and families, especially those in at-risk situations. The conference program will focus on current and innovative best practices, NDPC’s 15 Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention, and trending topics and issues for the future.
Safe Learning Environments
Safe Learning Environments is one of NDPC’s 15 Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention and is considered a foundational strategy for effective dropout prevention. Creating safe learning environments includes more than crisis management and a comprehensive violence prevention plan. It also includes providing daily experiences, at all grade levels, which enhance positive social attitudes and effective interpersonal skills in all students. School counselors, social workers, and psychologists play a crucial role in creating safe learning environments for students at all levels.
In a guest commentary acknowledging National School Psychologists Awareness Week, Dr. Maryellen McClain Verdoes, NCSP, LP, an assistant professor in the School of Psychology at Utah State University, notes that school counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists all work together to actively support student health and safety. While the role of each provider varies depending on school district and age of the students, each holds a common goal to create a supportive and healthy environment. She specifically praises the work school counselors do in preventing teen suicide. Dr. McClain Verdoes further charges everyone, not just school counselors, to identify risk factors, to enable communication, and to become a first responder to students’ problems.
The importance of creating safer environments for children is pushing tech and security companies to develop new products aimed at protecting children’s physical safety. In Illinois, more than 20 schools have installed a BluePoint alert system, an innovative reimagining of the traditional fire alarm switch. The alarm alerts the local police force and decreases response times to schools. The Delano Union School District in Delano, California, has implemented a more secure visitor management system. The new Raptor System quickly mass notifies administration and local law enforcement of possible or pending emergencies. The Raptor System also allows the front office to sign in visitors with identification cards after running them through the state’s database of sex offenders and felons. And in an innovative combining of the use of technology to promote the importance of school safety, West Aurora School District outside of Chicago introduced its first ever district-level Security Director to parents, teachers, and students through a podcast on the district website.
Another NDPC effective strategy for dropout prevention is active learning. At-risk students often struggle to learn in a traditional classroom. Classrooms where learning activities are varied give these students the opportunity to excel. Students become involved in their learning rather than disinterested. Involved learners enjoy school and become lifelong learners. Research indicates the value of active learning, particularly in improving the achievement level of the lowest-performing students and minorities.
LaSalle College in Montreal, Quebec, has made active learning a school culture. They began by renovating classroom space to create collaborative working environments for students. They also introduced verb-boards (whiteboards that are viewable from anywhere in the classroom) to allow students to present ideas from their desks. Teachers from Horizon Elementary, a Title 1 school in Broward, Florida, explain how they used the 5E model (engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate) and active learning to increase their science passing rate by 24 points.
English learners can also benefit from active learning strategies. Erick Herrmann, an educational consultant with Academic Language Learning Institute, looks at ways to replace round-robin style teaching for reaching English learners. Herrmann suggests frontloading vocabulary, building pronunciation step-by-step, and understanding vocabulary in a systematic manner to actively engage all students. These steps blended with choral, echo, and partner reading strategies can create the variety needed to keep students interest while they practice reading and speaking.
The full potential of educational technology, another NDPC effective strategy for dropout prevention, continues to be realized in schools. Educators have gone from viewing technology as simple automation to technology as a vehicle for exploration and creation. Technology provides the opportunity for at-risk students to be successful by building self-esteem, empowering students, and changing reluctant learners to motivated learners. Technology continues to be creatively utilized in classrooms.
New research from Macquarie University’s Department of Education Studies found that 3D printing integration can boost creativity, critical thinking, and design skills among primary school students. They found that it brought about high levels of engagement in every student involved.
The Decatur City Schools in Alabama are embracing new technology through their 1:1 technology push with Chromebooks. The district has embraced technology use in education for both teachers and students. One fourth-grade teacher says that this initiative is the first step in narrowing the technology gap.
The Future Farmers of America (FFA) is trying to get students to engage with emerging technology through the creation of The Blue Room. The Blue Room is a new stage at FFA conventions set up like a TED talk where agricultural leaders and technology innovators give speeches to student delegates from FFA chapters across the country. The delegates are encouraged to question and inquire about these new technologies in the agricultural community with their creators. In 2019, FFA will distribute Blue 365 which are online lesson plans to continue to build on the Blue Room concept.
Amber Brown Grant
Deadline April 15, 2019
Grants of up to $500 will be awarded to pay for a visiting author and to purchase books for a class. This grant is provided by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators to connect children with creative influences.
Education Outreach and Sustaining Grants
Deadline May 31, 2019
Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to an organization that needs support for a project related to optics and photonics based on their ability to impact a large audience and increase awareness and interest in the fields. The project is supported by The Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE).
Roads to Reading Literacy Initiative Grants
Deadline June 1, 2019
Awards vary and Roads to Reading Literacy Initiative (RTRLI) provides grants of new children’s books as educational resources to schools, childcare centers, and nonprofit organizations serving children in need. The target group for this grant is underserved communities and grants are administered by the applicant organization.
Deadline July 15, 2019
Grants of up to $2,500 will be awarded for youth-led, project-based, initiative that integrates technology to address an environmental problem that results in real, demonstrable environmental outcomes. Eligible applicants are U.S.-based nonprofit schools and organizations with operating budgets of less than $3 million. This grant is given by the Captain Planet Foundation (CPF).
The National Dropout Prevention Center offers a number of free or low-cost resources on our website www.dropoutprevention.org
Read NDPC’s quarterly newsletter at http://dropoutprevention.org/resources/ndpcn-quarterly-newsletters/
Access NDPC Dropout Prevention E-Newsletters at http://dropoutprevention.org/resources/e-newsletters/
NDPC journals are available at http://dropoutprevention.org/resources/journals/
Archived Solutions to the Dropout Crisis webinars are available at http://dropoutprevention.org/webcast/
NDPC offers a series of online courses based on the 15 Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention. Each course is individually priced and is self-paced and interactive, including video clips and self-assessments. Go to http://dropoutprevention.org/15-effective-strategies-online-courses/ for more information.
Over 500 educators and practitioners have enrolled in the National Dropout Prevention Specialist certification program. The program is founded on NDPC’s research-based effective strategies, known youth risk factors, professional learning participation, and field implementation of acquired knowledge. The certification verifies and strengthens dropout prevention experience and expertise and facilitates networking with others equally dedicated to dropout prevention. Visit www.dropoutprevention.org/services-certifications/national-dropout-prevention-specialist-certification-program to register.
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