Dropout Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery News From NDPC/N

Vol 19, no 1 January 2019

Dropout Prevention Update

From the National Dropout Prevention Center
January 2019—Vol. 19, No. 1

Register Your Team Today!
2019 At-Risk Youth National FORUM

February 17–20, 2019
Embassy Suites at Kingston Plantation
Myrtle Beach, SC

2019 FORUM

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.

Trauma-Skilled Schools Model Presented to SC House Education Committee on School Climate and Safety

Access the video of National Dropout Prevention Center Director Dr. Sandy Addis testifying to the South Carolina House Education Committee on School Climate and Safety regarding the importance of addressing stress and trauma in education and introducing the National Dropout Prevention Center Trauma-Skilled Schools Model.


The source of trauma and stress are widespread, have a direct relationship to the dropout issue, and must not be underestimated. It is the position of the National Dropout Prevention Center that to meet students’ needs for safe learning environments and to achieve the best outcomes for the most students, all educators and support staff in a school must not only have a shared understanding of trauma and speak a common language about it, they must also acquire shared trauma-related skills, behave consistently and in unison toward trauma-impacted students, and be able to articulate and justify their behaviors in terms of desired student outcomes.

NDPC Announces 2019 1st Annual Trauma-Skilled Schools Conference

June 23-26, 2019
Embassy Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista South
Kissimmee, FL

2019 Trauma Skilled Schools

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.

Effective Strategies


Mentoring is a one-to-one caring, supportive relationship between a mentor and a mentee that is based on trust. Mentoring offers a significant support structure for high-risk students. Tutoring, also a one-to-one activity, focuses on academics and is an effective practice when addressing specific needs such as reading, writing, or math competencies.

Mentors can make a lasting impact on at-risk students’ lives by exemplifying the qualities they teach; Margo Hudson from Cleveland, Ohio, is one of these mentors. Margo went back to school for her GED at 52 years old. She studied while working and took six attempts to get her degree. She is now a volunteer for multiple organizations, helping others who are attempting to get their GEDs. She feels that her story helps her connect with others as people of all ages come to study for the test from students that have dropped out to a grandfather attempting the test so that he can help his grandkids in school. Mentoring spans all ages as a growing group of college students in Hillsdale, Michigan, are demonstrating with their Journal Buddies program. Going from 18 to 80 volunteers in the last year, the program consists of reading volunteers who assist in the classroom and become pen pals with fourth graders.

Peer-to-peer tutoring is also an effective method for helping students. Leah Boyd a senior at Gulliver Prep in Miami, Florida, has created a network for peer-to-peer mentoring. Any student can reach out at any time and she will match them with an approved tutor in an area who can help. Over 60 students applied to be tutors that earn community service hours for their work.

Getting students to understand the benefits of tutoring can be a struggle. North Chicago Community High School is finding its answer to that question by expanding the programs as they focus on teacher-based tutoring. Three days a week teachers stay late to help with math homework and questions. They found that at first, it was tough getting students to come for the help but the longer the teacher works with the student the more they came back as trust formed.

Active Learning

Differentiated learning embraces teaching and learning strategies that engage and involve students in the learning process. Students find new and creative ways to solve problems, achieve success, and become lifelong learners when educators show them that there are different ways to learn.

As Next Generation Science Standards are being implemented by states, researchers led by Kathleen Roth from California State Polytechnic University-Pomona find that building teachers’ knowledge of content is not enough to reach the new expectations. Her research suggests that teachers need to focus more on the analysis-of-practice model rather than more content-focused models. In this analysis-of-practice model, teachers were more likely to find active and engaging ways of teaching these science standards resulting in higher student achievement. A research group from the University of Luxembourg has investigated what could raise the effectiveness of active learning as it requires practical experimentation for students to fully comprehend a new concept. They found that encountering classical static content within active learning scenarios lowers overall learning comprehension. For teachers using active learning lessons, it may aid them to have students help create the surrounding scenarios rather than having predefined examples.

Patricia Jennings, an associate professor of education at the University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development, lists active learning activities as one of the ways for teachers to lower their stress levels throughout the day. She cites research from Penn State University that says teaching at times can be as stress-inducing as an emergency room. She finds that the engagement active learning fosters in the classroom lowers conflict and other stress-inducing classroom problems and allows the teacher to perform better.

Alternative Schooling

Alternative schooling provides potential dropouts a variety of options that can lead to graduation, with programs paying special attention to the student’s individual social needs, workforce skills, and academic requirements for a high school diploma.

North Dakota is taking a step in a new direction for alleviating teacher shortages by offering an alternative teaching license for people who have career experience in a field to teach specific alternative school classes. Teachers like Maggie Uetz, who has a degree in public relations and advertising, can share her work experience with students as she teaches business education at Red River High School in Grand Forks. Small alternative schools can make a big impact like Southwest Community High School in Dickinson, North Dakota, by providing classes that can move at the student’s pace with flexible hours fitting time for jobs or anything else that may be going on in students’ lives. Small alternative schools can give the positive flexible environment that students who may turn away from other schools the chance to reconnect and even get ahead.

In Madison, Wisconsin, the Malcom Shabazz City High School takes an unschooled approach to alternative schooling. The school focuses on an informal culture that allows students who were may have been bullied or singled out in their original schools to thrive. At Shabazz, the unschooling takes down many of the traditional norms associated with school.

Grant Opportunities

Youth Literacy Grants
Deadline: 5/16/2019
Grants of up to $4,000 will be awarded to provide help for students who are below grade level or having trouble reading. The grant money is provided for expansion of or creating literacy programs and materials. Schools, public libraries, and nonprofit organizations can apply.

Ezra Jack Keats Mini Grant
Deadline: 3/31/2019
Grants of up to $500 will be awarded to support special activities and events outside of the standard curriculum for public schools, libraries, or Head Start programs.

Beyond Words: The Dollar General School Library Relief Fund
Deadline: 6/30/2019
Grants of up to $20,000 will be awarded to replace or supplement books, media, and library equipment. Applicants must be a public school library and be located within 20 miles of a Dollar General Store or distribution center. Applicants also must have lost a building, endured hardship, substantial damage, or have absorbed a significant number of displaced students.

K-5 Science and Math Projects
Deadline: 10/1/2019
Grants of up to $1,000 will be awarded for innovative science or math projects in K-5 grade classrooms. Teachers in public or private non-profit schools may apply.

2019 National Dropout Prevention Conference

October 5–8, 2019
Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center
Denver, CO

2019 NDPC

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.

NDPC Resources

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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