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

Vol 19, no 2 February 2019

Dropout Prevention Update

From the National Dropout Prevention Center
April 2019—Vol. 19, No. 3

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

Safe Learning Environments

NDPC’s Trauma-Skilled Schools Model: Improving School Outcomes for Trauma-Impacted Students
The sources 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.

To direct schools and districts in achieving these objectives, the National Dropout Prevention Center developed the Trauma-Skilled Schools Model based on thousands of interviews and years of research, on the impact of trauma and stress on students’ cognitive function and behavior. The framework for the Trauma-Skilled Schools Model rests on knowledge. Establishment of this knowledge base is typically accomplished through professional learning and research. For example, an Issue Brief published in October 2017 by the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI) presents data documenting the prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) among children in the United States. The Issue Brief  includes national and state-level data on the prevalence of ACEs as well as health effects and protective factors that mitigate the effects of trauma.

Child Trends’ 2014 Research Brief uses nationally representative data from the 2011/12 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) to document national- and state-level prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences. A 2016 update was recently made available online.

In a 2018 paper published in JAMA by Dr. William Copeland et al, the authors suggest that trauma should be treated as a public health crisis with informational campaigns, monitoring, and outreach. Their research indicated that cumulative childhood trauma exposure was associated with poor adult outcomes even after adjusting for other risk factors associated with both trauma exposure and poor adult outcomes. Childhood trauma exposures are common but often preventable, thus providing a clear target for child-focused public health efforts to ameliorate long-term morbidity.

In a separate study, Dr. Copeland found when analyzing data from when the participants were children and again multiple times when they were older that there are associations between childhood trauma and adult hardships when controlling for income and family factors. The importance of the studies is broken down by Kathryn Magruder, a professor at the Medical University of South Carolina, who advocates for early prevention measures.

Dr. Sam Himelstein, a Licensed Psychologist in California, emphasizes the importance of going beyond mindfulness in the classroom, noting that “a trauma-informed lens is, ‘this behavior may be a result of some sort of trauma.’ Or even better, ‘this may be a way for them to protect themselves.’” Recognizing what problems are in the classroom means teachers can begin to adjust their practice. Knowing th effects of trauma and stress on both cognitive function and behavior means that students do not take activities seriously, act out, exhibit bad behavior, or find learning difficult may stem from a cause that can and must be addressed.

Career and Technical Education (CTE)

A quality CTE program and a related career guidance program are essential for all students. School-to-work programs recognize that youth need specific skills to prepare them for the increased demands of today’s workplace.

Patricia Moulton, president of Vermont Technical College emphasizes the importance of technical education at is provides STEM skills through hand’s on learning giving more than a theoretic understanding of science but a practical application of theories in a lab by doing, making, and creating. She says that technical education needs to begin in the high schools as a clear majority of emerging jobs require at least some higher education. In 2015, 25 percent of all Vermont employment took the form of tech jobs which is twice as large as the next-largest category, tourism. North Kansas City School District also recognizes the increase of career and technical education classes. The district is closing the skills gap and involving more students in career programs by showing the impact the classes have on their future and career plans.

An early introduction to career programs can be the head start some students need to get excited about the programs. Siloam Springs School District sent 340 middle school students to an event at their local high school showcasing career and technical programs offered at the school. Booths offered interactive activities to help the students connect with employers and school programs. Administrators say that the event helped expose soon-to-be high schoolers to the community around them and allowed them to start planning ahead.

Family Engagement

Research consistently finds that family engagement has a direct, positive effect on children’s achievement and is one of the most accurate predictors of a student’s success in school.

Kamsack Family Resource Centre and Regional Kids First celebrated Family Literacy Day with an event that brought parents and children together and encourages reading to children at a young age. Mack Rogers, ABC Life Literacy Canada executive director, said: “Spending at least 20 minutes together daily as a family and being engaged in simple and fun activities can make a world of difference when it comes to increasing learning and overall literacy skills.” The event shows that there are many ways from enjoying a storybook together, to playing word games, singing, writing to a relative or friend and sharing day-to-day tasks such as making a shopping list that parents can foster early literacy in children. Charlottesville City Schools is preparing to host two Parent University events where they will connect elementary parents with resources for their children and give them updates on curricular work. They also take the time to show the parents what is going on in the classroom and better the parent’s knowledge and involvement.

Santa Maria-Bonita School District took a different approach to a parent event by allowing parents to become the teachers at a science fair. The unique event gave English-, Spanish-, and Mixteco-speaking parents a chance to take an active role in their students’ education. The parents learned the standards and curriculum leading up to the event in the evenings. The event is a part of the districts effort to value the wisdom and expertise the family provides.

School-Community Collaboration

When all groups in a community provide collective support to the school, a strong infrastructure of partnerships sustains a caring environment where youth can thrive and achieve.

Martins Ferry High School, in Belmont, Ohio, is bringing the community’s people and history into the schools through a nostalgia drive that aims to enhance school spirit. Donated historical items pertaining to the school by community members will be displayed and the school’s American Government students are using the project to see how times have changed. In another example of school-community collaboration, students at South Warren High School in Bowling Green, Kentucky, participated in a community-wide fundraising event called Empty Bowls. The students helped community members make over 1,000 bowls for the event and brought children together with charities and other community groups while crafting the bowls. Washington High School in Washington, Indiana, is working with the Daviess Community Hospital to create a industry-led workplace simulation for students to learn about infectious diseases and to create a public health communication plan. Students will also tour the hospital and interact with staff over the course of the eight-week project.

Daryle Rodgers, district coordinator of the out-of-school time and extended learning program for Hampton City Schools, dives into the idea of “edutainment”. Rodgers believes that learning should be fun for students and that community events that combine learning and entertainment create a larger draw for community groups and are beneficial for students. He sees school and community collaboration as districts and departments working together to overcome mindsets and funding problems. A study Rodgers conducted found that students who participate in these extended learning programs perform better academically and have better behavior in school.


HR. 6 Sec. 7131 - 7135
National funding is available to state and local education agencies for the propose of increasing student access to evidence-based trauma support services and mental health care by developing innovative initiatives, activities, or programs to link local school systems with local trauma-informed support and mental health systems. Grant inquires will go through the office of the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use.

Project School Emergency Response to Violence
Deadline: Rolling
Grants of up to $50,000 will be awarded for immediate services and grants of up to $250,000 will be awarded for extended services to local education agencies that have experienced traumatic events of such proportions as to severely disrupt the teaching and learning environment. The U.S. Department of Education offers grants to support programs for short-term and long-term education-related services for educational institutions that have experienced a violent or traumatic event.

Bookmobile Grant Program
Deadline: September 1, 2019
Grants from $500 to $3,000 will be awarded for bookmobile programs across the nation that serve children from disadvantaged populations. Grants support organizations that operate a lending bookmobile that travels into neighborhoods populated by underserved youth. Funds must be used to purchase fiction or nonfiction books published for young people PreK through Grade 8.

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. A Call for Proposals is now open until May 3, 2019.

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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