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

Vol 19, no 4 May 2019

Dropout Prevention Update

From the National Dropout Prevention Center
May 2019—Vol. 19, No. 4

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.

New Certification Announced! The National Dropout Prevention Center (NDPC) announces the Trauma-Skilled Specialist Certification program. This program addresses the growing need for educators to adopt specific action steps that will increase the opportunities for trauma-impacted and stressed students to succeed and graduate. Click here for the Trauma-Skilled Specialist Certification Information and Application.

Spring Publication Sale


Hurry! Time is running out! Visit the NDPC store to shop this fantastic spring publication sale!

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.

Effective Strategies

Professional Development

Adults who work with youth at risk of dropping out need to be provided ongoing professional learning opportunities, support, and feedback. The professional learning should align with the agreed upon vision and focus for the school/agency, the agreed upon instructional framework of high leverage research-based practices and strategies, and the identified needs of the population served. The professional learning opportunities provided should be frequently monitored to determine the fidelity of implementation and the need for additional support and feedback.

The Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township in Indianapolis has found success in new professional development programs that highlight failures. The district now throws a “FailFest” where teachers go and open up about their failures in front of their colleagues so that others can learn from their mistakes. They hope that the program will help teachers explain to students and each other how to fail forward and continue growing.

Long Beach Unified School District in California is also taking an innovative approach to professional development as it allows teachers to choose what programs they want to take. Using the software” myPD,” the district provides teachers with professional development that they can take at their own pace on their own time, which has tremendously increased participation.

In another example of innovative methods for delivering professional development, real-time teacher coaching could be the next big step in professional development. Dr. Jennifer Ottley and colleagues from Ohio State University have pioneered research using Bug-in-Ear coaching for teachers. They found that real-time coaching is more effective at getting teachers to implement research-based strategies into their lessons. Their research also indicates that the real-time coaching leads teachers to reflect over lessons and improve after the sessions.

Educational Technology

Instructional technology can effectively support teaching and learning while engaging students in meaningful, current, and authentic efforts; addressing multiple intelligences, and adapting to students’ learning styles. It can effectively be used in individualized instruction and can not only help prepare students for the workforce, but can empower students who struggle with self-esteem as well. Effective use of technologies depends upon the timely response to an application of the rapidly expanding choices and matches to identified student needs.

Supercomputers like IBM’s Watson are changing the way business is conducted and IBM has the education system next in line for the cognitive platform. Writer Matthew Lynch predicts that cognitive computing will revolutionize K-12 and higher education. He notes that all educational analytics will soon be handled by these systems, allowing education administrations greater insight and predictability into student trends. In the future, cognitive platforms will become indispensable for students, teachers, and administrative staff, right through the entire education sector. The technology will fulfill diverse roles that will be the glue that keeps everything going. Importantly, these cognitive platforms may become the new standard in early intervention for at-risk youth.

In Alabama’s Tuscaloosa County Schools, technology is aiding the fight against bullying. Starting next year students will be able to report bullying anonymously by text to their schools using an app. Deputy Superintendent David Patrick notes that anonymity is the key to reporting bullying and that anonymity can subsequently increase student’s participation in reporting and in stopping bullying.

An example of technology in and outside the classroom comes from Virginia. According to an international study by Lego Education and the market research firm Harris Insights & Analytics, less than one in five students feels “very confident” learning science, technology, engineering, art, and math subjects. The study also found also that students need more hands-on and the first-hand experience with technology. Many students got to do just that when the Northrop Grumman Antares Rocket launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia carrying mini-satellites that students had created. Hundreds of students and teachers from surrounding areas watched the launch as the rocket took off carrying up the student’s projects which will bring in atmospheric data.

Individualized Instruction

Learning experiences can be individualized, differentiated, or personalized (combining paced and tailored learning with flexibility in content or theme to fit the interests, preferences, and prior experiences of each learner). In an environment that is fully personalized, the learning objectives and content, as well as the method and pace, may all vary (so personalization encompasses differentiation and individualization).

Struggling readers can require 10 to 30 times more practice to catch up to grade level. With a lot of this catchup falling on individualized reading programs, author Eric Jensen finds that programs should be evaluated to increase effectiveness by avoiding five shortcomings they often have. These shortcomings are if it fails to address equity at your school, if it doesn’t build students’ cognitive capacity, if it is not adaptive, if it does not provide deliberate practice, and if it isn’t evidence-based.

In building individualized learning BYU-Pathway Worldwide, working with Strada Education Network, has found that it is most effective to adopt a student-first focus by using real-time data to identify student needs and develop curricula that provide individualized instruction, remediation, and tailored support directly to individual students. They believe that individualized instruction online must continue to evolve to remain effective.

Raymond Steinmetz, an instructional coach in Rhode Island, finds that individualized instruction with the aid of technology is completely changing the student and teacher dynamic for the better as the teacher’s role shifts from being the gatekeeper of information to the guide to information. By leading the students to what they need to succeed rather than handing information to students, teachers are able to focus on relationships in addition to content.


The sources of trauma and stress are widespread, have a direct relationship to the dropout issue, and must not be underestimated. 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.

Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Denver, Colorado, has hired a social worker who will be designated to help students cope and process trauma. Jackeline Ruvalcaba Delgado’s focus is different from the traditional school counselor who is focused on academics as she works with students on personal problems. In another example, Darla England, principal of South Elementary in Grandville, Michigan, has worked to create a sensory nook for struggling young children. The sensory nook is a quiet cozy place where students can go, sit, and read a book to chill out. She found inspiration for the nook after learning about the realities of trauma students face day to day.

University of Lancaster researchers found that school bullying links to poor mental health over ten years later. They found that at age 25 being bulled in high school raises mental health problems by 40%. They also found that students who were bullied in high school were also 10% more likely to unemployed.


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.

STEAM Educator Grants
Deadline: October 15
Grants of up to $1,000 will be awarded to support science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) activities; innovation; and classroom excellence. Grants may be used for supplies, materials, field trips, and other resources that enhance STEAM teaching and learning. Eligible applicants are public and private high school teachers in the United States and U.S. Territories. Educators must be NSHSS members to apply. Applications must be submitted using the online system.

School Garden Grants
Deadline: December 1
Grants of up to $500 will be awarded to schools that want to create and start a school garden. Interested schools should explain their reasoning for a school garden and how they would use the grant. Eligible applicants are kindergarten through grade 12 schools in the United States. Applications and requests must be submitted by email.

Boeing Education Grant
Deadline: Rolling
Grant awards vary. Education is one of the areas of focus for Boeing’s corporate-giving program to help students gain fundamental 21st Century skills relevant to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), such as the ability to think critically and solve problems, collaborate well, be creative, and communicate effectively. In the area of Early Learning, Boeing seeks to ensure that every child has access to quality early care and education. Boeing funds programs that improve the preparation of early caregivers and drive public awareness of the importance of early education. In the area of Educator Leadership Development, Boeing supports school and teacher leadership programs that support educators in shifting their practices so that they are equipped to create learning environments that allow students to practice and acquire 21st Century skills. In the area of Problem-based Learning, Boeing funds problem-based learning opportunities related to STEM experiences and skills for students and their families.

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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