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.
Registration will open soon for the National Dropout Prevention Center’s very first National Lessons Learned Conference for K-12 Students, February 17-19, 2020, at the Westin Charlotte in North Carolina. The conference will provide opportunities for school and district teams to learn and work together on their local plan while being supported by expert practitioners, model programs, and national thought leaders.
This conference will provide participants with inspiration, research and practical strategies to implement change with a strand focused on Supporting At-Risk Students. This strand will be presented by the National Dropout Prevention Center and will share proven practices for engaging and supporting at-risk students including NDPC’s Trauma-Skilled Schools Model.
Service-learning connects meaningful community service experiences with academic learning. This teaching/learning method promotes personal and social growth, career development, and civic responsibility and can be a powerful vehicle for effective school reform at all grade levels.
Indian Creek Middle School in Mingo Junction, Ohio, used grant money to add picnic benches made of recycled plastics to create an outdoor classroom. This green initiative is attached to a larger service-learning project for all eighth-grade students. As a part of the larger service-learning project, students will divert trash from the landfill which, in turn, will divert hundreds of pounds of food that will break down into nutrients for soil at the school. Service-learning can also be a great activity in which to to involve mentors. Taylor Elementary School in Kokomo, Indiana, hosts an annual Taylor Service-Learning Day where students work on multiple community service projects and are aided by high schoolers who also serve as their mentors throughout the year. Several local businesses have donated to the day focused on service and empathy.
Mindful Littles, a program about self-care and good habits focusing on lowering students’ stress and anxiety after trauma, has begun with a service-learning project as a part of Paradise Ridge Elementary Schools’ healing initiative. The program uses small service-learning projects such a putting together peace kits containing mindfulness tools and delivering them. The program reinforces the idea that by helping others, students can also help themselves.
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.
High school students from Newport, Waldport, North Bend, and Beaverton in Lincoln City, Oregon, recently boarded the Oceanus, a research vessel operated by the University of Oregon, in a service-learning project to teach them firsthand about marine-related careers. While onboard the Oceanus, students launched an unmanned sailboat built by Career Tech High School in Lincoln City. The students’ participation is a part of the research for wave-powered generators’ implementation off the coast.
Some CTE programs allow students to graduate from high school with more than just a diploma. At Sequim High School in Sequim, Washington, students are offered certificate courses in the CTE electives that allow them to earn A+ Computer Repair or Cisco Certified Network Associate certifications. Students in Vigo County, Indiana, are building communities and careers at their tech ed program. The building trades program teaches students how to build homes from the ground up. Construction has provided a career path for some students who were struggling to find what to pursue. The homes are built throughout the year and then sold to fund next years' projects.
Steven Paine, the Superintendent of the West Virginia Department of Education, recently released an op-ed for National Workforce Development Month discussing the strengths of CTE programs in helping the state meet its economic growth needs. Superintendent Paine discusses the strengths of programs that are allowing high school graduates to take on important roles in the West Virginia workforce right away with core certifications.
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.
New York is taking an innovative approach to kids in the criminal justice system that keeps the family and community involved with rehabilitation. Instead of sending youth to juvenile detention centers, students are sent to Close to Home centers which are typical houses in neighborhoods that allow students to live at home and commute to the centers for their education and rehabilitation. This shift from boarding schools allows students to remain with their families and involves the students’ families in the process. In Cheyenne, Wyoming, Laramie County School District 1 is offering the PEEPS center. (Parent Engagement and Educational Partnerships with Schools). This program gives parents a space to come and learn about the resources in their schools and community to help them support their child. They will also begin hosting classes based on “Love and Logic” for parents to attend. The Sumter School District in South Carolina is moving forward in engaging parents and families with their inaugural Title 1 Family Engagement Festival. The festival included community agencies to help assist parents in learning about the tools available to them. The school invited all to this workshop with complimentary food, drink, and music to set the stage for speakers to talk about the importance of the family’s involvement in their child’s academic success.
A recently published study shows that parental engagement has a positives effect on a child’s academic attainment regardless of age or socioeconomic status. The study commissioned by the Education Endowment Foundation showed that, for school-aged children, home and school partnerships are extremely important. The research highlights the need for continual support from parents from childhood through secondary schooling.
Deadline: February 1
Awards range from $20,000 to $75,000 over a one-year period. The American Honda Foundation supports education with a specific focus on the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); the environment; job training; and literacy. It engages in grant making that reflects the basic tenets, beliefs, and philosophies of Honda companies, which are characterized by the following qualities: imaginative, creative, youthful, scientific, humanistic, and innovative.
Deadline: March 1
Awards vary. The Nora Roberts Foundation makes grants in the areas of literacy, children’s programs, arts, and humanitarian efforts. Literacy Grants are intended to empower people through literacy. Recent grants were used to fund the purchase of books for children in need; informal learning programs focused on science, technology, and local history for individuals, families, and school groups; and theatre and arts education, including after-school programs, summer camps, and professional training for teachers, students, schools, and families.
Deadline: Year-round acceptance
Awards vary. Sony Corporation of American and its operating companies offer funding to programs that support education and creative, artistic, technical, and scientific skills that are necessary for tomorrow’s workforce. Previous education grants have funded a wide range of environmental media teaching and research projects; meaningful environmental education events and programs; quality education programs for at-risk students; arts and arts education; equipment for educational nonprofits and academic institutions, including major colleges and universities across the country; youth mentoring educational program to teach students about workplace etiquette and various careers available in the technology and entertainment industries; and multiple other mentoring opportunities, including one-on-one, school-based, or in the workplace.
The National Dropout Prevention Center offers a number of free or low-cost resources on our website www.dropoutprevention.org
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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