Preventing School Dropout: What You Need to Know

Nearly one in five high school students will not graduate from high school in four years. How can we prevent this? How can we make sure that all students graduate on time? Well, you should know that many educators have systems in place to make sure that your student succeeds. They can use strategies to support your student, and together, we can create a partnership to prevent students from dropping out. Here are some more facts for you. Students may show signs of being off-track to graduate from high school as early as middle school. Sixth graders who fail math or reading classes, or attend school less than 80% of the time have only a 10 to 20% chance of graduating on time. Of course, high school is also an important time to make sure students are on track. Students fail freshman year more than any other high school grade. Students that receive more than one F in a core subject, such as English, math, science and social studies, are considered off-track for graduating high school on time. High school dropouts earn nearly $8,000 less per year than someone with a diploma. What do these facts tell us? We must put the right supports in place to make sure that students are on track in middle and high school so they can be successful and graduate on time. So, what can we do to make sure our students succeed? We can use early warning systems. Early warning systems are systems that educators use to identify students who are at risk of dropping out. A dedicated team of educators manage these systems. Members of the team can include teachers, counselors, principals and district staff. Early warning systems can use attendance, behavior and grades to determine if students are on- or off-track. Data used in these systems are kept in a secure location that only appropriate people, such as teachers and principals, have access to. The data can be shared with you to let you know whether your student is on-track for graduation. Educators can use this data to determine what supports students need to get back on-track. This effort to get students back on track is called dropout prevention. One example of dropout prevention support is Check & Connect. Check & Connect is a support program for students who are disengaged from school. Trained mentors build trusting relationships with students and monitor their attendance, behavior and grades. They then respond with personalized supports to help students be successful in school. Ask your student’s teacher or school staff about dropout prevention and early warning systems so you can make sure that your student succeeds on graduation day and beyond.

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