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News Release - Dropout Prevention And Student Engagement Summit, February 18, 2011

Feb. 14, 2011

Note: The Dropout Summit is by registration only. Registration has closed. Conference presentation materials will be available on the Dropout Prevention and Student Engagement Web page at

News Release

Dropout Prevention And Student Engagement Summit On Friday, Feb. 18, In Thornton, Addresses Strategies To Keep Students In School

The Colorado Department of Education’s Office of Dropout Prevention and Student Engagement and ScholarCentric will co-sponsor a Dropout Prevention and Student Engagement Summit on Friday, Feb. 18, 2011. The summit will bring together more than 200 Colorado school district education leaders to discuss strategies to keep students in school and on-track toward graduation.

The summit will be held from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Adams 12 Five Star Schools, 1500 E. 128th Ave., in Thornton.

“More than 13,000 Colorado middle and high school students dropped out in the 2009-2010 school year,” said Judith Martinez, director of CDE’s Office of Dropout Prevention and Student Engagement.

“That’s 3 percent of students enrolled in grades seven to 12. While this number represents significant gains made in the last two years, more work needs to be done to ensure that all Colorado students are on the path to postsecondary success.”

Martinez says the cost of not graduating is profound. Dropouts are 15 percent less likely to be employed, and those who do find jobs earn 30 percent less in wages than their peers who hold a regular diploma or GED.

Attendees at the summit represent nearly two dozen of Colorado’s school districts. Those schools were selected in October to receive intensive support through a five-year, $14.1 million federal High School Graduation Initiative grant awarded to CDE.

Data released by CDE this week shows that 72 percent of Colorado students in 2010 graduated from high school on time – up almost two percentage points from 2009. The state also saw progress in reducing the dropout rate. The 2009-2010 annual drop-out rate improved to 3.1 percent, .5 percentage points less than the 3.6 percent rate posted in 2008-2009. The state’s annual dropout rate reflects the percentage of all students enrolled in grades seven to 12 who leave school during a single school year. Between 2008-2009 and 2009-2010, the number of students counted as dropouts declined from 14,975 to 13,147.

Barely half of Native American students graduated in four years, compared to almost 56 percent of Hispanic students and 64 percent of black students. About 82 percent of Asian students and 80 percent of white students graduated in four years.

“Since our mission is to bring research-based solutions to our district partners, we are excited to organize a summit that increases focus on the root causes of student disengagement and academic failure,” said Steve Weigler, president of ScholarCentric.

Keynote speaker Bill Milliken, author of “The Last Dropout: Stop the Epidemic!,” is nationally recognized for empowering students to stay in school and achieve success in life. Founder and vice chairman of Communities in Schools, Milliken is a national pioneer in the movement to give students the help they need to graduate and go on to rewarding lives.

In addition to Milliken, several authors will be featured at the summit’s author’s table including Colorado First Lady Helen Thorpe, who will be signing copies of her book, “Just Like Us.”

The summit will focus on what’s working in Colorado and other communities across the U.S. Workshops include national and local experts from districts, schools and organizations working to keep students in school.

For a complete agenda or for more details about the summit, contact Peter Fritz, 303-866-6601 or

About the Office of Dropout Prevention and Student Engagement

CDE’s Office of Dropout Prevention supports local education providers to enhance and strengthen efforts to prevent students from dropping-out and to re-engage out-of-school youth.

About ScholarCentric

ScholarCentric uses university research to create proven solutions for schools to positively impact student performance in the classroom. ScholarCentric has worked with Denver Public Schools and Jeffco Public Schools on district initiatives. For more information, visit:

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