A thorough scan of resources has been conducted by the Colorado Department of Education as well as discussion with other stakeholders and interviews with national state and local practitioners. Combining and summarizing many documents has led us to gleam our recommended practices from the Dropout Prevention Guide compiled and researched by IES as well as input from Colorado’s local education agencies.
Over the past three years, more than 300 stakeholders from across the state participated in three summits and a forum sponsored by America’s Promise Alliance. Stakeholders and participants represented schools, communities, non-profit organizations, businesses and state agencies. The following “Framework of Strategies for Dropout Prevention and Student Re-Engagement” incorporates the recommendations by these stakeholders and is linked to the four categories on why students drop out.
National Governors Association Center for Best Practices
In October of 2009, The NGA Center for Best Practices released a report highlighting what states can do to decrease the dropout rate entitled, “Achieving Graduation for All; a Governor’s Guide to Dropout Prevention and Recovery”. The report encourages states to take four action steps:
- Encourage high school graduation for all by creating or eliminating policy barriers such as raising the compulsory education age and holding schools accountable for graduating kids.
- Identify students who are at risk of dropping out and provide them with intentional support.
- Incentivize districts to re-enroll out-of school youth.
- Provide alternative options along with rigorous and relevant curriculum to students who may be looking to pursue a high school diploma in a non-traditional setting.
There are many ways states (and districts) can implement the aforementioned strategies in an effort to improve graduation rates and decrease dropout rates.
Though it is true growing attention has been paid to the dropout dilemma in America due to the unsettling statistics surrounding students who drop out of school, there has been a positive shift towards developing solutions to the dropout problem rather than simply acknowledging that a problem exists. Much of the research reveals that successful dropout prevention programs must be comprehensive in nature and focus on whole school reform.
However, to most school and district leaders, the phrase “comprehensive school reform” is very intimidating. In order to fix a problem of this magnitude with the limited resources that are today’s reality; districts may have no choice but to make changes one step at a time. It is true that some forward movement towards decreasing the dropout rate is better than none.