Why do we need to know?
If we can answer the question as to why students in our communities drop out of school, we're able to provide appropriate interventions that will prevent others from dropping out.
For example, if a student reports that they dropped out of school because “I felt like I didn’t fit in”; a school’s response would be to focus on building a positive school climate. The school could also encourage teachers and other staff members to reach out to students that seem to be disengaged in school, in an effort to make a difference for that child. These simple actions could decrease the dropout rate significantly.
How to intervene
However, in order to appropriately intervene, a school needs to know where to put the majority of its resources allocated for dropout interventions. If two thirds of a school’s dropouts report that they left school because they “were bored” or that “school work was too easy and didn’t see a reason to go”, the school can respond by ensuring teachers are using rigor and relevance in their instruction.
The school can provide professional development for the teachers that focuses on research based teaching methods using relevancy with every subject taught. School administrators and Teachers and at the school can allow for service learning projects and encourage hands-on, or kinesthetic learning. Leaders can allot money for additional gifted and talented programming, and allow for mentoring or internships as appropriate.
When we know why kids are dropping out of school, we can get a better understanding about how we can help them stay in school.