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It’S A Hard Knock Life


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It’S A Hard Knock Life

  1. 1. High School Dropout Retention Mary K. Kirk November 29, 2006
  2. 2. Objectives • To familiarize with statistics about graduation dropout and retention • To learn warning signs of at- risk youth • To learn when kids leave school • To understand what can be done to prevent students from leaving school
  3. 3. Who Drops Out of School? • According to the Department of Education, the dropout rates are as follows: • Native American Students (12.2%) • Hispanic Students (7.8%) • African American Students (6.5%) • Caucasian Students (4.0%)
  4. 4. Conflicting Numbers About Graduation Rates • According to Dr. Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute, the dropout rate is roughly nine out of eleven (82-83%). However, the dropout rate among minorities is three out of four (75%). • This is based on 4,000,000 that could have graduated in 2003. However, only 2,700,000 actually graduated.
  5. 5. Racial Gap • The racial gap has improved but we still have a long way to go. • In the 1960s, only 40 percent of African American Students graduated with a high school diploma. Now we have doubled that. • There are many different formulas to compute dropout rates. However, the ballpark estimates are roughly accurate.
  6. 6. To Include GED? • There is now a movement to include GED graduates as part of the graduation rate. • GED graduates have the same opportunities that high school graduates have: – Enter college – Join military – Obtain job/job training
  7. 7. To Include GED? • However, many of the same problems stay with them after completing the GED. Including all of the GED graduates in graduation rates would be misleading.
  8. 8. Who Is At Risk? • Repeat One or More Grades • Low Socioeconomic Background • Speak English as a Second Language • Become Pregnant or Make Someone Pregnant • Frequently Absent/Truant
  9. 9. Top 10 Reasons Kids Leave School 1. Poor Attendance 2. Enter GED Program 3. Employment 4. Low or Failing Grades 5. Age 6. To Get Married 7. Pregnancy 8. Suspension/Expulsion 9. Did Not Meet Graduation Requirements 10. Enter Alternative Program (i.e. Job Corps)
  10. 10. When Do Kids Leave School? • Between the ages of 15 to 17 years of age • According to Arkansas law, all students must be enrolled in school somewhere until the age of 18. They can enter a GED program at the age of 16 with the consent of both district and parent. • However, many use home schooling rules to get around mandatory education.
  11. 11. My Experience • Students enter GED programs after they reach the age of 16 in the state of Arkansas. • Many of these students have the same experiences: • • In trouble with the Truant/absence law • FINS cases s • In trouble at • Pregnant or have school/do not child on the way • Poor fit in • Not • Mental health passing/not issues • Employment going to graduate
  12. 12. Grouping Reasons I group the reasons students leave school into three major classifications: Social • Juvenile Delinquency • FINS • Drugs • Mental Health Issues School • Absences/Truant • In trouble/do not fit in • Not passing/not going to graduate • Retained at least one year Family • Pregnant or have child on way • Poor • Employment
  13. 13. Social Issues Juvenile Delinquency • Innovation • Retreatism • Ritualism • Conformity FINS • Rebellion • Control • Parental responsibility • Abuse Drugs • Rise in drug use • Acceptance of drug use Mental Health Issues • Diagnosed mental health issues • Undiagnosed mental health issues
  14. 14. School Issues Absences/Truant • Lack of parent control • Students do not want to be there • Students do not feel safe In trouble/do not fit in • Problems with discipline • Feel like outcasts/bullying Not passing/not going to graduate • Not enough credits • Not passing and do not want to fail Retained at least one year • Are behind and will reach 19 or 20 before graduate • No structured programs to catch up
  15. 15. Family Issues Pregnant or have child on way Throw-away Children/Kindling Theory Poor • Children as possessions • Society/school is “against them.” • Cannot afford to go to school Employment • Must have job to contribute to family • Need job to “escape” family
  16. 16. Need to Improve Middle School Transition • Most students drop out at critical transition points. • Research shows that students who participate in programs that help them transition from middle school were less likely to drop out. • Maryland schools have instituted schools-within-schools, 9th grade academies, smaller learning communities, and other strategies (Legters & Kerr 2001).
  17. 17. What Can Be Done to Prevent Dropping Out? 15 identified Strategies - National Dropout Prevention • Service learning • Systemic renewal • Conflict resolution • Professional development • Out-of-school experiences • Early childhood education • Community collaboration • Alternative schooling • Family involvement • Instructional technologies • Reading and writing programs • Individualized instruction • Mentoring/tutoring • Learning style/multiple intelligence strategies • Career education/workforce readiness
  18. 18. What Can Be Done to Prevent Dropping Out? Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory has characteristics of successful dropout prevention programs (Woods 1999): • Organization/administration • School climate • Service delivery/instruction • Instructional content/curriculum • Staff/teacher culture
  19. 19. The Most Important Tool To Prevent Dropout • YOU • Mentoring is critical to keeping students in school. • The student must have someone that he or she can identify with. • The students who leave school (dropout) normally have lost hope in his or her school success.
  20. 20. Methods Used in GED to Retain Remember important dates in the students’ lives • Birthdays • Christmas • Illness in student and family • Let the students know how much you care • McDonalds, Pizza Hut, etc. will give free stuff that you can give to students • A handwritten note to let the student know that you were thinking of them can really make a difference.
  21. 21. Methods Used in GED to Retain Self-addressed and stamped postcards • The student can send new address • If the student feels the connection, he or she will keep in touch. • The students want their birthday cards. You might be the only person who remembers their birthday. This happens more often than you would think
  22. 22. Methods Used in GED to Retain Communication, Communication, Communication • Calls whenever the student is not there, not just the call to alert the parent that he or she is absent. • Cards to let student know you are thinking about him or her. • The students need to feel important to someone. Make yourself that person. Be respectful and keep the communication lines open. The students who come to me know that I will always be up front and honest with them. This means a great deal to them.
  23. 23. Conclusion • There are many things that can be done to retain students. • However, most of the solutions are administrative changes and are beyond what a counselor or teacher can do. • Becoming a trusted mentor is the most cost effective and successful strategy that can be effective. • Mary’s story.