High-schooldropouts is a common thing that is regular for some people that should behelped and prevented.

If we take these precautions and continue to encouragegraduation with rewards and achievement, the rate can go down even lower and itcan be a better future for everybody. All students have personal interests, and creativeteachers will find ways to link these interests to the classroom topics. Suchlinking combines personal with situational interest, which will prevent boredomand ultimately could help to reduce school dropout. A good example is found inthe increasingly popular senior projects, where high school seniors select atopic in which they have personal interest, research it, write a paper on it,and prepare and deliver a presentation that includes props.

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This assignment ispart of the school’s academic program and is used in one of the classes (e.g.,English). It allows students to explore in greater depth a topic in which theyare interested and which they choose. The assignment includes differentactivities, thereby ensuring a varied format. Students set their own schedulesto complete the assignment and choose their presentation formats and props.

Senior projects combine personal with situational interest and show studentshow school learning can be enjoyable and can facilitate their understanding ofa topic of high interest to them. Students who do not plan to attend collegecould choose a senior project linked to a vocational interest. Teachers couldshow students how the project will improve their work skills and potentiallyhelp them in their careers. This belief might help students stay in school. We do not mean to downplay skill deficits, because noamount of interest will lead to a skillful performance when capabilities arelacking. Most students at risk for school dropout need remedial assistance inorder to enjoy some measure of success. Skill remediation programs, combinedwith linking students’ interests with learning, may help to reduce the dropout rateand thus contribute to a more productive citizenry.

It’s an all-too-familiar story: Parent involvementdeclines as students get older and become more independent. But although therole of parents changes in secondary school, their ongoing engagement — fromregular communication with school staff to familiarity with their child’sschedule, courses, and progress toward graduation — remains central tostudents’ success. Findings in a March 2006 report, “The SilentEpidemic,” illustrate the importance of engaged parents throughoutsecondary school. Sixty-eight percent of the high school dropouts whoparticipated in the study said their parents became involved in their educationonly after realizing their student was contemplating dropping out of school. In Sacramento, California, high school staff membersmake appointments with parents for voluntary home visits, to keep parentsengaged with their children’s progress.

This strategy — which has so far beenreplicated nationally in eleven states, plus the District of Columbia –includes placing as many visits as possible during summer and fall to parentsof teens entering high school — a critical transition point for many students– to begin building a net of support and to connect parents to the new school.Staffers also conduct summer, fall, and spring home visits between and duringthe sophomore and junior years to students who are at risk of not graduatingbecause of deficiencies in course credits, the possibility of failing the statehigh school exit exam (a condition of graduation), or poor grades. Visits inthe summer after junior year and fall of senior year are to ensure thatstudents are on track for either career or college. Early evaluations of theprogram by Paul Tuss of Sacramento County Office of Education’s Center forStudent Assessment and Program Accountability found that students who receiveda home visit were considerably more likely to be successful in their exit examintervention and academic-support classes and pass the English portion of theexit exam. A follow-up evaluation of the initial cohort of students at LutherBurbank High School showed that the students both passed the exit exam andgraduated high school at significantly higher rates.

a collaboration among foundations, parents, youngpeople, and youth-serving organizations such as the school district and cityagencies in Philadelphia, grew out of research that analyzed a variety of datasources in order to develop a clear picture of the nature of Philadelphia’sdropout problem, get a deeper understanding of which students were most likelyto drop out, and identify the early-warning signs that should alert teachers,school staff, and parents to the need for interventions. After looking at dataspanning some five years, researchers were able to see predictors of studentswho were most at risk of not graduating.Boredom and disengagement are two key reasons studentsstop attending class and wind up dropping out of school. In “The SilentEpidemic,” 47 percent of dropouts said a major reason for leaving schoolwas that their classes were not interesting. Instruction that takes studentsinto the broader community provides opportunities for all students –especially experiential learners — to connect to academics in a deeper, morepowerful way. For example, at Big Picture Learning schoolsthroughout the country, internships in local businesses and nonprofitorganizations are integrated into the regular school week.

Students work withteacher advisers to find out more about what interests them and to research andlocate internships; then on-the-job mentors work with students and schoolfaculty to design programs that build connections between work life andacademics. Nationwide, Big Picture schools have an on-time graduation rate of90 percent. Watch an Edutopia video about Big Picture Schools.Increased rigor doesn’t have to mean increased dropoutrates. Higher expectations and more challenging curriculum, coupled with thesupport students need to be successful, have proven to be an effective strategynot only for increasing graduation rates, but also for preparing students tograduate from high school with options.

In San Jose, California, the San JoseUnified School District implemented a college-preparatory curriculum for allstudents in 1998. Contrary to the concerns of early skeptics, the more rigorousworkload didn’t cause graduation rates to plummet. Recent data shows that theSJUSD has a four-year dropout rate of just 11.4 percent, compared with astatewide average of 18.2 percent.or too many students, large comprehensive high schoolsare a place to get lost rather than to thrive. That’s why districts throughoutthe country are working to personalize learning by creating small schools orreorganizing large schools into small learning communities, as part of theirstrategy for reducing the dropout rate.

A 2010 MDRC report funded by the Bill& Melinda Gates Foundation looked at the 123 “small schools ofchoice,” or SSCs, that have opened in New York City since 2002. The reportshowed higher graduation rates at the new schools compared with their muchlarger predecessors. By the end of their first year in high school, 58.5percent of students enrolled in SSCs were on track to graduate, compared with48.5 percent of their peers in other schools, and by the fourth year,graduation rates increased by 6.

8 percentage points.       For somestudents, the demands of a job or family responsibilities make it impossible toattend school during the traditional bell schedule. Forward-thinking districtsrecognize the need to come up with alternatives. Liberty High School, a Houstonpublic charter school serving recent immigrants, offers weekend and eveningclasses, providing students with flexible scheduling that enables them to workor handle other responsibilities while still attending school. Similarly, inLas Vegas, students at Cowan Sunset Southeast High School’s campus can attendclasses in the late afternoon and early evening to accommodate work schedules,and they may be eligible for child care, which is offered on a limited basis tohelp young parents continue their education. Watch an Edutopia video aboutCowan Sunset High School.

Research shows that it costs more to educate somestudents, including students living in poverty, English-language learners, andstudents with disabilities. Recognizing this need, some districts have adopteda student-centered funding model, which adjusts the funding amount based on thedemographics of individual students and schools, and more closely aligns fundingto their unique needs. Flexible funding enables schools with more challengingpopulations to gain access to more resources so they can take needed steps suchas reducing class size, hiring more experienced and effective teachers, andimplementing other programs and services to support students with greaterneeds. Although switching to this funding model does requirean infusion of new dollars — to support the added costs associated witheducating certain groups of students without reducing funds to schools withsmaller at-risk populations — many districts have already explored or areusing this option, including districts in Denver, New York City, Oakland andSan Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Seattle, Baltimore, Hartford,Cincinnati, and the state of Hawaii, which has only one school district.