Drop-out rates: 21 things districts can do

  1. Make school dropouts a districtwide concern and focus on changing institutions rather than changing individuals.
  2. Intervene early and maintain the continuity of the effort.
  3. Set and communicate high expectations.
  4. Select and train teachers interested in working with at-risk students.
  5. Recognize that there is no single solution to this problem; risk factors are interrelated. Provide a broad range of instructional programs to accommodate students' needs.
  6. Provide a package of services within the community. Work with families, churches and other community organizations to develop a collaborative program for dropout prevention.
  7. Support programs that motivate parents to participate at all levels of their children's education.
  8. Establish strong, permanent aternatives that receive resources commensurate with the tasks they undertake and the success they demonstrate.
  9. Implement a collection system for dropout data to identify groups at risk, set policy and fund programs.
  10. Train staff to identify at-risk youth.
  11. Focus on a team approach for working with at-risk youth.
  12. Develop model programs with parents, teachers, business, government, and community participation.
  13. Educate children to meet the changing demands of a technological society, not just to get a job in today's market.
  14. Provide curriculum that is process-oriented as well as content-oriented.
  15. Strengthen model programs for disadvantaged youth by providing a summer component.
  16. Conduct broad-based needs assessment and planning efforts that go beyond teachers and school administrators include parents, students, businesses, and social agencies working with youth and community organizations.
  17. Provide dropout prevention activities for K-12, with an emphasis on early intervention.
  18. Review and revise policies and procedures affecting the school's ability to meet the needs of high-risk youth, including student-teacher ratios, discipline, absenteeism, truancy, suspension, failing grades, and retention.
  19. Expand networking to get input, ideas, and assistance from your community and local businesses.
  20. Select staff based not only on subject area competency, but also on the ability and desire to provide a respectful caring environment that responds to the needs of the whole child.
  21. Build into the program ongoing staff development as well as evaluation and feedback.