21 Things Districts
Make school dropouts a
district wide concern, and focus on changing institutions rather than
Intervene early. The timing
of interventions is critical, i.e., in preschool and middle school.
Continuity of effort must be maintained.
Set and communicate high
Select and train teachers who
are interested in working with at-risk students.
Recognize that there is no
one solution to this problem; risk factors are interrelated. Provide a
broad range of instructional programs to accommodate students with
Provide a package of services
within each community. Work with families, churches and other community
organizations to develop a collaborative program for dropout prevention.
Encourage and support
programs that motivate parents to participate at all levels of their
Establish strong permanent
alternatives as part of a comprehensive strategy of dropout prevention.
Alternative schools should be high-status organizations, receiving
resources commensurate with the tasks they undertake and the success
Develop and implement a
collection system for data on dropouts, and use it to identify groups at
risk, set policy and fund programs at the national level.
Train staff in methods for
identifying at-risk youth.
Focus on a team approach for
working with at-risk youth.
Develop model programs with
parents, teachers, business, government, and community participation.
Educate children to meet the
changing demands of a technological society, not just to get a job in
Provide curriculum that is
process oriented as well as content oriented.
Strengthen model programs for
disadvantaged youth by providing a summer component.
Conduct broad-based needs
assessment and planning efforts that include parents, students,
businesses, and social agencies working with youth and community
organizations, as well as teachers and school administrators.
Provide dropout prevention
activities for all levels, K-12, with an emphasis on early intervention.
Review and revise as
necessary organizational variables, policies and procedures affecting
the school's ability to meet the needs of high-risk youth. This should
include review of student-teacher ratios, discipline policies and
procedures, absenteeism, truancy, suspension, failing grades, and
Expand networking as the
capacity to create linkages across groups. The dropout problem is a
community, business, economic and social problem.
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.
Build into the program
ongoing staff development as well as evaluation and feedback.