Increasing Students Connection to School
The school system spends more than $33 million a year on its various dropout-prevention programs in addition to the schools regular operating budgets. While school districts nationwide are trying a variety of approaches to combat high dropout rates, three common themes have emerged as keys to success: intense one-on-one attention; frequent testing to ensure steady progress; and partnerships with non-profits that provide resources not available in most urban districts.
In New York, only half of all high school students graduate in four years. But a local experiential school is changing those statistics. Students transferred are transfered to this intimate school after floundering in large high schools where they were lost in the crowd.
- Staff at the experimental school is charged with getting involved
- All of the 150 students have a counselor checking in every day
- Counselors regularly greet students with reports on grades and attendance.
- They call the cellphones and homes of students who fail to show.
The philosophy behind their elaborate anti-dropout programs is a simple one: Make students aware that somebody cares about their lives and futures. As one student says, “The teachers and counselors don’t let us slip away.”