I have been working on Dropout Prevention with 9 schools in Fayette County, West Virginia. One of the major issues I’ve noticed has been the lack of knowledge about when the dropout risk begins developing—many people believe it begins in the high school years, but through our data tracking, it has shown that the risk begins in elementary school. Currently, each school I’m working with has set SMART Goals to address Dropouts. Each school has identified students who are considered potential dropouts and named them ABC Kids–these are students at risk because of Academics, Behavior and Course Grade. Steps have been put in place to support these students and parents, including parent nights and faith-based connections.
Each student has also been assigned a mentor. The mentors meet with the students, parents, counselors, teachers, and administrators. The students are given additional support through tutoring, additional phone calls, texting, and one of the schools, Midland Trails, has even set up an internet site for chatting. These schools are using Facebook, Twitter, and Edmodo too to find students who may have left school. Hopefully, using all the technology and knowledge we currently have access to, the dropout rate can be significantly reduced in upcoming years.