When students drop out of school, they are more likely to struggle both socially and financially. Characteristics of students and their families, schools and communities all affect whether students will graduate from high school. Although teachers and administrators often extend a helping hand, it can be difficult to prevent students from repeating a life cycle that includes minimal education and poverty. While improving high school retention rates may not be a priority to some, it is important to remember that ignoring this concern could impose negative consequences on the individual as well as on society. Consequently, high schools across the country have implemented numerous policies to address high school dropouts.
Dropout prevention begins with identifying at-risk students. Educators pinpoint students who practice infrequent attendance, inappropriate behavior and course failure, because they exhibit the “ABC’s” of dropout. Fortunately, these factors can help predict whether students will drop out as early as middle school, allowing educators to intervene.
Student history can be used as a predictor for at-risk students. Currently, qualified school personnel can review a student’s living situation, attendance, behavior, age and health issues as displayed in a secure database. This information is often verified for accuracy, allowing qualified individuals to check on a student throughout the school year. Having access to these databases is essential to recognizing at-risk students and providing them with assistance.
Many high schools offer grade and attendance recovery to qualified students. If a student has frequent absences, he may have the opportunity to make up his missed time with each teacher. Making up time allows the student to seek tutoring as well as complete his assignments. In addition to attendance recovery, students can recover their grades by completing additional assignments using particular online programs established by the school they attend.
Although most students anticipate attending a traditional high school, personal interests and responsibilities lead some students to discover that it is not the right fit for them. Consequently, students have the option of attending early college, which is a joint program involving local high schools and postsecondary schools. Following the application process, students have the opportunity to attend early college during their junior and senior years of school, earning them both a high school diploma and up to two years of transferable college credits. The majority of students who attend early college decide to continue their postsecondary education.
Although it can be challenging to motivate a diverse group of students, many teachers have begun to provide real-world learning experiences for their students. Through team teaching, real-world curriculum and involvement from the professional community, students have become more hands-on while learning. Students who have particular interests in the arts or certain vocations can also participate in hands-on learning experiences at specialized area schools.