2005 Crystal Star Award Recipients

2005 National Dropout Prevention Network Crystal Star Awards of Excellence Program Winners

Education Counts—Zer0Guilford
Guilford County Schools, Greensboro, North Carolina

Guildford County has a comprehensive program that starts with preschool. Programs address literacy, student achievement, and professional development. Students have the choice of attending the Innovative Early and Middle College or a variety of magnet schools. A special strategic reading program is available at the high school level. Each high school has a dropout prevention specialist. The dropout rate has decreased annually for the past five years, and by more than 50% since 20001-2002. Almost 84% of graduates planned to attend two- or four-year colleges and universities. Overall SAT scores have risen from 999 in 2000 to 1,011 in 2004; 64% of the seniors take the SAT compared with 48% nationally. Guilford County was one of the few districts in the nation to have all 14 of its high schools ranked in the top 200 by Newsweek.


School for Integrated Academics and Technologies (SIATech) Charter School
Vista, California

The mission of SIATech is to provide high school students who have dropped out of the traditional education system and are now enrolled in the Federal Job Corps Program, the opportunity to complete their high school education and to break the cycle of poverty. There are seven sites in California, two in Arizona, one in Georgia, four in Florida, and one in New Mexico. SIATech delivers computer-based instruction with individualized education plans that are specifically designed to meet the needs of students within a population that has an exceptionally wide range of skills and academic backgrounds. From 1998-2004, 3,919 students previously designated as dropouts, have earned an accredited high school diploma. The program received an U.S. Department of Labor Alpha Award for outstanding community partnership in 2001, and the California Distinguished School Award in 2003.


Sinclair Community College Fast Forward Center
Sinclair Community College, Dayton, Ohio

The Fast Forward Center was established in 2001 to develop and maintain a comprehensive network of alternative schools and programs for youth ages 15-21 who have previously dropped out or are not regularly attending high school. Partners include three alternative charter high schools that specifically serve dropouts, a charter middle school, and other Dayton-based alternative education programs. The goal of Fast Forward is to return the youth to high school, help them achieve proficiency, earn a high school diploma, and have a positive placement upon graduation. The Montgomery County Out-of-School Youth Task Force determined that the county was spending over two-thirds of its annual budget on human welfare services and the criminal justice system. Montgomery County allocated $500,000 of Fast Forward because reducing the dropout rate would save the county money. The Center has served over 4,000 out-of-school youth.


2005 Crystal Star Award for Students with Disabilities Program Award

Moss Point High School Entrepreneurship Program
Moss Point School District, Moss Point, Mississippi

The Moss Point High School Entrepreneurship Program was implemented in 2001-2002. The goal of the program is to promote attendance, prevent dropouts, and teach job skills along with academics for grades nine through twelve. There are three components of the program: Tiger Print Class produces business cards, invitations, flyers, and other printed materials; Embroidery Class decorates toe bags, caps, towels, shirts, and other items; Tiger Den Laundry Service provides laundry services. Schools, students, staff, parents, and community members use the services provided by these three units. Although the number of students with disabilities in the district has increased from 90 in 1999-2000 to 172 in 2004-2005, the number of dropouts has declined from 15 to zero. Over half of the students have secured jobs in the community and attribute their success to the Entrepreneurship Program.


2005 National Dropout Prevention Network Crystal Star Awards of Excellence Individual Winners

Mr. Edward Bates
Director, Positive Alternative Student Services (PASS)
Lake County Regional Office of Education, Grayslake, Illinois

The Regional Office offers special programs related to dropout prevention and recovery, truancy, safe and drug-free schools, education partnerships, gang violence prevention, counseling and guidance, career and workforce development services. He has worked with high risk youth for over 30 years, focusing primarily on the prevention and elimination of truancy. Mr. Bates participates in several local, state, and federal committees which address issues facing Lake County’s most needy community members. He and received national recognition as the administrator of STEP (Summer Training and Education Program), which provides part-time educational and employment opportunities for 15 and 16-year old youth. Mr. Bates is known in the community as a hero to the “child that has been left behind.”

Ms. Katherine Merritt
Outreach Consultant, Howard School
Ontario-Montclair School District, Montclair, California

Ms. Merritt is a student advocate, parent supporter, staff encourager, and teacher. She created a support program for students who have difficulty making friends. Ms. Merritt serves as a resource to community agencies and coordinates programs which provide food, uniforms, clothing, and shoes to students. She has helped design playground and beautification projects, organized a Thanksgiving Feast for the entire school, and assisted Santa Claus in distributing gifts to every student. Ms. Merritt knows the students and families well. She ensures that all students who may not have food on weekends are part of Kids Pack (a back pack filled with food to take home each week that they attend school), have adequate health care, mental health assistance, clothing, shoes, and shelter. She has credentials in Pupil Personnel Services, general education, and special education; is a trained counselor and has completed the Dropout Prevention Specialist (DPS) Program. Ms. Merritt has been a preschool teacher, a special education resource specialist, a middle school counselor, and has performed in many musical theater and opera productions. One of the most valuable lessons she has learned is not to wear high heeled shoes to work with three and four year olds.

Franklin, P. Schargel
Consultant and Author, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Mr. Schargel’s career spans thirty-three years of classroom teaching and eight years of supervision and administration as Assistant Principal. As president of his training firm, The Schargel Consulting Group, Franklin has presented countless workshops for educational, community and business groups throughout the United States, Europe, Canada and Latin America. He is a native of Brooklyn, New York, and a graduate of the University of the City of New York. Franklin holds two Master’s Degrees: one in Secondary Education from City University and a degree from Pace University in School Administration and Supervision. He is the author of Transforming Education Through Total Quality Management: A Practitioner’s Guide; Dropout Prevention Tools; coeditor of Strategies to Help Solve Our School Dropout Problem, and Helping Students Graduate: A Strategic Approach to Dropout Prevention. Franklin has a regular monthly Internet column at GuidanceChannel.com, as well as quarterly column in Quality Education.


2005 Crystal Star Award for Students with Disabilities Individual Award

Dr. Jose Blackorby
Associate Center Director
Center for Education and Human Services, Menlo Park, California

Dr. Blackorby has worked on issues related to outcomes for students with disabilities for his entire professional career and has 15 years of experience in policy-relevant research and quantitative and qualitative data analysis. Dr. Blackorby is the author or coauthor of SRI reports and journal articles that have been an important source of information for the development of state and federal policy regarding special education, education reform and innovation, charter schools, and human services coordination. He is currently the Co-Director of the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS), a five-year national longitudinal study of 11,500 students receiving special education services. SEELS data—parent interviews, teacher surveys, direct and alternate assessments, and transcript data—will provide the first national picture of the experiences and longitudinal outcomes of elementary and middle school students receiving special education.


2005 Crystal Star Award of Excellence Distinguished Leadership and Service

Mr. M. Buell Snyder
Principal, Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville, Kentucky

Mr. Snyder has worked in the school system for 40 years. His creativity and ingenuity have led to the development of many successful programs for high risk students: the Whitney Young Job Corp Center, administering the WIN program, developing refugee camps for the United States State Department, directing numerous JTPA programs, supervising GED/literacy programs for Adult Education and providing the leadership in the development of three alternative schools, Jefferson County High School, Liberty High School, and JCPSeSchool. After the first year of implementation, the District’s dropout rate was reduced by 30% due to transfers into Jefferson County High School. The high school has been replicated by over 250 school districts in more than 27 states. Mr. Snyder continues to consult with these schools and provide staff development and training. Over 6,000 at-risk students have graduated from JCHS since its inception. Nearly 8,000 students per year are taking eSchool courses, some as far away as Japan. He is often quoted as saying, “The students didn’t become at-risk overnight, and so it will take us longer than a day to get them back on the right track. We’ve got to keep trying and give them a chance to turn around.”