2017 Crystal Star Award Recipients

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Program Award of Excellence

Family Leadership Institute
Educational Achievement Services, Inc., Las Vegas, NV

The Family Leadership Institute (FLI) is an educational curriculum aimed at parents and caregivers, with the goal of providing them with family leadership skills in order to support academic achievement and life success for their children. The FLI was originally designed to serve immigrant and migrant Hispanic families. Its two main areas of emphasis are, first, to provide participating parents and caregivers with the skills and inspiration needed to enhance their own personal success and to allow them to serve as role models for their children. Second, the program places strong emphasis on parental engagement and attempts to increase parents’ involvement in their children’s education.

The FLI curriculum was developed through the life experience of Lt. Col. Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch (Ret.) and is offered through Educational Achievement Services, Inc., Las Vegas, NV. It has been refined through implementation over the past 20 years. More than 1,000 districts have been exposed to this program in some form. When implemented fully, FLI has demonstrated effectiveness in increasing parent engagement. At the same time, student performance has increased as seen by improved student attendance, lower discipline incidents and retention, and higher academic scores. The effective focus on parent engagement has earned the Family Leadership Institute the Crystal Star Award of Excellence in Dropout Recovery, Intervention, and Prevention.


Program Award of Excellence

Changing the World, One Student at a Time Program
Westside High School/Anderson School District Five, Anderson, SC

In the fall of 2013, Thomas A. Wilson, Superintendent of Anderson School District Five, Anderson, SC, contacted the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (NDPC/N) to discuss possible ways the NDPC/N could support his district priority of improving graduation rates. The conversation led to NDPC/N and the district conducting a series of Program Assessment and Reviews (PARs). The goal of the PARs was to develop the schools’ and the district’s capacity for self-directed, continuous school improvement, resulting in more students being able to graduate from high school in a timely manner, prepared for successful transition to their next steps.

The PARs identified areas of focus that align with eight of the 15 effective strategies for dropout prevention as identified by NDPC/N. Comprehensive efforts were made in the areas of Systemic Approach, Safe Learning Environments, Mentoring/Tutoring, Alternative Schooling, Professional Development, Active Learning, Educational Technology, and Individualized Instruction.

Over the course of the next three years, the administration and faculty have worked tirelessly to move from a status quo, fixed mindset to put action behind a vision that has resulted in growth and impact proven by the increase in graduation rate from 70.00% to 78.87%. Particularly effective was the “Changing the World, One Student at a Time” program conducted at Westside High School. The presentation of the Crystal Star Award of Excellence in Dropout Recovery, Intervention, and Prevention honors the district’s intentional and effective effort to increase the graduation rates in their community.


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Individual Award of Excellence

Lori Lamb
Director of Alternative Education, Arkansas Department of Education

As Director of Alternative Education for the Arkansas Department of Education, Lori Lamb is described by peers as a visionary with a diverse range of leadership skills. Mrs. Lamb served as past regional director, vice president, and president of the National Alternative Education Association as she became the voice for alternative education legislatively, both in Arkansas and nationally. Her passion for strengthening alternative education is evident in her work to develop research-based guidelines and indicators to assist programs in designing, implementing, and evaluating alternative education programs. An educator for 34 years, Mrs. Lamb currently serves 22 school districts as an educational partner to all Arkansas school superintendents, developing and presenting organizational structures that allow schools to cultivate learning environments that provide authentic teaching and learning. Her philosophy that professional development must directly impact professional practices and improve student achievement is reected in all she does. As a former foster child and, in partnership with her husband, as a foster parent for 25 young people throughout her career, her passion for developing positive role models for all at-risk children permeates her professional and her personal life. Because she constantly challenges her colleagues to exceed expectations and to keep students at the heart of education through her example and by her actions, Lori Lamb is a recipient of the National Dropout Prevention Network’s 2017 Crystal Star Awards of Excellence in Dropout Recovery, Intervention, and Prevention Individual Award.