Crystal Star Awards – Criteria for Program Award

A panel of judges will review each nomination for the Crystal Star Awards of Excellence in Dropout Recovery, Intervention and Prevention. The nominating packet consists of the nomination form and the narrative (please use the narrative outline provided) that includes at least five examples of the program’s exemplary practices from the criteria below. The narrative must include an evaluation component explaining how the effectiveness of the program has been established. The ideal program must have been in existence for at least three years and implemented at least five of the following strategies:

  1. Systemic Approach: A continuing process of evaluating goals and objectives related to school policies, practices, and organizational structures as they impact a diverse group of learners is provided.
  2. School-Community Collaboration: The program works with a variety of groups in the community to establish collective support for the school, and to provide a strong infrastructure to sustain a caring environment where youth can thrive and achieve.
  3. Safe Learning Environments: Create a learning environment that provides daily experiences, at all grade levels, which enhance positive social attitudes and effective interpersonal skills in all students.
  4. Family Engagement:  School planning teams receive training in strategies to help parents and other family members become active and informed partners in helping their children pursue and achieve their educational goals. Family members are involved in workshops and meetings to gain the necessary skills.
  5. Early Childhood Education: Students identified as at-risk at a young age receive the best possible classroom instruction from the beginning of their school experience.
  6. Early Literacy Development: Early interventions to help low-achieving students improve their reading and writing skills, establishing the necessary foundation for effective learning in all subjects are fostered.
  7. Mentoring/Tutoring: One-to-one involvement in a mentoring or tutoring situation is utilized.
  8. Service-Learning: Meaningful community service experiences with academic learning, personal growth and civic responsibility are connected.
  9. Alternative Schooling: Alternative academic and vocational programs, varied learning environments and flexible scheduling to meet identified needs of students are offered.
  10. After-School opportunities: Students are involved in a variety of activities during after-school or summer sessions: study skills, enrichment events, and accelerated courses.
  11. Professional Development: The staff is engaged in professional development activities and research that contribute to exemplary teaching practices in dropout prevention.
  12. Active Learning: Students are empowered to find new and creative ways to solve problems, achieve success, and become lifelong learners.
  13. Educational Technology: Students are engaged in authentic learning, and technology is used to address multiple intelligences and learning styles.
  14. Individualized Instruction: Components are customized to meet the various needs of students and to help students develop responsibility for their own learning.
  15. Career and Technical Education: Opportunities are provided to learn the skills necessary to measure up to the larger demands of today’s workplace.