National Dropout Prevention Center/Network and Moriah Group Release Issue Brief on School Dropout Prevention Recommendations to Support Males of Color

Monday, October 10th, 2016

National Dropout Prevention Center/Network and Moriah Group Release Issue Brief on School Dropout Prevention Recommendations to Support Males of Color 

Issue Brief Part of Larger Forward Promise Sponsored by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 

Clemson, S.C. (October 10, 2016) – The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (NDPC/N) and the Moriah Group, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), announce the release of an issue brief examining trends and findings related to improving high school graduation rates among males of color. The issue brief is a part of Forward Promise, a $12 million commitment from RWJF that included the commissioning of seven issue briefs examining key barriers that limit health and success for boys and young men of color. The NDPC/N and Moriah Group brief, available at http://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/farm/reports/issue_briefs/2016/rwjf431300/subassets/rwjf431300_3, examines research and trends, but mainly presents recommendations for improving high school graduation rates among males of color. The brief defines males of color as primarily comprised of African-American, Hispanic, and Native American youth.

The Moriah Group, an international consulting firm focused on enhancing outcomes for children and youth through improved education, and the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, the foremost resource for educators and policymakers who work to improve graduation rates, worked together to produce the paper, with the sponsorship of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The paper focuses on issues that have kept graduation rates for students of color between the upper 60s to low 70s percentage points, compared to rates for white students above 80%. The good news is that the gap appears to be closing, even if slowly. The issue brief presents recommendations, based on trends, research, and experience in the field of dropout prevention, intervention, and recovery, that will cause the rate gap between young males of color and the general population to continue to close, so that more young people can graduate high school and go on to satisfying, successful, productive, and fulfilling lives.

Dr. Sandy Addis, Director of the NDPC/N and co-author of the issue brief, said of the paper, “We know from studies conducted by well-respected researchers in the field that students who have not experienced grade retention, who have good school attendance, and who have higher course grades are likely to graduate. However, students who have been retained, are truant, and/or who have poor grades are much more likely to drop out before earning a high school degree. Our challenge is how best to apply that knowledge and the strategies involved to improve graduation rates for students of color.”

The issue brief presents three recommendations. First, initiatives to reduce the dropout rate for males of color must directly address the most common graduation barriers for males of color by reducing grade retention rates, improving school attendance, and raising course grades.

Second, known foundational dropout prevention strategies such as implementing a systemic approach, focusing on school-community collaboration, maintaining a safe learning environment, and encouraging family engagement, must be applied to initiatives targeting male students of color to achieve the greatest impact on graduation.

Cairen Withington, co-author of the issue brief and Assistant Director of the NDPC/N, stresses additionally that the recommendations be strategically implemented and addressed in situational, community, and ethnic contexts. “Without considering these contexts,” she notes, “the recommendations will not achieve maximum impact. In addition, an intentional and consistent effort must be made to move the priorities, values, and engagement of educators, communities, families, and young males of color into alignment regarding the value of school.”

A third recommendation of the issue brief is to emphasize known high-impact dropout prevention strategies, particularly career development and job training, family engagement, and mentoring. Implementing these high impact initiatives to provide maximum availability to and participation by young males of color will go a long way towards increasing graduation rates, according to the brief.

About the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (NDPC/N) 
Established in 1986 with a mission to reduce dropout rates, the NDPC/N shares solutions for student success and dropout prevention through its clearinghouse function, active research and evaluation projects, publications, and a variety of professional development activities and conferences. The organization’s website—www.dropoutprevention.org—is the nation’s leading resource in providing effective, research-based solutions to engaging students and reducing dropout. The NDPC/N is housed in the College of Education at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina.

About Moriah Group. 
Moriah Group is an international consulting firm focused on enhancing outcomes for children and youth through improved education, child and youth development, and community development strategies. The Moriah Group support clients with policy research and data analysis, strategic planning, cross-system partnership building, program evaluation and documentation, and other important projects benefitting children and youth. The Moriah Group is headquartered in Huntsville, AL. For more information, visit www.themoriahgroup.com.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 
For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. They work with others to build a national Culture of Health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.

-end-

 For Additional Information Contact:

Lynn Dunlap, Public Information Director
National Dropout Prevention Center/Network
Phone: 864-656-2678
Email: ldunlap@clemson.edu