Online Professional Development in Dropout Prevention Strategies

NDPC offers online courses in each of the 15 research-based Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention. The 15 Effective Strategies are formally adopted by numerous states and school systems as highest-impact interventions for graduation rate improvement. Each online course takes participants through an exploration of what the strategy is, how it fits within the 15 Effective Strategies model, and the research supporting it, allowing participants to envision for themselves how the strategy can be implemented well within their own schools and communities. Participants investigate successful implementations across the country, potential benefits and barriers to implementing the strategy, and key implementation characteristics to consider in setting up their own programs. The cost of each course is $99 except for the overview course which costs $149.00 and carries two credits toward certification. Each self-paced course takes from 60 to 120 minutes to complete, except the overview course which takes about 6 hours to complete. Online courses may be used in grant programs to prepare staff for the most effective implementation of grant-funded initiatives.

Courses can be purchased individually or can be purchased in bulk as part of a contracted service.

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Courses Available

Active Learning

Active learning implies engaged learners and students who embrace school. Learn more about how active learning can influence students in their decisions to remain in school.

After-School/Out-of-School Opportunities

After-school and out-of-school opportunities, camps, and clubs provide students with extended time for academics, hobbies, interests, and relationship building in safe locations. Examine the research and learn how these high quality programs can impact graduation rates.

Alternative Schooling

Different students have a variety of unique needs. One of the most important alternatives to graduating from a traditional high school is graduating from an alternative school. Learn more about how high quality alternative school programs keep students in school and some of the characteristics of these programs that make the difference.

Career and Technical Education (CTE)

Career and technical education provides students with relevance and excitement in entering adulthood, grounding them in skills they need to become productive and skilled citizens. Implemented well, career and technical education programs can provide students with a vision for the future, and give them reasons to stay in school. Learn more about how successful career and technical education programs keep students in school.

Early Childhood Education

Dropout prevention starts before students arrive to school. Learn how you and your community can be proactive in decreasing your dropout rate years in advance.

Early Literacy Development

Early literacy makes a difference in dropout rates. Learn the importance of early literacy and how community and school organizations can work together to help students develop early literacy skills at home and at school.

Educational Technology

Educational Technology as a tool in providing relevant and engaging student instruction can build a captive audience and keep students in school. Also as a tool to prepare students for college and career, educational technology can be used to support deeper thinking, more complex reasoning, and student buy-in to education. Learn more about how educational technology can be utilized as an engagement tool and more in the classroom.

Family Engagement

Family support is one of the top influencers of students who do graduate, but family engagement can be difficult to attain at times. Learn about some creative ways schools and districts reach out to their parents to form a unified bond for their students.


Active learning implies engaged learners and students who embrace school. Learn more about how active learning can influence students in their decisions to remain in school.

Personalized Learning

Personalized learning strategies are often the solution to a disengaged student’s barrier to successful high school completion. Learn how you can individualize instruction for personalized learning to recapture disengaged students and increase your graduation rate.

Professional Development

Continuous high quality professional development around research-based strategies can increase student engagement and staff competencies. Find out how your school and district can mirror ESSA-supported professional development focused on student success in schools.

Safe Learning Environments

Learning something new involves risk. Students are most invested in learning in environments that are physically, emotionally, and academically safe. Learn how you can create and sustain a safe learning environment in which your students thrive.

School-Community Collaboration

The school-community alliance can make a powerful impact on a graduation rate and the livelihood of the community as a whole. Find out how these alliances can be grown and the impact the resulting increased rates have made in other communities.


Service-learning is a highly engaging form of learning that is somewhat directed by the student. Learn more about how service-learning can help your potentially disengaged students involve themselves in something that truly matters to others through service.

Systemic Approach

An “all systems on board” approach provides alignment and change required for a school and community to work together in making sure all students graduate. Learn about how this has happened in many communities and their remarkable results in graduation rates.

Overview Course

This course provides an overview to the 15 Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention, information and examples to aid in understanding how the strategies work in relation to one another when implemented, and tools to support and engage educators to address the needs of every student and to help increase graduation rates. This course is longer than the other online courses, and can be completed in about 6 hours.

Course 1: Trauma-Skilled Schools (Overview)

This course gives an overview of the process for building a trauma-skilled plan that fits your school or district and how to implement and maintain the plan. Designed as an introduction to the Trauma-Skilled Schools Model, the course previews content from each of the five steps outlined in the model itself. Current systems are examined and the need for a trauma-skilled educator training is addressed.

Course 2: Trauma-Skilled Schools Educator Knowledge

Increasing educator knowledge is Step 1 of Trauma-Skilled Schools and focuses on the effects of chronic stress and trauma on brain development and behavior and how these effects manifest in the classroom. It establishes the baseline language that all staff need for understanding and effective classroom management. The course examines the effectiveness of Trauma-Skilled as a Tier 1

Course 3: Trauma-Skilled Schools Course: Building a Climate of Resilience

The Trauma-Skilled Schools Model Step 2 explains the value of managing stress and trauma and of building a culture that fosters the development of five resilience factors that leads to success in the classroom and in life. Emphasizing that culture must be systemic, intentional, and consistent, this course focuses on developing five resilience factors: Connection, Security, Achievement, Autonomy, and Fulfillment.

Course 4: Trauma-Skilled Schools Course: Management Skills for Educators

Step 3 of the Trauma-Skilled Schools Model develops individual skills that can be used to respond to the effects of chronic stress and trauma. Categorized as skills related to Prevention, Intervention, Recovery, and Referral, the course covers preventing negative manifestations, intervention techniques and identification of danger zones, basic de-escalation, and the use internal and external referral resources.

Course 5 Trauma-Skilled Schools Course: Implementation and Maintenance Strategies

Step 4 and Step 5 define the processes for Assessment, Implementation, Maintenance, and Validation of the of the Trauma-Skilled Schools Model. This course highlights the strengths of different methods of implementation of the model and outlines how to earn and maintain Trauma-Skilled Schools certification for a school or district.

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