Effective Strategies for Increasing Graduation Rates


This seminar, usually lasting a minimum of three hours, provides school and community leaders, policymakers, and corporate leaders with a basic understanding of the school dropout issue in America and in each community. The three-part seminar includes an overview of the dropout issue with research-based information about the extent of high dropout rates, its root causes, and its effect on the economy and the quality of life for students and families. The second segment of the seminar is based on 15 effective strategies that have had the most positive impact on the dropout rate. The last segment provides a research-based program improvement process designed to assist school and communities to work together to improve student achievement levels and increase high school graduation rates.


The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (NDPC/N) at Clemson University has identified 15 effective dropout prevention strategies that have had the most positive impact on the dropout rate. These strategies, although appearing to be independent, actually work well together and frequently overlap. Each strategy can be implemented alone, such as family involvement; but when school districts develop school and program improvement plans that encompass most or all of these strategies, positive student outcomes will result leading to increased graduation rates.

Seminar Program

The basic evidence-based information and knowledge needed by participants to understand the social and economic impact of the increasing critical school dropout rate are provided. More importantly, however, a series of intervention strategies and best practices are reviewed and presented in response to the many personal, family, and community conditions that influence school failures. The objectives for this seminar are:

  1. To provide data about the profile of a school dropout and information on how to identify potential school dropouts;
  2. To provide a review of the 15 most effective strategies and best practices to solve the school dropout problem with illustrations of model programs in local districts and communities from across the nation; and
  3. To provide an illustration and discussion of the Program Assessment and Review (PAR) process designed to assist school and community efforts to develop the program improvements needed to increase graduation rates. The PAR process enables local teams to establish dropout prevention plans based on research-based solutions.

The seminar format, depending on time available, will include opportunities to review and discuss local school and community conditions contributing to school failure and current program improvement efforts. Discussion will also explore how local school and community partnership efforts must be coordinated to be successful, identify potential collaborating organizations, and suggest some immediate actions steps to take.

To schedule a seminar, contact John Gailer at the National Dropout Prevention Center Network: 864-656-2675, or via email to jgailer@clemson.edu.

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