There is no one single answer, or silver bullet, to keeping students in school. The National Dropout Prevention Center has developed Fifteen Effective Strategies that help combat the dropout rate. Family involvement with the school and their children is vital.
Byron, Greg. http://www.tfs.net/~gbyron/teen8.html.
Canada’s SchoolNet. Canada Prospects. Downloaded from:
Education World. Who are today’s school dropouts? Available:
Harlow, C. W. (January 2003). Education and correctional populations (NCJ 195670). Retrieved from Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice Web site www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/ecp.pdf
National Center for Education Statistics
New York State Department of Labor. Did you know? Downloaded from:
Shields, Tom (2001, April 14). Why stay in school? A view from the other side of graduation. Erin Advocate, 123(15). http://www.erinhoops.ca/HoopsPrograms/StayInSchool.htm
Listed below are the common variables found in the research that identify potential dropouts:
Fifteen Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention
Indicators of Potential Dropouts
Web Resources for Those Who Want to Help Someone Stay in School
School districts all over the country provide alternative programs for students who are not successful in the usual school setting. The best programs in the country are featured in our Model Programs Database.
NDPC/N Commentary, Published: September 20, 2013
Take a look around social media sites, blogs, microblogs, discussion boards, etc. and you will see numerous discussions on the merits of staying in school. Particularly heated can be arguments on attending and completing college. But even the merits of staying in and completing high school are being questioned by many youth. OnYahoo! Answers and other sites, you’ll see questions such as “Why is school so boring?” and “Should I drop out of high school?” There is even a wikiHow titled “How to Drop Out of High School: 9 Steps (with Pictures).” Recently, a young Hollywood star with quite a few followers tweeted, “If Everybody In The World Dropped Out Of School We Would Have A Much More Intelligent Society.” Web sites throw up the same list of famous actors and celebrities who made it big despite dropping out of high school; however, it is interesting to note that many of those on the list would not recommend dropping out of high school and many of them went on to earn GEDs or even honorary higher education degrees. Some even went back for high school diplomas after they became famous.
The National Dropout Prevention Center encourages a healthy discussion, particularly if such a discussion will lead to better understanding of why students drop out of school and a better understanding of how to make more evident to youth the value and efficiency involved in completing a formal education. We especially welcome the student voice and students’ participation in these discussions. However, any discussion should begin with some facts:
All of this is not to say that alternative routes to becoming educated and becoming a productive and fulfilled member of society are not possible. However, care must be taken not to assume if something is good for a few, it must be good for all. Youth
who may not see the value in formalized education might better understand the issue if they were to spend a day or so with someone who does not know how to read, write, or perform basic calculations. Illiteracy and lack of education comes with significant
barriers to functioning in today’s complex society. Consider the skills involved in creating and following a budget or filling out any kind of application. There are significant and real struggles that many face due to lack of education. Idealism vs.
reality: these are the things with which teenagers often wrestle and The National Dropout Prevention Center encourages youth to continue to question, but also to ground their conclusions in reality.
Several important and key questions for school teachers, counselors, and administrators, as well as policymakers, should be:
“We earn a living by what we get: We get a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill
This quote inspires us to share time, treasure, and talent to improve our communities. Everyone benefits when citizens make communities vibrant and healthy places to live. Community engagement is one of the personal characteristics of the 16 Road Less Traveled (RLT) subjects. They see the value of making their communities better for everyone.
The subjects engage their communities almost naturally and do it with little fanfare. This happens on two levels. First, they do the daily community activities most citizens do by sharing time and treasure. Second, their community service is an extension of who they are and the specialized work they do and love. They share their talent. For example, most people donate to a clothing or food drive but could never help a veteran write a song about military combat experience as Rachel Brown has done. Both levels are evident in each RLT subject
Daily community service activities are the ones most community members do on a regular basis. These are the heart and soul, the bread-and-butter service activities of most communities. For most people, this is how they share their time and treasure. Treasure is shared in the ways people donate to causes such as clothing drives, fundraisers, and food banks. It is also tithing at church and donating to veterans’ groups. Time is shared in the many ways people volunteer to assist various community causes, coach youth sports teams, and help in all sorts of ways. Volunteerism is an essential part of a healthy community.
RLT subjects contribute to their communities through daily activities like everyone else. They also go beyond the daily community participation to share their time and unique talent. They contribute activities that are specialized to their expertise and experience. For RLT subjects, specialized community service is an extension of who they are as people. They leverage their professional lives for the betterment and enhancement of their communities.
The following examples indicate how RLT subjects share their time and talent based on the work they do. Few of us can contribute to our communities in these ways.
Is a dance program that brings dance/movement to students with limited exposure to the arts. One of the founders of the program is Kara Stewart (Volume 9), a dance professor at Akron University. She uses her extensive education and experience in dance to guide instructors who provide classes to elementary students throughout Northeast Ohio. Few people could lead ArtSparks to the success it has had but Kara can.
Joan Meggitt (volume 19) created and delivers this dance program for InMotion in Warrensville Heights. She is a teaching member of Dance for PD program created to help people with Parkinson’s disease feel better each day. Participants experience dance in ways that are refreshing, enjoyable, stimulating, and unique. In the process, stretching, muscle strengthening, balance, and coordination are improved through this program.
Is part of the Music on a Mission initiative based in Avon Lake. It is named after Drew Ferguson, an Army war Veteran. The program brings song writers and combat veterans together to write songs about the veterans’ military experience. Delivering Restorative Energy to our Warriors aims to use the gathering power of music to honor and energize American service members. Rachel Brown (Volume 18) helps veterans write songs about their war experience. She can do this because she has a gift for music and song writing.
Is an excellent example of how a RLT subject leverages administrative and leadership skills. Marilyn Sessions (Volume 14) and her husband Brian love to grill so they started Grill for Good to raise money for various causes in the Kent area. They enlisted the support and interest of numerous people and groups (Kent Jaycees for example) to assist them. Each year, one Saturday in downtown Kent is devoted to the outdoor event. In 2019, the 9th year for the activity, Grill for Good provided $10,000 to Family and Community Services of Portage County.
Bill White (Volume 17) leaned on his many years of bowling experience to help establish boys and girls high school bowling programs throughout Northeast Ohio. As a professional bowler and owner of bowling centers, he set up leagues, tournaments, and even created scholarships for students in six Portage County high schools.
Many people have talents they can share with their communities. Like RLT subjects, they can leverage their talent and experience to go beyond their daily sharing of time and treasure. The more people who share time, treasure, and talent, the healthier and more vibrant the community will be. Future installments in this series will explore how failure is seen as an opportunity to learn and grow.