NDPC Grant Expertise

The NDPC partners with school districts, community-based organizations, and national organizations that serve youth from across the country. In that capacity, NDPC performs research and evaluation, and helps with implementing a variety of administrative and instructional practices to reduce the incidence of school dropout and increase students’ success in school. We also work closely with colleges and universities and collaborate with many businesses and corporations to develop and implement projects for youth.

Based on our research experience, a thorough understanding of the literature, and almost three decades of monitoring hundreds of successful school improvement and dropout prevention initiatives and programs, the NDPC has identified Effective Strategies that have proven successful in keeping young people in school, engaging them in their education, and giving them enhanced opportunities for securing places in the workforce or progressing into postsecondary education. Many states base their dropout prevention initiatives on the effective strategies identified by NDPC.  Since its beginning in 1986, NDPC has become the nation’s premier source of information on programs and strategies related to dropout prevention, intervention, reentry, and recovery. Our expertise; our network of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners; along with our name and reputation all make us a strong partner and a leading organization for securing grants and contracts to address the nation’s school dropout crisis.

 If you have identified a grant prospect and need a strong partner or if you are interested in contracting the Center to advise, provide professional learning, or engage in research or evaluation, please contact Todd Daggett at

NDPC Grant Project Components

The National Dropout Prevention Center offers a variety of cost-effective project components and supports that can be written into grants to strengthen your proposal, increase the likelihood of project success, and achieve long-term sustainability beyond grant funding.

Professional Development


NDPC offers a variety of speakers on at-risk issues and dropout prevention topics for a variety of educator audiences including administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, support personnel, counselors, and school boards. These speakers can deliver school opening and keynote addresses to raise awareness of at-risk student needs, to build system-wide ownership of graduation rates, or to develop skills among specific employee groups such as counselors and alternative program staffs. Speakers may be used in grant proposals to build support for grant-funded interventions and to achieve post-grant sustainability. For more information, please contact Todd Daggett at

Targeted Skills-Building Workshops (On-Site)

NDPC offers a wide variety of workshops that develop the skills of specific educator groups to understand and address the needs of at-risk youth. Skill-Building Workshops may be used in grant proposals to help staff more effectively implement grant-funded programs. For more information Todd Daggett, at

Topics include:

Online Professional Development in Dropout Prevention Strategies

NDPC offers online courses in each of the research-based Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention. The 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 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. 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. For more information, contact Todd Daggett, at

Online courses are:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Service Learning

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.

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.

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.

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.


Well implemented mentoring and tutoring programs help many students get back or stay on track for graduation. Find out how you can implement a high quality program for struggling students who might otherwise derail to dropout status.

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.

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.

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.

Career & Technical Education

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.

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.

Conference Participation

NDPC offers a wide range of national, regional, and special topic conferences addressing all facets of the dropout prevention issue. NDPC conferences provide current information to teachers, counselors, social workers, administrators, school board members, and agency personnel. At NDPC conferences, practitioners network with, learn from, and are motivated by national expert speakers and hundreds of special content presentations. For more information, please email .

Capacity Building

The Diploma Minded Principal

NDPC provides a one-day workshop for administrators addressing the concepts, mindsets, attitudes, behaviors, and skills that building and system-level leaders must master to lead significant graduation rate improvement. The Diploma Minded Principal is delivered by Dr. Mark Wilson, 2009 National Secondary Principal of the Year. The Diploma Minded Principal may be utilized to build leader capacity to implement grant-funded initiatives. For more information contact Todd Daggett, at

The Diploma Planning Institute

A team of NDPC experts will train and guide school or district teams to analyze local data and circumstances and to develop and implement research-based dropout prevention plans. NDPC’s Diploma Planning Institutes can improve existing initiatives or replace random acts of dropout prevention with strategic, calculated, and likely-to-succeed initiatives. Diploma Planning Institutes are well-suited for multi school districts or offering by regional service agencies and provide long-term, follow-up support for local teams that are responsible for implementation and outcomes. The Diploma Planning Institute is an excellent grant-funded initiative which builds research-based local support for other grant-funded interventions. To learn more, contact Todd Daggett, at

National Dropout Prevention Specialist Certification

NDPC offers a nationally recognized credential for practitioners who demonstrate expertise and are trained, current, and professionally networked in the area of dropout prevention. The National Dropout Prevention Specialist (NDPS) Certification Program provides field practitioners with research-based professional development, field project experience, and professional contacts toward attainment of national certification. The field accomplishments and contact information of NDPS Certificate holders are shared nationally as a resource for others working in dropout prevention. As part of a grant, National Dropout Prevention Specialist Certification can build a local team of experts to sustain grant initiatives past grant funding. To learn more, contact

Community and Leader Involvement

NDPC will assist local school districts to mobilize and engage the greater community in dropout prevention through design and development of strategies, campaigns, media releases, and events. NDPC staff will advise local leaders on proven community dropout prevention campaign strategies, provide community engagement materials, train education leaders in community engagement, and support local events. Community and Leader Involvement can be grant-funded to generate essential outside-school support for grant programs. For information about how NDPC can support community and leader involvement, contact Todd Daggett, at

Assessment and Review of Existing Programs

Alternative School and Program Improvement

NDPC provides consultation and technical assistance in design, evaluation, and improvement of alternative schools and programs. While customized to the specific district situation, this service typically includes assessment of existing alternative programs, recommendations for modification to achieve improved student outcomes, ongoing support for implementation, and evaluation. As a grant component, Alternative School Assessment can revitalize and increase the effectiveness of existing programs. For more information, contact Todd Daggett, at

Program Assessment and Review (PAR) (schoolwide)

NDPC will conduct data-based, on-site assessments of existing practices for schools, school clusters, and districts, and provide leaders with reports of effectiveness and research-based recommendations for modifications that are most likely to improve student success and graduation rates. PARs are nonjudgmental assessments by teams of school-friendly experts and help school leaders best determine areas to target and practices to alter for higher graduation rates. PARs provide resources and follow-up support for implementation of recommendations. As a grant component, PARs can revitalize and improve student outcomes of schools. For more information, contact Todd Daggett, at

Targeted Program Assessment and Review (TPAR) (program-specific)

NDPC will conduct data-based, on-site assessments of existing practices for schools, school clusters, and districts, and provide leaders with reports of effectiveness and research-based recommendations for modifications that are most likely to improve student success and graduation rates. PARs are nonjudgmental assessments by teams of school-friendly experts and help school leaders best determine areas to target and practices to alter for higher graduation rates. PARs provide resources and follow-up support for implementation of recommendations. As a grant component, PARs can revitalize and improve student outcomes of schools. For more information, contact Todd Daggett, at
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