Vol 15, no 2 Header image

Dropout Prevention Update

National Dropout Prevention Center/Network
August 2015 - Vol. 15, No. 8

2015 Diploma Planning Institute

2015 DPI

September 20-23, 2015

IP Casino Resort & Spa, Biloxi, MS

Is your school working on a dropout prevention or graduation improvement plan? The 2015 Diploma Planning Institute (DPI) is an opportunity for teams of school and/or district administrators and personnel to meet and work on their dropout prevention plans, with guidance from NDPC and a team of experts. DPI’s goal is to help schools develop customized, practical, and local plans to lessen dropout rates and increase graduation rates. Our DPI events are often offered for specific districts or state groups only; however, this September 20-23 event offers open registration for any person or group to attend. Visit http://dropoutprevention.org/conferences/diploma-planning-institute/ to register or for more information. Plan on bringing your team to Mississippi in September or contract with NDPC to bring a DPI to your state or area.

2015 National Dropout Prevention Center Network Conference

2015 National Dropout Prevention Conference

October 25-28, 2015

Wyndham San Antonio Riverwalk Hotel, San Antonio, TX

Registration is open for the 2015 National Dropout Prevention Network conference to be held October 25-28 on the beautiful Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX. The theme this year is “TAKE A STAND For Student Success.” Our partners include universities, school administrator and superintendent groups, juvenile justice and family and protective services agencies, Texas school districts, and local research and service centers. Ford Motor Company Fund is sure to bring some excitement to the conference as a sponsor interested in youth engagement in learning. A special focus for this conference will be strengthening school, community, community agency, and family collaboration for support of students struggling or at risk of dropping out of school. You will not want to miss this conference! For more information including conference fees, keynote speakers, presenters, and/or to register, visit http://dropoutprevention.org/conferences/2015-national-dropout-prevention-network-conference/

Save the Dates!

Save the dates for the following events and stay tuned for more information and calls for proposals to present. If you need information before then, you may contact us at ndpc@clemson.edu and we’ll be glad to help.

2016 At-Risk Youth National FORUM: Reaching Beyond the Risk

February 14-17, 2016
Embassy Suites at Kingston Plantation, Myrtle Beach, SC
The call for proposals opens August 12.

2016 Reaching the Wounded Student Conference: A Trauma-Informed Approach to K-12 Education

June 26-29, 2016
Orlando, FL

2016 National Dropout Prevention Network Conference

October 2-5, 2016
Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, Detroit, MI

National Dropout Prevention Specialist Certification Program

If you work with or on behalf of youth at risk of dropping out of school, consider enrolling in our new National Dropout Prevention Specialist (NDPS) certification program. The certification will verify participant knowledge and expertise in at-risk youth issues and strategies for raising graduation rates. The NDPS certification program is founded on NDPC/N’s research-based effective strategies, known youth risk factors, professional learning participation, and field implementation of acquired knowledge. If you are accepted into the program, you may begin work immediately at the very next NDPC/N conference or event. Contact us or link to this Web page for more information and to join our NDPS army of practitioners across the nation who are officially becoming better informed and networked, as well as recognized, in their fight to end the school dropout crisis.

Solutions to the Dropout Crisis

“Public Schools at the Crossroads: Addressing the Dropout Challenge in Rural America”

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

3:30 – 4:30 PM ET

Photo of Dr. Hobart Harmon

Dr. Hobart Harmon, a leading expert on rural education issues in America, joins us to discuss some of the challenges facing today’s rural public schools, such as offering modern educational experiences in the face of dwindling resources, changing rural school populations, and increasing accountability demands. Dr. Harmon will discuss how students, families, and communities can work with schools to confront the realities of significant social cultural, and economic shifts in rural school districts. Link here on the day of the broadcast to join us for this program. Viewing this webcast is free and no registration is required.

View archived Solutions programs from the summer, including:

July: “Youth Development Issues in Kenya” (with Clemson University’s Dr. Larry Allen and Mr. James Nampushi). Dropout prevention and youth development are international issues, and this program introduces one country’s efforts and challenges.

June: “Family Engagement as a Dropout Prevention Strategy” (with Dr. Josh Cramer, National Center for Families Learning (NCFL)). This program introduces viewers to the many resources of the NCFL, highlighting proven, research-based, and actionable family engagement strategies that can be implemented quickly, cost-efficiently, and effectively in school and other settings. With recent research from NDPC/N focusing on the importance of family engagement in preventing school dropout, this program is an especially important professional learning piece as to why and how to implement strategies to increase family engagement.

All archived programs may be viewed at your convenience at www.dropoutprevention.org/webcast/. Viewing these webcasts is free, and no registration is required.

Tune in the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 3:30 PM ET for Solutions to the Dropout Crisis.

From Our Research Fellows

In a Huffington Post article "The Rising Tide of Graduation Rates," John Bridgeland and Robert Balfanz point to the nation’s progress over the last few decades to stem the dropout epidemic, pointing to increased and effective education reform, student support, data and accountability, and school and community efforts.

Sale of the Month

August’s Sale of the Month includes a bundle of three books centered around Early Childhood Education and authored by Dr. Delores Stegelin. For this month only, the bundle of three books valued at $24 is being offered for only $15 + shipping.

Book titles are Early Literacy Education: First Steps Toward Dropout Prevention, Family Literacy Strategies: First Steps for Academic Success, and On-Site Technical Assistance: How to Increase the Knowledge and Skills of Child-Care Professionals.

Order yours today.

Top Stories

Early High School Dropouts: What Are Their Characteristics? This recently released 2-page report/infographic from the Institute of Education Sciences uses data from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) to examine the extent to which high school students drop out of school between the ninth and eleventh grade and how dropout rates vary by sex, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

A Hechinger Report article highlights Mississippi’s statewide efforts to keep children in school are hitting on multiple risk factors and effective strategies, including focusing on dropout prevention, helping students make school/career connections, providing adult mentors/role models, improving family engagement and school-community collaboration, strengthening student/teacher bonds, encouraging active learning, and providing alternative learning environments.

Effective Strategies

Safe Learning Environments

This spring, North Carolina released its annual report on school crime, violence, and dropouts. The total number of reportable acts of school crime and violence, short- and long-term suspensions, and the use of corporal punishment decreased for the third year in a row although the number of expulsions remained the same. The total number of acts of school crime and violence was the lowest reported since 2008-09 while the number of students in North Carolina public schools was at an all-time high of 1,509,985. Dropout numbers and rates were also lower, and interestingly, almost 15% of high school dropouts reported that the reason they dropped out was to enroll in a community college. Read more here, including how the state superintendent credits teachers, school leaders, and parents.

NCES and BJS just released its annual report examining crime in schools and colleges covering topics such as victimization, bullying, school conditions, fights, weapons, the presence of security staff at schools, the availability and student use of drugs and alcohol, and student perceptions of personal safety at school. A number of indicators of school safety have improved in recent years. Find the report here.

Holding Schools Responsible for Addressing Childhood Trauma. A federal lawsuit out of California is related to complex trauma and trauma-sensitive models of education.

New materials from a University of Nebraska-Lincoln student engagement project include consumer-friendly and free documents and information related to improving student behavior and reducing exclusionary discipline and increasing graduation and preventing student dropout. These materials are designed for use by student assistance teams or child study teams in developing plans for specific students, and also for use by school improvement planning teams to build school and district infra-structure to improve in these areas. The documents are classified for a MTSS application by their tiers of intervention, and are also indexed by whether they are strategies for graduation improvement or behavior improvement or both (many apply to both)! Check them out here!


High school graduation rates have reached an all-time high, but mentoring could help those still at risk of dropping out. Read more in Alexandra Pannoni’s U.S. News & World Report blog post.

Professional Development

Scholarly commentary on “The Role of the Professional Learning Community in Dropout Prevention,” found on pages 26-29 in this issue of AASA Journal of Scholarship & Practice. This commentary discusses the role of professional learning communities in simultaneously engaging students and improving schools to offer a solution for dealing with the dropout problem. This type of collective schoolwide initiative is potentially a significant strategy for coping with student disengagement, failure, dropout, and teacher isolation across grade levels.


The custodian who became a counselor. Steve Hartman, of CBS Evening News, tells the story of Charles Clark, custodian at Trinity High School, in Euless, TX. Over the years, Clark has been a mentor to many of the school's young people and has illustrated the importance of adults as mentors and counselors in the lives of youth.

Key and Peele (on Comedy Central’s YouTube Channel) spoof SportsCenter, but help us imagine what it would be like if we treated teachers with as much interest and excitement as we do athletes.


“Usher’s New Look” program works to decrease high school dropout rates in the U.S. and around the world through mentoring and other effective strategies and hopes to increase their number of certified students worldwide. Read more here.


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