Dropout Prevention Update
From the National Dropout Prevention Center
June 2019—Vol. 19, No. 5
2019 1st Annual Trauma-Skilled Schools Conference
June 23-26, 2019
Embassy Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista South
Registration is open for the 2019 1st Annual National Trauma-Skilled Schools Conference. Trauma and stress impact the way individuals learn and behave, presenting a significant issue for educators and learners. In recent years, school systems and educators have focused on becoming aware and sensitive to this issue. Awareness of the issue, however, is not sufficient. The National Dropout Prevention Center has developed a framework that helps systems and schools prepare their workforce become skilled to help students excel in the classroom and life. The Trauma-Skilled Schools Model does not just accommodate or add additional activity, it looks at changing the way we do what is already being done.
The 1st Annual National Trauma-Skilled Schools Conference will provide insight and skills to help educators move beyond awareness and sensitivity. It is time we become skilled in dealing with this critical issue! NDPC’s Trauma-Skilled faculty will deliver breakout sessions on building resilience, culture transformation, community engagement, staff readiness, and academic integration.
New Certification Announced! The National Dropout Prevention Center (NDPC) announces the Trauma-Skilled Specialist Certification program. This program addresses the growing need for educators to adopt specific action steps that will increase the opportunities for trauma-impacted and stressed students to succeed and graduate. Click here for the Trauma-Skilled Specialist Certification Information and Application.
2019 National Dropout Prevention Conference
October 5–8, 2019
Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center
Registration is open for the 2019 National Dropout Prevention Conference. The National Dropout Prevention Center (NDPC), in partnership with The Colorado Department of Education, invites you to attend the 2019 National Dropout Prevention Conference, Gaining New Heights in Dropout Prevention, October 5-8, 2019. The conference is a valuable opportunity for superintendents, administrators, counselors, teachers, and other stakeholders interested in the improvement of graduation rates in their system, school or community. Strategies and programs will be featured from across the country that have proven effective in engaging and sustaining students through graduation.
The conference is designed to enhance the leadership skills of those seeking to strengthen interventions among school, community, and families, especially those in at-risk situations. The conference program will focus on current and innovative best practices, NDPC’s 15 Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention, and trending topics and issues for the future.
The sources of trauma and stress are widespread, have a direct relationship to the dropout issue, and must not be underestimated. To meet students’ needs for safe learning environments and to achieve the best outcomes for the most students, educators, administrators, and school support staff must not only have a shared understanding of trauma and its impact on students’ learning and behavior and speak a common language about it, they must also acquire shared trauma-related skills, behave consistently and in unison toward trauma-impacted students, and be able to articulate and justify their behaviors in terms of desired student outcomes.
Schools nationwide have begun to address the needs of trauma-impacted students and research continues to add to practitioners’ knowledge. In Portland, Oregon, a student group called I Am M.O.R.E. (Making Other Resiliency Experiences) has been nationally recognized by Education First for its storytelling and resiliency-building initiative. Through storytelling, students and teachers learn and use critical inquiry, reflection, and social-emotional skill building. In Baltimore, Robert W. Coleman Elementary School has successfully implemented a new policy that utilizes mediation for students who act out. Rather than detention, students who misbehave are encouraged to visit the Mindful Moment Room, a meditation room filled with soothing décor and soft pillows and floor mats. The Mindful Moment room allows students to re-center themselves through breathing exercises and meditation. The school reports that the change to mindful meditation is helping students control their behavior. In Arkansas, a charter school, Hope Academy of Northwest Arkansas, acts as a magnet school for children who have experienced adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Students at the academy receive treatment and education with a focus on trauma care and individualized learning. University of Pittsburg researcher Dr. Rajesh Narendran and fellow researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have found that an anti-stress brain chemical is related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) resilience after trauma. PTSD is a stress disorder that develops in some individuals following a traumatic event. This piece of critical research furthers overall understanding of resilience and recovery after trauma and expands ways to recognize, track, treat, and prevent PTSD. Another study recently published by Penn Medicine by Ruben Gur, Tyler Moore, and Adon Rosen found evidence that childhood adversity is linked to earlier puberty, premature brain development, and increased diagnosis of mental illness. According to senior author Ruben Gur, the study concludes that “traumas that happen to young children can have lifelong consequences.”
Safe Learning Environment
A comprehensive violence prevention plan, including conflict resolution, must deal with potential violence as well as crisis management. A safe learning environment provides daily experiences, at all grade levels, that enhance positive social attitudes and effective interpersonal skills in all students in all classrooms.
To enhance students’ sense of physical safety, Poughkeepsie City School District in New York has changed school policy to allow only small pocketbooks or fanny packs for personal items in middle and high schools in place of backpacks. In Iowa, the Dubuque Community School District is beginning to link the security cameras in the schools to the local police headquarters to speed up response time in an emergency. Parent involvement is as important to school safety as other security measures according to Coppell Independent School District in Texas. The district now supplies a toolkit for parents to use with their children that provides resources on academics, social-emotional skills, health and wellness, financial skills, and future planning. The toolkit is designed to help parents talk through tough topics with their children. School safety goes beyond locks and buzzers according to students who participated in the Youth Ambassador Academy in St. Louis. The academy grew from the Student Summit on School Safety last year and has changed to focus more on the mental and emotional needs of students in the area as students voice their opinions and concerns with issues.
Differentiated learning embraces teaching and learning strategies that engage and involve students in the learning process. Students find new and creative ways to solve problems, achieve success, and become lifelong learners when educators show them that there are different ways to learn.
Creating an engaging academic environment can help ensure information is being absorbed by students of all learning styles, as Dr. Teri Balser, Provost and Vice President of Academics at Dalhousie University, noted in her keynote at the 2019 Dalhousie Conference on Teaching and Learning. The conference explored setting the precedent in the classroom for active learning through an active teaching style. Dr. Balser noted that it is easy to get caught up in the process and procedure of active learning which can cause educators to miss valuable outcomes. At Vanderbilt University, Greg Smith, a graduate teaching Fellow, designed a cheat sheet that allows teachers to use a streamlined process to develop and create an active learning environment. In a rural Colorado alternative school, Dan Van der Vieren, a high school math teacher, employs a hands-on learning experience that fosters deep engagement with critical thinking and algorithmic problem solving using a Rubik’s Cube. Using Rubik’s Cubes, students create mosaics of historical figures such as Anne Frank or create a visual example of the pathogen theorem. The activities create an active learning environment for the entire class using a toy intended for one person.
Alternative schooling provides at-risk students a variety of options that can lead to graduation, with programs paying special attention to the student’s individual social needs, workforce skills, and academic requirements for a high school diploma.
An alternative school partnership in Montgomery County, Texas, between the Montgomery County Texas Sheriff’s Office and Conroe Independent School District allowed incarcerated students to graduate with a high school diploma. Currently, two students have graduated while incarcerated. The Disciplinary Alternative Education Program allows other students who have been released to stay on track and rejoin their schools. In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Area Technical College hosts an Adult High School program which allows adults to pursue a high school diploma or an equivalency degree. Through the program’s flexible scheduling option, students can take classes on campus or with community partners such as the YMCA. For students in New Hampshire, Kenne Community Education’s Alternative Diploma Program allows students who are behind in courses credits to take alternative night classes to graduate on time. Night classes are open to adults and students. In Missouri, DeLaSalle Education Center achieved a 100% graduation rate in its alternative program. Executive Director Dr. Elizabeth Sanders credits the staff and parents of the students who were at risk of not graduating coming together and creating a plan to get the students back on track during the last few months of class.
Educational Assistance and Training Programs
Grants from $2,500 to $15,000 will be awarded for the creation and expansion of learning experiences and opportunities at the primary, secondary, and higher education levels, particularly for minority and disadvantaged students. Areas of special interest to CICF include educational and training programs designed to improve literacy, teach basic life skills, promote good citizenship and public services, and increase reading, mathematics, and science proficiencies.
Children, Families, and Communities Grants
Grants awards vary to support access to health care and early learning opportunities that help young children be healthy and ready for school. The foundation aims to improve training and professional development for child-care providers and educators, provide families and others that care for young children with skills and support to create nurturing environments, and ensure children and families have access to quality health care and health insurance.
NEA Learning and Leadership Grants
Deadline: October 15
Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to members of the National Education Association who are educators in public schools so that they can participate in high-quality professional development like summer institutes, conferences, seminars, travel abroad programs, or action research. Preference is given to proposals that incorporate STEM and/or global competence in their projects.
The National Dropout Prevention Center offers a number of free or low-cost resources on our website www.dropoutprevention.org
Read NDPC’s quarterly newsletter at http://dropoutprevention.org/resources/ndpcn-quarterly-newsletters/
Access NDPC Dropout Prevention E-Newsletters at http://dropoutprevention.org/resources/e-newsletters/
NDPC journals are available at http://dropoutprevention.org/resources/journals/
Archived Solutions to the Dropout Crisis webinars are available at http://dropoutprevention.org/webcast/
NDPC offers a series of online courses based on the 15 Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention. Each course is individually priced and is self-paced and interactive, including video clips and self-assessments. Go to http://dropoutprevention.org/15-effective-strategies-online-courses/ for more information.
Over 500 educators and practitioners have enrolled in the National Dropout Prevention Specialist certification program. The program is founded on NDPC’s research-based effective strategies, known youth risk factors, professional learning participation, and field implementation of acquired knowledge. The certification verifies and strengthens dropout prevention experience and expertise and facilitates networking with others equally dedicated to dropout prevention. Visit www.dropoutprevention.org/services-certifications/national-dropout-prevention-specialist-certification-program to register.
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