October is National Dropout Prevention Month, a time to focus on increasing awareness of the long-term effects on students, the economy, and society when students drop out of school. National Dropout Prevention Month challenges our nation to become better informed about how to prevent students from dropping out of school.
The New Albany School District is committed to student achievement, student attendance, and dropout prevention this school year and in the coming years.
To promote awareness and better prepare for putting dropout prevention measures in place, a team from the National Dropout Prevention Center visited New Albany High School (NAHS) in the spring of 2017 for the purpose of interviewing staff and collecting data. This team prepared a report for the high school which offered ideas and strategies for improving the dropout rate.
Dr. Mark Wilson, who is considered an expert in dropout prevention, conducted a two-day session with school administrators and counselors on specific strategies each school could use in their dropout prevention plans.
“Our district dropout prevention team has worked very hard to create a dropout prevention plan for our district,” said Superintendent Lance Evans. “This is an ongoing process where our team meets on a regular basis to report on progress and seek input.”
Evans credited the high school for their work with students on credit recovery, as well as the work the elementary and middle schools are doing to insure that dropout prevention starts in the early years of a student’s education.
John Ferrell, NAHS Principal, explained that several students graduated in May 2017 because of the credit recovery opportunities that had been made available to them. He also noted that students that are juniors and seniors have been identified that are behind a grade level or more in school. The counselors are working with these students on an individual basis to develop a plan on completing credit recovery courses so that they can graduate on time with their age level peers.
The decision to drop out of school is not due to one single factor. It is the result of a process that often begins years before the actual event. Communities that understand the life-long impact for students who drop out of school and that work together to support at-risk students, however, can help decrease the likelihood that students will drop out of school. Begun early, effective prevention initiatives are the result of community-wide efforts that involve families, businesses, faith-based organizations, and schools.
National Dropout Prevention Month encourages public, private and nonprofit entities to raise awareness of the issue and encourage all students to stay in school for the brighter future it means.
The Alliance for Excellent Education reported that, on average, non-graduates earn $8,000 less per year than high school graduates; rely more heavily on public health services; are more likely to be involved in the criminal justice system; are more likely to rely on various sources of public assistance and welfare; often experience quality-of-life challenges as a result of lower income levels and higher rates of public dependence; and are less likely to vote, have poorer health, and have shorter life expectancies than graduates.
“We understand that dropout prevention is a commitment and partnership between the schools, community, businesses, and families,” Evans emphasized. “We are working hard to make sure that the schools are working hard to increase our graduation rate and lower the number of dropouts in the New Albany School District.”