Dropout Prevention Overview

Dropout prevention strategies, such as using data to identify students at risk of dropping out and providing support to improve academic performance, have been proven to reduce the risk of students disengaging from and dropping out of school.

Overview of Dropout Prevention Principles and Practices

Principle 1: Use data systems to help identify students who are at risk of falling off the path to high school graduation.

  • Practice 1: Use data to identify incoming students with histories of academic problems, truancy, behavioral problems, and retention.
  • Practice 2: Continually monitor the academic and social performance of all students.
  • Practice 3: Monitor students’ sense of engagement and belonging in school.

Principle 2: Assign adult advocates to students who are at risk of falling off the path to high school graduation.

  • Practice 1: Select adults who are committed to student success.
  • Practice 2: Keep caseloads low.
  • Practice 3: Match students with adult advocates purposefully.
  • Practice 4: Provide training to advocates on working with students, parents, and the school staff.
  • Practice 5: Establish a regular time in the school day or week for advocates to meet with students.

Principle 3: Provide academic support and enrichment to improve academic performance.

  • Practice 1: Provide individual or small group support in test-taking skills, study skills, or targeted subject areas, such as reading, writing, or mathematics.
  • Practice 2: Provide extra study time and opportunities for credit recovery and accumulation through after-school, Saturday school, or summer programs.

Principle 4: Implement programs to improve behavior and social skills.

  • Practice 1: Use adult advocates to help students establish attainable academic and behavioral goals.
  • Practice 2: Recognize student accomplishments.
  • Practice 3: Teach strategies to strengthen problem-solving and decision-making skills.
  • Practice 4: Establish partnerships with community-based program providers and other agencies, such as social services, welfare, mental health, and law enforcement.

Principle 5: Personalize the learning environment and instructional process.

  • Practice 1: Implement team teaching and smaller classes.
  • Practice 2: Use the school schedule to create extended time in the classroom.
  • Practice 3: Foster after-school activities and encourage participation in them.