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Dropout Prevention Insights Gained from the Minnesota Department of Education Initiative


Title: How Will We Do It All? Integrating Prevention Initiatives Author: VWeinberg Last modified by: CLehr Created Date: 1/4/2008 9:36:30 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Dropout Prevention Insights Gained from the Minnesota Department of Education Initiative

Dropout Prevention Insights Gained from the
Minnesota Department of Education Initiative
Education Commission of the States Commissioners
Meeting New Orleans January 6-8, 2010 Dropout
Prevention Initiative
Minnesota 2008 Graduation Rate
  • AYP 91.6
  • Four Year 72.8
  • White 80.6
  • American Indian 41.0
  • Black 40.9
  • Hispanic 39.6
  • LEP 43.4
  • Special Ed 51.8
  • F R Price Lunch 51.8

Sobering Statistics
  • Nearly 14,000 students did not graduate from
    Minnesotas high schools in 2009, the lost
    lifetime earnings in Minnesota for that class of
    dropouts alone total more than 3.6 billion or
    about 260,000 per student in lost revenue.
  • If Minnesotas high schools graduated all of
    their students ready for college, the state would
    save almost 89.1 million a year in community
    college and remediation costs and lost earnings.
  • Minnesotas economy would see a combination of
    crime related savings and additional revenue of
    about 77.8 million each year if the male high
    school graduation rate increased by just 5.
  • The Alliance for Excellent Education, 2009

Five Overall Goals for MDE
  1. Develop a comprehensive dropout prevention model
  2. Develop tools to enhance the development of
    effective programming
  3. Increase statewide and local coordination to
    address dropout prevention
  4. Provide support and technical assistance for
    local education agencies
  5. Increase the likelihood of continued
    implementation sustainability of grant success

  • Cross Departmental Team
  • School choice, special education, Indian
    Education, Safe Healthy Learners, After school,
    English Language Learners, Service Learning, High
    School Improvement
  • Staffed by Project Coordinator
  • Resource focused
  • MDE Liaison to Pilot Districts
  • Role integrated into ongoing duties
  • Onsite/ongoing technical assistance
  • Coordinated through project team
  • Checklists, Planning Tools/Processes, Framework

Participants in the Initiative
  • Participating high schools and middle schools
    from the following seven districts
  • Brooklyn Center
  • Duluth
  • Hibbing
  • Park Rapids
  • Red Lake
  • Richfield
  • St. Paul
  • Wide variation in school enrollment numbers,
    student demographics, geographic location,
    district finances/structure, school and community
    contextual issues

Engaging Students in School and Learning Ten
Strategies (National Dropout Prevention Center)
School-Community Collaboration Safe Learning
Environments Family Engagement Literacy
Development Mentoring/Tutoring Service-Learning Af
ter School Opportunities Professional
Development Contextualized and Active/Individualiz
ed Learning Alternative Schooling
Schools Use a Series of Checklists and Templates
to Guide the Planning Process
  • Checklist 1 Getting Started
  • Start-up activities, gathering relevant data,
    needs assessment
  • Checklist 2 Data Synthesis and Implementation
  • Reflection synthesis of data articulate
    implementation focus
  • Checklist 3 Implementation Detail and Evaluation
  • Implementation detail (what, who, timeline,
    etc.) evaluation plan with goals, objectives and

We can work to engage students at a variety of
levels a comprehensive plan
  • Few (5)
  • Tertiary Level
  • (intensive)
  • Some
  • 10 -15 respond
  • Secondary Level
  • (targeted)
  • All receive the intervention prevention
  • 80 respond
  • Primary Level
  • (universal)
  • Levels of
  • Intervention
  • 3 Tiered Model

  • Levels of Intervention
  • Universal primary prevention, includes all
    youth, low cost per individual (systemic positive
    discipline program)
  • Secondary prevention/intervention, includes
    about 15 who are identified as being at risk of
    dropout, moderate cost (programs that work to
    build specific skills)
  • Tertiary intervention, includes 5 of youth
    exhibiting clear signs of early school leaving,
    high need, high cost (intensive wrap-around
  • What does it look like?
  • Graduation Triangles Comprehensive Systems of

Brooklyn Center Schools
Dropout Prevention Initiative Timeline
9/05 Received Grant Organizing
1/06 Kick-off meeting with participating districts and stakeholders Stage 1. MDE Exploration (Learning, Increased Awareness, Start-up)
8/06 Districts collected data/determined needs 2005-2006 Graduation/Dropout Rates Stage 1. District Exploration Planning, Needs Assessment
12/06 School Wide Graduation Plans Determined Stage 2. Installation Implementation Focus
6/07 Implementation Progress Reports 2006-2007 school year Stage 3. Initial Implementation
9/07 6/08 Full Implementation 2007-2008 school year Stage 4. Full Implementation
9/08-6/09 Sustained Implementation 2008-2009 school year (data in process) Stage 5. Innovation and Stage 6. Sustainability
Data-based Indicators of Effectiveness
  • Four Year Graduation Rate a four-year on-time
    graduation rate based on a cohort of first time
    ninth grade students plus transfers into the
    cohort within the four year period minus
    transfers out of the cohort within the four year
    period. The rate is similar to the National
    Governors Association (NGA) Graduation rate but
    the NGA rate allows more time for special
    education students and recent immigrants to
  • Includes count and percentage of students who
    graduate, dropout, continue or are of unknown

4 Year Graduation and Continuing Rate
(2004-2008) 4 of 7 high schools showed
significant increase in graduation/continui
ng rate over the 4 years Average percentage
change across 6 schools 2.9 Red Lake
significant decrease in graduation/continuing
rate 2 schools now at or above state average
(2008 88.1)
Site Baseline 2004 2008 Change
Brooklyn Center 75.6 82.1 6.5
Duluth Denfeld 85.9 84.6 - 1.3
Hibbing 83.3 88.1 4.8
Park Rapids 86.0 89.8 3.8
Red Lake 59.2 43.9 - 15.3
Richfield 82.7 87.3 4.6
St. Paul Arlington 78.8 77.8 - 1.0
Outcomes and Significant Results
  • Students Dropping Out of School (2004-2008)
  • 5 of 7 high schools had fewer dropouts
  • 2 of the 7 schools increased number of dropouts
  • Number of students dropping out of school
    decreased by 24 Data used from 6 of 7
    schools 179 to 136
  • Enrolled 9th grade cohort stayed about the
    same (decrease of .2 1633 to 1630)
  • Persisting in School
  • Number of students persisting in school increased
    by 17 from 2004-2008 (6 of the 7 schools
    increased the number and percentage of students
    continuing in school beyond four years)

4 Year Graduation Rate (percentage) Disaggregated
for Selected Student Groups
Site Category Baseline 2004 2008
Brooklyn Center Free and Reduced Price Lunch 51.6 62.5
Park Rapids Free and Reduced Price Lunch 69.1 81.5
Richfield Black 45.0 56.7
Richfield Free and Reduced Price Lunch 44.3 47.1
St. Paul Arlington Black 52.6 60.8
Duluth Special Education 61.0 63.6
Hibbing Male 71.7 78.4
Results by School and for Specific
Programs Indicators Associated with Dropout and
School Completion
  • Duluth Average daily attendance increased
    number students receiving failing grades
    decreased, increased scores on scale of
    developmental intercultural sensitivity
  • Red Lake Schools suspensions decreased,
    attendance rates increased
  • Hibbing truancy referrals decreased
  • Richfield academic growth in reading and math
    (MCA scores) Check Connect (n32) decrease
    in absences and tardies decrease in number of in
    school suspensions improved grades Advancement
    Via Individual Determination (AVID) 368 fewer
    days missed 2007-2008 (n124)
  • Brooklyn Center improved school climate as
    indicated by student survey findings decrease
    suspensions and behavioral referrals (by over 50
    from 2006 2008)
  • Park Rapids number of out of school suspensions
    decreased truancy referrals decreased, bullying
    incidents decreased on playground and bus
  • St. Paul increase in number of students
    attending organized college visits

Changes in Scope or Unexpected Results
  • There were several positive residual outcomes
    associated with the Dropout Prevention initiative
    that could not be measured via quantitative
    outcome indicators, to include
  • a more collaborative approach to dropout
    prevention at all levels of the Minnesota
    Department of Education, as well as, the local
  • greater awareness on the part of the public about
    the dropout issue and the risk factors involved.
  • schools and communities are collaborating in ways
    they never dreamed of before the Initiative and
    local resources are being used in at every site
    to support the initiative. (External Evaluator,
  • Host Americorps Promise Fellow through Minnesota
    Alliance With Youth link with 60 other Promise
    Fellows throughout Minnesota (MN) and statewide
    partners including Search Institute, National
    Youth Leadership Council, Mentoring Partnership
    of MN, University of MN Center for Youth
    Development, Youth Community Connections

Changes in Scope or Unexpected Results
  • Listening Groups with Youth Focus groups
    conducted by steering committee members (Konopka
    Institute, University of Minnesota)
  • Minnesota Summit on Youth Development and
    Graduation (Dec., 2007) award through Americas
    Promise Alliance (national organization founded
    by Colin and Alma Powell)
  • Ten Community Mini-Summits focused on positive
    youth development and graduation (fall, 2008)
  • Dropout Prevention Graduation Summit (November,
    2009) Sharing the Vision for High School
  • Metro Graduation Summit Strategies for Engaging
    Youth in School and Learning
  • Statewide Graduation Summit Policy and Action

  • Districts continue to implement
    approaches/programming that required start up
    money (to build professional development,
    capacity and infrastructure) rather than
    sustained funding
  • Ongoing and new activities Graduation Summit,
    Indian Education Workshop, Alternatives to
    Suspension, After-School Programming Initiative
    (Supporting Youth Success)
  • Web Site Journey to School Completion Video,
    Programming Guide, Voices PowerPoint, Archived
    Newsletters, Links, Fact Sheets, Ten Effective
    Strategies, Process Checklists, Graduation
    Triangles, Participant List, and more
  • In spite of requirements and efforts to infuse
    sustainability into the system after the life of
    the grant, there is no way around the fact that
    many strategies that are research-based cost
    significant dollars, and without the grant
    resources, several of the strategies and
    interventions cannot be sustained (External
    Evaluation, 2009)

Steering Committee Report - Sustainability
  • Legislate raising the legal age of compulsory
    school attendance and increase supports for
    students who are disengaging from school.
  • Identify, emphasize and promote research based
    programs that can be sustained with minimum cost.
  • Intentionally educate, build networks and work
    collaboratively with local and state agencies,
    community organizations, educational entities and
    businesses for funding to support dropout
    prevention programming.
  • Maintain a statewide focus on best practices in
    dropout prevention through creation and
    maintenance of a managing entity.
  • Publicize grant opportunities for addressing
    dropout prevention (e.g., service learning,
    after-school programming, etc.) and assist Local
    Education Agency staff
  • Be proactive with legislators and engage
    policymakers in discussions of dropout prevention
    to intentionally increase funds that support
    innovative, evidence-based and promising programs
    in schools that want change.

Lessons Learned
  • Implementation process is key
  • Systemic change is required rather than a
    band-aid approach
  • Collaboration is critical (school, family,
    community, departmental)
  • Provide a framework and allow schools/districts
    to tailor programming to meet needs
  • Work at a district level (rather than school) to
    effect sustainability

What would be most useful to other districts that
are addressing dropout prevention? (information
gathered from leadership team members aggregated
across participating districts)
  • Assessing School Climate 97
  • Gathering Data to Guide Programming 93
  • Disaggregating Data by Student Groups 80
  • Establishing a Local Leadership Team 80
  • Identifying/Mapping Current Prevention Efforts
  • Use of Planning Templates 73
  • Developing a Communication Plan 73
  • Use of Planning Checklists to Guide the
    Process 70
  • Meetings with Other Participating Districts 70

  • Focusing on Promoting Successful Transition 93
  • Collaboration Between Middle High Schools 90
  • Providing Supports at 3 Levels of Intervention
  • Using NDPCs 10 Dropout Prevention Strategies
  • Summary Listing of NDPCs 10 Effective Strategies

  • MDE Coordinator 86
  • MDE Consultation via Site Visits 80
  • Contact with MDE Liaisons 73
  • Salaries/Wages for Added Positions 87
  • Professional Development 83
  • Supplies, Curriculum Materials for
  • Programming 76

Suggested Best Practices Steering Committee
  • 1.1 Foster a sense of belonging and connectedness
    for all students by creating positive
    relationships with caring adults.
  • 1.2 Create school environments or school climates
    that are positive, safe and welcoming.
  • 1.3 Promote ongoing staff development to examine,
    identify and understand unique contextual issues
    of all students being served.
  • 1.4 Invest in programming and instructional
    strategies for learning that can be applied
    universally, disseminated and replicated.
    Maintain the integrity of key elements
  • 1.5 Promote staff retention by building on
    consistency, expertise, capacity and the power of
    initiatives to increase student engagement and
    prevent dropout across years.
  • 1.6 Establish consistency in measurement and
    definitions for key qualitative and quantitative
    indicators associated with school completion
    (these should include graduation rates, dropout
    rates, attendance, student engagement and school

Supporting Students Placed At-Risk
Suggested Best Practices Steering Committee
  • 2.1 Ensure the discussion of and movement towards
    cultural competence for all educators, support
    staff, administrators and others working with
    youth in school.  Cultural competence is embodied
    by commitment to open-mindedness, confrontation
    of stereotypical thinking and the creation of an
    atmosphere of care and concern for all students.
  • 2.2 Establish and maintain an ongoing exchange of
    information between parents, families and school
  • 2.3 Emphasize the important role that parent
    support can play in student learning (inside and
    outside of school) and encourage a focus on
    family engagement in student learning.
  • 2.4 Utilize research based dropout prevention
    strategies designed to increase student
    engagement in school and learning such as
    after-school activities, mentoring, tutoring,
    service learning, alternative learning programs,
    and safe learning environments

Supporting Students Placed At-Risk
Suggested Best Practices Steering Committee
  • 2.4 Provide student centered planning
    individualized to meet student needs. Closely
    monitor students progress to support students
    who are disengaging from school.
  • 2.5 Provide supports to students during key
    transition periods such as between middle and
    high school transition during the year for
    students new to the school return to school for
    students who were suspended expelled or in care
    and treatment and students new to America.
  • 2.6 Encourage school-community collaboration to
    support programs and activities that will sustain
    caring environments inside of and outside of
    school where youth can develop, learn and thrive.

Summary Thought
  • Promoting school completion implies much more
    than the reduction of dropout rates. Preparation
    of youth for productive and meaningful
    participation in a community begins, for
    educators, with the promotion of students
    engagement in school and learning.
  • (Sinclair, Christenson, Lehr, Anderson,
  • For more information, see Dropout Prevention,
    Retention and Graduation Initiative
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