Our Strategy is Simple. Literally
Our schools are failing our kids. And then we turn around and blame our young people for the failing system that we as adults have created. We define the issue as the dropout crisis, inferring that its cause is the personal deficiency of a good proportion of our youth. What we really have is a dropout system problem – we have a hundred year old factory model system that cannot provide the customized pathways needed in today’s age for success in our world.
Schools have been failing for decades, and we don’t seem to be making much progress. We have students in schools that don’t fit their needs. We have students who start falling behind, but don’t receive a quick, appropriate intervention to get them back on track. We have data, massive amounts of data, but not in a form that can be utilized effectively by the educational experts on the frontlines. We have schools that are completely buried by the degree of the crisis, where the extent of the need dwarves the resources available to address that need. Hard working teachers and administrators are spinning their wheels, working harder and harder to make a difference, and falling further behind.
School personnel are so overwhelmed by the crisis that they run out of time and steam to build personal supportive relationships with students to facilitate learning. And when adults can’t pay enough attention, at-risk students fly under the radar, falling further and further behind, and eventually giving up and dropping out. Schools and districts are so busy with dealing with the students in their building, that they often don’t reach out to students who have left their schools. Society tends to believe that students dropping out are making a rational choice that they don’t care about their education, when in reality, most yearn to return to get their diplomas, but don’t know how to come back and where to return to be successful. With all this complexity, it has been difficult to know where to start to turn the situation around.
Our approach is to be inspired by research and led by local data analysis. We identify actionable insights within national research to simplify the complexity in the dropout problem. We look for key leverage points to build promising practices in order to ripple positive effects through the educational system. We also utilize key conceptual frameworks, such as tiered intervention approaches, in order to simplify the complexity of data use. Through research and strategic planning, we help districts institute dropout recovery, dropout intervention and new school creation to bring their dropout numbers to zero.