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COVID Related Dropout Prevention Framework

DRAFT

 

Overview

Educators are working hard to connect students with schools across our state. The following information has been shared by schools and districts across Colorado who have identified strategies and promising practices as related to student engagement and dropout prevention.

The following information is complementary to the research-based Colorado Dropout Prevention Framework.

If you have any questions please contact Student Engagement and Dropout Prevention: engagement_grants@cde.state.co.us

To provide feedback on this draft or to submit a promising practice for inclusion in the framework, please complete this form: COVID Related Dropout Prevention Framework Feedback



Identifying students who are at risk of dropping out of school through the use of data analysis, early warning systems, and the review of policies and practices as a means of preventing student disengagement before it starts.   

Data Analysis  

Recommendations to consider: 

  • Analyze available school level information to determine areas of opportunity that need to be addressed
  • Example data to keep track of are graduation rates, completion rates, dropout rates, academic achievement and growth, Individual Career Academic Plan (ICAP) completion, concurrent enrollment rates, grade level statistics, ninth grade on track to graduate rate,  grade progression, coursing passing and failure rates, GPA, and engagement rates.
  • Disaggregate data by student groups (e.g., grade, race/ethnicity and gender, Instructional Program Service Type).
  • Use available data to:
    • Assess student learning gaps (e.g., by individual student, grade level, classroom, and school).  
    • Adjust curriculum or pacing to fit the needs of students. Monitor progress and adjust interventions as needed.   
    • Determine effectiveness and outcomes of student programming or interventions.   
    • Analyze both individual and group (i.e. gender, race/ethnicity, foster, homeless, migrant, etc.) outcomes to determine adjustments to programming and services.  
    • Support Unified Improvement Plan and School/District improvement planning processes.

 

References and Resources: 

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Early Warning Systems  

Recommendations to consider:  

  • Identify students at risk of dropping out using pre-COVID 19 data and existing early warning systems, if available.  Schools can also use the indicators to monitor student engagement and connectedness to school. Continue to monitor students using indicators appropriate for the current learning model (see examples below for remote model). Schools should connect with students identified as at risk of dropping out of school. Potential indicators to consider include:  
    • Attendance - Students who are not:
      • Attending virtual or in person classes or activities
      • Logging on to a platform to get needed materials or picking up materials at school
      • Responding to repeated outreach effort
      • Engaging with active participation. 
    • Behavior - Concerning behaviors in virtual classes, online chats, and other group activities  
    • Course Completion/Academics - Not completing assigned work or attaining needed credit; Turning in low quality work; Failing classes or course completion if grades are still being awarded.   
  • Once students are identified, continue to connect with students. Create cohorts or small communities of students who were re-engaged or who are at risk for dropping out. Using cohorts facilitated monitoring progress and providing supports.  

 

References and Resources: 

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Policies and Practices Review  

Recommendations to consider:   

  • Review current policies and practices to determine what might need to be adjusted due to COVID-19.   
  • Develop and provide guidance on how to determine attendance for various school scenarios. 
  • Give students flexible options as they return to school (e.g., smaller classroom instruction, online classes, Friday or evening classes, and flexible school schedules whenever possible).   
  • Consider which content areas may be done in-person and which may work well remotely and for which students.    
  • Consider barriers that may exist for students to participate in learning and adjust policies or practices as feasible.

 

References and Resources: 

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Successful efforts include transition planning and support, school-wide strategies and tiered interventions for students identified as being off-track to graduate or at risk of dropping out. 

Community Engagement  

Recommendations to consider:  

  • Engage the community not only for engagement and enrichment connections  but also to help fill immediate student needs (e.g., food, technology, donations) including services (e.g., mental health counseling).  Some communities have identified the need for a needs assessment.
  • Dedicate staff or community partners to work on making deliberate connections to meet specific needs. 

 

References and Resources: 


Counseling and Mentoring  

Recommendations to consider:   

  • Connect students to peers or through group conversations with mentors or counselors.
  • For each student identified as at risk for dropping out of school, assign a person to be the student’s advocate or mentor.   
  • Provide staff training about being trauma informed.
  • Establish one-to-one student/staff pairing and check-ins. 
  • Provide coaching/advising  
    • Ensure students have a relationship with a safe, supportive adult in school. If it is a new relationship, find common ground to connect with the student (examples include sharing similar interests, sharing personal stories and listening to the student). 
    • Meet the student where they are at in their emotional and academic journey 
      • Create academic plans that include action steps – if a student is overwhelmed they may give up.   
      • Check back with students frequently regarding how they are progressing on the plan.    
      • Celebrate often – many small wins will result in the major wins. 
    • Work with students on building essential skills such as entrepreneurial, personal, civic/interpersonal and professional skills. 
    • Develop and review the student’s Individual Career Academic Plan (ICAP) for relevancy of course content to career and other interests beyond high school. 

 

References and Resources: 

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Course Completion and Credit Recovery  

Recommendations to consider from schools and districts:   

  • Track course failure rate and consider if changes in grading policies are needed.
  • Provide personalized instructional supports online and in person (if possible):
  • Assess where students start off the year and develop academic plans
  • Develop assignments and curriculum to address learning challenges. 
  • Social Distancing Tutoring Centers –using 6-foot tables, masks and a hotspot, meet up at a park, or other outdoor suitable public setting where students can work and teachers are able to provide academic and essential skills support 
  • Offer various options such as small group instruction, peer or mentor tutoring or individual instruction or synchronous or asynchronous options for instruction.
  • Create menus of potential assignments that offers a variety of activities the student could complete to demonstrate proficiency  
  • Break lessons into smaller chunks to help students remain engaged. 
  • Have open office hours for students to visit (in-person or virtually). 
  • Work with each student to develop an individual plan based on student needs and interests.   
  • Utilize project/problem-based learning (PBL) techniques that address multiple subjects, allowing the student to earn credit in multiple classes when completing the PBL. 

 

References and Resources: 

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Family Partnering   

Recommendations to consider:  

  • Continue to build connections/relationships with families and students. Examples include regular check-ins, monthly parent-teacher conferences or connections, emails, phone calls, or social distancing visits.  
  • Consider using school-based Family Engagement Liaisons to continuously connect with families and continue to build relationships.   
  • Provide webinars or virtual conferences for parents/guardians at the start of the school year to inform them of re-opening efforts, student safety, and new expectations. Also provide training or more information on how to navigate the school's online platforms or digital contents.  
  • Provide a platform for parents and families to ask questions, share ideas, and express concerns at the start and throughout the school year, especially at times of transition to new learning models.  
  • Consider conducting virtual home visits.

 

 References and Resources: 

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Multiple Pathways to Graduation 

Recommendations to consider:   

  • Focusing on a student’s individualized interests are key to engaging students with school.
  • Rethink which pathways are available to students during transitions between learning models and school disruptions and make appropriate changes.  
    • Flexible scheduling 
    • Different school options  
    • Small learning communities 
  • Connect to postsecondary goals to offer a variety of structured academic opportunities for students to achieve their goal for high school graduation or completion (e.g., CTE programs, credit recovery and acceleration, concurrent enrollment, project based and experiential learning opportunities, work-based learning).  
  • Consider academic rigor, students’ unique interests, and individualized academic needs when determining pathways and designing coursework.  

 

References and Resources: 

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Student Engagement and Re-engagement 

Recommendations to consider:   

  • Due to disruptions in schooling, students will need additional support to maintain or increase engagement.  Re-engagement efforts may be necessary for students who were not reached or stopped participating during remote learning.  
  • Utilize an early warning system to identify students who are most at risk for dropping out.  
  • Determine strategies to go out into the community to retrieve students who have not shown up for the new school year or who were not reached during remote learning, provided it is not contrary to official local health guidelines. 
    •  An innovation under consideration by some schools is to leverage AmeriCorps volunteers to work with community-based organizations, such as Y’s, Boys/Girls clubs, food banks and human services locations to help connect students and their families with school enrollment, while they are enrolling for other public services or receiving support.
  • Reach out to students prior to them officially being considered a dropout.   
    • Utilizing safe, supportive adults in the school or district to help students navigate registering and returning to school.
    • Utilize multiple forms of outreach (e.g., phone calls, emails, social media or in-person socially-distanced visits).
    • If the student is unresponsive to current outreach efforts, identify other individuals in the district, school, or community that have a relationship with the student or family and can assist with outreach.   
    • Be persistent with continuous and frequent communication  
    • Connect with students and families about their current needs and refer to available resources in the community.  
    • Formalize a process to know which students have been contacted and through which communications channels.
  • Ideas of how to reach out to students and provide support without face-to-face contact. 
    • Phone calls  
    • Virtual Meetings (Zoom, Facetime, Skype, Teams, etc.)  
    • Text messaging  
    • Personal, customized notes to students  
    • Social media avenues (refer to district policy for use of social media) 
    • Parent or community groups or newsletters 
    • Ensure student has a relationship with a trusted adult first. If it is a new relationship, find a way to connect to the student (examples include sharing similar interests, sharing personal stories without dominating the conversation).  
    • Utilize active listening skills.  Examples of this include Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Coaching, etc.   
  • Use "I" statements and summarize students statements to show understanding. Examples include:  "I hear you saying . . .", "If I understand you correctly . . . ".  
    • Identify the student's feelings after they describe what is going on.  Examples include:  "That sounds (adjective) . . .".  Try using words that describe a feeling like frustrating, lonely, exciting.  Remember, the student is not wrong to feel a certain way, and if you guess the wrong feeling they will let you know.  

 

 References and Resources: 

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Transition Programs  

Recommendations to consider:   

  • Provide comprehensive transition programming with supports for students in three significant periods of transition:
    • Accessing Special Education Services
    • Students Progressing to New Grade Levels
    • Students Moving to a Different School
    • Students switching between learning models
  • Provide transition programming Share expectations for the new school year early with students and families.  
  • Share expectations for how school will continue if a closure happens. 
  • Determine a clear transition plan(s) and expectations for coming back to school. 
  • Transition plans can be customized for specific student groups (e.g., school level transitions, grade level transitions, returning expelled students, new to district/school students, foster students, homeless students, migrant students, etc.) 
  • Establish a routine as soon as possible for students and staff.  
  • Adequate parent/family and student training will be needed if remote learning will continue.   

 

 References and Resources: 


System-wide changes that can be utilized to create an ecosystem for student success, including improving school climate, evaluating policies and practices, and understanding that multiple pathways to graduation can be used to re-engage students and increase graduation rates.  

 School Climate  

Recommendations to consider:  

  • Share expectations for the new school year early with students and families.  
  • Increase student engagement and help students stay on-track by prioritizing relationship building between staff and students, especially those most at-risk for dropping out.   
  • Create small communities of students or "cohorts" who were re-engaged or who are at risk for dropping out to help facilitate monitoring progress and providing support. Transition plans can be customized for specific cohorts.   
  • Use restorative practices methods (e.g., peace circles, restorative conferences) to: 
    • Engage students in conversations about how they may feel harmed by the COVID pandemic or other threats to a sense of security; Work with the student on what is needed to feel safe returning to school, what school will look like, and how to create success plans  
    • Discuss challenges and feasible ways to overcome the challenges

 

 References and Resources: 

 
 

General Resources:

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