By Laura Brown, Director for North GLRS, Dinah W. Martin, Program Specialist for North GLRS, and Loujeania Williams Bost, Director, National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities, Clemson University
The 2004 Amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires each state to develop a state performance program and establish targets for improvements toward reducing dropout rates and increasing graduation rates among youth with disabilities. Among other requirements, states must compare dropout and graduation rates of youth with Individual Education Plans to those of all students enrolled in the state, analyze trend data in dropout and graduation, and develop improvement activities to assist the state to reach designated targets.
Concern for the number of students with disabilities who do not complete high school prompted the North Georgia Learning Resources System (GLRS) Center to pursue a partnership with the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities (NDPC-SD). After receiving approval from the Georgia Department of Education (Division for Exceptional Students), North GLRS and the NDPC-SD collaboratively developed a plan for decreasing dropout for students with disabilities through focused planning and implementation of research-validated practices. All high schools and 9th Grade Academies from thirteen school systems in the northeast corner of Georgia are presently participating in this two year project which focuses on training and targeted support provided by the NDPC-SD.
The thirteen school systems are diverse in their student demographics, free or reduced lunch rates, student population size, and resources available to schools. A professional learning design team consisting of staff members from NDPC-SD and North GLRS developed a custom-tailored training to meet the unique needs of the school systems in the region. Support for the School Completion Project was obtained through awareness presentations to area superintendents and other system-level program directors. As a result, the schools selected an implementation team to attend four training sessions and lead the initiative at the local level. Recommended team size consisted of four participants; required members were a building administrator and a special education teacher from the school. Schools were free to select other team members. A variety of professionals within the schools (e.g., guidance counselors, general education teachers, graduation coaches, parent liaisons, and social workers) complete the team make-up.
NDPC-SD's Dropout Prevention School Intervention Framework (DPSIF, a systematic framework to support effective school-based implementation of dropout prevention efforts (View Intervention Framework) is used to guide implementation within the region. This four phase process is used to equip team members with competencies to sustain and expand efforts in data analysis to identify risk and protective factors in the school, identification of priority areas for intervention, identification and selection of evidence-based practices to address needs, and development and implementation of effective programs in dropout prevention. A two tier training plan supports the implementation of the framework.
In Tier I, the NDPC-SD provides training to support a trainer of trainers' model for future implementation. The train the trainer model leverages resources and establishes a foundation to support capacity building for addressing dropout prevention in the future. Within this tier, the implementation teams attend four days of interactive training. Training topics presented include the following:
These modules guide capacity building and are designed to create an awareness and understanding of dropout among students with disabilities; identify effective research-based interventions and effective program models, and guide the implementation of a systematic framework to support effective school-based implementation. Here's what participants had to say about the training:
The information we received will help us better target those students with disabilities because we will have a broader knowledge of the risk factors/indicators.
We will use the information gathered and knowledge learned to create a system of interventions to assist students with disabilities and those labeled at risk for graduation.
We plan to help support the schools' efforts in implementing evidenced based interventions based on their data.
We are looking for dropout prevention teaching techniques for students with disabilities, which would also help those who have not been classified as such, but who are experiencing the same difficulties and frustrations.
I believe many of the strategies discussed in the trainings can be used school wide, not just with students with disabilities. We plan on using these strategies to improve student achievement across the board.
The ideas should be used to help all students, not just those with disabilities. If you help special education students in a learning environment you help all the students. We have to look at differentiated learning/teaching as well as relationship building for our students.
I thoroughly enjoyed the presentations and the activities that allowed us to be engaged and share our experiences with others. It was highly informative.
Excellent material! High quality! Thanks for your hard work!
Tier II training consists of targeted support to selected schools for intense guided practice. North GLRS personnel will work in the schools alongside NDPC-SD staff to provide on-site support and guidance for the implementation team and the faculty. The schools will identify existing interventions, evaluate their effectiveness, and establish compatible new initiatives in efforts to meet prioritized needs which were determined through analyzes of the school's unique data. Continuous evaluation will help schools examine the efficacy of selected interventions. In addition to the training and support for the schools in northeast Georgia, North GLRS has ensured state-wide awareness for the project through various professional groups. Staff from the Georgia Department of Education (Division for Exceptional Students), the Community in Schools of Georgia which oversees the Graduation Coach Program, and staff from other GLRS centers participated in Tier I training. Sustainability of the work is further enhanced by shared information about dropout prevention for students with disabilities at state meetings and the winter conference of the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders (GAEL). In addition, Dr. Bost, NDPC-SD's Director has been asked to serve as a national expert on research strategies to increase the graduation rate of Georgia schools as part of a partnership activity with The Governor's Office, the State School Superintendent, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, and the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education.
More Information — More information on the Georgia School Completion Project can be obtained by contacting the following resources:
On November 9, 2006, NDPC-SD presented a teleseminar, "Partnering with Parents in Dropout Prevention: The Need and the How." The Presenters were:
As research indicates and experience sadly makes all too clear, students who drop out of school face a difficult future. They are more likely to be unemployed, incarcerated, and/or impoverished. For students with disabilities, the risks are intensified. However, families can play an important role in ensuring that their student with or without disabilities graduate. By staying involved, focusing on individual strengths, finding the right school setting, and holding high expectations, parents can help their children prepare for successful adulthood.
Ms. Jordan and Ms. Leuchovius provided participants with a brief summary of research highlighting the role of parents in dropout prevention, examined the need for parents and families to stay involved in the education of their sons and daughters throughout their middle school and high school years, and supplied examples of practical strategies that families can employ to help teenagers succeed.
Mr. Montemayor presented IDRA's four dimensions of valued parent engagement, which includes parents as (1) teachers, (2) resources, (3) decision-makers, and (4) leaders and trainers. Mr. Montemayor provided clear explanations as to how these four dimensions are reflected in effective educational policy and parent engagement practice. The teleconference attracted a large audience of 124 representatives from 44 school districts, state departments of education, and organizations (or an average of 2.82 attendees per site). At the end of the teleseminar, attendees were asked to respond to a polling question. 38 sites responded to the question, "What family involvement strategies are of the greatest interest to you today?" Attendees were given three selections from which to choose from. Below are the results. The number to the left of each selection is the number of responses to that selection, including the percentage based on all 38 responses:
In addition, 33 sites completed the evaluation survey of the event. Attendees gave the program very high ratings on their evaluations. 91% of the attendees rated the overall teleseminar as "excellent," "very good," or "good," and 87% rated the content in the same way. 97% of the attendees answered "strongly agree," "somewhat agree," or "neutral" to the statement, "This NDPC-SD program was relevant to improving results for students with disabilities." 93% found the event to be "of high quality" and "useful to their organization" through their responses using the same scale as in the previous question.
The presenters also received very high marks. Aurelio Montemayor received the highest marks with 97% of the attendees rating the overall effectiveness of his presentation as "excellent," "very good," or "good." 96% of the attendees found the overall effectiveness of Dixie Jordan 's presentation to also be "excellent," "very good," or "good," and 93% of the attendees rated Deborah Leuchovius in the same way. Loujeania Williams Bost also received an excellent rating with 97% of the attendees giving her introduction an "excellent," "very good," or "good" rating. Lastly, nearly all of the 36 sites stated that they would participate in another teleseminar with only three stating that they would not.
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Dr. Jim Knight, Research Associate, University of Kansas, Center for Research on Learning
One way to enable more students to stay in school and be successful is to improve the quality of instruction they receive. If more students successfully acquire the content, skills, and strategies they need to succeed, and if more students achieve success, then more students will graduate. Unfortunately, improving instruction is easier said than done. Many different factors are involved in the complex practice of teaching, and educators may be unsure about where to begin improving instruction. This presentation will describe a framework, The Big Four, which professional developers, coaches, and other educators can use to find a starting point for this challenge. The Big Four Framework of (a) Classroom Management, (b) Content Knowledge, (c) Direct Instruction, and (d) Formative Assessment provides a simple, yet sophisticated way of analyzing critical variables in teaching and identifying next steps in the important process of improving teaching practices. Individuals and groups looking for a starting point for instructional improvement should find this presentation extremely useful.
About the Presenter:
Dr. Jim Knight is a research associate at the University of Kansas, Center for Research on Learning. He has spent more than a decade studying instructional coaching. Jim directs a comprehensive, district-wide school reform project, Pathways to Success , in the Topeka , Kansas School District . Pathways to Success employs school-wide curriculum reform, led by Instructional Coaches, to achieve wide-scale implementation of Content Enhancement, Learning Strategy, and Positive Behavior Interventions across all middle and high schools in the district. Jim's articles on Instructional Coaching have been included in publications such as The Journal of Staff Development , Principal Leadership , and The School Administrator . His books, Instructional Coaching , to be published by Corwin Press and Coaching Classroom Management , written with Randy Sprick, Wendy Reinke, and Tricia McCale, are scheduled to be published early in 2007. Jim is frequently asked to guide professional learning for instructional coaches and has presented and consulted in more than 35 states, most Canadian provinces, and in Japan . He has also won several university teaching and innovation awards.
Who should attend this program:
Representatives of state education agencies, school-based leadership teams, classroom and special education teachers, central office and building level leadership, parent leaders, and policymakers.
Site Registration Fee: $75.00* *FREE to State Directors of Special Education, OSEP/OSERS & Regional Parent Information Centers
Registration Fee Includes:
Access from one telephone line and one set of reproducible materials.Participants can invite as many people to participate as one telephone connection can accommodate. When you register, you will receive instructions on how to access the seminar from your telephone and how to receive participant materials by mail or e-mail. The seminar registration fee includes access from one telephone line and one set of reproducible participant materials. Participants can pay using a credit card, check, or purchase order. If you wish to use a purchase order, you must register by phone. All purchase orders must be made out to Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC).
Register by calling 1-800-775-7654 or email Deb Hall for more information at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
SEMINAR CODE: 12242
The 19th Annual At-Risk Youth National Forum, to be held in Myrtle Beach, SC from February 18-21, 2007, will provide educators at all levels with the "Tools, Techniques, and Strategies That Encourage Students to Graduate."
During the Forum, innovative, skilled presenters who have excellent ideas, proven programs that have evidence-based research will share in the areas of (1) students with disabilities, (2) literacy (helping struggling readers), (3) attendance/truancy, (4) teen pregnancy prevention, (5) after-school programs, (6) workforce preparation, (7) resiliency and (8) service-learning.
The 2007 Forum is designed to enhance the leadership skills of all adults who are seeking to strengthen interventions among school, community, and families, especially those in at-risk situations. Below is a list of concurrent sessions that are included in the students with disabilities strand:
Monday, February 19, 2007
8:30 — 10:00am: Concurrent Session
"Dropout Prevention for Students with Disabilities: Recommendations for Teachers" presented by Dr. Sandra C. Smith from the NDPC-SD
1:00 — 2:00pm: Concurrent Session
"Universal Design for Learning: A Promising Concept for ALL Students" presented by Dr. Larry Kortering, Dr. Terry McClannon, and Dr. Patricia Braziel from Appalachian State University
2:15 — 3:30pm: Carousel Session
"Building Effective Dropout Prevention Programs: Lessons Learned from Research and Practice" presented by Dr. Loujeania W. Bost with the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities
Since 2004, the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities (NDPC-SD) has synthesized available research and practice in the area of dropout prevention for students with disabilities. Our efforts have yielded insights into why youth with disabilities drop out, the consequences faced by these youth, and effective prevention strategies. In this session, we share with you some of the key strategies and recommendations gleaned from research and practice.
2:15 — 3:45pm: Concurrent Session
"Dropout Prevention for Students with Disabilities: Recommendations for Administrators" presented by Dr. Matthew Klare with the NDPC-SD
Tuesday February 20, 2007
10:15 — 11:15am: Concurrent Sessions
"School-Wide Positive Behavior Support: Feel the Heat!" presented by Ms. Robin Morrison from Miami-Dade County Public Schools & Ms. Stephanie Martinez from University of South Florida.
"Transition Strategies that Improve the School Completion of Students with Disabilities" presented by Dr. David Test and Dr. James White from the University of North Carolina
Wednesday February 21, 2007
8:30 — 9:30am: Concurrent Session
"Transforming Transition: Blueprints for High School and Post-Secondary Success" presented by Ms. Heather Torrence from MSU Billings Montana Center on Disabilities
"Entrepreneurship as a Tool for Increasing Attendance and Reducing Dropouts" presented by Mr. Aaron Bocage from EDTEC Inc.
9:45 — 10:45am: Concurrent Session
Check & Connect: Strategies to Engage High School Students in School presented by Ms. Colleen Kaibel from Minneapolis Public Schools.
This evidence- based dropout prevention procedure is also a part of OSEP's model program investment with the University of MN.
"Reaching and Teaching All Michigan Students" presented by Ms. Leisa Gallagher from Michigan Department of Education.
Registration and Information —
2007 Conference on Inclusive Education
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19th Annual At-Risk Youth National FORUM
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2007 Disability Policy Seminar
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CEC's 2007 Annual Convention & Expo
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"Meeting the Nation's Need for Personal Assistance Services: State of the Science"
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NSTTAC's National Secondary Transition State Planning Institute