Sometimes, the students who leave school before graduation are predictable. They’re the single mothers with no family support. They’re the young men who have been in trouble with the law. In at least one way, the stark challenges of their lives actually make our jobs as educators easier — it’s not hard to know that students in these sorts of situations will need additional support to get to graduation day.
Sometimes, they’re a little less predictable. But careful attention to “leading indicators,” that correspond to a student’s academic resiliency, social-emotional learning status, and career readiness, can offer us the opportunity to identify risks before they become overt. (And, as it happens, that’s the subject of our next informational campaign!)
Experienced educators know, however, that not everyone who is at-risk hangs a metaphorical sign around their neck to let the world know. Indeed, many students aren’t at-risk until an unexpected life event makes it so. In our work with students in districts across the nation, we’ve worked with students who were star athletes, student government leaders and even a young woman who was on track to become valedictorian of her class before she unexpectedly dropped out.
Fortunately, our unique perspective — and more than a decade of experience re-engaging students and getting them to graduation day — has resulted in five easy-to-monitor indicators that can help school leaders identify students who may be in danger of not completing high school. For more information click here .