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dropout prevention

Two reliable tips for early identification of at-risk students

  • Rob Noroian
  • August 25, 2017

Wow. The response to our campaign to share some easy-to-monitor indicators for potentially at-risk students is going far better than we could have expected. Across the country, educators have been asking for our new tip sheet, and engaging with us about their ideas for how to better “see” potentially at-risk students before they’re even at-risk

One superintendent told us that the teachers at her district’s high school come to their weekly PLC meetings with a “hunch list” — three students from each class for whom the teachers have a suspicion something might be wrong. Whenever a student winds up on several hunch lists, an intervention team goes to work to try to identify more specific challenges that student might be facing. “It’s like cloud sourcing intuition,” she wrote. “It’s amazing how obstacles that we can’t necessarily see can somehow be ‘sensed’ when everyone is working together.”

A principal told us that he “takes the pulse of parental support” by having his staff and faculty work together to call every parent or guardian in the first month of school. “It’s a quick call — about two minutes, usually — in which we simply say ‘you are important to your child’s education,’ and offer some contact information.’” Students of parents who don’t pick up and don’t return a message are identified as potentially lacking an engaged parent. “Sometimes that’s not the case, but it’s a pretty quick and easy way to have a stronger idea — and then we can target that student for some social-emotional interventions.”

Another principal asked whether there are more indicators that can be monitored even earlier. (There absolutely are, and in our next informational campaign, we’ll be sharing some of them.)

If you haven’t already gotten our tip sheet, just follow this link. Once you have, tell us what you think. Would these ideas work in your school? Do you have an easy-to-monitor indicator we should share on a future tip sheet? Let us know.