Rural Educators Talk Strategies for Dropout Prevention

By Diette Courrégé Casey — May 04, 2012 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

One out of every four rural high school students won’t graduate from high school. Some rural communities are finding innovative ways to prevent dropouts.

The U.S. Department of Education and Jobs for the Future hosted a webinar Thursday on dropout prevention in rural areas, “Utilizing the Village: Building Community Support for Dropout Prevention and Recovery Work in Rural Communities.”

The first presenters, educators from a Texas district near the Mexican border, talked about an innovative academy they created to address the problem, and the second presenter discussed ways to mobilize community support.

The first dropout-prevention strategy discussed during the 1 ½ hour session came from Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District, a tri-city district that’s 99 percent Hispanic and majority low-income in Pharr, Texas.

The 32,000-student district has created a College, Career, and Technology Academy that’s being replicated across the state. The stand-alone school accepts 18- to 26-year-old students who need five or less credits to graduate and/or need to pass the state’s exit exam.

“We’re not just about a high school diploma,” said Principal Linda Carrillo. “We’re really about getting kids college ready, college connected, and college complete.”

They do that in a number of ways, including transporting student to a nearby community college and providing a transition counselor who serves students while they’re in college.

The academy has a flexible school day and provides child care for its students’ children. It also has a counselor and social worker who help students deal with social and emotional issues.

The district mounted a campaign, “You didn’t graduate from high school? Start college today!” to encourage dropouts to earn their GED while taking dual enrollment courses at the academy. The entire community got behind the effort, knocking on dropouts’ doors to let them know they could go back to school.

The district had nearly 500 dropouts a year in 2005-06, but that number had fallen to 42 in 2010-11. The academy has graduated almost 900 students.

Some participants questioned how the academy was funded. They said they use federal Title 1 money and grants as well as state per-pupil dollars.

The webinar was the first of three in a Rural Webinar series, with another focused on early intervention strategies scheduled for this fall, and the final one covering recovery programming in spring 2013. A recording and written transcript will be posted online within the next few days, and the resources available to participants already are online.

We’ll post next week about the second half of the session, which included strategies and tips for building community will to support achievement for all youth.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP