A Pathway to Change: Building Student Success Systems to Support Students with Disabilities

September 21, 2023 Students with disabilities graduate at lower rates than their nondisabled peers. Of the 49.4 million public-school students in the U.S., 13% receive services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA; U.S. Department of Education, 2022), a law that provides a free and appropriate public education to children with disabilities ages 3–21. There are many reasons students drop out of high school, and it is often a combination of factors. One of the most common reasons is a need for more engagement or interest in school.

Centering School Connectedness

September 19, 2023 By Robert Balfanz, Director, Everyone Graduates Center As featured in NASBE’s The State Education Standard, September 2023 Volume 23, No. 3 Fostering school connectedness is an effective, universal prevention measure that affects many important student outcomes. Students who are connected to school get better grades, attend more often, have fewer behavioral challenges, graduate from high school, and go to college at higher rates than their disconnected peers. Schools can, by themselves, act on the elements that drive connection: They can establish baselines, identify improvement strategies, measure impact, and then work to continually improve. Read the full…

Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates

The final (June 2023) report to the nation on a 20-year effort to boost high school graduation rates shows graduation rates rising from 71 percent in 2001 to 86.5 percent by the Class of 2020, translating into 5 million more students graduating, rather than dropping out, during that period. Despite the great progress made over the course of the 20-year effort culminating in the GradNation Campaign, equity gaps persist, and the COVID-19 pandemic had significant impacts on student learning and health. The report calls for, among other policy recommendations, expanding the use of Student Success Systems. Read more on…

What Works: School Connectedness

California Safe and Supportive Schools brief summarizes evidence on the importance of school connectedness, with practical tips for what teachers and adults can do right now, as well as universal and targeted support approaches

Investing in Adolescents: High School Climate and Organizational Context Shape Student Development and Educational Attainment

New report from the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research shines light on what effective schools do well, demonstrating the value of taking a holistic approach to student development in high school and in transition from 8th to 9th grades. Effective schools cultivate an environment in which students and teachers have positive and productive interactions, students develop peer connections and have a sense of belonging, and students’ orientation toward hard work, effort, and engagement is nurtured. Compared to schools with a singular focus on test scores, schools promoting grown on all dimensions had a greater impact on short- and long-term…

In School, Engaged, On-track? The Effect of the Pandemic on Student Attendance, Course Grades, and Grade Retention in North Carolina 

This study provides new evidence of the pandemic’s negative impact on student outcomes, highlighting its variable and disproportionate effects for historically marginalized groups, including Black and Hispanic students, EDS students, and ELL students. Results underscore the need for implementing tiered, targeted interventions to provide appropriate supports for students with different needs, as well as the imperative that administrators, policymakers, and researchers pay attention to the full distribution of student outcomes to ensure recovery reaches all students. 

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