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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…

Rural College Equity Toolkit

Despite similar graduation rates, rural students attend college at a much lower rate than their urban and suburban counterparts (AASA Rural Equity Report, 2017; Flora & Flora, 2013). In some states, this gap in postsecondary enrollment reaches as high as 20% (Pierson & Hanson, 2015). This issue appears to have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the number of rural students filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) decreased by a whopping 18% from 2019 to 2020 (FSA, 2019-2020). These patterns are especially prevalent in highly competitive postsecondary programs (Byun, Irvin, and Meece 2015; Koricich et…

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

Cal-HOSA’s Blueprint to Student Mental Wellness and Career Pipeline

In the school environment, mental health problems adversely affect students’ attention span in the classroom, aptitude for learning or study, and engagement in intramural and extramural activities; a situation intensified among students from vulnerable populations. Early detection combined with appropriate services and resources can change a child’s trajectory from a path of severe mental health issues to one of wellness and full participation in school and community life. This comprehensive guide for educators draws on the importance of connectedness and student-centered standards of practice, both core component of high-quality student success systems. It offers lesson plans and worksheets to…

Student Success Systems: Building on MTSS and EWS to Create a Unified System

Implementing student success systems begins with leveraging existing school practices and frameworks like Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) and Early Warning Systems (EWS). This new guide offers a framing for understanding how MTSS and EWS are related, and how they align within student success Systems. The examination and integration ensures that people and processes are prepared to expand existing practices to create a single holistic system integrating supportive relationships that use actionable data with student-centered mindsets toward a process of analyzing and acting on data.

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…

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