This blog is a review of the High School Graduation Initiative (HSGI) grants that have been awarded to a wide range of applicants. Application summaries are now available on the Department of Education’s Web site.
In addition to initiating and expanding programs to prevent dropout, several HSGI awardees have also made plans to help dropouts re-enroll and recover credits to get back on track to graduate.
Outreach to Dropouts and Re-enrollment
Many of the awarded school districts will use the funds to help re-enroll out-of-school youth. Re-enrollment activities include launching communication and community outreach campaigns, hiring social workers and other staff to locate dropouts and help them get back on track, establishing re-enrollment centers as central resources for youth who seek to return to high school and expanding existing re-enrollment centers that have proven successful. Des Moines Independent Community Schools (IA) plans to increase the number of case managers who reach out to dropouts and their families, and will designate an engagement counselor to help students re-enroll. The School District of the City of Pontiac (MI) will partner with a local church to make door-to-door visits to find students who have dropped out and encourage them to return to school. Syracuse City School District (NY) plans to pair returning students with an adult mentor.
Funds will also be used to provide services to students who have recently re-enrolled or are in the process of re-enrolling. In addition to re-enrollment services, the Los Angeles Unified School District (CA) will provide youth assistance in accessing social and employment-related services. West Center Intermediate Service Center #40 (IL) will use funds to provide more flexible high school completion options for students who have previously dropped out, including online courses and an evening program. Sunnyside School District (WA) will create a school-within-a-school to provide returning students with academic, personal and social support in an effort to help students recover credit and earn a degree.
Fourteen of the 29 awarded grants will use the funds for credit recovery either for returning students who have previously dropped out or for students who are at risk of not completing their degree. Seven of these 14 awardees will offer a combination of online coursework and individual or small group instruction as a credit recovery option for students.
We will be looking deeper at the HSGI applications and the strategies proposed in the near future.
Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.