Preventing California Student Dropout with the Early Warning Intervention System

The California Department of Education, the National High School Center, and the California Comprehensive Center have been supporting numerous California districts and schools in implementing an Early Warning System through California’s Early Warning and Intervention System (EWIS) pilot project. Pilot participants have been using either the National High School Center’s Early Warning System High School Tool or its EWS Middle Grades Tool  to identify and support at-risk students with both school-wide strategies and targeted interventions. California’s districts and schools also use their early warning systems data to examine school-level patterns in the current school year and over time, in order to address systemic issues that may be impeding a student’s ability to graduate.

On May 3, 2012, Ellen Ringer, from the California Department of Education, and Mindee O’Cummings, from the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research,  presented on California’s EWIS pilot. The presentation focused on the research on early indicators of dropout, the National High School Center’s early warning system tools and seven-step Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System (EWIMS) implementation process, and the lessons learned regarding the pilot project. Kelley Birch, Principal of Willis Jepson Middle School, shared her experiences of participating in the California EWIS pilot project at their schools and provided recommendations for those considering this approach to school improvement.

The presentation is particularly useful for middle grades and high school administrators and states who are looking for a system to identify and intervene with students at-risk of dropping out of school. The archived Webinar is available at

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.

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