Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pursuing the High School Diploma

School has just ended here in the Northwest, but school’s not out for many parents.  Especially the parents of high school kids who just aren’t making the grade.  They’re busy attending meetings to figure out what possible steps can be taken to help their struggling kids succeed.

Will summer school help? Night school? Maybe that new alternative program.
A local newspaper, The Oregonian, recently ran a three part series on why our teens weren’t graduating from high school in the typical four years – in fact many drop out.  The numbers weren’t what I found interesting, it was the techniques that local schools are using to enable teens facing challenges to stay in their home high schools, succeed and graduate on time.

What is working:
 - Having a weekly meeting of staff (about a dozen) who track and discuss the group of students at their school who are having problems, skipping school and are in danger of dropping out – or getting kicked out. 

- Tracking these student’s attendance on a daily basis.  Personally calling the home of a student who is absent.  Making sure they get the support and services they need.
- Screen all freshmen to ensure they can read on a high school level.  Provide a class or tutoring to bring those who are struggling up to speed.
- Work to keep these kids in their home/neighborhood school, rather than automatically sending them to alternative schools.

- Give students who have missed class work the opportunity to do make-up work in a flexible and timely fashion. 

The Hillsboro, Oregon school system has used these methods with great success.  Would these methods work in your school?  Is your child’s high school using one or more of these methods?  Would you be willing to ask your high school to look into implementing these techniques when you consider your child’s options for the fall?
Get help and support from your StandUp Parenting group as you work towards a positive future for your child’s education.

Next blog post: When Traditional Schools Just Don’t Work