Slide 1

Report
Learning,
Working and Living:
Keeping Promises to Our
Youth
Virginia Department of Education
May 7, 2008
VDOE Timeline
2001-2002 school year, VDOE relied on the local school
divisions to count the number of students who dropped
out of school each year
2002-2003 school year, VDOE began collecting records
for all students enrolled in Virginia public schools
through its Education Information Management System
(EIMS) that requires school divisions to report the status
of all students enrolled in the public schools three times
per year.
Summer 2003 Project Graduation – designed to help
rising seniors who had already earned required standard
credits in English to obtain their English verified credits
towards graduation
 2004-2005 VDOE implemented the use of a state testing
identifier, which allows the Department to track students
over time
 2005 - Code of Virginia established responsibility for Reenrollment Regulations of Students Committed to the
Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ)
 September 2005 – Regional Truancy Institutes and
publication of Improving School Attendance – A
Resource Guide for Virginia Schools
 2005-2006 SPP/APR Secondary Indicators focused on
transition, dropout, graduation and post school outcomes
2006-2007 school year, the EIMS provided 36 different
exit options that can be used to describe why students
exited a particular school. The codes provide consistent
definitions that school divisions use to document why
students exited school.
June 2006, The Study of Truancy Intervention Practices in
Virginia for VDOE by Policy Works, Ltd.
November 2007 VDOE recipient, National Governors
Association Honors States Grant to improve high school
graduation and college-ready rates
 2006, the Board of Education approved the implementation
of a new calculation for graduation rates beginning in the
fall of 2008. This rate reflects the percent of students who
were first ninth graders in 2004-05 school year and
graduated in the 2007-2008 school year.
October 2006, VDOE Student Services staff attended the
National Dropout Prevention Network Conference in San
Antonia, TX
November 2006 - Statewide training on Re-enrollment
Regulations (DJJ, DCE, DOE and school division staff)
 Virginia Team for Youth - Nine meetings across the
state, hitting every Superintendent’s region. Brought
together people from local and regional Education
Agencies, Correctional Education, Social Services-foster
care, Juvenile Justice, WIA Youth Coordinators, GED
coordinators, truancy/attendance coordinators,
Department of Rehabilitative Services counselors, to
create a collaborative approach to prepare youth for
success in a global, demand-driven economy. Focus on:
coordination, collaboration, job placement, partnerships,
joint services, integrated approach, better access,
information sharing and level of commitment among the
primary stakeholders.
 2006-2007 Presentations to the VA Board of Education
Graduation and Dropout Prevention Committee
 Spring 2007 Attended Secondary Indicators and
Transition meeting in Baltimore with Student Services,
Special Education and Federal Program Monitoring team
 August 2007, the Virginia General Assembly required the
Virginia Board of Education (BOE) to study high school
dropout and graduation rates in the state; the Board
required VDOE to conduct the study
 August 2007, the BOE and VDOE defined a dropout
 October 2007, The Report on the Study of High School
Dropout and Graduation Rates in the Commonwealth was
submitted to Board of Education
 Eighty-five percent of the 132 school divisions responded to
the survey.
 Fall 2007 – Virginia Commission on Youth Legislative Studies
and Initiatives recommended that VDOE establish guidelines
for statewide implementation of Student Assistance
Programs (SAPs) and a budget amendment for VDOE to
construct a database to capture the utilization of Student
Assistance Programs (SAPs) in the state
 January 2008 Applied for America’s Promise Alliance
Dropout Prevention Grant
 February 2008 - Received grant from America’s Promise
Alliance for Dropout Prevention Summit

January – April 2008 VDOE held five regional Student
Assistance Programming (SAP) 2 day training

March 2008 - 23rd Annual Virginia Transition Forum
preconference on Dropout for Students with IEPs – Dr.
Bost presented- Participants included general, special
education and career and technical staff

March 2008 – Dr. Bost met with key DOE staff across
divisions to discuss dropout prevention issues and
collaborative efforts

April 2008 – Virginia Commission on Youth asked to
study the compliance with the compulsory school
attendance law – school truancy
 2008 Superintendent’s Cabinet holding ongoing meetings
and planning regarding dropout prevention and school
completion
 May 2008 Attendance at National Secondary State Planning
Institute, Charlotte, NC
 June 2008 – Regional Dropout Prevention Meetings
 September 2008 – Statewide Dropout Prevention Summit
Please use the following template to document information for each state dropout prevention
effort conducted in the recent past, currently, or that is planned for the future.
Title of effort: _________________________________________
Responsible DOE Division (check one)
___ Office of the Superintendent
Timing of work:
___ Recently completed
___ Finance
___ Currently happening
___ Instruction
___ Planned for the future
___ Special Education and Student Services
___ Policy and Communications
___ Student Assessment and School
Primary Impact Factor (check one)
___ Appropriate Social Behavior
Improvement
___ Sufficient Academic Success
___ Teacher Education and Licensure
___ Effective Transition Services
___ Technology and Career Education
___ School Engagement (student and parent)
___ Accountability, Research, Data
Responsible Office:
_______________________
Title of work
 Purpose
 Approach
 Audience
What do we know? (Data)
What do we need? (Data)
State controlled factors versus locally controlled factors
Primary funding source
Perceived gaps in state efforts that impact high school completion
Systemic Approach to Student Graduation
Academics
- Grading;
-
Student Supports
Instructional Strategies
Tutoring
Alternative Instruction
Remediation
Early Identification
Use of Data for Monitoring
- Guidance
- Family/Parent
- Health/Mental Health
- School Safety
- Mentoring/Engagement
-Transition
- Promotion/
Retention
- Discipline
- Attendance
- Inclusiveness
- Student Conduct
- Staffing
- Training and Professional Development
- Roles
- Formal and Informal Structure
- Work groups/teams
- Information Management Systems
-Culture/Climate
Organizational Management
Policies
 Descriptions of Areas Included in a Systemic Approach to Student
Graduation
Studies of the reasons why students leave school include failure to
keep pace with academic standards. Studies of dropout recovery
efforts have also lead to observations that adequate instruction is
not the only impediment to learning, but also social, economic, and
health and mental health factors. A systemic approach to student
graduation needs to embrace the entire student with effective
practices in both the academic and the student supports area. In
addition, a systemic approach must include organizational structure
that promotes implementation of effective practices and policies that
ensure that they are sustained.
The academic aspects of keeping students in schools focuses on
matching instructional strategies to what students need on a class
and on an individual basis. Skills and knowledge development of
instructors is a key element. Understanding how to change
instruction so that a student will learn, how to measure student
progress, and providing opportunities for a student to demonstrate
successful learning are elements of the academic subsystem. The
development of standards and model curriculum to teach those
standards, the establishment of tutoring systems, the programming
of time for additional instruction and remediation for failing students
are also elements of the academic subsystem.
• One individual with the philosophy that a teacher must find ways to
reach a student and help him or her to learn will not thrive in an
environment that does not recognize individual student needs as a
catalyst for changed instructional approaches. The culture of a school
system, expectations and investment in staff learning, use of staff
knowledge and strengths, formal and informal organizational
relationships, must be aligned to promote and to support changes in
the academic approach. Without an organizational management
subsystem that expects, supports, and reinforces practices such as
use of data for monitoring, assessment, and intervention, school-wide
reform and improvement for students who “fall through” the cracks
cannot occur.
• What the school board and the superintendent reinforce through
formal, written, policies will be a statement of what is important to that
school system, will be given attention, and paid attention and will be
expected to be followed. Without formal action to specify expectations
and practices of a school system, permanent change cannot be
sustained. The formal documents of a school board present what is
important to families and to school personnel. These policies ensure
that academic and student supports reform is not individual
dependent.
Even with the building of academic approaches, policies, and
supportive organizational structure and management, a student who
is not succeeding may need intervention for reasons that are not
related to his or her ability to learn. Help with a family situation,
diagnosis and intervention with a drug problem, planning for
individual student assistance to overcome distressing situations, are
all part of the student supports subsystem that provides the
foundation for learning to take place. A student must be engaged to
learn. The student support subsystem identifies and addresses the
reasons why the student is not engaged.
All of the subsystems must operate in concert to an aligned overall
system that addresses student school graduation.
Vivian G. Stith-Williams, Ph.D.
Student Services Specialist
Office of Student Services
Virginia Department of Education
[email protected]
804-225-4543

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