The scope and setting of the project are to support, monitor, and advocate for students (approximately 3,000 students each) who are at risk for not graduating (especially those overage and under credits).
Through this project we hope to avert potential dropouts, recover current dropouts, re-enroll beginning of the school year the No Show students, and help address the personal/academic needs and barriers of these students in an effort to increase graduates and reduce dropouts.
The primary focus of this project and its goals are to recover, monitor, mentor, reengage, support, advocate, develop, and maintain appropriate staff to student relationships and to document in writing our one-on-one conversations/interventions for students at risk of not graduating, dropping (or dropped) out, and/or whom are recovered to education.
Success factors and processes
Annually, nearly 2,000 students are met with, talked to in person, via phone, email, US Postal Service and each contact/communication is reviewed with the team to determine the best course of action and/or
redirection. Daily contacts and communications are counted only once per day even if the student (or parent) is met with/called/emailed several times in that day.
The interventions/strategies of this project and which make our program most unique are through a systematic approach and follow up process each contact/communication is written, personalized, and team reviewed by the District level Coordinator(s) and campus assigned Facilitator, with appropriate other staff inclusion. The strategies/interventions for students served are data driven yet, still personalized. Advocacy and involvement are based upon the type of referral/request (overage, under credit, high absenteeism, teen parent, homeless, discipline, personal/social issues, previous dropout) as well as this Office/District generated reports of dropouts, leaver codes, and campus withdrawals.
Those contacts/updates are shared with the District level Coordinators for individual, daily review, and placement in the students’ files, housed at their District level office as well as with the Facilitator’s matching, respective campus files.
With the over 2,000 students served per year and calculating each contact a minimum of only two communications (dramatically under counted) per student per day, the total of 4,000-5,000 communications/contacts/reach out attempts does not adequately portray the numbers regarding the level of commitment, attempts for recovery, and involvement of our office/this program for students’ success.
For each student name and communication, a folder is created and maintained. Each daily contact is placed in sequential date and time order to capture the students’ academic and appropriate personal history, as well as what interventions were successful, which were not, and an advocacy graduation plan, again, moving from: “I can’t” to: “This is how I can and will.”
With each student visit, it is standard protocol for us to ask the student/parent (guardian) for the best way to reach them via phone number, email and address given that information changes frequently and is not always given to the campus. Our personalized, authentic relationships with the students/families lend themselves to a level of trust to share contact information, return our calls, visit our offices, and meet with our staff.
The Katy ISD Dropout Rate is 1.2 % (for the past two years) as calculated by the Texas Education Agency and the Graduation Rate is 92% in contrast to the Region 4 (our assigned area by TEA) Graduation Rate of 88%.
Beginning with the program’s Coordinators, recovery staff must truly believe that every child deserves a second chance.
They must believe that “There is no expiration date on helping kids.” Recovery staff should always set an example for other staff about how recovered students should be treated, using prompt, frequent, and, respectful shared communication, updates, and options. Treating recovered students professionally and courteously sends others the message that these kids are worthwhile and deserve another chance at
an education. Being treated respectfully, in turn, motivates students to give school another try. Recovery staff must understand the policies and procedures of multiple departments within the school district from transcript credits, grad plans, exit testing, attendance, accountability formulas, parental communications, and mentoring, to name a few.
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Target group of good practice:
Joan M. Arasteh
Katy ISD Texas Education Agency