The Obama administration has placed a high priority on increasing high school graduation rates, creating new programs, such as the High School Graduation Initiative, to support states, districts, and schools graduate students college and career ready. Research suggests that key strategies for keeping students in high school involves challenging them with rigorous content, engaging them in real-world learning experiences, and providing them significant, tailored supports.
One recent tool for learning about research-based practices to keep students in school and engaged is the Doing What Works (DWW) website on dropout prevention. The website includes the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) practice guide on dropout prevention which delineates six recommended practice areas: data systems, adult advocates, academic supports, social/behavior programs, learning environment, and rigorous/relevant instruction. The Web site also features videos and sample materials that demonstrate the ways three high schools have successfully implemented these practices. Thus, visitors to the Web site are able to “learn what works,” “see what works,” and “do what works.” The Web site also provides policy planning tools for states, districts, and schools to dropout prevention assess needs and plan systematically for activities.
To learn more about Doing What Works, you can view the Guided Site Tour.
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.
 The High School Graduation Initiative awards grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) and State educational agencies (SEAs) to support the implementation of effective, sustainable, and coordinated dropout prevention and reentry programs in schools that serve students in grades 6 through 12 and that have event dropout rates that are above the state average event dropout rate or are middle schools that feed students into such schools.