Blogs on Dropout Prevention

Blogs on Dropout PreventionRSS
Renee JainJanuary 14, 2013

From natural disasters to economic meltdowns, from wars abroad to tragic shootings close to home, this year brought to light the increasing complexity of the world in which we raise kids. Our natural instinct as teachers, parents and caretakers is to protect children from hardship, yet we know walking between the raindrops of adversity is not possible. Instead of sidestepping challenge, we can teach kids to cope positively, to learn and grow from adversity. We can arm our youth with skills of resilience, and these lessons can begin in the classroom.

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Todd FinleyNovember 2, 2012

I recently talked with Lucas Gillispie, an instructional technology coordinator at Pender County Schools in Burgaw, North Carolina. Like Alex Pettyfer, Gillispie sports a beard befitting a Teutonic infantryman at the Battle of Aquae Sextiae or an avatar-warrior in World of Warcraft's (WoW) Dragonblight graveyard. Gillispie seems bemused by the acclaim he has received by incorporating Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplay Games (MMORPG) into the public school curriculum. To his credit, when I talked to him about three of his projects -- WoWinSchool (WoW used with middle school children), Minecraft (used with elementary students), and SAGA (Story and Game Academy) -- Gillispie repeatedly deflected credit from himself to his professional peers and administration. For conciseness, I edited some parts of the interview below.

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Anne OBrienAugust 21, 2012

Our nation is on the right track when it comes to high school graduation. The graduation rate is the highest it has ever been (75.5% for the class of 2009), and between 1990 and 2010, the percentage of dropouts among 16- to 24-year-olds declined from 12.1% to 7.4%. While there are still racial and socioeconomic gaps in these areas, improvement is happening across the board.

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The end of school is near, and it's time for that springtime tradition of long-winded uplifting graduation speeches and heartfelt off-key renditions of the Star Spangled Banner. At the university level, celebrities don robes and dole out kernels of wisdom to fresh-faced graduates. At high schools around the world, eager valedictorians wax poetic about the future while fidgety seniors toss beach balls around. Even for the very youngest students, graduation ceremonies are made into special occasions and flowery speeches are brought forth.

I promise you won't have to sit through any yawn-inducing hour-long dispatches. Instead, I've got the most inspirational moments and the most ridiculous mishaps during commencement ceremonies that I could find. Enjoy, despite the shaky cameras and poor audio that seem to be the hallmark of all graduation speech videos!

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Elena AguilarMay 16, 2012

My former student, Brenda, graduated with a BA in psychology from Mills College, in Oakland, just a few days ago. Brenda was eight when I met her; she was a third grader in my class in an overcrowded, underfunded school in deep east Oakland. She was sweet and bright and we connected.

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Mark PhillipsJanuary 16, 2012

A few years ago I spent time at Eagle Rock School, a wonderful school in Colorado for so-called "at-risk" kids from all over the country. I noticed that many of the best students were highly creative kids with extraordinary leadership, presentation and communication skills.

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David WeesAugust 15, 2011

Population × Bad curriculum Multiple generations = Functionally innumerate population

The objective of good math teaching should not be to "cover the curriculum" but to show students how to explore our fascinating and beautiful world through the lens of mathematics. We must change our focus in math education from a focus on a largely irrelevant and uninteresting set of learning objectives to a focus on making math relevant and engaging for students.

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Betty RayJune 26, 2011

There's nothing like an 8-hour infusion of passionate, creative and focused problem-solving.

I am in Philly for the ISTE 2011 conference, and spent the day at the inspiring prequel to this annual edtech gathering: EduBloggerCon.

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Thom MarkhamJune 21, 2011

Today's guest blogger is Thom Markham, a psychologist, educator, and president of Global Redesigns, an international consulting organization focused on project-based learning, social-emotional learning, youth development, and 21st-century school design.

An unfortunate legacy of the cognitive model that dominates education is the belief that everything important in life takes place from the neck up. This belief is the primary reason that many teachers struggle with project-based learning (PBL). At its best, PBL taps into intangibles that make learning effortless and engaging: Drive, passion, purpose, and peak performance. But peak performance doesn't start with a standardized curriculum.

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Rosemary OwensMay 19, 2011

Editor's Note: Today's guest blogger is Rosemary Owens, assistant principal for curriculum at Freedom High School and Tampa FL.


Tampa's Freedom High School was transformed by a student-led initiative beginning in the summer of 2009. A rising senior, Blake O'Connor, and I had the privilege of attending the Aspen Ideas Festival (AIF) on a scholarship from the Bezos Family Foundation. The AIF is an annual gathering of big thinkers from all areas of society, from the arts to science to religion, culture, economics, and politics. Each year, the festival challenges participants to tackle some of the more pressing issues of our times, and figure out ways to replicate solutions.   

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