HELPING STUDENTS GRADUATE: TOOLS AND STRATEGIES TO INCREASE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION RATES
Almost one-third of our K-12 students never graduate – increasing the likelihood of their imprisonment, single parenthood, poverty and the use of alcohol and drugs. No community, no matter how affluent is exempt. Using specific research-based, data-driven examples developed by the National Dropout Prevention Center, and tools developed as “best practices” by some of America’s outstanding schools and programs, workshop participants will not only learn what to do but how to aid at-risk youth to graduate.
IT’S NOT ABOUT CHANGE. IT ABOUT IMPROVEMENT
We know a great deal about change. We know it’s inevitable. We know it is accelerating. We have even formalized it by having “change agent” as part of many job descriptions. We also know it cause resistance because it threatens the way organizations and people do their jobs.
Many business leaders say they desire their organizations to change. Businesses change everyday! The question is are they improving? Frequently we measure change and think we are measuring improvement. In today’s business climate, improvement and innovation are more critical than ever before.
This keynote will address the differences between change and improvement.
WHAT DO SUCCESSFUL LEADERS OF AT-RISK LEARNERS DO TO RAISE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AND IMPROVE SCHOOL CULTURES?
Next to high performing teachers, successful leadership is the key to increased academic achievement and higher graduation rates. We asked 200 high performing, high minority, high poverty successful leaders in urban, rural and suburban schools why they were successful when most schools dealing with at-risk learners are failures.
Educators are aware that some schools support a culture that is not only hostile to learning but is toxic to students, parents and staff. We asked the school leaders how they were transforming a hostile culture into a supportive learning environment.
BUILDING GLOBAL ECONOMIES: FROM THE SCHOOLHOUSE TO THE WORKPLACE
The business world is undergoing a dynamic change. Increasingly, agricultural nations are becoming industrial nations, while industrial nations are becoming nations that develop and sell knowledge. No longer do companies compete solely in domestic markets. The global marketplace has become reality. Businesses must depend on a well-trained, technologically prepared workforce. If they cannot find those workers in their home nation, they will seek locations where they can find that labor supply. Nations are being drawn into the global marketplace without regard to the impact on their cultural, social, economic or educational environments. The graduates from the United States are not competing for jobs with those from Canada but with the best graduates from around the world. Our schools must become as globally competitive as businesses.
Preventing School Violence
Students, parents and school staff want, need and deserve a safe learning environment and schools are supposed to be places where children are safe and secure. Yet recent headlines have shown the vulnerability of schools. Violence, parents believed, was simply a symptom of the inner city. Upwardly mobile parents had the incorrect belief that they were leaving school violence, drugs, and gangs and bullying behind. School violence had been happening in inner-city schools for a long time. Some people felt that since school crime and violence were confined to the inner cities and their ethnic populations, it was not their problem. Obviously, many were wrong. Imaginary boundary lines delineating the inner city, suburban or rural communities, whether school or societal, do not stop violence, gangs, guns and drugs. As incidents in Columbine, CO and West Paducah, KY indicate violence has occurred in rural as well as suburban communities. Who could have predicted a violent school incident on an Indian reservation (Red Lake High School in Red Lake Minnesota) or in an Amish community (West Nickel Mines School, a village in Bart Township of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania? It has taken place in colleges and universities (Virginia Tech, Oikos College, and the Texas Tower shooting). No community, large or small is immune. It is even taking place in foreign nations.