ANDERSON, S.C., March 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — In response to the pandemic’s effect on at-risk students, schools, and graduation rates, the National Dropout Prevention Center, a division of Successful Practices Network, announces the release of The Pandemic’s Effect on At-Risk Students, Schools, and Graduation Rates. The practice guide addresses pandemic-related issues and identifies opportunities for schools and districts to prepare for the growing number of students who will be identified as at risk as a result of missed, delayed, and compromised school attendance and instruction.
“As schools return to what at best may be a ‘new normal’, they will face doubled and tripled numbers of at-risk students across all grade levels. These students will present a new set of academic, behavioral, and trauma-impacted educational challenges,” said Dr. Sandy Addis, Chairman of the National Dropout Prevention Center and one of two authors of the guide. “To prevent drastic and multiyear declines of graduation rates, districts must find ways to recover, remediate, accommodate, and somehow help these students to graduate.” Dr. Addis goes on to note that, because of increasing numbers of referrals and enrollment spikes resulting from the pandemic’s effects on education, the alternative schools and programs that districts have traditionally relied on to serve many of these students can not presently accommodate the inevitable increase in students who will require those schools’ and programs’ specialized services.
Based on decades of research and program assessment services, the National Dropout Prevention Center has identified numerous alternative programs and schools that are well designed, able to accommodate enrollment shifts, function effectively, and have high graduation rates. However, these characteristics are historically not the norm. No more than half of the nation’s alternative schools and programs are well designed, function effectively, and are capable of accommodating enrollment surges. In addition, the National Dropout Prevention Center concludes that half, if not most, alternative schools and programs are not successful with most of their students and do not achieve graduation rates nearly as high as traditional schools in their home district.
“What educators will see,” said Ray McNulty, President of the National Dropout Preventions Center and Successful Practices Network and one of the two authors of the practice guide, “is a post pandemic doubling or tripling of at-risk students with more complex needs. The increase of at-risk students leads to a doubling or tripling of the need for and referrals to alternative schools and programs that, in turn, will result in alternative enrollment increases from pre pandemic levels of 3% to 6% systemwide to post pandemic levels of 10% or higher.”
The Pandemic’s Effect on At-Risk Students, Schools, and Graduation Rates identifies eight recommendations for addressing the increase in at-risk students and their increasingly complex needs. The practice guide is available on the National Dropout Prevention Center’s website by clicking here. The National Dropout Prevention Center also offers program assessment and reviews, diploma planning institutes, and trauma-skilled training to schools and districts. The services, designed to enhance and build on a school’s or district’s existing framework, provide steps, tools, and resources to ensure that practices and instruction address identified student needs and increasing graduation rates.
Dr. Bill Daggett, Founder and Chairman of Successful Practices Network, internationally known speaker on the future of education, and who wrote the introduction to The Pandemic’s Effect on At-Risk Students, Schools, and Graduation Rates noted, “The impact of pandemic school closure on students, educators, schools, districts, and communities is likely to be the greatest education challenge of our lifetime.”
For additional information on the practice guide or services of the National Dropout Prevention Center, contact Todd Daggett at
About the National Dropout Prevention Center (NDPC)
The NDPC was begun in 1986 to serve as a clearinghouse on issues related to dropout prevention and to offer strategies designed to increase the graduation rate in America’s schools. NDPC has become a well-established national resource for sharing solutions for student success. It does so through active research and evaluation projects, publications, and a variety of professional development activities. The organization’s website is the nation’s leading resource in providing effective, research-based solutions to engaging students and reducing dropout.
About Successful Practices Network (SPN)
SPN was founded in 2003 by Dr. Bill Daggett with an initial five-year grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Since inception, the nonprofit has won multiple additional grants that have allowed the organization to conduct proprietary research and create exclusive instructional and assessment tools that are shared broadly with a network of users. SPN has also worked with educators at the state, district and school levels, to craft plans to improve student-centered learning tailored to their unique school and student needs.
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SOURCE National Dropout Prevention Center