Dropout Prevention and Re-Engagement


  • Learners Facing Challenges

    This collection highlights videos produced by Producers Workshop filmmakers for CPB's American Graduate initiative. These close-up stories focus on the challenges facing high school students across America - Native American, Latino, Asian American, more. How can they and their communities break through the obstacles so the students can succeed and graduate?

    Grades: 11-13+
  • Project 79

    Project ’79 at Westfield High School is an alternative academic program with a rigorous college prepatory curriculum. Students in the program take the same classes as "mainstream" students; the difference is in the way the courses are taught. A team of Project '79 teachers collaborate to create interdisciplinary, hands-on projects that are meaningful and relevant to the students. Due to the small class sizes, pupils also get more individualized attention. The program's goals include helping students develop a positive attitude toward learning and critical intra- and interpersonal skills.

    Grades: 13+
  • Intervening to Prevent a Dropout

    Research focusing on identifying the risk factors associated with students who drop out of high school is featured in this professional development video excerpt from FRONTLINE: "Middle School Moment." Professor Robert Balfanz’s research has shown that middle school is the key moment when, absent effective intervention, students can fall into the patterns that lead them to drop out during high school. In a middle school in New York, Principal Delores Peterson saw value in this research and put it into practice. The video features the story of student Omarina Cabrera, whose chaotic home life caused her to frequently arrive late at school. This triggered a response by her school’s intervention team, who helped provide the targeted support she needed to stay engaged and become successful at school. This resource is part of FRONTLINE collection.

    Grades: 13+
  • High School Dropouts | Georgia Stories

    High school dropouts in the 1950s were able to support themselves and their families, but that is not true today. Technological changes have made jobs more complex and low skill jobs have almost disappeared. Workers in manufacturing plants today have to know how to work using computers. Teamwork is a valued skill, and they have to be able to handle complicated procedures and think on their feet.

    Grades: 7-10
  • Succeeding in School

    The story of Omarina Cabrera, a young student who was helped by her school’s dropout intervention program, is featured in this video segment adapted from FRONTLINE: "Middle School Moment." When Omarina and her mother got evicted from their home, Omarina felt ashamed and began to frequently arrive late at school, causing her schoolwork to suffer. Luckily, her pattern of tardiness was flagged by her school’s team of counselors and teachers, who collect and review attendance statistics every week. Once the team knew about Omarina’s problems at home, they were able to develop the practical support she needed to complete middle school and prepare for a successful high school experience. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE collection.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Dropout Prevention: Responding to Early Warning Signs

    Learn how City Year corps members in Detroit help students succeed in this video from American Graduate Day 2014. City Year corps members work in a school for an academic year, tracking the students for the early warning indicators of dropping out: problems in attendance, behavior, math, and English. The corps members check in with students to solve problems and provide motivation and support. Read the handout “Establishing School-wide Attendance Incentives” from the organization Attendance Works for tips on improving attendance in your school.

    Grades: 13+
  • SELECT | Classroom Close-Up, NJ

    The Marion P. Thomas Charter School in Newark runs a single-gender classroom program called SELECT (Scholars Electing Lifelong Education Character and Transformation). Teachers address different learning styles of boys and girls and incorporate various teaching methods and activities for the girls and boys. The program was initially established to bridge the achievement gap for African American boys and strengthen proficiency in science and math for girls.

    Grades: 13+
  • TED Talks Education: "Students Deserve a Quality School in their Neighborhood."

    Pearl Arredondo is a Los Angeles educator who overcame the odds stacked against her, beginning in middle school. She traveled out of her district 1.5 hours by bus to get to a better school. After college, she went back to the same middle school to teach, to the surprise of other teachers there. She focused on meeting the needs of underserved students and then went on to found the San Fernando Institute for Applied Media (SFiAM), the first pilot school established in the Los Angeles Unified School District at the middle school level.

    Grades: 13+
  • Prevention | Reading Rockets: Topics A to Z

    Intervention and prevention efforts in reading seek to help students before they fail in school. These articles, research briefs, videos, webcasts and other resources can help parents and teachers support a struggling reader.

    Grades: K-4,13+
  • Poetry Brings Happiness to Troubled Teens

    Help students explore the power of poetry with this PBS NewsHour video from June 3, 2014. The Pongo Teen Writing Project has been working with troubled teens in detention centers, mental health facilities and homeless centers for nearly two decades, taking their stories and turning them into poetry.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Arts Program Inspires Students to Strive for Success

    Show students how the arts can contribute to academic success with this PBS NewsHour video and educational guide from May 22, 2014. The National Dance Institute of New Mexico instills the values of persistence, discipline and pride through dance lessons. This year, NDI taught nearly 8,000 students - a majority from low-income families - across the state, and academic performance has improved across the board.

    Grades: 7-12
  • What’s Driving Gains in High School Graduation Rates?

    Increasing graduation rates have long been a goal in the field of education. Let your students weigh in on the subject with this PBS NewsHour video and educational resources from April 29, 2014. The graduation rates for American high schools have reached eighty percent, according to statistics from the Department of Education. For further background and materials to support student understanding of the issue see the Teacher’s Guide, Student Handout, and Informational Text in Support Materials.

    Grades: 7-13+
  • Obama Gets Personal in Effort to Help Young Men of Color

    Use this PBS NewsHour video and teacher's guide from February 28, 2014 to engage students on the important topic of supporting young men of color.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Goodwill Tries Tailoring Education to Meet Needs of Adult Dropout Students

    This Daily News Story from PBS NewsHour Extra was created on January 17, 2014.

    Goodwill is known for its charitable resale stores, but Goodwill of Central Indiana has expanded their mission to help give high school dropouts a second chance.

    Use the Teacher's Guide to start a conversation with your class about education.

    Grades: 7-12
  • The Graduates | Youth Action Guide

    The guide is designed to inspire youth leaders to educate, collaborate, and co-create with their peers, their parents, and their communities. Together, they can help remove challenges faced by Latino students and explore organizing strategies that can make a difference. The guide lays out six overarching themes in the stories of the six Latino students in the film. It provides youth-focused activities and discussions to deepen context and understanding of the issues in each of these stories, to be facilitated by youth leaders as a way to mentor and inspire others to learn more about the issues facing Latino youth and take action.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • The Graduates | Film Discussion Guide

    This discussion guide is designed as a tool to facilitate dialogue, and deepen understanding of the complex issues in The Graduates, a film about the struggles and triumphs of Latino and Latina students from across the U.S. and the challenges faced in the American public education system. The guide provides important context, and raises thought provoking questions to encourage viewers to think more deeply. We provide suggestions for areas to take action and to explore in discussions, in the classroom, in communities, and online. We also provide valuable resources, and connections to organizations that are fighting to make a difference.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Eduardo's Story: Street Life Intervention | The Graduates Film Module

    This film module spotlights Eduardo's story, and how he is breaking the cycle of gang involvement through mentoring.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Street Life Intervention: Establishing Mentors & Partnerships | The Graduates Youth Action Guide | Lesson 1

    Students will investigate how gangs and "street life" create an obstacle to social and academic success and explore some of the factors contributing to young Latinos getting involved in gang activity. They will research organizations to partner with and create a plan for a mentorship program.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Getting Started | The Graduates Youth Action Guide

    Students will reflect on their experiences with education, evaluate the opportunities available to them for support and success, and look at a toolbox of strategies youth organizers can access for organizing campaigns for social change.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • The Homestretch: Youth Action Guide | The Homestretch

    The Homestretch follows three youths experiencing homelessness as they fight to stay in school, graduate, and build a better future for themselves. Each of these resilient teenagers works to complete his or her education while facing the trauma of being alone and abandoned at an early age. This youth action guide empowers young people to address the challenge of youth homelessness in their own communities. Whether you're an individual who feels called to action regarding the issue of youth homelessness or you're part of a school- or community-based organization, this guide will equip you with the tools you need to be an agent of change.

    For more information about The Homestretch, visit the Independent Lens website.

    Grades: 8-12

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