Theexpansion and transformation of regional and national economies intoglobal marketplace makes education form a critical factor for use inallowing individuals into the workforce. As such, dropping out beforecompleting studies deny individuals opportunities. High schooldropping rates in varies by state in the United States. Also,different calculation methods, as well as ethnicity, contribute tothe varying rates. In the United States, the proportion of freshmanwho fails to graduate ranges from thirteen percent to forty-fivepercent. The rate of high school dropout by Hispanic individuals isabout 21.4% while the rate for blacks is 8.5%.
Highrates of high school dropouts present challenges to educationsystems. Studies show that about seven thousand high school studentsdrop out every month (Millner, 2009). There are several variedreasons that make students drop out of school. This particular studyfocusses on proposing prevention programs for high school dropouts.
Instudies conducted in different states like Mississippi, it wasobtained that the rate of high school dropout is as high as seventeenpercent. Despite this high rate, the state is still ranked positionforty-seven, meaning there are other states with higher. Studentsdropping out of school raises concern in all regions around theworld. There are several reasons as to why high school students cutshort their high school education. Some of these factors includeearly pregnancies, disciplinary cases, poor academic performance,gang activities, and lack of motivation. When these students drop outof school, they often make use of their time in an unproductivemanner, in most cases. Most dropouts take to criminal activities. TheDepartment of Corrections of Mississippi States highlights that closeto one thousand youths get arrested each and every month for beinginvolved in criminal activities. Most of these youths who arearrested are, in most cases, high school dropouts. The samesentiments are shared with correctional departments around the world.
Thestudy intends to highlight why students are dropping out in highschool to develop a prevention plan to address the trend. Theresearch questions are developed so as to gather information to helpunderstand the real reasons as to why high school students aredropping out. The two main research questions for this study are:
• Whatreasons make students drop out of school?
• Whatstrategies are necessary for an appropriate dropout prevention?
Thestudy investigates the actions to be taken to prevent at-riskindividuals from dropping out of school. The study relies on bothprimary sources and secondary sources to make rationale behind thefinal conclusions and recommendations.
Thereare several reasons that can be used to explain why individuals dropout of high school. Scholars like Battin-Pearson developed categoriesfor the reasons. These categories are deviance, familysocialization, deviant affiliation, academic quandary, and structuralconstraints. The categories were developed by placing the variousreasons into specific and defined categories with the objective ofproviding greater comprehension. The amount of research on the issueis, currently, limited to back up and establish the validity of thevarious categories already developed. There is no research thatanalyzes the work of Battin-Pearson, for example. Several scholarshave suggested reasons as to why individuals drop out of school.However, research studies on determining the most appropriatestrategies are limited.
Schoolconnectedness is defined as the belief students have that adults inthe school care about them and their learning. Studies show that highschool students are more likely to complete their studiessuccessfully if they feel a connection to the school. There are someimportant requirements for students to feel connected. Some of theserequirements are a strong positive relationship between and adult,emotional safety, physical safety, high academic rigor, as well asexpectations accompanied with support for learning.
Increasingthe level of students connected to school is likely to developcritical accountability measures. Research illustrates that increasedlevel of student connectedness to school reduces cases of absenteeismand indiscipline, and promotes academic performance, classroomengagement, and motivation. The efforts to improve the health ofteenagers have cited interventions focused on addressing specifichealth risk behaviors such as gang involvement, violence, drug use,alcoholism and sexual activities among others. However, findings fromthe growing number of research studies show that greater healthimpact can also be achieved through enhancing the protective factorsto stop teenagers from engaging in acts that place them at risk.
Studentsare more likely to engage in health acts and have academic success ifthey feel a connection with the school. Studies have found thatschool connectedness is the strongest protective factor for bothteenage girls and boys. Studies demonstrate an existing strongcorrelation between education outcomes and school connectedness. Forschool connectedness to work, there must exist a positive peer groupthat can improve the students’ perceptions of schools. Whenstudents believe that education is important to their future andperceive that adults in the school are devoted to their education,then they will likely get engaged in learning and other activities inschool. The environment in the school, both psychosocial andphysical, is supposed to be positive to support this strategy.
Forthe strategy to work and reduce the rates of high school dropouts,there are various factors that play critical roles. These factors arealready highlighted above, and they include adult support, positivepeer group, education commitment and environment of the school.Adolescents and teenagers believe that their abilities are molded bythe level to which they perceive that adults are involved in theirlives. Having important adults in teenagers’ lives supports themand makes them engage more in learning. Schools should encourage morepersonal relationships between staff and students. These schools candevelop schools-within-schools as well as multidisciplinary teams ofstaff in which a small number of staff know each student and canensure that every student has an advisor.
Asalready outlined, improving more relationships in schools improvesthe level of connectedness. However, care should be taken to ensurethat only positive relationships. Peer relationships, for instance,need to be closely monitored as most of them result in thedevelopment of unwanted behaviors. Only healthy relationships betweenstudents should be encouraged, even as the school tries to increasethe number of relationships. Most relationships in school can bebuilt by engaging students in co-curriculum activities. Theco-curriculum activities include sports, music, and athletics amongothers. Having more of these activities in school would promote andstrengthen positive peer relationships.
Commitmentto education is another accountability factor. Both students andstaff in school should have a strong commitment to learning. Thededication of students to their learning is associated to the degreeto which they perceive their colleagues and adults in their liveshold that school is important and act on the view. Students who arecommitted to learning often possess positive characteristics likeeffort, persistence, and attention. The staff should allow thestudents to develop academically, socially, emotionally and mentally.Dedicated adults engage students in learning, foster mutual respectand meet the needs of all the students.
Thedevelopment of human beings, just like most other things, areinfluenced by their surroundings. Connectedness of teenagers inschool is enhanced by a healthy environment in school. For instance,a physically clean surrounding raises the students’ expectationsfor safety setting a stage for the development of positiverelationships. Having a favorable psychosocial environment also playsan important role. This type of environment is affected by factorslike existing policies, students’ management practices, andopportunities for participation of students among others. Researchshows that when the existing policies touching on discipline inschool are harsh, there is a high probability of many students optingout. Additionally, when the students are harshly punished or feelthat some of their teachers are hard to them, they are likely to dropout. A psychosocial environment is, therefore, one where the teachersare caring and loving. Such an environment is one in which teachersdo not use corporal punishment as a means of instilling discipline.An appropriate classroom environment is one that has guidelines,reasonable consequences for indiscipline cases and adequate planning.In summary, an appropriate psychosocial environment promotes thestudents dedication ton learning.
Implementationof the program
Theprogram will only be effective if it appropriately implemented. Inimplementing the program, there are six strategies that would ensuresuccessful implementation of the program.
Develop a decision-making process to facilitate engagement of all the stakeholders. This is done through the collective development of shared visions of learning standards and behavior. The students can be involved in the development of some of the policies in the school. The teachers and staff would also be given appropriate decision-making authority of certain operations in the school.
Providing education and opportunities that make the community more involved in the academic life of the students. The opportunities can be presented through workshops and meetings. In these meetings, the families, and the society would be enlightened on the importance of education. When parents come to these workshops and meetings they, show their dedication to their students’ education. This act would go a long way in reassuring the students of the importance of education. The parents can also be challenged to provide an enabling educational environment at home to increase the students’ dedication to learning.
Teaching students interpersonal and social skills to enable them to be actively engaged in school. Not every student or person finds it easy to relate to others. Some students may lack the skills to relate to others. The teachers can create activities that would develop social skills of the students.
Developing classroom management and teaching methods that can create a positive learning environment. The teachers can communicate clear expectations for learning. The lessons should be linked to set standards and should be sequential. The sequential nature would ensure a step-by-step learning. This technique would ensure that learning is simplified. The teachers could also attend workshops on helping make learning interesting since most students drop out of school with the view that education is “difficult.” When learning is simplified, and education becomes interesting the number of school dropouts would be reduced.
Promote open communications in school. The first step to developing relationships is communication. To increase connectedness, teachers can consider promoting the ability of students to communicate with them. The communication can be enhanced by increasing the degree of teacher-student contact in school. This strategy can be executed by making it a rule that every teacher handles a class of students for some time, say three years before they get a new teacher. As time goes by, the students become friendlier with teachers who handle them. As such, once this relationship is build, it is not advisable to destroy it prematurely.
Highschool students are developing patterns of behavior and makingchoices that usually affect both current and future health. One suchdecision is dropping out of school. The effects that come withdropping out of school are not favorable at all. High schooleducation is such an important recipe for success in life that oneshould not opt out of. The strategy to prevent high school dropout isincreasing school connectedness. The connectedness makes student feelthat their education and life concerns the adults in the school. Thestrategy aims at improving the relationship between students and theschool staffs. The strategy also aims at improving healthy peerrelationships in school. The technique gives the students a reason tostay in school. Certain accountability factors are necessary toensure that the technique works. These are healthy peer relationship,adult support, education commitment and environment of the school.
Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). School connectedness:Strategies for increasing protective factors among youth. 2009.
Millings,A., Buck, R., Montgomery, A., Spears, M., & Stallard, P. (2012).School connectedness, peer attachment, and self-esteem as predictorsof adolescent depression. Journalof Adolescence, 35(4),1061-1067.