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Author(s):Socias, M., Dunn, L., Parrish, T., Muraki, M., and Woods, L
Title:California high schools that beat the odds in high school graduation
Organization:California Dropout Reseach Project (CDRP)
Short Description:Although the importance of graduating from high school is well documented, there is relatively little research literature on the strategies high schools can use to improve their graduation rates. To address this issue, this study identified 22 California schools that are “beating the odds” (BTO) in terms of graduation rates, dropout rates, and test scores, compared to schools with similar demographics and challenges.
Annotation:Although the importance of graduating from high school is well documented, there is relatively little research literature on the strategies high schools can use to improve their graduation rates. To address this issue, this study identified 22 California schools that are “beating the odds” (BTO) in terms of graduation rates, dropout rates, and test scores, compared to schools with similar demographics and challenges. After identifying such BTO high schools, interviews were conducted with principals of six of these schools to determine the policies, procedures, and practices their leaders believe have contributed to their demonstrated ability to “beat the odds.” Although all six principals emphasized that there is no one formula for success, four overarching themes emerged from the interviews: (1) connecting with and engaging students; (2) Engaging parents and community members to support school efforts; (3) providing interventions and supports to students at risk of dropping out; and (4) creating a culture of accountability and high expectations.
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Associated Keywords:
Evidence-based Interventions/Promising Practices
High School
High School Graduation/Dropout Prevention
State-Level Information

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