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To Stay or Not to Stay...

How do you convince students to stay in school?

If students have to be convinced to stay in school then there is already a big problem. If students see no value in getting a basic education in a public or private school then there should be major changes in the school and the curriculum being provided. Here are some of my observations after teaching in multiple different schools and two different school districts.

  1. Students do not need to be convinced to stay in school and actually want to go to school when they see value in the school and the program. Here are a few examples:

    1. Charter Schools that offer a different approach. One example is the Center for Advanced Research and Technology or CART in Clovis, California. I taught at that school for 8 years and the students wanted to go. Why? CART offers a program that students see value in. They have 10 different labs (may be up to 12 now) for students to choose from (Biomedicine, Engineering, Forensic Research, etc..), the school is project-based, students have mentors connected to their lab and the students see the direct connection between their education and the work world. For more information here is their website. CART

    2. Duncan Polytechnical High School in Fresno, California-Students choose either medicine or engineering. Within each of these pathways students have more specific choices they can make such as welding or rehabilitation therapy. When students see the direct connection to their classes and a future career they find value in the school and in the education. Duncan Polytechnical High School - Fresno Unified School District

  2. There may also be an issue with the parent’s perspective of the value of the curriculum, the effectiveness of the school and in public school education in general. If the program is a good one AND the parents believe in the program and the school, then their child will be more interested in staying in school.

  3. Students want to drop out for a variety of reasons. They may be struggling to pass their classes and need more tutorial support and/or more parental support. Students may lose interest if, again, they do not see value in the program. If the program is relevant, engaging, has outside mentors and career pathway training, then unless there is some major traumatic event in the student’s life or some big program change that makes their education lose value to them, then they will stay in school and want to graduate.

Final Thought: There are many excellent schools that offer school-to-work training and programs that students see value in. If a school is not offering this, then a student should change to a school that does.

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