Supporting students in elementary school may help keep students in high school

Supporting students in elementary school may help keep students in school
Elementary students who participated in a comprehensive support intervention in the Boston public school district are less likely to drop out of high school than students not in the intervention, according to a new study published in AERA Open.

Terrence K. Lee-St. John and colleagues examined the impact of City Connects - a schoolwide systemic student support program which provides extra academic and social support for students in poverty - on high school drop-out rates. Their study tracked students from six elementary schools who participated in the intervention from kindergarten until fifth grade. These students were compared to students who were enrolled in the school district at the same time who didn't use the intervention program.

In each participating school, a full-time coordinator, who is a master's degree-level licensed school counselor or social worker, meets with every classroom teacher and other school staff to review every student, every year. The coordinator and staff discuss each child's strengths and needs for academic, social/emotional/behavioral development, health, and family support. Since not every factor that may influence later drop-out presents itself as a "red flag," this approach allows the less obvious factors to be identified and addressed early.

They found that students who participated in the intervention had a 9.2% drop-out rate in high school, compared to 16.6% for the non-intervention students. 

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