• dropout

    Office of Dropout Prevention

     Lyon Street Student Services Centerkerry abel

    1310 Lyon Street

    Columbia, South Carolina 29204

    803-790-6763, Fax 803-790-6789

    Kerry Abel, Coordinator




    The Office of Dropout Prevention works in collaboration with schools, parents and the community to develop interventions and services that prevent students from dropping out of school. Under the leadership of the Coordinator of Dropout Prevention, the office is responsible for the coordination of all the district’s efforts that relate to dropout prevention. We work to identify and ensure that students in jeopardy of dropping out of school receive the support and resources needed to achieve academic success and graduate from high school. Our goals are to:


    • Reduce the district's dropout rate and ensure that each middle and high school has an array of supportive services that will provide students with alternatives to dropping out of school

    • Increase the district's graduation rate through specialized interventions that address the acquisition of required credits

    • Work with community agencies and the military to develop and implement programs that provide students alternatives to dropping out of school

    • Work with elementary schools to provide information to parents on the early strategies they can utilize to ensure their child will remain in school until graduation

    • implement a district wide public relations campaign on the impact of dropping out of school

    • assist K-12 principals in developing onsite mentoring programs targeting students at risk of dropping out

    • In effort to assist high schools in improving their graduation rate, we utilize the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network 15 identified strategies that have the most positive impact on the high school graduation rates. These strategies have been successful at all levels preK-12 in rural, suburban or urban schools. These strategies are:


    · School and Community Perspective

    o Systematic Renewal

    o School-Community Collaboration

    o Safe Learning Environments

    · Early Interventions

    o Family Engagement

    o Early Childhood Education

    o Early Literacy Development

    · Basic Core Strategies

    o Mentoring/Tutoring

    o Service-Learning

    o Alternative Schooling

    o After-School Opportunities

    · Making the Most of Instruction

    o Professional Development

    o Active Learning

    o Educational Technology

    o Individual Instruction

    o Career and Technical Education (CTE)



    We work individually with school principals and their designated administrators to assist in developing a School Dropout Prevention Plan (SDPP) for each middle and high school. The Office also works with schools to:


    • help schools match identified students with the appropriate resources so that they are empowered to remain in school and graduate

    • assist schools in providing training on Critical Decision Making Skills

    • assist schools in creating opportunities for credit recovery, test review/preparation/retake and general academic tutoring to assist students who are in jeopardy of dropping out

    • support schools in assisting students in developing action plans for continued success after high school

    • support schools in building Parent/Family Relationships (Family involvement significantly enhances learning opportunities for all students and is crucial for those students in at risk situations) 



    Dropout Prevention Teams


    Each middle school and high school is asked to develop a dropout prevention team that will be responsible for monitoring students in their school that are at risk of dropping out. One major responsibility of the team is to examine student data to determine which student needs services and the type of services the student might need.

    Communication with parents, teachers, support staff, administrators and community partners is also a major responsibility. The Dropout Prevention Coordinator will meet with each team regularly to monitor the progress and provide assistance in designing interventions to address student needs.



    School Based Mentoring


    Mentoring has a long and proven history. According to the Child Trends Research Brief, mentoring is so popular and so effective that it should be considered a major strategy for youth development. Mentoring is so effective that it is one of the 15 strategies identified by the National Dropout Prevention Network/Center. Mentoring may occur in a variety of settings and structured mentoring programs provide mentors with the opportunity to offer mentees a variety of helpful experiences designed to improve their attitudes, behaviors and soft skills.


    The Office works closely with school principals in developing a school based mentoring program for identified students. The program is designed to provide mentoring services to students identified by the school who are in need of academic support and assistance with personal development. The mentors are to empower, inspire and encourage the young people to achieve their full potential and dreams. The program goals are:

    · To improve academic performance

    · To teach problem solving techniques

    · To strengthen perceptions of self and school

    · To reduce disciplinary referrals and absenteeism


    The mentoring program will emphasize the importance of the Essential Pieces for Success. Those pieces are:

    · Communication – convey a clear and concise message

    · Professionalism – conducting self with responsibility, integrity, accountability and excellence

    · Problem Solving – ability to develop well thought out solution in a reasonable time

    · Positive Attitude – ability to have on optimistic mindset and receive constructive criticism

    · Teamwork – building positive relationships and learning to work with others

    The overall goal of this program is to guide the young people to success in school, at home, in the community and to lead them to obtaining a High School Diploma. In addition to preparing them for post-secondary education, the workforce or military service.



    Facts about Dropping Out of School


    • High school dropouts are eligible for only 10% of jobs

    • A person 25 years old or older without a high school diploma is twice as likely to be living in poverty, as compared to a person 25 years old or older with a high school diploma

    • Dropouts have a life expectancy of six to nine years less than high school graduates

    • Dropouts earn over one million dollars less than college graduates during their working years

    • Dropouts are more likely to be involved in risky behaviors such as drug use and violence

    • Of state prison inmates, 75% do not have a high school diploma

    • Of federal prison inmates almost 59% do not have a high school diploma



    Benefits of Staying In School


    · Prepares a person for life and is a safe place to learn that choices have consequences


    · Teaches independence and builds your knowledge, skills and confidence


    · Builds decision-making skills


    · Creates job opportunities


    · Helps you recognize your talents


    · Encourages a lifetime of learning and demonstrates tenacity


    · Helps you be a better role model


    · Is a prerequisite for many careers


    · Helps build communication skills