• Office of Dropout Prevention and Mentoring Services 

    Lyon Street Student Services Centerkerry abel

    1310 Lyon Street

    Columbia, South Carolina 29204

    803-231-7182, Fax 803-790-6789

    Kerry L. Abel, Coordinator



    The Office of Dropout Prevention and Mentoring Services 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 and Mentoring Services, the office is responsible for the coordination of all the district’s efforts that relate to dropout prevention and mentoring. 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.  In addition, we collaborate with all schools to ensure that each school has a comprehensive Mentoring Program. The 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
    • to increase the district's graduation rate by collaborating with high schools to implement  specialized interventions that address the student needs and the acquisition of required credits
    • to collaborate with community agencies and the military to develop and implement programs that provide students alternatives to dropping out of school
    • to collaborate 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
    • to implement a district wide public relations campaign on the impact of dropping out of school
    • to assist K-12 principals in developing onsite mentoring programs targeting male students

    We collaborate 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 of Dropout Prevention and Mentoring Services also collaborates with schools: 

    • to help schools match identified students with the appropriate resources so that they are empowered to remain in school and graduate;
    • to assist schools in providing training on critical decision-making skills; 
    • to 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;
    • to support schools in assisting students in developing action plans for continued success after high school;
    • to support schools in building parent/family relationships to enhance learning opportunities for students in at-risk situations


  • National Dropout Prevention Strategies 

    To assist high schools in improving their graduation rate, schools should utilize the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network 15 identified strategies that have the most positive impact on 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

  • Early Interventions

  • Basic Core Strategies

  • Making the Most of Instruction

  • School 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. The team is also responsible for ensuring that the dropout data for that school is collected and coded correctly. 

    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.

  •  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 behaviours 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 

  • School prepares a person for life and is a safe place to learn that choices have consequences.
  • School 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