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Prevention Strategies & Programs

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Dropout prevention and learning supports utilize the same framework to identify needs, analyze data, provide supports and evaluate current practice. Learning Supports is a systems strategy that leads to increased graduation rates, one of the Learning Supports result areas. Dropout prevention interventions are school- and community-based initiatives that aim to keep students in school and encourage them to complete their high school education. Interventions and services, such as counseling, monitoring, school restructuring, curriculum redesign, and community services are provided to eliminate barriers so students may be successful academically, personally and in a career or vocation. Each district should focus their resources in outcomes in the following three domains:

  1. Staying in school.
  2. Progressing in school.
  3. Completing school.
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Iowa Code 257.39 - Definition of Potential and Returning Dropouts

  1. "Returning dropouts" are resident pupils who have been enrolled in a public or nonpublic school in any of grades seven through twelve who withdrew from school for a reason other than transfer to another school or school district and who subsequently enrolled in a public school in the district.
  2. "Potential dropouts" are resident pupils who are enrolled in a public or nonpublic school who demonstrate poor school adjustment as indicated by two or more of the following:
    1. High rate of absenteeism, truancy, or frequent tardiness.
    2. Limited or no extracurricular participation or lack of identification with school, including but not limited to, expressed feelings of not belonging.
    3. Poor grades, including but not limited to, failing in one or more school subjects or grade levels.
    4. Low achievement scores in reading or mathematics which reflect achievement at least two years or more below grade level.
    5. Children in grades kindergarten through three who meet the definition of at-risk children adopted by the department of education.
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The Iowa Safe and Supportive Schools Grant (2009-2015) and the Rural Dropout Prevention Grant (2013-2015) created the following resources for districts to use when working on Dropout Prevention at a local level:

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The following links to resources are provided to assist districts in planning programming, at the local level. The Iowa Department of Education does not endorse any of the specific programs mentioned or provided by these links.

American Institutes of Research

U.S. Department of Education

Institute of Education Sciences

Dropout Prevention Current Research
Preventing Dropouts in Secondary Schools
Regional Education Laboratory - Midwest
What Works Clearinghouse

Learning Supports

School Mental Health Project - UCLA

Additional resources:

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While there are multiple funding sources for dropout prevention programs, the main funding source districts use for dropout prevention programming is the Modified Supplemental Amount for Dropout Prevention. Iowa Code chapter 257 sections 38-41.

To access the Modified Supplemental Amount districts are required to submit an application which can be found on the Iowa Education Portal.

After the School Budget Review Committee (SBRC) completes the approval process a summary of action is posted to the SBRC Hearing Information webpage.

Budgets approved on the basis of this application must be used for expenditures as described in the approved continuing applications presently on file at the Department of Education. At-Risk Supplemental Weighting and Returning Dropout and Dropout Prevention balances unexpended at the end of the fiscal year shall be carried over and used to offset the subsequent year's costs and requests for modified supplemental amount.

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