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The conclusion of our "Don't Call Them Dropouts" four-part series responds to the question, "what can high schools and educators do to help increase the graduation rate and equip more young people with a high school diploma?" To start, our academic communities do have a reason to celebrate-a record 80 percent of high school students received their diploma in 2012. Although an 80 percent high school graduation rate is an exciting scholastic landmark, educational leaders aren't rejoicing wholeheartedly just yet. GradNation, a movement to end America's dropout crisis launched by America's Promise Alliance, aims to raise the graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020.
Part three of the "Don't Call Them Dropouts" series targets the group of students, known as the "Forgotten Middle," who mindlessly and idly fill classroom seats, and the virtual panel expresses concern over these overlooked, at-risk students. Jonathan Zaff, the executive director for Center for Promise, introduces the Forgotten Middle as a group of young people who haven't left the school system and who aren't chronically absent. These students are in the school building every day, yet they're not progressing. They don't cause trouble, but they're not succeeding. As Zaff puts it, they're the "fade-outs," and they need support.
"We do good things every day." That was the message that Jeff Brown, the newly minted chairman of the CCST Board of Directors, delivered as he addressed attendees during last week's Annual Business Meeting at the 2014 CCST Annual Conference. The point should be self-evident. This was a conference of educators after all and it's an intrinsic part of their job to enrich the lives of their students. However, for career colleges and private sector schools, this same logic does not always apply. The important role that the many career colleges play in our education system is too often overshadowed in the media with negative press.
Part two of our "Don't Call Them Dropouts" series spotlights the value of mentorship because for most high school non-completers, life hasn't been an easy road to navigate. Unstable home lives, little parental support, violence and abuse shape the lives of these young people, thrusting them onto a dead-end street with little guidance or opportunity. But circumstances don't have to dictate a young person's destiny. The beauty of youth is its resiliency; change is a real possibility. With help, young people can change their attitudes, change their sense of self-worth and change the future. A supportive and emotionally invested environment can transform noncompleters into high school graduates, and mentorship can lay the groundwork for this new type of environment.
Our nation's academic communities and educational advocates have undoubtedly made great strides toward graduating our high school's students. Yet, despite historic advancements, an interplay of circumstances and lack of options prevent young people from earning a high school diploma and attaining a quality education. And without a high school diploma, high school non-completers face a future without opportunity. A deficit in high school graduation rates not only impacts the lives of these individuals, it can threaten higher education, our local communities and businesses, the economy and wellbeing of our nation as a whole.
Encourage employees to turn their Quick Serve Restaurant or retail jobs into a long-term career with a clear career path to success. Design career pathways with these motivational tactics:1,2
Life after high school graduation doesn't follow one single, narrow path. Thus, educators are responsible for ensuring the high school journey prepares students for graduation and beyond-be it at a four-year university, trade school, two-year college and even the workforce.
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Forty-five percent of all U.S. children live in low-incomes families, according to the National Center for Children Living in Poverty.1 Numerous studies have proven that the youth from these families are more likely than their peers from middle- and high-income families to engage in risky behavior, including having sex before age 16, joining a gang, attacking someone or getting into a fight, stealing something worth more than $50, and running away.2
The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model structured around video lectures, which are watched by students on their own time outside the classroom. Classroom time is then repurposed into an interactive workshop where students openly discuss lecture content, apply and assimilate knowledge, and collaborate with one another during hands-on activities.
Unfortunately, in a far larger part of the young-adult marketplace are the millions of young people between ages of 16 and 24 who are out of school and out of work, and they are most often the forgotten people in the employment marketplace. This is a pandemic that sits near the epicenter of the middle-skills crisis, as most have left high school without a diploma and suffer from acute achievement and skills gaps. While education remains the single most important factor that drives employment and life-time income, this cohort is most often disconnected and lacks even basic credentials, skills and direction.

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