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For many teens and children, homelessness seems a safer environment than living under a roof filled with emotional stress or abuse. The grim reality is that many of our marginalized youth feel they have no choice but to abandon their home and try to make it on their own. Barbara Duffield, director of policy and programs at the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, told U.S. News & World Report that young people may even be homeless with their family and take on the role of caretaker for younger siblings.1
In GradNation's campaign to raise the national graduation rate to 90% by 2020, they surveyed noncompleters to gain further insight on the real reasons they left school. Based on these survey results, Penn Foster in partnership with America's Promise hosted a panel of academic professionals to discuss an action plan for fulfilling our promise to provide children with a pathway to graduation. Among the panel experts was Elayne Bennett, Founder & President, Best Friends Organization. Below she provides as with more insight by answering questions that arose from the Google+ hangout discussion.
What does a career college have to do with graduating high school students? A valid question, for sure, and one that Penn Foster aims to answer as we head to the 2014 Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) Annual Conference the first week of November. At the conference Frank Britt, CEO of Penn Foster, will lead a discussion with panelists from Dorsey School on how career colleges can help more students gain access to post-secondary education.
In partnership with America's Promise, Ray McNulty, Chairman, Penn Foster High School Board, participated in a panel Penn Foster co-hosted to address the nation's state of high school graduation. Ray also serves as the Dean of Education for Southern New Hampshire University, Senior Fellow, International Leadership and Education and Chairman, National Dropout Prevention Network. The group panel discussion, hosted via Google+ hangout, aimed to detail success metrics for raising the nation's graduation rate. Below, McNulty shares his professional take on the matters discussed.   
 In today's K12 education system, there's an expectation that students master content and coursework the first time that they are exposed to the material. Credit recovery programs, like those offered by Penn Foster, provides students with who have either failed a class or fell behind for a second chance at success. Often a single course credit can stand between a student and graduation, and credit recovery enables the student to earn the single credit and graduate on time. Credit recovery is also known as a dropout-prevention strategy, summer school and even "grade forgiveness," as it's called in Florida.
Frank Britt, CEO of Penn Foster, was recently featured on The Hill's Congress Blog for lawmakers and policy professionals for his point of view on the the demand for skilled workers to fill grey collar jobs, but the lack of qualified  - and interested " workers to fill them.
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Salary increases, cash bonuses and prepaid debit cards motivate employees, but sometimes non-cash incentives can be an even greater influence on employees to be consistently sharp. QSRMagazine.com1 shares how Molly Catalano, Director of Communications and Marketing at the Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Lorton, Virginia, uses weekly, monthly and quarterly rewards programs to combat lagging performance. Structure rewards on recurring time increments to keep employees continuously engaged and on target to meet goals.
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.

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