Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
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Lifelong Learning Project - School Inclusion - Preventing Early School Leaving

Database delle pubblicazioni


Dropouts - How three districts are solving education's biggest problem


Pamela Derringer


Scholastic Adminstr@tor




Web magazine article




The article is about the early school leaving problem and it focuses only on the specific cases of three American districts (Chicago, Darlington County and Pharr-San Juan-Alamo) that managed to decrease the rate of dropouts. Each one has a specific background and its own social and economic structure, but, even if through different strategies, they did their best in order to raise the general level of children’s education. As an introduction, the author presents this issue in general terms, providing a figure with numbers that have to be considered in depth to solve the problem of early school leaving. Then she concentrates on the programs implemented in each districts; all of them brought to positive results. Chicago invented a citywide program, called Youth Connection Charter (YCCS), whose goal is to recruit and “save” students at-risk of dropping out or the ones who have already abandoned school. The peculiar attention YCCS paid to the needs of these students, the skill mastery plan and the small class sizes appeal to the children, so that they rediscover their interest for studying. The Darlington County’s strategy was made up of rewards and penalties according to the attendance of students. Lamar High School, has impressively increased the number of graduating students, also providing individual and family support for students. In in the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo (Texas) the idea was to go and visit the dropped out students at home to re-enroll them to school. Then a second project came out: to offer these students not only a high school diploma, but a toehold in college. Results were surprising in terms of higher rates of diplomas and lower rates of dropouts.


The author of the article addresses the theme of early school leaving in very specific terms: she analyzes the concrete strategies applied in three different local systems in order to demonstrate the beneficial effects that each of them brought to reduce the dropping out problem. It was interesting to see how things are seen on the other side of the Atlantic: here, we discover that the situation is often dramatic. The United States of America have one of the highest rates of children leaving school too early. At the same time, the author encourages the readers that a way out from this problem can be found in the implementation of plans, with which to try to cajole the students. She shows the reader that several paths can be followed, each one based on the same purpose: re-enroll students by offering them support, incentives, hopes for a better future and self-confidence. This article can be interpreted as a real and concrete example that every society could follow in order to raise the general level of students’ education. All the three strategies implemented in the American districts reached good results and were thought to sustain children and the future of the society itself.


Sara Ciabattini


Pixel Association


Project Assistant

Login Area

15 November 2012

Stay@School at the Future of Education Conference

The Stay@School projet will be presented at the third edition of the “Future of Education” international conference, held in Florence, Italy, on 13 - 14 June 2013. Over 250 participants from all over the world will attend the conference. The conference participants belong to the sectors of higher education, school education, vocational education and training as well as adult education, therefore representing all of the target groups of the Stay@School project.

School Inclusion - Copyright 2008 - This project has been funded with support from the European Commission

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