An early intervention to reduce the risk for dropping out of high school : a case study of a large urban Title I school district
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NCLB and now the more recent ESSA law hold school districts responsible for graduation rates, passing state mandated assessments and dropout prevention. The purpose of this mixed methods case study was to examine the effectiveness of a system wide middle school intervention program that addressed the educational needs of struggling students. It was also conducted to identify school instructional policies and procedures, curriculum frameworks, ongoing assessments, and planning and decision making structures aimed to accelerate the academic performance of overage students. Data from the school district’s student management system was collected to analyze Research Question 1: What impact on student attendance and academic performance will the intervention have on participating overage middle school students compared to overage middle school students not receiving the interventions? Thirteen school district employees were interviewed and responded to Research Question 2: What are the central office and school based stakeholder’s perceptions of the overall effectiveness of the system-wide intervention program? The study found that students in the overage pilot had better attendance, higher grades in Math and ELA and performed better on the STARR, the Texas state mandated assessment, then overage students who were not in the pilot. The four themes that emerged from the stakeholders’ perceptions of the overall all effectiveness of the system wide intervention program were the Need for a Differentiated Program Model, a Need for Early Intervention, Perception of the Web-based Curriculum as Effective, and a Need for A Systemic Process to Identify and Track Overage Students. Contributions to the success of students in the intervention were also impacted by principal leadership and focus, program expectations for student work, scheduling and implementation of the programs, teacher certification and training and mentor incentives and motivation.