Dropout Prevention Strategies for the Real World


teacher classroom management blog


Dropout Prevention Strategies
for the Real World



We're Youth Change Workshops. It's our 18th birthday. Interestingly, 18 is about the age that students should be when they graduate from high school. Sadly, many students dropout well before graduating and turning 18.

Here are birthday-themed interventions that are inspirational and motivational methods to prevent students from dropping out of school before graduating. Hopefully these lively, effective dropout prevention strategies will help more of your students celebrate their 18th birthday with a graduation party and high school diploma.


Dropout Prevention Strategies

to Convince Students to Stay in School

A Blast From the Future

Ask students to read these headlines from their future birthdays, then discuss if they'll be ready. If you wish, you can use a computer graphics program like Photoshop to alter your local newspaper to actually contain the new date and headline. Include headlines like these:

  • 2011: Mandatory New Test Detects All Substance Use in Job Seekers
  • 2017: Total Automation of Homes Nears: Those With Poor Computer Skills Locked Out
  • 2020: All Jobs Now Require Diploma
  • 2028: Good Bye Cars: Excellent Science Skills Needed for Replacement Vehicles
  • 2033: Job Market Dismal: Near Perfect Attendance Required
  • 2037: Speak Just One Language? Can You Say "No Job"?


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Just 'Cuz You Breathe

Have students make posters to illustrate this catch phrase: "Just 'cuz you breathe, doesn't mean you'll receive," then post the posters on the wall and discuss them.

If you preface this activity by giving a few stats on the value of a diploma, this activity can focus on graduation. For example, you can tell students that dropouts often earn too little to pay for a new car, an entire house or apartment, utilities, medical care, and transportation. Or, you can just provide the phrase and let students each choose their own focus.

20 Birthdays Later

Ask each students to write you an email as though it was 20 birthdays later. Ask them to describe their lives 2 decades worth of birthdays from today.

You may be amazed at the profound content you receive as students describe their imagined lives 20 years away. You may wish to save the letters to return to students years later. The long forgotten letters can become a blast from the past that transforms students in the future, but be sure to also use the letters now to discern the hopes and dreams of youngsters who appear to have no hopes and no dreams.

You may want to discuss the emails one-to-one or in groups, and include in the discussion how your site can assist the students to make their hoped-for futures actually happen. You can also save these emails to use whenever a student needs a boost of inspiration.

Can You Read Your Birthday Greetings?

To show students the increasing importance of education in the future, create birthday greetings that might come by email, then ask students to explain the email and say what they would do. To best implement this intervention, create actual emails that you email to students or print out for students to read.

Here are two examples to start you off. Although students may not spot it, both of these sample birthday emails are actually scams that could infect their computers, steal their identities, or otherwise do great harm. If students don't spot the scams, you might mention that education could help.

Happy Birthday. Your friends at electostuff.com have a free birthday gift of the latest game console system for you. It's valued at $239 in stores but free for you. Just click here and input your name, home address, phone number and answer a few more questions, and we will have your free game system to you in no time.

You've received birthday greetings from a friend or family member. Click here to open your personalized birthday card and see what your friend or family member has to say on your special day.



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About Ruth Herman Wells

Author/Trainer Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. is the director of Youth Change Professional Development Workshops. In 2011, Ruth was rated as a Top 10 U.S. K-12 educational and motivational speaker by Speakerwiki and Speakermix. She is the author of several book series, a columnist, adjunct professor for two universities, and a popular keynote speaker and workshop presenter. Ruth's dozens of books includes Temper and Tantrum Tamers and Turn On the Turned-Off Student.