Dynamic, Do-Now Devices to Deter Dropouts


K-12 education articles

Dynamic, Do-Now
Devices to
Deter Dropouts



"Dropout Rate Getting Worse." The news coverage revealed that in many states, the dropout rate is worsening. Nationally, the average dropout rate has been about 75% but lately, in some states, as many as a third of students leave school without a diploma. (The Oregonian, 1-27-2012.) That is a lot of lost students at a time when no diploma can mean no job. Fortunately, in this issue, we've got some real eye-opening devices you can use right now to deter dropping out.

workshop trainer Ruth Herman Wells I'm Ruth Herman Wells, M.S., the Director and Trainer for Youth Change Workshops. These dynamic dropout prevention strategies are taken from my live, online, and on-site training workshops, as well as from my Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth books and posters.

Teach Potential Dropouts School Pays

Dropout Prevention PosterThis dropout prevention intervention gives potential dropouts a fact that all students should know from Day 1 of kindergarten. All students need to know that school and education deliver dollars. Look at our Poster #168.  You can view additional, similar posters here. The poster says: "Ask me how to earn  $329,000." The answer is hidden in the background; it's the word "diploma" and it's made of money. $329,000 is the amount of  additional income that high school graduates earn in their lives compared to peers who drop out. Use this poster as a discussion-starter by discussing with your students that "diplomas are made of money."

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Improved Dropout Prevention Methods

Teach Potential Dropouts Dropping Out = Doing Without

Ask students to imagine they had to give up 1/3 of their home. Ask them to choose which rooms they would be willing to give up. Let students make jokes about what it would be like living without a bathroom or kitchen, for example, and help the participants to ultimately determine that they would prefer to not give up any rooms in their home. At some point, one of your students will ask "What is the point of the discussion?" You can answer: "Dropouts can typically afford about 2/3 of a home. If you don't want to live without a bathroom or kitchen, consider staying in school." For a follow-up intervention, write on the board then discuss: "Dropping Out = Doing Without."

Teach Potential Dropouts Dropping Out is No Joke

It is important to use a huge array of intervention styles if you are going to successfully maximize your outreach and impact as many potential dropouts as possible. That's why we offer you an arsenal of different types of interventions. Humor often can sometimes reach students who are unaffected by conventional interventions. Here is a quick joke that shows dropping out is no joke: "Students often make fun of peers who do well in school. What do you call a nerd in five years? Answer: Boss."

If you want a follow-up intervention, discuss: "Dropping Out is No Joke," and assist your participants to identify some of the most unfunny realities that dropouts may face in the future. Be sure to include speculation on what unfunny realities could actually happen in the future that we don't know about now. For example, perhaps restaurants will use tablet  computers for diners to place their orders, eliminating the need for waiters and waitresses.


Teach Potential Dropouts Find Out Now What You'll Learn Later

Write the following sentence on the board: "Bila kuangalia hili hadi mahali popote, kama unaweza kutafsiri sentensi hii kwa usahihi, Mimi nitakupa $ 20" then ask students to tell you what it means. When students get frustrated, point out that this is what life is often like for dropouts because they learn less than everyone else who stays in school long enough to graduate. Discuss with the class that dropping out now leaves you vulnerable later.

The sentence says in Swahili: "Without looking this up anywhere, if you can translate this sentence correctly, I will give you $20." After sharing the translation, ask students what else people can miss when they lack basic  survival tools.

For an effective, additional follow-up, use the next intervention, shown below.

Teach Potential Dropouts Can You Speak the Language of High Tech Planet?

This activity is the perfect follow-up for the preceding intervention, shown directly above. This strategy tests students ability to speak the language they will need on our high tech planet. Ask students to translate these high tech terms that will be needed for employment and daily life: ISM, SSL, spoofing, protocol, PDF. After discussing the answers with students, help your participants determine if they are ready now to speak the language on our high tech planet, or if they need to stay in school longer.

Here are the answers: ISM is an Information Systems Manager, and a very fast-growing job, as well as the person you need to help you with problems with your computer and internet connection. SSL is the abbreviation used to denote a secure internet connection that protects your credit card number from being stolen. Spoofing means being tricked on the internet, usually by a bogus email that appears to be from your bank or credit card company. Protocol is the specific set of communication rules that govern computer use, like FTP for uploading files, and https for creating websites. PDF is an abbreviation for the type of file that is the most common way to
share documents on the internet, including resumes and job applications.



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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.