NY Stay in School

To help ensure successful completion of high school, try the following tips, which are based on current dropout prevention research.

* Maintain contact with your child’s teachers throughout high school.
* Monitor school attendance. If your child is skipping school, it may be a warning sign that he/she is having trouble.
* Encourage your child to seek out extracurricular activities or employment where they can develop positive relationships and have success outside of a classroom setting. Many schools provide after-school and summer programs that cultivate new interests. Encourage your child to participate in at least one extra- curricular activity at school or with other students. These activities can help your child feel part of the group, important to the school, and more motivated.
* Help your child explore career options that interest them and the education needed to be successful in those careers.
* Let your child know that individuals who earn a high school diploma are likely to earn twice as much each year compared to those who don’t have a high school diploma or equivalency.
* Help your child establish graduation as a priority. Keep track of the credits he/she needs in order to graduate.
* Identify postsecondary goals. The most important questions to ask are: What interests your child? What is your child good at? Postsecondary technical training or two-year community college programs are appropriate paths to meeting employment goals. If attending a four-year college is the way to reach his/her vocational goal, put steps in place to make this happen.

*Excerpted from The Role of Parents in Dropout Prevention: Strategies that Promote Graduation and School Achievement, National Center on Secondary Education and Transition

When There’s a Problem

If your child is not doing well or is beginning to have behavioral problems in school:

• In some cases, a tutor can help a student who has fallen behind or who has missed important earlier concepts.
• Sometimes, a child’s personality may clash with that of the teacher or another student. Meet directly with the teacher to determine if there is a problem or if there has been a misunderstanding. In some cases, it may benefit everyone if you request that your child be transferred to a different classroom.
• Monitor your child’s attendance and school performance. Periodically check in with your child’s teachers to find out how things are going.
• Concentrate on your child’s goals. Instead of focusing on why he/she is unsuccessful in school, have your child identify his/her future goals; develop a list of school, home, and personal barriers to reaching those goals; and devise strategies to address the barriers.
• If you think your child may have a problem with drugs or alcohol, contact the school psychologist, social worker, or counselor, help line, or organization for information and advice.
• Consider alternative school settings. If you, your child, and the IEP team conclude that the IEP goals cannot be reached in the current school environment, ask for help identifying appropriate alternative settings. Options include magnet schools, alternative schools, charter schools, work-based learning programs, career academies, and general educational development (GED) programs. Include your child in all discussions with school personnel and the IEP team.
• If you child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) Discuss your concerns with your child’s team. Request a functional behavior assessment—a process for determining why problem behaviors occur—and identify effective strategies to address them. Decide, as a group, what can be done to help your child, and what new skills or behaviors your child can learn.

*Excerpted from The Role of Parents in Dropout Prevention: Strategies that Promote Graduation and School Achievement, National Center on Secondary Education and Transition