Tuesday, April 19, 2011

High School Dropout Prevention

High School Dropout Prevention: Is it a Lost Battle in Today's Accountability and Reform Mindset?

Raison d'etre is French for "reason for being," and students who
can’t read, write, calculate, converse cogently, understand complex ideas, learn new skills, problem solve, reason or desire to cope with the never-ending high stakes test prep, those students feel they have no reason for being in school. Students will start thinking school is a prison and will behave and act institutionalized towards teachers, peers, and academics. Students get more cynical when the gold stars lose their luster, and teachers' mendacity about their performance start showing through the insight of their poor thinking skills and inability to perform academic tasks. It’s a small death suffered every day by these students, as they see their dreams crashed on the rocks of reality. We ask students to come to school daily and give 100% to what they believe is an intolerable humiliation, and we get angry when they don’t smile and take school more seriously. We scratch our heads, wondering what we can do when half of our kids drop out of school. If students can’t read and reason everything else is moot.

Why Students Drop Out of School!
Characteristics of high school dropouts: Key factors in high drop-out rates in high school.

Top Ten Reasons Why At-risk Teens Drop Out of High School.
  • Low academic and study skills "funding cuts and austerity"
  • Poor student attendance "stress" 
  • Social and emotional problems "depression"
  • Emotionally detached from school and learning "over testing"
  • Choosing low performing or troubled friends "tribe mindset"
  • History of failure and retention "failure mindset"
  • Social alienation or bullies "fear"
  • Finding and keeping a job "paying bills"
  • Feckless academic institution "public school daycare" 
  • Please share your tenth reason why students drop out!
Students don't drop out of high school at the age of 16 because they feel socially or academically lost... Students start dropping out of school in the first and second grade, just pretending they are students when they can't read or write. Students pick up a litany of bad habits (coping mechanisms) from peers as a way to deal with the stress, fear, humiliation, and embarrassment of being a "Loser, Stupid, or Dumb". Students act institutionalized after twelve years of forced school participation (Failure). Always having to be on the defensive is a sure-fire way to get burned out to drop out.

Many parents that have not taught their child to read before they enter kindergartner have sealed the fate of their child to 12 years of playing ketchup!

I spent most of my time in public school feeling dumb, embarrassed, scared, humiliated, lost, and stupid because of my severe dyslexia and dysgraphia! Sean Taylor

Reading Boot Camp or Reasoning Boot Camp is not a twenty-day miracle; it’s a way of being a teacher. My raison d’erte is to never let a student pass through my class without teaching them to read and learn to reason period. 

The 20-day transformation starts with your students finding their own path to philosophy. “love of wisdom and learning.” Twenty days may not do the job; you may need forty or eighty to get the inspiration started. The inception of Socratic Thinkers that thrive academically is a true anagnorisis a change from ignorance to knowledge. 

We can and do use the One Starfish parable too often in education, and that sacrifices too many students to a devastating future. Students are not going to change unless we devise an effective way to change their outlook. We are teaching things that have no heart, soul, meaning, relevance or we teach in ways that kill curiosity and desire. The idea of focusing on reading and reasoning in class for twenty days may appear bizarre, ludicrous, like child abuse, impossible, or asinine; yet, it works for my kids. Students see it as perfectly logical and 'buy in' almost immediately when they see their reading and reasoning progress accelerate or realize they can actually read and understand the world with fresh curious eyes.

Give a child the most complex computer video game and they will go without food, sleep, bathing, and talking to learn and master the first level. They will spend the next day, week, and month with the singular preoccupation to win and master the game.

Children in the third-world with access to computers, sky Tablets or XO laptops will teach themselves to read and write without a teacher because of their incredible desire to learn. I just focus that same incredible intrinsic drive and perseverance into Reading Boot Camp. 

Motivating Students!

The Secret To Building Reading Comprehension Fast

Learn the 1000-2000 most used words or characters using sight/auditory methods.
Learn the 200 most used sayings, metaphors, expressions, cognates, and phrases.
Learn the words and phrase by sight, sound, and articulation through repetition.

Reading Boot Camp is used during the first 20 days of school to teach the
basics of English literacy. We spend 120 hours reading, singing, articulating,
writing, and focusing on building the foundations of word and phrase knowledge.
The Program is fast, rigorous, challenging, and fun.

Reading Comprehension Results: 20 Days!

Students growth, 31% POINTS in reading NWEA MAP), Boot Camp ran longer than
normal, twenty-five days because I had more students on IEPs and English Language
Learners than last year and the behavior was far from ready for instruction. The class 
is know 74% at or above the mean in reading in all domains, and 87% of students are

reading at grade level in the domain on reading comprehension (NWEA MAP)! 

Reading Boot Camp Overview

Purposes 1) Launch students into the rigorous and intensive
reading and writing program that is taught throughout the year:
 2) Accelerate the closure of the academic achievement
 gap in lowest quartile students; and 3) Teach the students
 school etiquette, classroom manners, discipline, responsibility
 and a foundations in classic children’s literature...

The 20 Day Intervention Is Fast, Rigorous, Enriching, and Fun.

Quick Look
Vocabulary Games
Reading Vocabulary Word Walls
Academic Vocabulary Word Walls
Poetry Reading
Buddy Reading
Music and Lyrics
Chapter Books
Whiteboard E-books and Librivox Audio Books
Fluency Drills
Comprehension Building Games
American Juku
Peer Tutoring
Fireside Book Club
Reading Master By Grade Competition
Reading Journals

Expecting A World Class Education!

Students and parents may not expect much from public school these
days, my class is the exception, students receive a world class
college preparatory experience from the rigorous demanding
curriculum to the high expectations of meticulous manners and

Teaching Old School Decorum!

We teach old school social etiquette and manners as soon as students
enter the class. We start with students standing for visiting dignitaries
(parents or teachers), cordial professor and student salutations, and
professor-student colloquy. Students are looking for direction and
purpose in life and learning social etiquette, manners, and protocol
give them a sense of honor and virtue. Sorry for the multisyllabic
verbiage but we are talking old school decorum. Students who
shine and take to the superior manners are given the job of class
prefect to help students acquire needed politeness.

Teach students school etiquette, classroom manners, discipline
and responsibility during literacy instruction by literary examples
and class modeling. Students begin reading manors and etiquette
stories within minutes of entering class the first day. They
learn very quickly that the purpose of school is reading,
writing, character, manners, and Literacy. The first four
weeks are dedicated to teaching the reading and writing process
and studenting skills needed for success. We select an award--winning,
high-- interest book for the entire class, usually one grade above
what is normally taught, to insure all students are challenged. Begin
by pairing a high-quartile student with a low-quartile student
( sometimes the groups must include three or four students to
ensure a high performing student in every group). The class is
introduced to the book and given instruction on the process of
journaling.  The teacher reads the first two pages, stopping to
show the students the Metacognition of reading and the analysis
that competent readers demonstrate. Students always have a
book in hand when the teacher  is reading, to ensure that students
see and hear the words. Students are never read to. They must
have the book to read along with the teacher or their partners.
The teacher rereads the two pages to the class, then to identify and
review interesting vocabulary, and to explain complex passages.
Student volunteers are asked to follow the teacher’s example
and read and then reread with comprehension checks. The
paired students are always looking to see if their partners
are on task and following the reading. The entire chapter is read and
reread in this exemplar by the class and teacher before students are
dismissed to follow the teacher’s example in their paired reading groups.

Getting Results!
Reading and Language Percentile Growth:
READING(from 31.7% to 67.9%),
LANGUAGE (from 38.8% to 72.3%),
and stanine growth READING (3.8 stanines), 
and stanine growth LANGUAGE(3.5 stanines). 
This is for a population where 86% of the students 
were SLL, SEI, LD, and at-risk.

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