November 2004 Show Resources—Dropout Prevention & Recovery: Catching Students Before It's Too Late
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Selected Organizations and Programs on High Schools and Dropout Prevention

Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE)

The Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) in the U.S. Department of Education, works to ensure that all Americans have the knowledge and technical skills necessary to succeed in postsecondary education, the workforce, and life. OVAE houses the School Dropout Prevention Program, which offers grants and recognitions to successful prevention efforts. This site offers extensive resources on high school education.

National Dropout Prevention Center

The National Dropout Prevention Center serves practitioners, researchers, and policymakers by supplying research and resource networks to assist in the common goal of ensuring that youth in at-risk situations receive quality educations and obtain high school diplomas.

Urban Institute

A nonprofit research organization, the Urban Institute focuses on educating policy leaders and citizens in regards to pressing national issues within the social, economic, and governance arenas. The Institute houses the Education Policy Center, which conducts research on education reform. Their recent report, "The Real Truth about Low Graduation Rates," by Christopher Swanson, addresses the realities within our nation's graduation rates.

Dropouts into Diplomas

Dropouts into Diplomas is a program designed to locate, interview and initiate the recapturing of dropouts. Hired by districts around the country, the program uses innovative methods of un-biased communication to work with at-risk students.

Play It Smart

A team effort between the National Football Foundation (NFL) and the College Hall of Fame (NFF), Play It Smart concentrates on kids from tough inner city environments where family and community support are generally lacking. Established in 1998, the program is designed to take a student-athlete's passion for sport and intense dedication to their team and transform it into a force for greater good in their lives and ultimately send all participants to college.

US Army—"Operation Graduation"

Operation Graduation is the U.S. Army's initiative to improve the educational achievement of teens at-risk of dropping out of school. Operation Graduation endeavors to improve high school graduation rates and to promote a broader awareness of the importance of an education. Assistance with homework, college applications, parent involvement tips and more are provided on the website.

Portland Community College—Gateway to College

The largest institution of higher learning in Oregon, Portland Community College (PCC) serves more than 1,083,900 residents in a five-county, 1,500-square-mile area in the northwest part of the state. The Gateway to College program targets 16-20 year olds who have dropped out of high school but wish to continue their education in a different environment. The program enables students to simultaneously earn credits towards high school completion as well as a college degree.

Paint Valley Local Schools

Located in Bainbridge, one of Ohio's poorest communities, Paint Valley recently revised the middle and high school curriculum, raised standards and expectations for all students and implemented a vigorous guidance program. Prior to the reforms, Paint Valley suffered from poor test scores and its students attended college at a rate significantly lower than the state average. In 1999, the district was placed on state "academic watch." Now, school morale, test scores, and college attendance have all greatly improved.


No Child Left Behind

Helping Your Child Series

The Helping Your Child publication series focuses on providing parents with the tools and information necessary to help their children succeed in school and in life. Two titles of particular interest are "Helping Your Child With Homework" and "Helping Your Child Succeed in School."

No Child Left Behind—Especially for Parents Page

On this site the U.S. Department of Education offers information about public school choice, supplemental services, testing and accountability, as well as parenting tips on reading and homework.

  • Tools for Student Success: Selected Publications for Parents and Teachers This catalog provides brief descriptions of a number of publications featuring the latest research and most effective practices in subjects such as reading, homework, and staying drug free, as well as information on how to obtain these publications in hard copy or online.

  • No Child Left Behind: A Parents Guide This is the essential guide for parents, and provides answers to questions about No Child Left Behind and what the law means for parents, in an accessible and easy to understand format.

  • Questions Parents Ask About Schools This pamphlet provides answers to commonly asked questions on topics such as Getting Ready for School, Monitoring School Work, Helping with Reading, and Working with Schools and Teachers.



Susan Sclafani is Counselor to the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE). In her capacity as Counselor to Secretary Rod Paige, Dr. Sclafani provides counsel on educational issues and initiatives. As Assistant Secretary, she concurrently serves as the principal adviser to the Secretary on all matters related to vocational and adult education. Through OVAE's Preparing America's Future Initiative, Dr. Sclafani is working to mobilize effective and scientifically based state and local high school reform initiatives, to support America's community colleges, and to improve adult education programs.

Christopher Swanson is a Research Associate within the Education Policy Center at the Urban Institute in Washington D.C. His recent work entitled "The Real Truth about Low Graduation Rates" discusses the nation's rising high school graduation crisis in light of the new graduation accountability requirement within the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Dr. Swanson is also the lead on a U.S. Department of Education sponsored evaluation involving the examination of the impact of NCLB's flexibility provisions on educational outcomes. Concurrently, he serves as the co-Principal Investigator responsible for the evaluation of Baltimore City Public School's reform efforts.

Philip Satterfield is the Superintendent of Paint Valley Local School District located in the rural community of Bainbridge, Ohio. Since 1999, Paint Valley's middle and high school has undertaken intense reform efforts following the district's placement on the State's "academic watch" list. Today, the district boasts tremendous success claiming a vast reduction in the number of dropouts and an increase in the number of students attending postsecondary education. Mr. Satterfield is an active member of multiple local and national education associations and is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions for his leadership in education reform.

Lea Cummings is a mother of four children and board of education member with Paint Valley Local Schools in Bainbridge, Ohio. Ms. Cumming's daughter, Mary, has greatly benefited from the district's reform efforts to improve graduation rates and better prepare students for post secondary education. Prior to the reform, Mary did not plan to go to college and did not have career goals. Now, as a result of intense guidance and rigorous coursework—major elements of the district's reforms—Mary plans to obtain a nursing degree. Ms. Cummings is a registered nurse with the Ross County Health District.

Laurel Dukehart is the national replication manager for Portland Community College's Gateway to College program. The program provides high school dropouts ages 16-20 the opportunity to simultaneously build credits towards high school completion as well as a college degree. Prior to her tenure at PCC, Ms. Dukehart served as president of a consulting firm specializing in such areas as education policy and strategies directed towards at-risk and out-of-school youth.

Leah Gibson is a 19-year-old student who recently graduated high school through Portland Community College's Gateway to College Program. Through the auspices of the program and its caring and nurturing staff, Ms. Gibson obtained her high school diploma—maintaining a 3.4 GPA—and is on her way to earning an associate's degree. Recently she helped establish the PCC chapter of Oregon Students of Color Coalition, and as a member of the Oglala-Lakota tribe, has helped initiate a Native American student club on campus.

Taunya Tinsley is the Midwest Regional Coordinator for the National Football Foundation's Play it Smart program. Play it Smart is an educational program targeted at inner-city kids that is designed to take a student-athlete's passion for sport and intense dedication to their team and transform it into a force for greater good in their lives. Ultimately, the program strives to keep students in school and prepare them for college. Prior to her tenure with this program, Ms. Tinsley held several positions in university level athletic and admissions programs that focused on helping minority and at-risk youth pursue and succeed in college.

Don Hillis has been a small businessman for thirty-eight years and a school board member for twelve years. Inspired by his school board experience, he created LifeTrack Services in 1988 to document the educational experiences of recent graduates around the country in hopes to improve high school education. As a result of this enterprise, Mr. Hillis established a non-profit corporation called Turning Dropouts Into Diplomas—a program is designed to locate, interview and reintroduce dropouts back into the educational system. Prior to his work in education, he started and owned a highly successful rent-a-car company in Hawaii for 18 years.


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Last Modified: 08/09/2013