Many high school dropouts send distress signals long before they actually drop out of school, often as early as middle and elementary school. An Early Warning System utilizes data to help schools accurately identify individual students likely to become disengaged and drop out of school and to then identify, develop and provide effective and appropriate dropout-prevention strategies.
At-risk indicators are often identified as attendance, failing core courses, and other course performance data such as credits earned and grade point averages. Students that have more than one indicator identified have an even higher probability of dropping out of school.
Identifying students at risk of dropping out by using an early warning system is only the first step in addressing the dropout challenge. The next step is to identify and provide effective and appropriate dropout-prevention strategies, tailored to the needs of the individual student. Studying the indicators used by the early warning system can help school officials target students at risk of dropping out with appropriate interventions needed for success in school.
New Hampshire has received a $50,000 grant from the National Governor's Association to begin work on the development of an Early Warning System that will be used at both the state and the school level. Work on this initiative has begun with the Manchester School district and others who have expressed interest in the project. A team will be meeting with five other states in April to learn more about building an early warning system and intervention strategies that can be used for at-risk behaviors.