Student-Driven. Data-Informed. Future Ready.

Many secondary schools have tried every tool in their toolbox to increase graduation rates. However, traditional school schedules don’t always work for students who must hold paying jobs or care for family members. To better support such students, Marietta High School in Marietta, GA, did the following:

  • Held Saturday school throughout the school year to provide credit recovery
  • Established an evening school program for students to attend after work
  • Expanded summer school from four to six weeks
  • Worked with feeder middle schools to develop relationships with students before entering ninth grade

Community Collaboration

Chilton County High School in Clanton, AL, has found that the most effective educational strategy is to create programs that better leverage family and community members as resources. For example:

  • The school invites local business representatives to conduct interviews with seniors and provide feedback on resumes, resulting in job offers from local companies.
  • On the first Wednesday of the month, family and community members are invited to sit in on classes and tour the building to get a better sense of the culture and needs of the school, leading to many school building improvements. 

Learning, Jobs, and Regional Stability

Although rigorous career and technical education programs facilitate learning for students and create jobs and future stability for the region, finding highly qualified instructors is a major obstacle for many rural schools. Developing partnerships with area businesses and the local technical college, along with getting creative with certification, has allowed Belle Fourche High School in Belle Fourche, SD, to successfully meet the needs and interests of their students—and the needs of local industry.

Principal Loneliness

Being a school leader can often be isolating. Many principals feel compelled to act as the sole decision-maker with all the right answers. A Building Leadership Team (BLT) can relieve some of that pressure. Comprised of administrators and staff members from different grade levels and content areas, a BLT can empower school staff and provide school leaders the support and collaboration they need to succeed.