Sweetwater County School District #1 Dropout Prevention
At Risk Support and Intervention
Sweetwater School District Number One believes early identification of students exposed to, experiencing or exhibiting risk factors allows often needed interventions and supports to be provided, helping students successfully navigate the educational system and gain the skills necessary to be productive citizens. Risk factors considered are not rigidly defined by a list, but can include anything getting in the way of student success. This belief permeates the district’s work in creating and growing professional learning communities and a collaborative culture; reworking and aligning our AMP process; as well as building robust RtI systems district wide. Evidence within this section is not all encompassing, but rather information that may not be captured fully in other evidence sections, demonstrating the interconnectedness of our systems. Sweetwater #1 has reviewed these strategies and has incorporated them into schools within the district.
Sweetwater #1 At Risk Support and Intervention
YOUTH IN TRANSITION
Research compiled by the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) reviewing the 2018-19 graduation cohort shows that in Wyoming only 64.7% of students identified as homeless under federal guidelines graduated. NCHE research reviews also find that homeless students are not just experiencing poverty, but many other risk factors that make them very vulnerable to academic difficulties at all levels. source: https://oese.ed.gov/files/2021/04/Federal-Data-Summary-SY-16.17-to-18.19-Final.pdf
For the 2021-2022 school year Sweetwater School District Number One has committed to reworking its systems to better identify and support our youth and families in transition. Working with the McKinney Vento legislation as the basis, the district shifted the identification and support of students and families in transition to the At Risk Oversight Coordinator’s office. The district is using our PLC model of collaboration, including sharing of best practices and review of students data, building level liaisons and office staff. This collaborative group will work to better identify and support our families. Connecting families with resources in our community is a renewed focus; creating support networks for the families and students, thus lessening the negative impact of the transition. For the first time, supplemental McKinney Vento grant funds were applied for and received. These funds will allow for further expansion and refinement of this system.
Sweetwater School District Number believes in supporting all students, with particular focus on our most vulnerable. We are hopeful that the processes developed to identify and support our youth in transition will be transferable to other at risk groups in the near future.
Sweetwater School District Number One made significant changes to our attendance policy in 2019 to address the impact of chronic absenteeism on student success. (Policy) Since the adoption of the policy, schools have navigated a transition to online learning at the close of the 2019-20 school year; and a year of flexible transition between online and in person instruction for the 2020-21 school year; neither situation ideal for implementing attendance procedure changes. For the 2021-22 school year District schools are working to refine processes and procedures related to attendance in a nearly normal setting. Changes in practice include
- Creating consistency between buildings with attendance processes.
- Multiple problem solving attendance meetings with parents, students, counselors and even administrators. These meetings focus on looking for the underlying causes of the attendance issue and creating aligned systems of support.
- Providing opportunities at the 9-12 level for students to appeal loss of credit in classes due to attendance.
- Focused communication on the importance of attendance.
- Options for remote attendance during periods of quarantine/isolation.
The District knows that students who exhibit chronic absenteeism are less likely to see academic success. By addressing the challenges that get in the way of coming to school we will increase the time students are in attendance and academic success.
MENTAL HEALTH / SOCIAL EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
Jason Flatt Act - Sign of Suicide Project:
Sweetwater School District Number One continues to grow our supports for and identification of students and adults with regard to suicide. All student 6-12 are screened with a universal screener( Signs of Suicide screener) to identify students with factors and/or presenting behaviors indicating elevated risk for depression, suicide and suicidal ideation. All identified students receive follow up and ongoing support by our district's mental health team.
Annual staff and student training focused on identify concerning behaviors in others and themselves, and processes and procedures to reach out for help continue to evolve to match the changing needs in our community.
Sweetwater School District Number One is a proud recipient of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Project AWARE grant. This five year grant, coordinated through the Wyoming Department of Education, focuses on mental health care access, mental health education, and mental health awareness both in our school and wider communities.
Factors indicating a student is potentially at risk often have a mental health component, and our ability to quickly and effectively intervene has been limited. We are hopeful this partnership will provide a missing layer of support and help us build the capacity to continue the services beyond the end of the grant.
District counselors and social workers are fully implementing district approved curriculum maps using resources adopted at the end of the 2019-20 school year. Regular integrated instruction on social skills, problem solving and self awareness skills into the school helps build resilience, character and kindness in our students while providing time and space for relationships to be built.
Dropout Prevention: PK-12 System Wide Approach.
Sweetwater School District Number One believes in a system wide approach built on the knowledge that dropouts and graduates are not created in high school, but are a result of 12+ years of school and life experiences. We understand that events in and out of the school system’s control impact our students; impacts that can be both supportive and destructive. This understanding has prompted us to work as a system to identify students and families and provide support. Multifaceted supports and strategies extend beyond the traditional academic supports including behavioral interventions, social emotional learning opportunities, mental health supports, families supports and community partnerships. We continue to organize our strategies into four interconnected categories, references in the National Dropout Prevention center (NDPC) research: foundational strategies (school-community perspective), every intervention, basic core strategies and managing and improving instruction. Only through a wide lens and wide reach can we hope to initiate and support long term, lasting change for our students and their families. It could be said this work and focus encompasses and touches all parts of our work in Sweetwater School District #1.
Sweetwater County School District #1 Dropout Prevention