Updated: Nov 21, 2021
It is well known that high school dropouts suffer from lower employment prospects and make significantly less annual earnings (1) compared to those who have completed high school. The high school dropout rate also has a ripple effect throughout the economy as it is related to tax revenue, government funding, and consumer spending. In the US, the overall status dropout rate declined from 9.7% in 2006 to 5.3% in 2018 (2). Another related measure, the high school adjusted cohort graduation rate (“ACGR”), shows a similarly positive trend, increasing from 79% in 2010-2011 to 85% in 2017-2018 (3).
Researchers found that comprehensive early intervention may be the key among the measures taken to reduce the high school dropout rate. Based on one report published in 2018 (4) studying the City Connects program, “a systematic and individually tailored student support intervention during elementary school years can lead to lasting and meaningful effects.” City Connects was first implemented during the 2001-2002 academic year in six Boston public schools. At its core is a full-time, Master’s-trained school counselor or social worker who works with each teacher to review the strengths and needs of every student in the school, then leverages community resources to match each student to the specific supports and enrichments they can most benefit from. The results are quite encouraging. Students who attended City Connects intervention schools scored higher in school report cards and standardized tests and later are less likely to drop out of high school.
“A good beginning is half the task.” It is never too early to give children support in developing their academic and non-cognitive skills. It is a responsibility not only of the parents and the schools but also of the larger communities.