C-M to participate in pilot program to reduce dropout rate

Published Jun 13, 2013 at 9:40 am (Updated Jun 13, 2013 at 9:40 am)

Canon-McMillan School District is one of five in Pennsylvania chosen to participate in First Lady Susan Corbett’s program to increase high school graduation rates across the state.

The first phase of the program, named “Student Dashboard and Early Warning System,” will attempt to pinpoint signs that a middle school student is likely to drop out of high school.

Corbett aims to eventually develop an intervention system “to ensure that every child has the opportunity to earn a high school diploma,” she said, according to a state Department of Education newsrelease.

Michael Daniels, Canon-McMillan superintendent, believes this approach will be successful.

“It’s taking more of a proactive measure toward identifying the at-risk indicators, rather than wait for the absenteeism to already have been occurring at a rate that would suggest the student would be dropping out,” Daniels said.

Daniels received an email in April inviting Canon-McMillan to participate in the first phase of the pilot program, which is set to take place during the 2013-14 school year. After accepting, Daniels and other educators participated in a webinar with Corbett and the Department of Education. Last month, Daniels went to Corbett’s residence to attend a session that included presentations on graduation rates from Corbett and a John Hopkins University researcher.

Other school districts participating in the pilot program include Albert Gallatin, Lancaster, Erie and Harrisburg.

Districts were selected based on criteria involving the timely and accurate submission of data for state reports.

The program will be primarily online, although details are not yet set in stone.

“From what I understand, Mrs. Corbett is hoping for this process to allow critical data to be made available to the educators with a click, rather than having to seek and search multiple resources,” Daniels said.

Although Canon-McMillan’s graduation rate has been above 98 percent in recent years, Daniels hopes the district’s participation in the program will eventually help other students across the state once a permanent program is implemented.

“It seems like a good, worthy cause to be involved in, and we’re honored to have been invited to participate,” he said.

Daniels and educators from participating districts will attend four more meetings in Harrisburg before the launch of the program this fall.

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