Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Service-Learning Cited by Casey Foundation as Key Dropout Prevention Strategy

A July 2009 report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Kids Count entitled, KIDS COUNT Indicator Brief: Reducing the High School Dropout Rate summarizes a number of factors leading to the dropout crisis and some promising strategies to address the crisis.  Service-Learning is specifically cited as a key strategy to engage students:


Provide service-learning opportunities. Successful interventions focus simultaneously on several types of learning—academic, social/emotional and career-related skills and knowledge—and offer students opportunities to explore real-world relationships and experiences that bolster both their competency and confidence (Steinberg & Almeida, 2008). One strategy that combines these types of learning is service-learning. Service-learning incorporates several approaches that are key to retaining students who might otherwise drop out, including strengthening links between school and work, fostering positive relationships between students and adults in the school and larger community, bolstering students’ communication skills, and promoting community engagement. Initiatives that involve teens, parents and other adults in the community have been shown to be especially effective (Bridgeland et al., 2008).


The recommendation to provide service-learning opportunities is embedded in a number of other recommendations that should help service-learning providers focus their efforts.  Among other recommendations, the report encourages:

  • The strengthening of middle schools
  • An intensive focus on the 9th grade
  • Support for resiliency development
  • Strengthening a students understanding of the connection between education and job opportunities
  • An intensive focus on Hispanic students
  • An intensive focus on students with disabilities and other special needs
  • Strengthening the skills and understanding of the adults who affect teens’ motivation and ability to stay in school


Read the full report here: KIDS COUNT Indicator Brief: Reducing the High School Dropout Rate


Nate Ivy

Service-Learning Regional Lead

Alameda County Office of Education


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About Me

The CalServe Network posts news and updates of interest to the service-learning field in California. News and updates are drawn from the CalServe List Serve and the National K-12 Service-Learning List Serve and various other sources.