Alabama system IDs at-risk students to reduce dropout rate

The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) and STI today unveiled the Graduation Tracking System to support the state’s “Every Child a Graduate” Dropout Prevention Awareness Campaign. Tracking key dropout indicators enables school leaders to identify and monitor students at risk of school failure and apply intervention strategies to get students back on track to graduate. The system is available to all schools, districts and local education agencies in the state at no additional cost through InformationNOW, the comprehensive web-based student information system from STI that is implemented statewide.

“Ensuring that every child becomes a high school graduate is tantamount to the mission of the Alabama State Department of Education,” said Dr.Kay Atchison Warfield, Graduation Success and Dropout Prevention Coordinator for the ALSDE. “We are working with STI and other critical education stakeholders to provide innovative, yet rigorous programs that help students develop the knowledge and skills they need to be successful.”

The Dropout Prevention Awareness Campaign, which originated with a state law enacted in 2010, includes the work of several community, legislative and education groups. ALSDE and local school systems, the Alabama Select Commission on High School Graduation and Student Dropouts, America’s Promise Alliance, The David C. Matthews Center for Civic Life and The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation are working collaboratively to identify at-risk students, offer programs or services, and encourage school personnel, parents and community leaders to help reverse the trend of dropouts in the state. With access to the Graduation Tracking System, additional data analysis tools, intervention strategies and programs, and the coordination of community wrap-around services for families and students, school leaders can address students’ individual learning needs and get them back on the path to graduation.

Integrated within InformationNOW through its ad-hoc reporting module, the Graduation Tracking System identifies at-risk students based on major indicators for school dropout: Attendance (absences), Behavior (teacher referrals, suspensions, and more) and Course Credits (based on grade level). Local education agencies have the option to include additional indicators at their discretion. The system provides alerts to counselors, graduation coaches, administrators, response-to-intervention coordinators, and other educators as needed for students who are at risk of school failure.

InformationNOW is a data management system for student data collection, analysis, and reporting accessible through a customizable portal for each user, such as administrators, teachers, and parents. The system is based on best practices STI has developed over 25 years of experience in education data management, while also taking advantage of the latest technology. InformationNOW serves as the foundation for the state’s longitudinal data system that allows schools and districts in the state and the ALSDE to track students continually throughout their entire school careers to inform policy and program decision-making.

“Alabama is leading the way for other states and education policy-makers in developing statewide programs and services that ensure student success, and in collecting and analyzing time-sensitive information critical for education reform,” said Ruby McCullough, CEO of STI. “We are proud to partner in the state’s collaborative effort to accomplish its aggressive goals for dropout prevention and effectively support the education community.”