Hawaii schools turn to technology to help at-risk students

Six schools in Hawaii, called the Pinnacle of Success SLC Consortium, are trying to improve student academic performance through extensive teacher training, leadership development, and the creation of small learning communities (SLCs). In addition, they are using Pearson Education's Prevent software program to aggregate the most relevant and predictive student information data to pinpoint which students are most likely to drop out of school. By pulling together readily available data contained in current SISs—including, but not limited to, a student's grade point average, discipline history, attendance, and grade level—Prevent gives schools the ability to solve the dropout rate.

"As part of the Hawaii SLC Consortium, every day we focus on our mission to ensure that all of our students receive the high-quality education necessary to be prepared for college and careers in the 21st century," said Ann Mahi, principal at Roosevelt High School. "With Prevent we will have a powerful tool for identifying students who may be straying off course academically, and can quickly develop a targeted intervention that will address their specific needs."

According to the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, about 64 percent of all students in Hawaii graduate from high school with a diploma in four years. However, there are significant personal and societal costs borne by the 36 percent who don't earn a diploma. Research from the Alliance for Excellence Education reveals dropouts from the class of 2008 alone will cost Hawaii almost $1.4 billion in lost wages over their lifetimes.

"Graduation rates are a key indicator of the success of our nation's public school system," said Gary Hensley, Prevent founder and director for student growth at Pearson. "Pearson is proud to collaborate with schools across our nation as they turn to Prevent to identify at-risk students for early intervention and make great progress toward eradicating this critical social and economic problem for our country."

Currently, 1.2 million U.S. students drop out each year, which is the equivalent of 7,000 students a day, or one child every 26 seconds. This increasing dropout rate represents a national crisis for America's economic future, as students who do not earn a high school diploma earn up to 80 percent less than their diploma-earning peers. In addition, the National Center for Education Statistics have shared statistics that illustrate nearly one in three ninth graders (26.8 percent) at public high schools are not earning their diplomas in four years.