NDPS - Certification Program

National Dropout Prevention Center/Network

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National Dropout Prevention Specialist Program

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Benefits of NDPS

Benefits of National Dropout Prevention Specialist Certification

1. Participant will learn about the research-based 15 Effective Dropout Prevention Strategies that are the foundation of most dropout prevention plans, legislation, and guidelines of many states.

2. Participants will maintain an ongoing information-sharing relationship with other dropout prevention practitioners across the nation.

3. Participants will conduct a local dropout prevention project and report findings and outcomes of the local project as a certification requirement. The local project will benefit students of the participant’s school system.

4. The participant’s school system will benefit from having a dropout prevention specialist on staff to share information and resources with other staff members.

5. Participants will have on-going access to the staff of the National Dropout Prevention Center for consultation on local dropout prevention initiatives.

6. Participants and their local school systems will be listed and highlighted on the nation’s most accessed dropout prevention resource, www.dropoutprevention.org, the web site of the National Dropout Prevention Center.

7. Other practitioners from across the nation will have access to the expertise and experience of certificate holders.

8. Participants will receive ongoing mailings, newsletters, and publications on the latest research and strategies in dropout prevention through ongoing membership in the National Dropout Prevention Network.

9. Participants will be informed of and provided access to all resources of the nation’s oldest and most accessed resource for dropout prevention information, the National Dropout Prevention Center.

10. Participants will receive discounted rates and registration fees for accessing all events of the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network.

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Requirements of NDPS


NDPS Requirement I—

Completing the Professional Learning Requirements

To complete the NDPS certification program professional learning requirements, participants must attend 12 or more presentations at NDPC/N conferences or events that address 12 or more of NDPC’s Fifteen Effective Dropout Prevention Strategies.

The Professional Learning Requirement is designed to insure that NDPS certificate holders have a comprehensive understanding of numerous effective dropout prevention strategies that is acquired through professional contacts with other professionals.

All NDPC/N conferences and events, beginning January 1, 2015, will offer multiple designated sessions that address most or all of the 15 Effective Strategies. The program for each conference/event program will be coded to indicate those sessions and presentations that address each of the 15 Effective Strategies.

NDPS participants should select and attend conference sessions and presentations that address 12 or more different Effective Strategies, maintain a record of those sessions attended at each NDPC/N conference/event, and turn in to the conference registration desk a record of designated sessions attended at the conclusion of each conference. A reporting form will be provided to NDPS participants at each conference event at the conference registration desk.

After each NDPC/N conference/event, NDPC/N staff will record reported Effective Strategy sessions attended by the individual participant. When an individual NDPS participant has submitted a record of attending 12 or more different designated Effective Strategy sessions, the Professional Learning Requirement of the NDPS certification program will be completed.

The NDPC/N conferences/events currently scheduled for 2015 at which NDPS certification program professional learning sessions will be offered are listed below. NDPS certification program participants may register to attend any or all of these conferences/events on the NDPC/N Web site (www.dropoutprevention.org) and may obtain a discounted registration fee utilizing their NDPS event discount code.

2015 National Dropout Prevention Network Conference October 25-28,

2015Wyndham San Antonio RiverwalkSan Antonio, TX

NDPS Requirement II -

Completing and Submitting the Field Project Report

To complete the NDPS certification program field project requirement, participants must document knowledge of and direct participation in an actual project that addresses the needs of at-risk youth and/or contributes to student success and increased likelihood of school completion.

Additionally, the participant must provide documentation of the field project that is suitable for dissemination by the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network and that will inform other practitioners desiring to learn from and/or replicate the project.

Field project documentation must be submitted within 24 months of program acceptance. The field project requirement is designed to insure that NDPS certificate holders have firsthand dropout prevention experience and the capacity to professionally share dropout prevention knowledge and support the work of other practitioners.

Documentation and submission of the field project may be accomplished by one of the two following methods:

Method I—Submission and Approval of a NDPC/N Model Programs Database Entry

Participants selecting this method of field project submission should review the NDPC/N Model Programs database submission process, identify a program or project in which they have or have had direct involvement, enter the necessary information in the Model Programs database submission tool, and communicate with NDPC/N staff to verify acceptance of the submission.

Method II—Submission of a Field Project Report Utilizing the NDPS Field Project Template

Participants selecting this method of field project submission should review the NDPS field project template, identify a project that he/she has knowledge of and has or has had direct participation in, and complete and submit the template.

Upon approval of the participant’s Model Programs database entry or field project report, the participant’s submission will be listed on the NDPC/N Web site, www.dropoutprevention.org.

By submission, the program participant consents to public access to the report and agrees to respond to reasonable inquiries by practitioners desiring more information about the submitted field project.

NDPS Requirement III—

Maintenance of Continuous NDPN Membership

To complete the NDPS certification program Network membership requirement, the participant must maintain continuous individual or group membership in the National Dropout Prevention Network for both the period of certification requirement completion (up to 24 months) and for the duration of active NDPS certification.

Continuous Network membership provides the participant with regular newsletters, journals, mailings, and resources. The Network membership requirement is designed to insure that NDPS certificate holders have access to current research, resources, and knowledge and are continuously linked to other practitioners across the nation.

Upon program admission, NDPS certification program participants receive a complimentary one-year individual network membership ($85 value). This complimentary membership will be activated within 15 days of acceptance notification and receipt of your application fee.

At the conclusion of the one-year complimentary Network membership, it is the participant’s responsibility to maintain ongoing Network membership by renewal of individual membership at the current renewal rate or by participating in an institutional membership if available in their workplace.

NDPS certification program participants and certificate holders are responsible for maintenance of continuous membership during the 24-month project completion period and during the time of active certification.

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Please respond to each of the following items/questions relative to the Field Project that you submit to meet NDPS certification program requirements.

By submission, you agree that the information submitted about your Field Project is accurate, may be published on the NDPC/N Web site for access by others, and that the project information you provide is appropriate for public distribution and acceptable to others involved with the project.

Responses to each item should be clear, free from errors, and sufficient in length and detail to inform other dropout prevention professionals.

1. Project Name/Title

2. Project Location or Site

3. Name of Project Director or Responsible Individual

4. Project Funding Source

5. Project Cost and Brief Budget Narrative

6. Describe the scope and setting of the project.

7. What was the staffing pattern of the project?

8. Population Served by the Project:

Number of students, subjects, or participants

Description of project participants (ages, grades, demographics, etc.)

Participant selection criteria

9. How did the project originate and how was it developed?

10. What were the issues and/or needs addressed by the project?

11. What were the desired outcomes and measurable objectives of the project?

12. What were the strategies or interventions of the project?

13. What was the time line of the project?

14. What special conditions, expertise, or skills were required to carry out the project?

15. What were the actual outcomes, results, and achievements of the project?

16. How are/were the outcomes of the project related to school completion and graduation rates?

17. What is the current status of the project?

18. As a NDPS certification program participant, what was your role or involvement with the project?

19. What were the lessons learned from the project?

20. What advice would you give other dropout prevention practitioners about the project?

21. How may other practitioners desiring to learn more about the project contact you?

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15 Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention

15 Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention

Since 1986, the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (NDPC/N) has conducted and analyzed research; sponsored workshops and national conferences; and collaborated with researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to further the mission of reducing America’s dropout rate by meeting the needs of youth in at-risk situations, including students with disabilities.

Students report a variety of reasons for dropping out of school; therefore, the solutions are multidimensional. The NDPC/N has identified 15 Effective Strategies that have the most positive impact on reducing school dropout. These strategies appear to be independent, but actually work well together and frequently overlap. Although they can be implemented as stand-alone strategies, positive outcomes will result when school districts or other agencies develop program improvement plans that encompass most or all of these strategies. These strategies have been successful at all school levels from PK-12 and in rural, suburban, and urban settings. The strategies are grouped into four general categories and then listed in alphabetical order, not by effect size.

School and Community Perspective

  • Safe Learning Environments
  • School-Community Collaboration
  • Systemic Renewal

Early Interventions

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Early Literacy Development
  • Family Engagement

Basic Core Strategies

  • After-School/Out-of-School Opportunities
  • Alternative Schooling
  • Mentoring/Tutoring
  • Service-Learning

Making the Most of Instruction

  • Active Learning
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE)
  • Educational Technology
  • Individualized Instruction
  • Professional Development

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Effective Strategies Defined

  • Active Learning—

Active learning and student engagement strategies engage and involve students in meaningful ways as partners in their own learning. These strategies include student voice and choice; effective feedback, peer assessment, and goal setting; cooperative learning; thinking critically, creatively, and reflectively; and micro-teaching, discussion, and two-way communication. To be most effective, teachers must provide students with tools and strategies to organize themselves and any new material; techniques to use while reading, writing, and doing math; and systematic steps to follow when working through a task or reflecting upon their own learning.

  • After-School/Out-of-School Opportunities—

Many schools provide after-school, before-school, and/or summer academic/enhancement/enrichment opportunities (e.g., tutoring, credit recovery, acceleration, homework support, etc.) that provide students with opportunities for assistance and recovery as well as high-interest options for discovery and learning. These opportunities often decrease information loss and can inspire interest in arenas otherwise inaccessible. Such experiences are especially important for at-risk students because out-of-school “gap time” is filled with constructive and engaging activities and/or needed academic support

  • Alternative Schooling—

Alternative schooling options and delivery model options (e.g., alternative times and environ- ments, blended learning, virtual learning, competency-based credit opportunities, etc.) provide alternative avenues to credit earning and graduation, with programs paying special attention to the student’s individual and social needs, career goals, and academic requirements for obtaining a high school diploma and transitioning successfully to life beyond graduation.

  • Career and Technical Education (CTE)—

Quality CTE programs and related career pathways and guidance programs are essential for all students. Work-based learning recognizes that youth need specific skills to prepare them for the increased demands of today’s workplace.

  • Early Childhood Education—

Birth-to-five interventions demonstrate that providing a child additional enrichment can enhance brain development. The most effective way to reduce the number of children who will ultimately drop out is to provide the best possible classroom instruction from the beginning of school through the primary grades.

  • Early Literacy Development—

Early literacy interventions to help low-achieving students improve their reading and writing skills establish the necessary foundation for effective learning in all subjects.

  • Educational Technology—

Instructional Technology can effectively support teaching and learning while engaging students in meaningful, current, and authentic efforts; addressing multiple intelligences; and adapting to students’ learning styles. Educational technology can effectively be used in individualized instruction and can not only help prepare students for the workforce, but can empower students who struggle with self-esteem. Effective use of technologies depends upon the timely response to and application of the rapidly expanding choices and matches to identified student needs.

  • Family Engagement—

Research consistently finds that family engagement has a direct, positive effect on youth’s achievement and is one of the most accurate predictors of a student’s success in school. Critical elements of this type of collaboration rely on effective, ongoing, and multi-dimensional, two-way communication as well as ongoing needs assessments and responsive family supports and interventions.

  • Individualized Instruction—

Learning experiences can be individualized, differentiated, or personalized (combining paced and tailored learning with flexibility in content or theme to fit the interests, preferences, and prior experiences of each learner). In an environment that is fully personalized, the learning objectives and content as well as the method and pace may all vary (so personalization encompasses differentiation and individualization).

  • Mentoring/Tutoring—

Mentoring is a one-to-one caring, supportive relationship between a mentor and a mentee that is based on trust. Mentoring offers a significant support structure for high-risk students. Tutoring, also a one-to-one activity, focuses on academic support and is an effective practice when addressing specific needs in collaboration with the student’s base teacher.

  • Professional Development—

Adults who work with youth at risk of dropping out need to be provided ongoing professional learning opportunities, support, and feedback. The professional learning should align with the agreed upon vision and focus for the school/agency, the agreed upon instructional framework of high leverage research-based practices and strategies, and the identified needs of the population served. The professional learning opportunities provided should be frequently monitored to determine the fidelity of implementation and need for additional support and feedback.

  • Safe Learning Environments—

Safe, orderly, nurturing, inclusive, and inviting learning environments help students realize potential as individuals and as engaged members of society. All students need to be safe, physically and emotionally; to be expected to achieve; to be recognized and celebrated equitably for accomplishments; and to feel genuinely welcomed and supported. A safe and orderly learning environment provides both physical and emotional security as well as daily experiences, at all grade levels, that enhance positive social attitudes and effective interpersonal skills. A comprehensive discipline plan and violence prevention plan should include conflict resolution strategies and should deal with potential violence as well as crisis management. A safe, nurturing, and responsive learning environment supports all students, teachers, cultures, and subgroups; honors and supports diversity and social justice; treats students equitably; and recognizes the need for feedback, innovation, and second chances.

  • School-Community Collaboration—

This strategy focuses on the power of an educative community where everyone in the community is accountable for the quality of education, resulting in a caring and collaborative environment where youth can thrive and achieve. Critical elements of this type of collaboration rely on effective, ongoing, and multi-dimensional communication so that dropout prevention is a communitywide and ongoing effort.

  • Service-Learning—

Service-learning connects meaningful community service experiences with academic learning. This teaching/learning method promotes personal and social growth, career development, and civic responsibility and can be a powerful vehicle for effective school reform at all grade levels.

  • Systemic Renewal—

This strategy calls for a systemic approach and process for ongoing and continuous improvement through a shared and widely communicated vision and focus, tightly focused goals and objectives, selection of targeted research-based strategies and interventions, ongoing monitoring and feedback, and data- based decision making. Systemic renewal requires the alignment of school policies, procedures, practices, and organizational structures and continuous monitoring of effectiveness.

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Meta-Analysis/Dropout Prevention Outcomes & Strategies

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2015 National Dropout Prevention Network Conference

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