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The View From Here - June 2019

By Michael Piccirillo, Ed.D, CASDA Executive Director

Congratulations on finishing another successful year, especially to the latest class of students who are graduating this week. At CASDA, we realize it’s just as important to celebrate the accomplishments of our member districts’ scholars as it is to focus on the students who struggle to make it to graduation, or don’t cross that finish line at all. Our leadership podcast series, which is 16 podcasts deep, has addressed a number of issues related to dropout prevention this month.  This month’s podcast features CASDA faculty member Gregg Weinlein discussing stigmatizing the students who do not graduate, rather than supporting them. He goes on to offer practical strategies for school systems to help students stay in school and continue to be a resource for them if they leave school prior to graduation.

In last week’s podcast titled “Protective Factors,” I refer to a recently published study from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, “Born to Win, Schooled to Lose: Why Equally Talented Students Don’t Get Equal Chances to Be All They Can Be.”  The study notes, “For most children, the chance of making it depends on their access to environments that nurture and promote success. Throughout their youth, relatively advantaged children enjoy more protective and enriched environments, which help them to realize their full potential by the time they become young adults.” Even a child like myself from a low socioeconomic background had protective factors as a result of being a white male. This study reinforces the fact that children from low-income backgrounds, particularly students of color and English Language Learners, though equally talented as their advantaged peers, lack access to resources and the privileges conferred by whiteness.

June’s Hanover Research brief, “Early Interventions to Support College and Career Readiness,” offers excellent insights regarding the startling reality of how early students begin on the path to dropping out. The necessary corollary to this observation is  that despite early warnings, schools often do not provide interventions and supports to help students stay in school. The brief offers research and practical guidance for establishing and monitoring Early Warning Systems, supporting consistent attendance, positive behaviors and academic achievement.  Mark your calendars for August 13, 2019 for a workshop sponsored by Hanover Research, “Using Research to Inform Decisions and Reach District Goals.”  This free half-day event will provide practical strategies for applying research to practice. I hope you will join us for what will be an informative and engaging workshop.

CASDA recognizes our responsibility to provide relevant, research-based services.  As we approach a new school year, CASDA will be offering new services and professional development in four focus areas: Social Emotional Learning (SEL); School Improvement; Curriculum & Instruction; and Leadership.  The work in these focus areas will be connected by a central theme of equity. More information about CASDA’s services will be forthcoming in an early July Membership Renewal Brochure and the late-summer publication of CASDA’s 2018-2019 Annual Report.

In closing, on behalf of the CASDA Executive Committee, faculty and staff, thank you for your support of CASDA. We look forward to continuing to serve you in the coming year!


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