For many, the first year of high school means changing schools, meeting new people, taking more complex classes, and assuming extra responsibilities—it’s a lot to handle for a 14- or 15-year-old. In a year full of transition, it's all too easy for these new high-schoolers to be introduced to the wrong habits, people, and even classes. That's why educators are starting to place more focus on the big picture of freshman year. As a “bottleneck” year for students, freshmen who encounter some pretty tough experiences aren't likely to enroll in another year of high school. And with graduation as a major hurdle to clear before college, how can we ensure all of our TXGU'ers make it to the finish line?
The starting point of the process begins with identification. Because there are three major indicators that predict whether a student is likely to drop out—attendance, behavior, and course performance—educators can more immediately identify when to step in with some solutions. By working and staying involved with students on a meaningful level, educators who've had major issues with dropout rates have noticed a sizable improvement in kids who continue to enroll in classes. What's more, activities like interactive goal-setting have proven to be a great way to get students to start thinking about their futures and what they want out of their time in high school. With such a seemingly simple solution to such a serious problem, maybe one day every student in Texas will be able to graduate. But until then, we'll keep encouraging and supporting our kids every way we know how.