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Written by Jenna Needham

The beginning of October also marks the start of National Dropout Prevention Month.  In hopes of finding new ways to help prevent premature withdrawal from schools, experts from across the country are gathering in Detroit to attend the National Dropout Prevention Network Conference (NDPNC) from October 2nd-5th.

At this conference, there will be numerous speakers as well as workshops.  The keynote speakers at the conference include many big names such as Eric Thomas, an actual high school dropout with an incredible story that led him back to school, Dr. Russell Quaglia, who runs the Quaglia Institute for School Voice and Aspirations, and Barrington Irving Jr., the youngest person to pilot a plane around the world solo.

Two presenters from K12, Laurel Barrette, Director of Dropout Prevention, and Teren Jackson, Director of Student Support Services, will talk about ‘What We’ve Learned Using Integrated Student Supports and Data to Drive Student and Family Re-Engagement in the Virtual School Setting.’  Laurel is an extremely qualified presenter in this case, since she was a dropout herself.  Her personal situation is what made her such a strong advocate for school choice.

“We need bold experimentation. To cast off the old ways “how we’ve always done it” and pursue a new vision for an educational system that provides equity of opportunity for all students. We must be innovative, exploratory and openly curious in our efforts to develop schools, programs and policies that serve all students. No one approach, no one school is the answer, because our kids do not fit into just one mold. Just as we seek to develop grit in our students – we must develop it in ourselves and our approach to education,” said Laurel.

There will also numerous other presentations and panels.  This includes a presentation by Early King about Hill House Passport Academy and the K12 Passport Model which addresses issues facing the students who tend to drop out of their school, such as homelessness, transportation difficulty, and supporting their families.  Fuel Education will also host a panel focusing on improving academic outcomes with high-risk students through blended learning.

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