Do you remember that teacher who agreed to stay after school with you to help you understand a difficult concept? Maybe you had a school counselor who encouraged you to live up to your potential in the face of home difficulties and kept his or her doors wide open? What about that coach or club leader in high school who always believed in you, even when you missed practices or meetings?
Most of us have someone who comes to mind when we reflect back on the turbulent high school days; someone who encouraged us to reach our potential and believed in us even when we didn’t.
The High School Dropout Crisis
Unfortunately, for the 30% of American students who drop out of school each year, those supportive figures can be few and far between. Sometimes, those positive, encouraging voices are too frequently drown out by other voices—those that say “You’ll never amount to anything anyway,” “You just can’t afford to stay in school” and “These classes are too boring.”
The realities of life for many students can provide serious obstacles to high school graduation. Try telling a high school junior that studying for an algebra exam should be a priority when he or she spends nights just trying to put food on the table. For a sophomore with straight Fs, turning in a piece of homework might not make much of a difference in how he or she sees the future.
For the 1.3 million students who don’t graduate, the decision to ultimately drop out can be a complicated one with many causes. According to BoostUp.org, the process is gradual. Some factors include low expectations from family and other adults, poor attendance and family responsibilities. Organizations like BoostUp.org are working to change that.
How BoostUp.org Is Helping
This organization helps give students who are at risk the support they need to graduate by offering resources and ideas to help others support those students. Helping is easier than you think! One resource in particular stood out to me as one of the easiest and most creative ways to help. Through their partner site Boost Nation you can send a quick “boost” in the form of a 140-character message or a quick video to a struggling high schooler.
Aside from sending an encouraging message, BoostUp.org offers plenty of resources for helping in other ways, including information for:
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Know the Facts and Warning Signs
In closing, I leave you with this U.S. dropout statistics infographic and a list of warning signs for at-risk students. Getting involved might alter a student’s future; if you see these in a student, friend or child, speak up and consult the site for ways to support these at-risk students:
- They don’t feel challenged in school.
- They don’t feel high educational expectations from either their family or school.
- They believe their parents are too controlling and they want to rebel.
- They have trouble with schoolwork or feel like they are not as smart as other students.
- They have drug, alcohol or mental health problems.
- They regularly miss school or are frequently tardy.
- They struggle with problems at home, including physical or verbal abuse.
- They feel like they don’t fit in or have friends at school.
- Their peers or siblings have dropped out of school.
- They have poor learning conditions at school—such as overcrowding, high levels of violence and excessive absenteeism.
Make sure to visit the BoostUp.org website to learn more about the issues and what you can do to help change an at-risk student’s future.