High schools with unacceptable graduation rates exist in every state and every major city in America, and are not confined to urban areas; smaller towns and rural areas grapple with the dropout challenge as well. National leaders have called this “the dropout crisis,” referring in particular to high schools that graduate fewer than two-thirds of their students. As a result, the US Department of Education is both requiring more transparency about graduation rates, and providing unprecedented support to address this crisis through programs such as the High School Graduation Initiative.
The recognition that improving graduation rates and reducing dropout rates is critical to our country’s civic and economic health has led to increased state and local action. Responding to both pressures and newly available supports, cities, towns, and states across America have begun to consider and implement strategies to prevent students from dropping out, and to recover those who have left school without a diploma. Key to the success of these efforts is a breakthrough in understanding of the types of data analyses that can guide districts and schools in implementing dropout prevention and recovery strategies that are effective and use limited resources efficiently.
In support of this initiative, Maher & Maher has worked closely with our partners at Jobs for the Future (JFF) to produce two virtual meetings and a series of three national webinars focused on rural dropout prevention and recovery. Drawing on our significant (over 25 years) experience in virtual events management, we worked with our clients to manage these events from conception to follow-up, including the creation of a customized event registration website and invitation for each event, expert project management and virtual event consulting, a professional dress-rehearsal event conducted by our webinar facilitator to help familiarize the webinar presenters and key staff with the virtual classroom, live facilitation and manipulation of interactive elements of each webinar (including open chat discussions, and polling questions which help in emphasizing key objectives), and technical assistance throughout each webinar to all presenters and participants.