An early start on reducing dropouts

City Connects, a program aimed at providing systematic support for elementary students, may be linked to reducing dropout in high school, according to a paper published in AERA OpenThe City Connects program works with teachers and other school staff to determine each individual student’s strengths and areas of need. Program coordinators, all of whom are master’s-level licensed counselors or social workers, then link students and their families to services that can address students’ needs and build on their strengths.

The program was first implemented in six Boston Public Schools (BPS) elementary schools in in 2001-02 and now serves more than 90 schools in five states. To assess its effectiveness, researchers collected data on BPS students from 2001-2002 through 2013-2014. Students in City Connects schools were found to be at moderately less risk of dropping out of high school (9.2%) than students whose elementary schools did not have the program (16.6%). The study authors note that for a 9th-grade cohort of approximately 5,000 students (the size of a typical cohort in BPS), the effect “translates into approximately 375 fewer dropouts over the course of high school.”

Source: Le-St. John, T.L., Walsh, M.E., Raczek, A.E., Vuilleumier, C.E., Foley, C., Heberle, A., … & Dearing, E. (2018, October 2). The long-term impact of systemic student support in elementary school: Reducing high school dropout. AERA Open, 4 (4).

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