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Monday, 30 November 2015

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The IDRA Newsletter is published 10 times a year. Each edition focuses on issues in education, striving to provide many different perspectives on the topics covered and to define its significance in the state and national dialogue. The IDRA Newsletter can only be mailed to U.S.addresses, but pdf and web copies are available online.

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Octoberr 2015 Issue ~ Articles


Current Issue:
October 2015

Focus ~ Push Outs: Children of Color


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Newsletter Executive Editor
María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel, Ph.D.

ISSN 1069-5672

Texas Public School Attrition Study, 2014-15
School Holding Power Holds Constant in Texas – At 24 Percent
The overall high school attrition rate held firm in Texas from 2013-14 to 2014-15 at 24 percent. IDRA’s latest annual attrition study shows that the overall attrition rate remained unchanged from one year to the next following four consecutive years of one percentage point declines. This year’s study is the 30th in a series of annual reports on trends in dropout and attrition rates in Texas public schools. It shows that high school attrition rates in Texas have declined from 33 percent three decades ago to 24 percent in 2014-15. In this article, Roy L. Johnson, M.S., gives highlights of the attrition study released this month.

Read IDRA’s Texas Public School Attrition Study, 2014-15 (pdf)


Infographic: Texas High School Attrition
See IDRA’s new graphic showing how Texas public schools are losing one out of four students. It doesn’t have to be this way.


IDRA’s Transformational Research on the Dropout Issue
– A Personal Reflection
Written on an IBM typewriter three decades ago, the sheet of paper has that familiar patina that comes with age, but you can still make out most of the fading words: “I sympathize with the problems created for San Antonio school districts by the release of [IDRA’s] dropout data, but I take exception to the attempts of some districts to execute the messenger for reporting the bad news.” The “messenger” was IDRA. It was 1986 as IDRA conducted the landmark research study of dropouts in Texas. Having had a key role in IDRA’s first study and other research and work on the dropout issue since then, Josie Cortez, M.A., shares her reflections in this article. 

For School and College Success – The Power of Non-cognitive Skills
Of course, all students inherently have the ability to think critically, solve problems, interact socially and persist in tasks. They are creative and resilient. When the adults and institutions that surround them support, nurture and encourage these competencies with trust, high expectations and respect, students’ non-cognitive skills blossom. In this article, Nilka Avilés, Ed.D., discusses how teachers and school administrators can nurture students’ non-cognitive skills that foster habits of mind.


Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program Winning Essay
IDRA sponsored a national essay competition among participants in the IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program, a nationally-recognized cross-age tutoring program of IDRA. Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program tutors wrote about how the program helps them do better in school and how they help their tutees to do better. Six students received prizes. Here is one of the winning essays.


Download the other winning essays.


New video: IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program Featured for American Graduate Day
KLRN’s American Graduate Day celebrates Dr. Cuca Robledo Montecel and IDRA’s Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program. KLRN produced new video spot about the IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program is airing now and is online. South San Antonio ISD Superintendent Dr. Abelardo Saavedra and South San HS student, Silvia Favela, sat down to tell KLRN about their experience with the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program. [01:30 min].

Effective Dropout Prevention – Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program – IDRA’s Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program is a research-based, internationally-recognized dropout prevention program that has kept 98 percent of its tutors in school. Learn more about the program and how to bring this program to your school.


Meet Roy Johnson, M.S., IDRA Director of Support Services and Evaluation
This year, the IDRA Newsletter is highlighting our staff’s varied and diverse talents and backgrounds. Roy Johnson, M.S., directs evaluation work at the IDRA and is the lead author and researcher for IDRA’s annual school attrition study. He manages many of the organization’s research and evaluation activities, ranging from federal to corporate funded projects, international to national, state to local in scope.


October 2015 Issue ~ Newsletter Plus

Classnotes podcasts on School Holding Power

Building Parent Voice for Action – Episode 146

Counting Dropouts – Episode 62

The Power of Student Voices in Dropout Prevention – Episode 125

College for All – Episode 75

Continuities with Lessons in Dropout Prevention – Episode 63

Tracking vs. High Quality Education for All Students – Episode 124

Infographic: One district cut its dropout rates in half.
Texas is improving attrition rates by 1-2 percent each year, and gaps have not gotten better in almost three decades. But one school district cut its dropout rates in half. Others can too.


College Bound and Determined – School District Proves that a School District Can Assure that All Students are College Bound
IDRA’s report, College Bound and Determined, shows how the Pharr-San Juan Alamo school district in south Texas transformed itself from low achievement and low expectations to planning for all students to graduate from high school and college. In PSJA, transformation went beyond changing sobering graduation rates or even getting graduates into college. This school district is changing how we think about college readiness.

School Holding Power Checklist
IDRA has developed a one-page School Holding Power Checklist with a set of criteria for assessing and selecting effective dropout prevention strategies and for making sure your school is a quality school.


Look Up Your Texas County for Attrition and Dropout Data
IDRA is providing dropout trend data at your fingertips. See a graph of high school attrition in your Texas county over the last 10 years. You’ll also see the numbers of students by race-ethnicity who have been lost from enrollment in your county.


See which Texas counties had high school attrition rates go up or down
The Texas high school attrition rate has continued its downward trend. IDRA’s latest annual attrition study released today shows that schools in 102 counties saw improvement, attrition rates in 105 counties students have worsened since last year.


Free eBook on Types of Dropout Data
When IDRA first examined the dropout issue in Texas, there was no dropout data or standard method for counting dropouts. Over time, researchers have developed several methodologies in order to see the problem from different angles. We know that it’s easier to ignore a problem and discount students when they aren’t counted in the first place, which is why IDRA has kept the dropout.


The Power of Possibility, How IDRA and its Partners are Changing Public Education, IDRA Annual Report 2014
IDRA’s 2014 Annual Report highlights seven defining moments in our work last year, from advancing educational and civil rights, to amplifying the voice of families and cross-generational leaders in securing educational quality and equity; to improving student success, graduation, and college preparedness; and preparing new teachers for increasingly diverse classrooms. We are grateful to funders and partners for their commitment to excellent and equitable education that made IDRA’s work possible.

Classnotes Podcasts on the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program  

Tutor’s Success Surprises Elementary Teacher - IDRA Classnotes Podcast Episode 145

An Elementary Teacher on Having Tutors in Her Classroo – IDRA Classnotes Podcast Episode 142

The Art of Writing – Tips for Teachers Part 1 – IDRA Classnotes Podcast Episode 136

The Art of Writing – Tips for Teachers Part 2 – IDRA Classnotes Podcast Episode 137

They start calling my name (on being a Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program tutor) – IDRA Classnotes Podcast Episode 135

Dropout Prevention that Works – Quick overview of how the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program impacts students and schools. IDRA’s Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program is a research-based, internationally-recognized dropout prevention program that has kept 98 percent of its tutors in school. See this quick video and learn more about the program and how to bring ths program to your school. [01:30 min]


IDRA OurSchool portal – designed to help you – educators and community members – find out how well your high school campus is preparing and graduating students, what factors may be weakening school holding power, and what you can do together to address them.



IDRA’s Quality Schools Action Framework™



 Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework
At a time when public education makes a world of difference to our students, communities and economic success, many are looking for strategies that will work for them and that will last. Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework shows how communities and schools can work together to strengthen their capacity to be successful with all of their students.



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