(January 4, 2007) Schools are losing a student every three minutes. This lack of school holding power affects everyone. But when parents, families and others are actively involved as partners with their schools, students thrive and the community itself is made stronger. Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, IDRA’s executive director, discusses the essence of the problem and what can be taken to guarantee graduation for every student. Cuca is interviewed by Bradley Scott, Ph.D., director of the IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity.
06:44 Cuca says that the problem of school holding power is "not insurmountable."
07:40 Bradley asks Cuca why the United States cannot "do better" as a nation in helping more children through high school.
08:34 Cuca identifies the four areas where schools must focus their resources to improve their holding power:
08:53 * On parents, who must be engaged in schools;
09:11 * On students, who must be engaged in schools;
09:19 * On the quality of teaching, which must be consistent with schools' commitment to graduate their children;
09:32 * On high-quality learning, which is engaging to all students and available to all students.
09:53 Cuca provides recommendations for increasing school holding power:
09:58 * Schools must receive fair funding;
11:15 * School boards' governance must be geared to graduating all of its children;
11:51 * Communication in schools must be improved, and a "circle of adults" must be developed that accepts responsibility for all of the children.
13:34 Cuca says IDRA's research has shown that the No. 1 reason students drop out of school is that they are not connected with their school.
14:07 Cuca talks about the importance of developing – and following through on – individual graduation plans for all children.
14:50 Cuca says that an intimate connection must be built between the students, the school and the adults in the school, such that dropping out becomes "unthinkable."
15:36 Bradley and Cuca talk about the notion of "valuing students" and their families.
17:45 Cuca: We should look at school children as though they were our own children.
19:09 Cuca explains IDRA's position that schools should adopt a graduation guarantee for every student, and that schools must substantiate this position through their actions, plans and follow-through, starting in preschool and continuing through high school graduation.
21:35 Cuca notes that IDRA's Graduation Guaranteed initiative works to bring parents and schools together on behalf of their children and provides some examples of how this is being done.
29:12 To close, Bradley asks Cuca to give her No. 1 thought for schools to consider when examining the problem of school holding power.
31:13 Bradley asks listeners to visit the IDRA web site and to provide feedback, either by e-mail or by phone, at 210-444-1710.
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