• IDRA Newsletter • November- December 2007

San Antonio (October 30, 2007) – A new online portal helps community and school partners examine their school data and plan joint action to improve school holding power. With Texas schools losing one-third of their students, schools and communities in Texas and around the country are looking to new ways to understand the obstacles to school success and to work together to address them. Gathering quality information is a first step.

To meet this need, IDRA has developed a prototype school holding power portal that places accurate, high quality information in the hands of people at the leading edge of systems change. Through the portal, educators and community members can find out how well their high school campus is preparing and graduating students, what factors may be weakening school holding power, and what they can do to address them.

Pilot tested with school and community leaders, parents and students, IDRA’s School Holding Power Portal (link: http://www.idra.org/portal) is a web-based tool that helps schools and communities get key data to: (1) assess dropout rates; (2) find out how well schools are holding on to students and preparing them for college; and (3) partner and take action to strengthen schools. Organized around IDRA’s Quality Schools Action Framework?(see www.idra.org), the portal provides:

  • Key data to help you determine whether high dropout rates and weak school holding power are a problem for your school.
  • Links to attrition rates for every county in Texas, based on IDRA’s annual attrition research and the disappearance rates for every campus.
  • Easy-to-use tables and comparison graphs on student outcomes and the core features (e.g., teaching quality, curriculum quality and access) that make up strong schools.
  • E-mail feature you can use to share data with others and attach charts or graphs, keep track of your own notes, or call a community-school meeting to work on a specific issue.

“Community oversight is a critical missing ingredient in effective and accountable dropout prevention efforts at the local level,” said Dr. Robledo Montecel. “We also know that schools and communities working together have the capacity to craft and carry out effective solutions that will make a difference for students.”

“Change begins with school, community and legislative action,” she added. “Working in partnership, parents, educators, students, policymakers, businesspeople can create schools that hold onto all students until graduation and prepare them to succeed.”

Comments and questions may be directed to IDRA via e-mail at feedback@idra.org.

[©2007, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the November- December 2007 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]