Letters to Boyne City Gazette

letters to the editor

Johnny Is Absent Today
Johnny is absent today—again. He was absent yesterday and may be tomorrow as well. Johnny has begun the slow process of disengagement that can and often does contribute to dropping out of high school.

Unfortunately, Johnny’s not alone in his absences—or his disengagement from school. Juan, Susie, Omar, Pierre and many other students across the nation share his story.

The unfortunate fact is that, once begun and without intervention, a student’s disengagement all too often culminates in that student dropping out of school.

And while there are other equally important indicators, excessive school absence is a critical and obvious indicator of disengagement.

The good news is that, addressed early and systemically, Johnny’s outcome—and the outcomes of other students like him—to stay in school or not can be impacted.

There’s more good news. When Johnny graduates from high school, he can expect to earn on average $8,000 more per year (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2015a), contributing not only to Johnny’s economic stability, but also our nation’s.

Johnny can also expect a longer lifespan (up to 9 years; Alliance for Excellent Education, 2015a), but the good news does not stop there.

Johnny, like all high school graduates, can expect an overall better quality of life, making his graduation have lifelong benefits.

There are no simple answers or magic tricks for ensuring Johnny will stay in school.

However, the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, working with practitioners, administrators, policymakers, and researchers, has developed 15 Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention to address not only the factors that affect Johnny’s graduating from high school, but also those that impact the nation’s dropout crisis as well.

These 15 Effective Strategies are supported by a wealth of tools, resources, and trainings offered by the Center.

In 2015, a school system that utilized the 15 Effective Strategies to guide dropout prevention efforts reported a graduation rate that improved from 56% to 94% over a ten-year period.

The Fifteen Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention developed by the National Dropout Prevention Center provide a research-based framework that when applied systemically by practitioners, schools, or districts according to the unique needs of each becomes an effective tool for reducing the dropout rate.

As a framework, the strategies encourage flexibility and applicability beyond formulas and prescriptive methodology.

They offer insights based on 30 years of research and best practices.

When the strategies are utilized together, they increase in effectiveness since the strategies themselves model a systemic approach to addressing school dropout.

Positive outcomes and results are most likely when school districts or other agencies develop program improvement plans that encompass most or all of the strategies.

The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network’s goal is a zero dropout rate, and we will continue to address the challenge of increasing the high school on-time graduation rate.

Just as there are no tricks of the trade to address school dropout, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Students report a variety of reasons for dropping out of school; therefore, the solutions are multidimensional as well.

As a nation, our obligation—our moral imperative—is to employ every strategy available to ensure Johnny, Juan, Susie, Omar and every other student earns a high school diploma.

Dr. Sandy Addis,
Executive Director, NDPC/N

Domestic Abuse Awareness
Autumn is here and Domestic Abuse Awareness Month has rolled back around in what seems like record time! Yet in that short time, a more open national and global conversation about this issue has helped create a greater awareness –almost an ‘awakening’– of the issue of domestic abuse and its long reaching effects on survivors, their families and entire communities.

Incidents of domestic abuse continue to make national, state and local news headlines.

Individuals, groups and institutions across the country and in our community are standing up to end violence against women and girls by publicly supporting survivors and taking action to create change.

All community members can be part of this change.

We can take action in our everyday lives to create the change necessary to end this prevalent problem affecting those we love: mothers, daughters, sisters, partners, friends and coworkers.

Are you ready to take action?

We firmly believe positive change can happen through seemingly small, everyday actions.

These actions can be personal, like avoiding language that may minimize the value and contributions of women.

Some actions might seem basic, such as following the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan on Facebook or simply taking the time to be a helpful neighbor.

You can take public action, like donating to the annual Harvest Food Drive, or contacting your congressperson about legislation that supports survivors of domestic violence.

No matter the action, however big or small, making ending violence against women part of your everyday life, through your kind words and respectful actions, is how we will change the world.

With every action, you are choosing to be part of the solution in ending domestic abuse and helping create a better, safer community for all of us.

So make a pledge today to help end violence against women through your everyday actions.

If your business, group or organization would like more information on how to help end violence against women and girls in our community, contact the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan’s main office at (231) 347-1572 or visit wrcnm.org.

Chris Krajewski, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Program Director,

Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan