As the school year winds down, families will provide school leaders with their intent to enroll for next year. When a family leaves your school, it can be a huge let down. Some families leave for good reasons – childcare, employment or relocation. Others leave because of dissatisfaction with your school’s education environment. Families who desire a highly enriching academic surroundings will move along to another suitable institution. To stem this tide, here five things I believe school leaders can do:
Encourage Classroom Involvement /// Provide your faculty with regular professional development opportunities on how to increase student engagement. When instructors use classroom discussions, project-based methods and other active learning strategies, students are able to interact with the team and not feel lonely in the learning process. The students feel like they belong in your school, the less likely they will leave.
Fight Boredom /// Students desire learning that is interesting and meaningful. If material is seen as irrelevant to their current or future lives, they will become disengaged. Teachers can make sure their students’ coursework connects to the real world through project-based learning, internships, case studies and similar activities. Students who are engaged in the learning process will make a more emotional and physical availability to connect to learning. They are more likely to stay at your school until graduation.
Positive Phone Calls Home /// Encourage each teacher to call each students’ parents at home/work, and have them give positive praise about each student. This technique allows teachers to build trusting relationships with each parents and students. Administrators can use this technique to break the ice with incoming families.
Offer Support Services /// Students who struggle with socially and academically will be the first ones to leave. Create peer tutoring programs, study centers and push-in/pull-out support for students who need extra assistance in academic areas. Develop character building programs to prevent bullying, teasing and hurt feelings among students, and identify those young people who feel left out of the social situations of your school. Match these students up with supportive peers who may become fast friends.
Create a Vision /// Empower your lower level students with who they can be in the upper grades. For example, a high school with an agricultural program used “FFA week” to reach out to their feeder elementary and middle school students. The high school students set up a petting zoo at their high school, and invited the elementary and middle students to it. Not only did the young students learn about farm animals, the younger students learned about how they could become an FFA member if they stayed in district’s high school.