Dropout Challenge and Approach


The Dropout Challenge

According to a recent publication, more than a million kids drop out every year, about 7,000 a day, and the numbers continue to rise. Dropouts never catch up with high school graduates in any area of life. They are less likely to find work and are more likely to live in poverty, commit crimes, and suffer health problems.[1] Yet what can be done to prevent today’s youth from dropping out? First, the root of the problem must be identified.


Identifying the Root of the Challenge

Research indicates that two sets of factors may play a critical role in the decision of a student to drop out:

  1. Institutional characteristics of their families, schools, and communities
  2. Individual characteristics of the students themselves

Parenting practices, including monitoring a child’s progress in school, communicating with the school, and knowing the parents of their children’s friends, can influence whether a student drops out or stays in school. In addition, characteristics of schools, such as policies and practices play a part in students’ decisions.[2]

Students have stated that some of their reasons for dropping out include:

  • Their classes were not interesting
  • They were not motivated or inspired to work hard
  • They were failing in school and could not keep up with school work
  • They had missed too many days and could not catch up on their work
  • They had repeated a grade
  • They became a parent
  • They had to care for a family member[3]


CLAY’s Response

CLAY Student Leadership provides a holistic approach to addressing the alarming dropout rates through its innovate leadership curriculum by:

  • Working with students starting in middle school
    • CLAY Student Leadership Six-Year Curriculum
  • Engaging parents in the life of their child
    • CLAY Student Leadership Six-Year Curriculum’s Parent University
  • Equipping parents to communicate with child as well as school administration
    • CLAY Student Leadership Six-Year Curriculum’s Parent University
  • Engaging schools with parents
    • CLAY Student Leadership Six-Year Curriculum’s Parent University
  • Providing youth friendly leadership curriculum
    • CLAY Student Leadership Core Components
  • Reaching students most at-risk of dropping out
    • CLAY R3 Student Leadership Accelerated Curriculum

[1] Rumberger, R. (2011). Dropping Out: Why Students Drop Out of High School and What Can Be Done About it. Harvard University Press, 2011. Print
[2] Rumberger, R., and Lim, S., "Why Students Drop Out of School: A Review of 25 Years of Research", California Dropout Research Project, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2008,.
[3] Bridgeland, J., DiIulio, J., and Morison, K., “The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts", Civic Enterprises in association with Peter D. Hart Research Associates, 2006.