Don't Call Them Dropouts a Reflection from Jon Reinhard, VP Learning & Teaching at Generation Schools Network

When you think about how stressful your life is on a daily basis, think about what it would be like to be 14 or 15 or 16 years old and not having much of a support system in your life to help you cope with huge daily stressors that keep you from just being a normal high school student.

Before reading the recent report that was funded by Target, entitled “Don’t Call Them Dropouts: Understanding the Experiences of Young Americans who Leave High School before Graduation", it was very easy to fall into the trap of seeing these young people as not caring about their education at all.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.

I have been working around and with high school students for the past 30 plus years and I can honestly say that I have yet to meet a young high school student who doesn’t have dreams about their future, it is just their present life situation that constantly gets in the way.  The article is a powerful reminder of why it is so important for caring adults to reach out and support young high school students in order to help them realize their dreams. The article points to many life factors that young teenagers really don’t have much influence over.

Our public schools need to implement additional support programs and systems that will provide ongoing daily support and help with health/wellness and social/emotional issues that our young people in high schools face each and every day. Our most important client in high school are the young people who walk through our doors each and every day. They deserve and we must find more effective and positive ways to support them no matter how long it takes for them to earn their high school diploma. We can no longer allow even one student to not be successful in high school. The very future of our society and our country depends on how we are going to respond and support the next generation of Americans. 

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