Fort Worth Dropout Prevention Summit
Tarrant County College-Trinity River Campus
300 W. Belknap
Fort Worth, Texas 76102
Hosted by Superintendent Melody Johnson and Mayor Mike Moncrief, over 250 people attended the “America’s Promise Summit” including representatives from the school board, city council and business, nonprofit and education leaders. During the summit community stakeholders formalized a set of strategies to help combat the issue of high school dropouts. A Fort Worth ISD video was shown outlining programs already in place then breakout sessions were held on how to improve and fill gaps in student support services.
Meeting in affinity groups, Summit participants developed a set of eight strategies that will be explored by the FWISD as a means to bolstering its dropout prevention effort. Included among those strategies are: meeting the needs of students through rigor, relevance and relationships; establishing a coalition of school and community stakeholders; improving the relationships between school faculties with parents; and use of faith-based organizations to build role models and hold parents, students and schools accountable. The day ended with the “Class of 2021” singing a song for the audience and asking attendees to fill out commitment cards pledging their support.
Summit Planning Team:
An advisory/host committee made up of Fort Worth ISD students, parents, faith-based organizations, youth-serving non-profits, business, higher education, media, government and others.
Progress Since the Summit
- The Fort Worth summit helped raise awareness around the dropout issue and bring additional players into an already strong group of committed organizations.
- Fort Worth employs an existing network of Community Action Teams (CAT teams) under the director of student engagement and school completion. These multi-sector teams participated in the summit and are charged with creating and pursuing action plans based on feedback from the summit.
- Prior to the summit, approximately 5,000 students participated in an online survey about their views on the dropout issue, schools, and community. That information helped inform the summit agenda, and particularly the youth affinity group discussions. 150 youth participated in a follow-up forum in May 2009. This “united student council” will prioritize 5 areas for youth to improve their schools over the coming year, and then plans to hold another forum next May.