Oklahoma Dropout Prevention Summit

Summit Location:
Gaylord Center
Oklahoma Christian University
Edmond, Oklahoma

Highlights:

  • Over 250 people attended the State Superintendent's Oklahoma's Promise Dropout Prevention Leadership Summit that provided a public accounting of dropouts, graduation rates, and trends in Oklahoma.
  • The summit helped raise awareness regarding the current available intervention, prevention, and recovery strategies used in Oklahoma, and develop stakeholder workgroups to expand intervention, prevention and recovery efforts. Speakers included State Superintendent Sandy Garrett and other community, business, school and legislative leaders as part of a two-year strategy to raise public awareness and action around dropout prevention. Key stakeholders are committed to improving the graduation rate of Oklahoma schools by 10% in 2010.
  • Oklahoma is using the graduation rate adopted by the National Governors Association. State Superintendent Garrett challenged each of the stakeholders to focus on the issue, and then develop and implement the necessary actions to achieve this goal.
  • Knowing that access to wraparound supports, including mental health services, is key to success for at-risk students, the Oklahoma's Promise Leadership team will seek to expand access to each of the statewide alternative education academy program sites.

Summit Planning Team:

State Superintendent's Student Advisory Council (50 youth from across the state of Oklahoma)
Lisa Pryor, Assistant Superintendent
Laura Buxton, Director, Alternative Education
Jennifer Watson, Team Leader, Standards and Curriculum
Kerri White, Executive Director, High School Reform
Derk Watson, Coordinator, Life Long Learning
Shelly Hickman, Public Affairs, SDE
Wendy Pratt, Communications, SDE
Erin Gray, Coordinator, Early Childhood Education
Brad Clark, Legal Services, SDE
Mandy Winton, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, SDE
Marty Fulk, Media Productions, SDE
Kathy McKean, Oklahoma Technical Assistance Center

Progress Since the Summit

  • In January, the Superintendent took to the State Board of Education, and the Governor subsequently approved, a proposal to require every principal to report to the public their dropout numbers and college remediation rates. As part of their accreditation process, they must submit minutes of the local school board meeting where they presented their data.
  • The superintendent also developed a Student Advisory Council of about 50 students from around the state. This Council helped plan and put on the summit.
  • An alternative education conference held in July 2009 was titled “Growing Graduates” and incorporated a lot of data and messages from the dropout summit. The state’s department of health is similarly planning to integrate content into a conference it’s planning for later this year.
  • The state department of education is asking local districts/communities to develop “OK Graduation DO IT” teams – dropout intervention teams – to raise awareness and develop local solutions based upon the National Dropout Prevention Center’s 15 Effective Strategies. The department has also challenged superintendents to go door-to-door to re-enroll last year’s dropouts.
  • The state created a video for the summit, and just recently released another one on mentoring. The plan is to complete a series, one on each 15 effective dropout prevention strategies.
  • A new nonprofit organization – For Youth Initiative or FYI – is interested in having dropout teams in every community in the state.