Pennsylvania Dropout Prevention Summit
The summit was hosted by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and was held at the Harrisburg Area Community College.
• Over 100 participants including Governor Ed Rendell, Michael Schweder, President of AT&T Pennsylvania as well as state legislative staff, local government, business and community organizations.
• Next steps include: The creation of a statewide dropout prevention and re-engagement work group to continue to meet on a regular basis to facilitate and track dropout prevention and re-engagement planning and strategies across the commonwealth. This work group will consist of government, business, and community leaders and will be informed by the PA Youth in Transition regional coordinators.
• State Farm Insurance Companies has graciously committed funding for post-summit activities in Pennsylvania. These funds will be available for region-specific coordination and communication strategies, along with technical assistance from the statewide dropout prevention and re-engagement work group.
• Development of a statewide online resource including a searchable database for dropout prevention and re-engagement work being done across the state of Pennsylvania.
• The dropout summit planning committee has begun to investigate the possibility of an online statewide discussion and resource forum for those doing dropout prevention and re-engagement work across the state. The forum will help facilitate discussion within and among Pennsylvania’s regions as well as provide the state with a way to communicate state and national research and resources.
Progress Since the Summit
- The summit planners leveraged an existing initiative called Pennsylvania Youth in Transition (PAYT), a business/education collaborative that includes several state agencies. PAYT has been focused on re-connecting dropouts and youth aging out of foster care to educational opportunities. PAYT has nine regions, and its coordinators helped collect data before the summit and facilitated those regional discussions at the summit. Due to funding shifts, the PAYT initiative is folding into another effort, called Regional Career Education Partnerships (affiliated with local Workforce Investment Boards), a network of intermediaries around the state that help support education reform and career prep strategies. The planning committee sees these PAYT/RCEP coordinators as the on-going sustainers and facilitators of post-summit work, and will direct technical assistance and support to them accordingly.
- The Pennsylvania Partnership for Children convened a new state-level working group on September 9, 2009 to build on the work of the summit and sustain the bridges built through the planning process. With representatives from state agencies, nonprofits, business, higher education, workforce development and other sectors, the first priority of this group will be inventorying state, regional and local re-engagement efforts already underway.
- The summit helped Pennsylvania cement its relationship with State Farm, which had previously been supportive of service-learning within the state. Most of the state’s business/education partnerships, at least those directed by the department of education, have been focused on K-12 curriculum reform, graduation requirements, and standards.