Don't Quit on Me

What Young People Who Left School Say About the Power of Relationships

Don't Quit on Me: What Young People Who Left School Say About the Power of Relationships examines, from the perspective of young people themselves, the roles that relationships with adults and peers play in decisions about staying in, leaving and returning to high school. Building on previous studies, including last year’s Don’t Call Them Dropouts, this report offers new insights about how support from adults and peers can help to close the remaining gaps between those who graduate from high school on time and those who don’t.

“We know a great deal from previous research on youth development that relationships are instrumental in helping young people stay in school,” said Jonathan Zaff, PhD, the report’s lead author and executive director of the Center for Promise. “But now we need to know more about how, when and why these relationships matter and what it takes to make the right support available at the right time for young people who are not graduating on time. That’s what we set out to learn.”

The title, “Don’t Quit on Me,” echoes the many young people who expressed gratitude to those who didn’t give up on them and represents a call to action for caring adults. We can’t quit on young people dealing with tremendous adversity, especially now that we know how powerful relationships are in engaging and re-engaging young people in education.