Archive for December, 2010

The National Network of State School Improvement Leaders has a newly archived webinar on systemic change in high schools. The webinar includes an overview of School Improvement Grants (SIG) in high schools from Joe Harris of the National High School Center. In addition, Angela Denning, of the Arizona Department of Education, presents on state and district partnerships with Lisa Long of the Pima Partnership High School and Mike Dunbar of the Pima Prevention Partnership. The Pima Partnership High School and the state share what they experienced in the first few months of implementing the School Improvement Grants in high schools and the corresponding intervention models, revealing quick wins as well as challenges and issues to consider.

In addition to the archived webinar, the agenda and other supporting webinar resources and SIG resources are available on the archive website.

To see how data on high school dropout rates are linked to particular locations within your state, check out the Midwest Education Atlas from REL Midwest. Geographic data displays in this new online repository map out dropout rate data across several district-level background variables, such as poverty level, minority enrollment, and mother’s education level.

Using publicly available data sources and geographic information system (GIS) technology, the REL Midwest team created a set of maps for six Midwest states, including Illinois and Wisconsin. Data sources included state education agency websites, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Common Core of Data. The site also provides links to related topical resources.

These dropout rate maps grew out of REL Midwest’s support of statewide and citywide summits on high school dropout prevention and have helped frame conversations on dropout prevention in communities across the Midwest. Reducing the number of students who drop out of school each year is an important issue in the Midwest, as underscored by such state initiatives as Every Child a Graduate in Wisconsin and the Superintendent’s Dropout Challenge in Michigan.

Each map contains a link to an interactive, downloadable PDF that allows users to hide or show various layers of information and zoom in or out on specific regions in the state. Materials illustrate geographic patterns and do not provide or imply causal links or relationships in the data.

REL Midwest plans additional topics for release on a quarterly basis. Among the topics in review are state student achievement data, school funding and finance, and urban/rural distinctions. If you have a topic you’d like to suggest, please e-mail