Spring 2015 DOP Alliance Newsletter
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What's in this newsletter?
Dropout Prevention Alliance members and our supporting community will find the following:
  • Spotlights on Alliance member successes
  • New products and PD resources
  • Event materials and recordings
  • Opportunities to connect and learn
Topic areas include MTSS, trauma-informed practices, early warning systems (EWS), chronic absence, students with disabilities, and more!
PD Resources for Your School

MTSS as a Dropout Prevention Strategy

Multi-tiered systems of support in the classroom can help keep your students engaged, catch them before they fall behind, and help them graduate on time.

Although some of you missed the February seminar led by USOE's MTSS math specialist, Becky Unker, we wanted to make sure that you could benefit from her wisdom and have access to the related materials, so we recorded her presentation (albeit without the live interaction!). 

Find MTSS information, a video, slides, and worksheets on the REL West website. Everything you need to have an interactive study session with your school team!

Also see Utah's MTSS website for additional materials, as well as information on the statewide MTSS conference on June 23-25, 2015.
Welcome New Alliance Members!

Initial training for Cohort 3 schools

As we announced in the fall, we are excited to have a group of new schools (see sidebar) join our effort to support at-risk students to be academically successful and to graduate from high school. These new Alliance members went through the series of introductory sessions focused on dropout prevention research, early warning systems, and development of school plans. They will join previous members at Alliance seminars, state events and more, so look forward to meeting new colleagues! 
The Landmark High School team at an Alliance training in the late fall of 2014, along with Alliance leadership. What an energized team!
Spotlight on Alliance School Successes

Landmark High: An alternative path to success!

Landmark High School (Nebo School District) in Spanish Fork offers an alternative environment that supports all students to graduate. Patrick Hogle gave REL West's Kenwyn Derby a tour of their fantastic campus and described how their flexible approach and caring faculty have recently improved graduation rates dramatically. She took photos to share ... 
Visual cues of success are common. Here is a wall of plaques naming past graduates by year and another with distinguished alumni, detailing accomplishments and showing possibilities.
Landmark students are able to see the fruits of their labors in the garden and greenhouse, the product of which is shared with the community and sold to fund school programs.
Their principal will soon publish a book on their journey, including howthey built their programs with grants, district support, and a dynamic team. Congratulations to the Landmark team!
A student with a passion for art created this bronze mascot on display in a showcase.

Davis School District: Implementing district EWS!

Three Alliance schools in Davis are currently piloting the use of the National High School Center's Early Warning System Tool. Their lessons from its use this year are informing work the district is doing to integrate early warning signs in its data system and to develop easy-to-access reports for schools to use to identify and support at-risk students in real time.

In addition, REL West's partner AIR is conducting a study with Davis School District, using robust longitudinal data to identify the most useful cut points, or thresholds, for identifying students at risk for not graduating on time.

Note that this project started when Northridge High School asked for streamlined data to use in their school EWS. District administrators recognized the alignment between the school's and district's goals, and seized the opportuniy to spread the improved data use and practices to all schools in the district!

Findings and lessons will be shared with all Alliance members next year. In the meantime, if you want a refresher on how to use the EWS tool (Excel), or better identify your at-risk kids early, let us know!
More Utah EWS news: Davis School District Director of Assessment, Research and Evaluation Logan Toone joined REL West's Kenwyn Derby on a panel of practitioners on EWS implementation lessons. At the March 2015 national EWS event in Seattle, Washington, a handful of other educators from Utah also attended to learn more from practice and research to improve the use of data to support at-risk students.
State Events from USOE & REL West

Bring trauma-informed practices to your school

On April 3, 2015, USOE and REL West hosted an event for 150 educators and mental health providers at which attendees learned about the neurological and behavioral effects of experiencing trauma, and how schools can implement trauma-sensitive practices to better support all students to succeed. See this collection of resources (guides, videos, research, tools) you can use to drive your own improvements. Also, soon the REL West event web page will feature material and selected slides and videos from the conference.
Want more on trauma-informed practices? OJJDP and The Prevention Institute are hosting a free webinar on May 20. Register here for "Integrating Trauma-Informed Approaches and Moving Toward Trauma Prevention."

Sustained attention on reducing chronic absence

USOE and REL West continue to prioritize improving student attendance. Look for members of the state chronic absence task force presenting on the topic at various conferences across the state. Also see resources and presentations posted on the REL West website for the Fall 2014 "Every Day Counts" policy forum featuring national expert Hedy Chang, Utah Lt. Governor Cox, and USOE leadership. 

You can also request a presentation or workshop in your community! Email Kenwyn Derby (REL West) or Susan Loving (USOE) to schedule something.
Recommended Resources

New resource from REL West!

REL West produced a 1-page infographic summarizing data on graduation outcomes for Utah students with disabilities, broken out by 13 disability categories. Also see the complete study.
Alliance Strength: Peer Learning

Summer learning opportunities:
Topics of YOUR interest

Do you want to informally meet with content experts and other alliance school team members who have lessons to share? Do you want to connect with colleagues working on similar initiatives? We can bring relevant teams together, provide facilitation, and follow up with you. Just email Kenwyn.
The Dropout Prevention Alliance for Utah Students with Disabilities brings together schools and other organizations working to decrease dropout rates and increase graduation rates for all students, including students with disabilities. In partnership with the Utah State Office of Education (USOE), the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities (NDPC-SD), and REL West at WestEd, schools learn together through training, technical assistance, research, and collaboration.  


Alliance Members

Welcome to our NEW Alliance schools!

Dixie Middle (Washington)
Landmark High (Nebo)
Legacy Jr High (Davis)
Merit College Prep Academy (charter)
NorthDavis Jr High (Davis)
Tonaquint Intermediate (Washington)
Utah Virtual Academy (charter)


Key Contacts

USOE: Susan Loving
NDPC-SD: Loujeania Bost
REL West: BethAnn Berliner
REL West in Utah: Kenwyn Derby
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