Based on interviews with principals of schools with better graduation rates, test scores, and dropout rates compared to others of similar student composition, outlines policies and practices that contribute to high graduation rates and academic standards.
- Successful Strategy: Interviewed schools report a conscious effort to encourage students to stay engaged in school by providing connections between the student and the school. Personal relationships help teachers know if a student is struggling and in need of interventions.
- Successful Strategy: The majority of interviewed schools cite parent and community involvement as a way to encourage low dropout rates; three principals emphasized the importance of being active in the broader community.
- Successful Strategy: Schools state that they have worked to create a culture that supports graduation and college attendance (e.g., enrolling students in college preparatory courses, offering Advanced Placement courses for any student).
- Observation: Schools should identify students at risk of dropping out and offer these students interventions and support to stay in school.
- Challenge: What is being done in one or more BTO schools may not transfer to other schools.