How Stockton County Handles High School Dropouts
The steps Stockton County is taking in order to persuade every high school Dropout to return to school.
Female: Your mom is right now is being put to the ringer for this and I'm ready to the district attorney on your mom, because you don’t go to school. So if you don’t want your mother to go to jail for not sending you to school, then you too, as far as you are, clean it up.
Male: School was nothing to me. Nobody ever took the time out to show me how it relates to the real world.
Rob: The state once known for leading the nation’s graduation rate is now failing.
Female2: California leads the nation in dropouts. And that’s something that we are not proud of.
Male2: Today, what we are doing is we're checking out crimes.
Is it that you don’t understand the work? It’s too hard.
Rob: Find out what the community and the state are doing to track down and turn around dropouts.
Male3: He knows what's going on, he just not going through the process.
Female3: Come on, let's show some enthusiastic.
Rob: A student who drops outs of school doesn’t affect just one person, it affects an entire community. Did you know, 1 out of 4 students in California quits school. And more than 75,000 students in grades 9 through 12 drop out during the 2007-2008 school year. Drop outs also cost California more than $1 billion each year.
Rob: Hi, I'm Rob Stewart and in High School Dropouts, you will see how communities, school districts, and parents are working together to keep students in the class room.
Tom: For the most part, when we do home visits, the parents are the ones that are calling. And they request some assistance because they cannot get their child, son or daughter, to go into school.
Rob: Its 8:30 on a Tuesday morning. Classes have just begun at Stag High School at Stockton, and the cops are on patrol.
Tom: It always amazes me that the kids that had been expelled from school can't make to school on time. They understand when school lets out and they're always on time to meet their friends after school.
Rob: This officer’s assignment, get kids back in school.
Today, officer Redford is teaming up with the Stockton Unified School District Child Welfare and Attendants Division.
Ms. Rodriguez: Good morning, I'm Ms. Rodriguez from Stag High School.
Rob: Together, they're going door to door, on a mission to get kids to class.
Tom: We're also at a point right now where you're looking at the inside, it that be okay? And that’s only complicate the matters more.
Rob: This is just one way Stockton Unified is working with the state to track down students who haven't shown up for class and it’s working.
Tom: How are you doing today sir?
Rob: In this Stockton apartment, officer Redford finds an 8th grader sleeping on the couch.
Tom: Your dad knows, you know what's going on.
Rob: He's already missed several days of school.
Ms. Rodriguez: 7:15. Do you think you can get up right now and dress and go for at least half a day?
Ms. Rodriguez: Get up and go to school at least for half a day.
We usually do home visits when we have a teacher that’s concerned or any staff that’s concerned. We have to do at least three attempts by phone to get hold of the parents or another family member that can give us information about the student.
Female: We were hoping that you would refer to counseling to a community or some kind of counseling, but the parents are going to have to go.
Rob: Back on campus, there's another fight to keep students in school.
Female: So if you don’t want your mother to go to jail for not sending you to school, then you to, as far as you are, clean it up. You missed 25 first periods, 24 second periods, 22 third periods, and 24 fourth periods. So it’s not just not getting up on time.
Male4: It’s me not wanting to go to school.
Rob: Students who are excessively absent, through it or tardy, end up here.
Female: When you don’t go to school, where are you hon?
Male4: Mostly at the house.
Rob: It’s mandatory for parents and students to face a panel known as SARB or School Attendance and Review Board.
Female: You were gone over the weekend.
Rob: Counselors, teachers, probation officers, and child welfare in attendance, asked the students directly, why are you not in school?
Female: How do you go from being okay to not doing too well in high school? What went wrong?
Male4: Honestly, I don’t even know.
Rob: Students are given one last chance to turn around for attendance. They have 3 months to prove they will attend class. Otherwise, they face severe consequences.
Female: Prosecution isn't very often, but for more serious offenders, parents that had been through the system more than one time. The district attorney will review the case.
James: This is a community problem. This is not a police problem, it’s not the school district problem, it’s not the teacher’s problem, it’s not just the parent’s problem. All of us have a stake in this. Every one of us.
Male5: You all remember this headline? This was our reality in October 2007.
Rob: School leaders say, Stockton Unified School District was one of California’s worst district for dropouts with 54% of its students quitting.
Male5: Ladies and gentlemen, this would never happen again, ever.
Rob: By tracking students more closely, attendance is turning around at Stockton Unified. The dropout rate dropped to less than 18% just 1 year later.
Scott: We finally took ownership and responsibility to that number. Because it’s our fault those kids are pushed out and dropping out of school. What are we going to do about it? We’re the only ones that can change it.
Rob: And changing it starts at the top. Now education leaders are tracking kids even closer through the student identifier system, also known as CALPADS.
Jack: Today, we assign students a number. So we are now tracking students, and not just year to year, but we're going to track them from when school to another school. I think it’s fair to say, a lot of students just cease attending school in 9th grade. That’s not happening today, because we're holding our system, we're holding our schools accountable.
Rob: Data alone isn't enough. Experts like Russell Rumberger believe it’s a good start, but our schools need a lot more attention.
Russell: Firstly, I think the state data system, the way it’s now designed is not even sufficient because, right now the only data it includes is administrative data which is data that school already collect. So there's actually a lot of work that still could be done.
Rob: State senator Gloria Romero agree. Romero co-authored SB6-51 with Darryl Steinberg, president of the California state senate. It was signed in the law and requires a detailed report from the state department of education for every school in California.
Gloria: This is a bill that said we're tired of hearing casualties of dropouts in California. We want not an autopsy report, we want a diagnostic manual. Give us a diagnostic manual that begins to lay out what we need to do and when we need to do it and how often we need to do it in order to combat this issue once and for all.
How Stockton County Handles High School Dropouts
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