Press Release: A Texas School District Leverages State Policy to Put Dropouts on Path to College

BOSTON, MA (September 15, 2010) — While some states have moved toward adopting comprehensive dropout prevention and recovery policies in recent years, few have policies in place to ensure that former dropouts get on a path to postsecondary success.

In a new report released by JFF - Back on Track to College: A Texas School District Leverages State Policy to Put Dropouts on the Path to Success - authors Lili Allen and Rebecca Wolfe illustrate how the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District in South Texas was able to leverage innovative state policy to improve graduation rates and reengage out-of-school youth. The district has achieved a startling success over the last two years: it has recovered and graduated over 600 dropouts and put them on a clear pathway to college.

“CCTA’s success started with exemplary state policy,” said Allen. “Thanks to the commitment of Texas to improve graduation rates and reengage out-of-school youth, the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo district has the support it needs to act on its own mission, draw these students back to the classroom to achieve a diploma, and enroll them in postsecondary courses.”

Pharr-San Juan-Alamo teamed up with South Texas College to create the College, Career, and Technology Academy (CCTA), a college-connected dropout recovery school. Through CCTA, former dropouts complete their high school diploma and seamlessly transition into college courses when they are ready. Students focus only on what they need for graduation and college readiness, and they begin college courses while finishing their high school requirements.

The state policies that Pharr-San Juan-Alamo leveraged to create the environment for a successful back-on-track program encourage districts to recover dropouts, provide state funding for students who are past the compulsory school age, and promote college-connectedness for students still in high school.

To download the entire brief, go to http://bit.ly/dzvxQ0.

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