What You Can Do
We are making progress in reducing the national dropout crisis. There are a variety of ways educators, parents, communities and families can support academic achievement for our youth. Here's what you can do:
Learn more about the dropout crisis and what public media is doing to help communities combat the problem. Watch videos, listen to radio segments and continue your research in our Research Center.
Spread the Word and Advocate
Like American Graduate on Facebook and follow the national project on Twitter. Spread the word by posting stories and information to your own page, and use the #amgrad hastag on twitter.
Volunteer or Mentor
Connect with the community, support at-risk students and donate your time.
Start a Conversation
Talk to your friends and community members about the dropout crisis, and the steps we can all take to make a difference. The list below is not meant to be exhaustive. Solutions exist in your school, church, and community centers that we have not been able to list here.
Whether you have a child in a school or not, we all have a stake in the quality of education in our communities. YOU can:
- Mentor, tutor, read to, support, or coach a young person.
- Volunteer with or donate resources to a community-based organization, school or library.
- Support families in crisis by helping them access social services.
- Provide support for or mentor youth whose families may not have the ability and information necessary to support their healthy development (children of teenage parents, parents in prison, ill parents, unemployed parents, etc).
- Donate a small (or large!) amount to your favorite education organization each month.
Parents and Families
As the parent, relative, or caregiver of a school-age child, you have a significant impact on your child’s educational success. YOU can:
- Share a book with your child and let him or her see you reading. Share books in the language of the home, your child will benefit just as much.
- Join the PTA or other school-based parent organization and volunteer at the school.
- Create an optimal home learning environment (such as a quiet space for reading and homework) and establish routines for checking each child’s homework to keep them on progress.
- Learn what it takes to graduate from high school in your teen’s district and encourage him or her to stay on track.
- Meet each of your children’s teachers and arrange for them to communicate with you regularly before a problem in academic progress or behavior worsens.
- Know your child’s friends and meet their parents so that you know what other influences impact their ideas besides your teachings.
- Recognize your child’s academic accomplishments.
- Identify the resources in your community that can offer your child mentoring and positive activities after school, such as Boys & Girls Clubs, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Scouts, YMCA, faith-based organizations, public library and museum programs.
- Visit post secondary institutions (two-year and four-year colleges and trade schools) in your local community and around the country early on so that you and your child have a sense of what’s possible after high school graduation.
Educators, Teachers, School Counselors and Administrators
Quality schools with engaged teachers, counselors and other administrators are critical to children’s educational attainment. YOU can:
- Develop and use early warning indicator and intervention systems in your schools and districts.
- Encourage faculty collaboration for sharing information and forming instructional teams within and across grades, particularly at key points of transition.
- Form creative partnerships with community agencies that can offer mentoring and tutoring support and fill possible gaps in school music, art and sports programs.
- Design engaging events that encourage parent and community participation. Use existing resources to create opportunities, such as the Family Engagement for High School Success Toolkit (available at www.hfrp.org/HighSchoolSuccessToolkit).
- Engage young people in leadership capacities, either by seeking their input and recommendations or by sharing the decision-making power.
- Take into account young people’s developmental needs and incorporate styles of learning that are engaging, relevant, and motivating.
- Recognize youth for outstanding achievements including through social media tools.
Demonstrate to young people that you are genuinely interested in their interests. Ask them questions about their lives, their hobbies, things they like to read, listen to, and watch. Give them attention. Talk to them.
Our nation’s future depends on you! YOU can:
- Set long-term personal goals and commit to take steps each day to reach them.
- Get involved in your school and community by participating in student-led conferences and assemblies, after-school mentoring or tutoring programs and other extra-curricular activities, volunteering and being civically engaged.
- Refuse to participate in or allow bullying to happen around you. Tell a parent, a guidance counselor, a teacher, a mentor or a friend what is going on when you see something or feel threatened.
- Encourage your friends to come to school by making sure they are up in time for school by calling or texting them.