Even as the high school on-time graduation rate climbs to 80 percent nationwide, many cities experience lower rates and are home to large numbers of young adults who have not finished school, and lack a clear pathway to do so.
In response, a growing number of cities have put specific strategies in place for students who have not finished school. These efforts include the establishment of one-stop “reengagement centers” or virtual equivalents.
Such centers offer a range of services including referrals to school completion options and support to re-enroll. Since 2011, NLC has served as the hub of the Reengagement Network, whose members operate reengagement centers and programs. The Reengagement Network provides peer learning and mutual support among the growing number of citywide programs reconnecting young people to school.
The Network stays connected through conference calls and an in-person meeting, the annual Reengagement Plus convening. Network participants come from reengagement program sponsor or host agencies including city departments, school districts, nonprofit organizations and community colleges.
Results to date are encouraging. In 2014, nearly 24,000 young people made initial contact with reengagement programs in the network. Approximately 11,500 students were placed in programs, and 70 percent of those completed or persisted in their studies for the full school year.
As Network hub, NLC assists cities in exploring and pursuing reengagement policy and programming through: