Dropout Reengagement

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. 

Dropout Reengagement

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 annual in-person meeting. 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 2013, reengagement centers and programs in 13 cities reported referring 10,000 young people for re-enrollment. Of 6,000 confirmed reenrolled students, 73 percent were still in school or had graduated by the end of the year.

As Network hub, NLC assists cities in exploring and pursuing reengagement policy and programming through:

  • Technical assistance for strategy- and goal-setting.
  • Guidance as to best use of an extensive library of examples and models.
  • Referrals to peers and consultants.
  • Adopting the common accountability framework.
  • Participating in Network conference calls and in-person meetings.