April 8, 2010
As part of a new initiative to combat k-12 school dropouts, Indiana State University's Bayh College of Education will serve as an information hub for the state.
While dropout rates vary from county to county throughout Indiana, many are in the 10 percent range, according to Bayh College of Education Dean Brad Balch.
"Much research and literature has been dedicated to lowering dropout rates," he said. "We know that there is no cookie cutter approach to this challenging issue. Indiana believes a collaborative county-wide effort will more systemically address dropout challenges by involving local governance, law enforcement, educators and a myriad of other countywide stakeholders."
To aid that endeavor, the College recently received a $15,000 grant from the State Farm Companies Foundation to develop a Web site and electronic newsletter in support of Indiana Dropout Prevention Teams.
"State Farm has been an Indiana partner in dropout prevention and a strong supporter of the state's inaugural Dropout Prevention Summit," Balch said. "We are grateful for their persistent support."
More than 60 counties attended the fall 2009 summit, in which Indiana State was chosen to collaborate with the Indiana Department of Education on the Web site. County teams - made up of policy makers, businesses, parents, youth, faith communities, juvenile justice and educators - can share plans, challenges and successes with each other and the state.
"The Web site will have continual updates of new and innovative dropout prevention programs, practices and resources, especially those that have a community-wide focus to support the work of the county teams," Rebecca Libler, associate dean, said.
The teams - headed by a local State Farm agent - continue to meet to work on their local dropout prevent issues. The Web site and its networking features mean more opportunities to share with other teams and to learn from each other.
"Providing a Web site in collaboration with the Indiana Department of Education allows us to reach out to every participating county team and address dropout prevent as a county-wide or community issue, not just a school-based issue," Balch said. "We hope this innovative means of systemic connectedness will empower county teams with the information and resources they need to be successful."
Contact: Brad Balch, Indiana State University, Bayh College of Education dean, at 812-237-2919 or Bradley.Balch@ndstate.edu
Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or Jennifer.Sicking@indstate.edu
Indiana State will manage a Web site where county dropout prevention teams can share information and ideas.