Dropout prevention summit to be held at ISU on Thursday

September 24, 2010

A regional summit on dropout prevention is set for Thursday (Sept. 30) at Indiana State University.

The summit, cosponsored by the Bayh College of Education, will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Hulman Memorial Student Union's Dede I. Betsy Brand, executive director of the American Youth Policy Forum, is scheduled to speak at 10 a.m.

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."

In September 2009, more than 900 people from 60 counties in Indiana attended a statewide summit in Indianapolis in an effort to lower the high school dropout rate. The statewide summit, started by State Farm Insurance, the Indiana Department of Education and America's Promise, formed county teams. The teams, composed of people whose jobs impact youth, were to discuss how the community could help kids graduate and stop the dropout pandemic.

One year later, State Farm and Indiana State University have combined efforts to hold regional summits throughout the state to continue the fight against high dropout rates. Each county in the region will present its strategies and findings. The summit also will feature discussions on after school programs, funding, parent engagement, mentoring and literacy.

In addition to co-hosting the dropout prevention summits, the College also developed a website and electronic newsletter in support of Indiana Dropout Prevention Teams.

Other planned summits are:
- Sept. 27 in Highland
- Sept. 28 in Indianapolis
- Sept. 29 in Connersville
- Oct. 1 in Huntingburg
- Oct. 7 in Columbia City

Contact: Tonya Balch, Indiana State University, assistant professor of counseling, at 812-237-3459 or Tonya.Balch@indstate.edu

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or Jennifer.Sicking@indstate.edu