Office of School Improvement: Dropout Prevention: We want to bring all schools in West Virginia resources, tools, A page of Dropout Prevention Resources, such as documents, videos, etc.and innovative ideas that promote student success and raise graduation rates. Please share with us what is working in your schools to prevent students from dropping out. We would like to convey to others what elementary, middle, and high schools in West Virginia are doing that keeps students in school. As well, you should use this website to begin your search for the latest research and best practices in dropout prevention.

Rise up West Virginia

Introducing a website for WV students. There are many reasons students dropout, but there are also lots of things to consider before doing so. Check out this new websitedesigned with the help of and for WV students to rise up and stay in school.


2012 Student Success Summit

The 2012 Student Summit was held at the Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown, WV, August 2 & 3, 2012. This year's theme was: Paving the Road Ahead: Partnering for Student Success.

The Student Success Summit is a collaborative event co-sponsored with the WV Higher Education Policy Commission, focusing on creating more seamless, supportive lifelong learning systems for our state’s students. Keynote presentations and conference sessions focus on supporting students at every level and help participants develop ways to work with other stakeholders to encourage student success.

Community Partners: Join us in creating a statewide partnership to ensure that ALL students graduate from high school. Act Now!

Learn more about dropout prevention:

The three primary indicators of the potential risk of a student dropping out of school are ABC:


6th Grade

9th Grade


Below 90%

Below 85%


1 or more suspensions

2 or more suspensions

Course Performance

1 or more semester failures
Failing English
Failing Math

2 or more semester failures
Failing English
Failing Math

The need for data to be transparent for students, families, policy makers, and the greater community is a critical component for developing trust and open dialogue on the topic of high school completion for all students and the implementation of successful dropout prevention plans.

Collecting and analyzing reliable data will help all stakeholders understand the dropout crisis.  Data analysis will help stakeholders understand why students drop out and who drops out. Then, Community wide action can be taken to create programs and strategies that are most effective in keeping students in school through graduation.

The proper use of data will assist in identifying at-risk youth as early as elementary school.

  • Informs all stakeholders of educational issues
  • Helps to define the “problem” and point to solutions
  • Directs decisions that lead to the use of resources that effectively target the problem
  • Creates a common vision to address current graduation rates
  • Assists in creating or obtaining an early warning data system that points to who is at greater risk of dropping out in order to target dropout prevention efforts
  • Creates specific indicators at different levels to assess family and community engagement
  • Guides and focuses community dialogues about the problem and solutions

This report is a result of research with West Virginia students in the prediction of those most likely to drop out of school before graduating.  This analysis was conducted by Dr. Robert Balfanz and Vaughn Byrne from the Everyone Graduates Center at John Hopkins University and was funded by a grant from the National Governor’s Association.

Planning Grant Recommendations

Recommendations from NGA Planning Grant


How to Develop an Early Warning System

Setting up a data tracking system to determine which students are “on-track” and which students are “off-track” in reference to graduating on time, will inform educators who is most in need of interventions.  When a student has one or more of the ABC identified indicators (attendance, behavior and/or course failures)  then they are at-risk of dropping out of school. 
Schools and/or districts can set up systems to track students with these indicators.  Using existing tracking methods or establishing simple excel spreadsheets will assist in identifying and tracking these students.  Schools/districts can establish their own benchmarks by analyzing current data, use the benchmarks recommended in the Balfanz report found on this web site, or use a tool already created by the National High School Center (also located on this web site).

Early Warning System Tool

The National High School Center has an online excel tool that can be downloaded for free, to assist schools in setting up their own tracking system of early indicators.  They have created a template in MS Excel that is designed to make it easy for schools to enter the relevant information for their first-year students.

WV eMentoring is an online career-based mentoring program that helps you learn more about a career pathway you may be interested in.

College Foundation of West Virginia

  • Explore careers
  • Plan you high school education
  • Plan for college
  • Search for financial aid

Community and Technical College System of West Virginia

The mission of the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia is to deliver affordable, accessible high quality education and training that dynamically advances the economic and social development of West Virginia.

What is the EDGE?

EDGE allows students to take high school courses for community and technical college credit.

How will that help me?

Students can earn an Associate Degree with substantial savings. If you take the right courses in high school, you can save up to $3,000 in college tuition. Students who take the college credit courses available in high school could earn an Associate Degree within one year after high school or along with a high school diploma.

Why would I want to go to a community and technical college?

There are great careers available in only two years! Visit the EDGE site for examples of high-skill and high wage jobs available through two-year programs! 

Virtual Course Catalog

The alarming statistics are all too familiar. Another student gives up on school every 29 seconds nationwide, resulting in more than one million high school students who drop out of American high schools every year. Nearly one-third of all public high school students fail to graduate from high school with their class. In West Virginia alone, students failed more than 25,000 courses in 2008-09.

The WV Department of Education is dedicated to reducing dropout rates and increasing graduation rates for students in West Virginia. To this end, the WV Virtual School is unveiling onTargetWV, a program that will allow students to recover credits they need for graduation and help them develop skills and work habits that contribute to their continued academic success. The new onTargetWV program offers rigorous credit recovery courses with additional scaffolding to sustain learning. These courses are engaging, interactive, and provide differentiated instruction to supply the extra support students need to be successful. An online instructor grades works, answers questions, and provides individualized instruction as needed.

Seats are now available to all schools statewide in the onTargetWV credit recovery program available through the West Virginia Virtual School. A listing of the available virtual courses can be found at http://virtualschool.k12.wv.us/vschool/courses/crcatalog.cfm. The courses are instructor led and offer an adaptive release format that allows the student to work only in the areas that are needed. Each course has been reviewed for alignment with West Virginia Content Standards and Objectives. The cost for each course is $75 per enrollment.

More information can be found at http://virtualschool.k12.wv.us/vschool/courses/CreditRecovery.htm or by contacting Sarah Lyons at slyons@access.k12.wv.us (304-558-7880).

To register for courses, contact Gloria Burdette, at gkburdet@access.k12.wv.us or 304-558-7880 ext 53079

What are Career Pathways and Why are they Important?

Career Pathways act as a personal GPS system for individuals to find their way to gainful employment and a successful career. America's economy has shifted from an industrial model to an information-technology model. The shift created a significant increase in high-skilled occupations and a major decline in low skill jobs. Because today's workplace needs are more defined, today's job seeker cannot rely on a generalist approach to their future career. Individuals seeking gainful employment need to possess a high level of career knowledge so they can make informed decisions when choosing a career direction.

The Career Pathways illustrated in this publication focus on a 2+2 (high school to community college) time-shortened, cost-saving plan to specific occupations. Please keep in mind that a third +2 (four year college) can always be added to the individual Career Pathways.

The Option Pathway

West Virginia is blending the GED® Tests with a Career Technical Education (CTE) pathway.  This pathway is a chance for high school students to remain in school, take the GED Tests and graduate on time!

In order for the student to become an Option student, student must be behind her/his ninth grade cohorts at least one year in credits or at risk of dropping out of school.  The student must then be recommended by a teacher, counselor or principal to the GED Option Team.  There will be a meeting of the staff member referring the student, the Option Team, the student, and the parent.  Written consent from the parent must be obtained before placement into the program. 

The Option student’s plan will include the following:

  • Attends GED preparation classes
  • Passes the GED Tests
  • Completes a 21st Century job preparation “21st Century Global Skills” program
  • Completes the four (4) required core courses in a CTE skilled pathway concentration or any program of study resulting in a certification
  • Meets standards on the WorkKeys® job skills assessment
  • Reaches or exceeds the cut score set by WVDE on the End-of-Concentration Performance Assessment, if applicable.

The student successful in achieving all of the stated requirements will receive a high school diploma.


2010 - 2011 GED® & EDP Scholarship Application and Flyer - This scholarship is a competitive process just like other financial aid awards and scholarships.




Need more information? Some of these links might be helpful.

Read More About It:

Early Warning Indicator and Intervention Systems (EWS)

Schools have the data--and it need not be expensive to access. There is a very simple formula to predict those most at risk of dropping out. Now it just needs to be implemented.

More States Flag Potential Dropouts With Warning Data - November 01, 2011 by Sarah D. Sparks (Education Week)

A new study finds growing numbers of states using data to identify students at risk of dropping out but researchers say these early warning systems ought to reach students in even earlier grades. Here’s the Education Week article about the study: Click Here

Here’s the study: On Track for Success: The Use of Early Warning Indicator and Intervention Systems to Build a Grad Nation (2011)

Global 21