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Prevent Dropout with an Early Warning System

Implementation of Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring Systems

The process of implementing an early warning system has seven steps: 1. Establish roles and responsibilities; 2. Use the EWS Tool v2.0; 3. Review the EWS data; 4. Interpret the EWS data; 5. Assign and provide interventions; 6. Monitor students and interventions; 7. Evaluate and refine the EWS process.The National High School Center has devised a seven-step Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System (EWIMS) implementation process to support the establishment and implementation of early warning systems for identifying and monitoring students who are at risk for dropping out of high school. The process, shown in the adjacent diagram, is based on research about data-driven decision-making. The steps guide users to make informed decisions about how to support at-risk students and how to continue to monitor their progress over time. In addition to focusing on individual students, the process guides users to examine the success of specific supports or interventions and to examine possible systemic issues (e.g., school climate) that may relate to dropout trends. 

 

Early Warning System High School Implementation Guide This guide is designed to build the capacity of school- and district-level practitioners to implement the National High School Center’s Early Warning System (EWS) High School tool. The guide and tools support the establishment and implementation of an early warning system for identifying and monitoring students who are at risk of dropping out of high school. (March 2013) Early Warning System Implementation Guide
Early Warning System Middle Grades Implementation Guide This guide is designed to build the capacity of school- and district-level practitioners to implement the National High School Center’s Early Warning System (EWS) Middle Grades tool. The guide and tool support the establishment and implementation of an early warning system for identifying and monitoring students who are at risk of dropping out of the middle grades. (February 2013)

Resources for Early Warning Systems

The National High School Center has created several products that explain the research behind early warning systems.  Use these reports to familiarize yourself with the purpose and background of early warning systems, and how they can be used to support all students in graduating from high school.

 

Training 1: The EWIMS Process and Team Formation: The Fundamentals
(EWS Professional Development Training Series)
The Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System (EWIMS) implementation process supports the establishment and implementation of early warning systems (EWS) for identifying and monitoring students who are at risk for dropping out of high school. This first of five 30-minute professional development presentation provides an overview of the seven-step process with a special emphasis on Step 1, Team Formation. (September 28, 2012)
Training 2: Introduction to the New EWS Collator Tools (EWS Professional Development Training Series) This presentation is to provides a demonstration of the new, free EWS Collator Tools and how they can be used in conjunction with the National High School Center’s EWS Middle Grades and High School Tools. Members of the National High School Center EWS Team demonstrate how to load the EWS Collator Tools with readily available student data, and explain how that data can be then loaded into either the EWS Middle Grades or High School Tools. This process corresponds with step two – “Use the EWS Tool” – of the seven-step EWIMS Implementation Process described in the first EWS Professional Development Webinar. (October 10, 2012)
Training 3: Effectively Using Your EWS Reports: Hints and Tips (EWS Professional Development Training Series) This third of five 30-minute professional development presentation delivers an in-depth discussion of the various reports that can be run using the EWS Middle Grades and High School Tools. Members of the National High School Center’s EWS Team demonstrate how to run the reports and suggest different ways that schools and districts may use the reports to help inform their EWS decisions. This process corresponds with steps three and four of the seven-step EWIMS Implementation Process described in the first Webinar. (October 25, 2012)
Training 4: Assigning Students to Appropriate Interventions (EWS Professional Development Training Series) This fourth of five 30-minute professional development presentation provides participants with an understanding of how to use the EWS Tools to support at-risk students with effective interventions. Presenters from the National High School Center’s EWS Team explain how to identify root causes of student risk based on the EWS Tool reports and other information sources. The presenters also provide participants with resources to help them select appropriate interventions to address root causes of risk. This process corresponds with step five of the seven-step EWIMS Implementation Process described in the first Webinar. (November 8, 2012)
Training 5: Progress Monitoring with the EWS Tools (Professional Development Training Series) This fifth of five 30-minute professional development presentation provides participants with an understanding of how to use the EWS Middle Grades and High School Tools to monitor students’ response to interventions. Presenters from the National High School Center’s EWS Team discuss how to ensure that an intervention has been implemented with fidelity and that it is meeting a student’s needs. (November 27, 2012)
Webinar 1: Implementing an Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System to Keep Students On Track in the Middle Grades and High School (EWS Middle Grades and High School Webinar Series) This November 30, 2011 Webinar, presented by Dr. Mindee O'Cummings and Dr. Susan Therriault from the National High School Center, provided an introduction to the seven-step Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System (EWIMS) implementation process, the new EWS Middle Grades Tool, and the enhanced EWS High School Tool, released in November 2011.
Webinar 2: How to Use the Early Warning System Middle Grades and High School Tools to Keep Students On Track for Graduation (EWS Middle Grades and High School Webinar Series) This December 7, 2011 Webinar, presented by Dr. Mindee O'Cummings, Matt Hauenstein, Michelle Perry, and Laura Yerhot from the National High School Center, provided an in-depth demonstration of the EWS Middle Grades and High School Tools, introduced the EWS Community of Practice, and responded to questions.
Webinar 3: Stories from the Field: Putting Early Warning Systems into Practice (EWS Middle Grades and High School Webinar Series) This December 14, 2011 Webinar, presented by Dr. Mindee O'Cummings, Dr. Susan Therriault, Lynn Sodat (Virginia Department of Education), Ellen Ringer and Johannes Troost (California Department of Education), and Ron Williams (San Bernardino County Schools), discussed experiences rolling out early warning systems in Virginia and California, and took questions.
What Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public Schools: A Focus on English Language Learners
What Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public Schools: A Focus on English Language Learners
A report from the National High School Center and the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) found that ninth grade course performance is more predictive of high school graduation for English Language Learners (ELLs) in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) than other ELL-specific indicators, including English language proficiency level and whether students experienced interruptions in their education. The study also found that ELL students who were newcomers to CPS after age 12 were less likely to graduate than other students with the same grades and attendance. The most important factor associated with these lower graduation rates was the quality of schools these students attended, suggesting that ELLs who arrive in CPS after elementary school may struggle to navigate CPS’s system of high school choice. Read the complete press release. (May 2012)

What Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public  Schools: A Focus on Students with Disabilities

What Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public Schools: A Focus on Students with Disabilities
Freshman year course performance—more than background characteristics such as race, gender, socioeconomic status or prior achievement—predict which students with disabilities are most at risk for dropping out of high school, according to a new report from the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research and the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago. The report found that absences, course failures, course credits and GPA all can be used to accurately predict whether ninth-graders with disabilities will graduate from high school. Identifying these early warning indicators is especially crucial for students with disabilities, who drop out of high school at alarming rates. (December 2009)

Developing Early Warning Systems to Identify Potential High School  Dropouts [Early Warning System Guide]

Developing Early Warning Systems to Identify Potential High School Dropouts
This guide discusses the factors that help predict the probability that individual students will eventually drop out of high school prior to graduating and includes step-by-step instructions for building an early warning system. (July 2008)

Approaches to Dropout  Prevention: Heeding Early Warning Signs With Appropriate Interventions

Approaches to Dropout Prevention: Heeding Early Warning Signs With Appropriate Interventions
This report outlines steps that schools can take to identify at-risk students and provide the necessary support systems and relevant interventions to assist students in obtaining a high school diploma. Further, the report discusses the use of early warning data systems to target interventions for groups and individual students, offers a variety of best practice approaches undertaken by higher-performing high schools, and presents effective programs that are currently being implemented to stem the dropout problem. (October 2007)
Audio icon Sounding an Early Warning to Prevent High School Dropout (MP3 file)
In this interview with Audio Journal, National High School Center Director Joseph Harris describes how school leaders can use the Center's Early Warning System Tool to uncover the issues contributing to high school dropout, and identify the students who have the most potential for dropping out of high school. (January 2011)

Early Warning System Tool v1.0

National High School Center Early Warning System Tool v1.0 (Excel file)
This tool allows educators to input student-level data and automatically calculate whether individual students are on track to graduate or at risk of dropping out. (Please maximize the document's screen in Excel in order to access all the spreadsheet tabs in the tool.) (July 2008)
Early Warning Systems for High School and the Middle Grades
This brochure details what early warning systems are and how they can be used to identify and support students who are at risk of school dropout. It provides a brief overview of the EWS High School and Middle Grades Tools, as well as the Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System (EWIMS) process. (February 2012)

 

If you have been using or are interested in our EWS resources, a new website has been created (http://www.earlywarningsystems.org) for this purpose, and if you are looking for additional support and services, please email us at earlywarning@air.org