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 Nettie Legters

Photograph of Nettie Legters
Nettie Legters
Research Scientist,
The Center for Social Organization of Schools
The Johns Hopkins University

Nettie Legters, Ph.D. is a Research Scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Social Organization of Schools, and Co-Director of the Center's Talent Development High Schools (TDHS) program. Her research focuses on equity in education, school organization, teachers' work, dropout prevention, and implementation, scale-up, and impact of secondary education reform.

Dr. Legters has dedicated her professional career to improving low performing high schools and advancing the national high school reform movement. She has published extensively and presented to a wide variety of audiences in national, state, regional, and district forums. She co-authored with Robert Balfanz the widely cited report Locating the Dropout Crisis - Which High Schools Produce the Nation's Dropouts?, Where Are They Located?, Who Attends Them? And her book, Comprehensive Reform for Urban High Schools: A Talent Development Approach is available through Teachers College Press.

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Dropout Prevention

The high school dropout problem is a severe epidemic for the United States, as nationwide, it is reported that only 71 percent of students graduate from high school. Understanding the magnitude of the problem and the forces that impact dropout rates is critically important to developing effective strategies. High school students are dropping out at alarming rates every day across the country. There is urgency for obtaining more accurate, consistent, and timely data to analyze who is dropping out and the reasons contributing to these life-altering decisions.

To curb the alarming dropout rate, school systems should focus prevention efforts in the beginning of the middle grades if not earlier. The key indicators that researchers have identified as indicative of who is most likely to drop out are: poor grades in core subjects, low attendance, failure to be promoted to the next grade, and disengagement in the classroom, including behavioral problems. These key indicators can assist decision makers in targeting prevention resources to the students most at risk of imminently leaving school. Some very useful prevention strategies include: small learning communities and school within a school for greater personalization, partnerships between high schools and feeder middle schools, ninth grade transition programs, support for students with disabilities outside of school.

Dr. Nettie Legters, Research Scientist, The Center for Social Organization of Schools, Johns Hopkins University and Co-Director of the Center's Talent Development High Schools (TDHS) program answered questions and facilitated an online dialogue regarding dropout prevention.

Questions on Dropout Prevention



Useful Resources on Dropout Prevention:

  1. An Early Warning System
  2. Approaches to Dropout Prevention: Heeding Early Warning Signs
  3. Locating the Dropout Crisis