San Francisco Unified School District is putting more money into reducing the city’s 15.8% dropout rate with a $1 million federal grant that comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Part of the fund will go to a program called Plan Ahead, a mandatory ninth-grade class devised by the district along with Gap and Pearson Foundation, which builds college-readiness into the school curriculum. Beginning with the class of 2014, all students are required to complete the class.
"The curriculum in the class would deal with everything from, how are you going to select a college, how are you going to select a career, to what are good habits for you to develop to not only survive in high school but to do well in high school and to do well in college," says Bill Sanderson, SFUSD’s executive director for 21st century learning and accountability.
In conjunction with Plan Ahead, the school will also pilot the new Dropout Prevention Early Warning System, which targets students as early as kindergarten, based on the premise that attendance behavior is borne very early.