Building Bridges: A Dropout Prevention, Intervention and Retrieval System
The 2007 Washington State Legislature created “Building Bridges” (HB 1573) to support partnerships of schools and community agencies to develop locally defined dropout prevention, intervention, and retrieval programs. The program received funding for the 2011-13 biennia via HB 1599 (Pay for Actual Student Success) as well as proviso budget language and funding.
The Building Bridges Program awards grants to partnerships of schools, families, and communities and community agencies to build a comprehensive dropout prevention, intervention and retrieval system to identify students at risk of dropping out of school and provide timely inventions and supports. In addition, the programs must work to re-engage students who have already dropped out.
Currently there are three Building Bridges grantees that serve students in Granite Falls School District, ESD 113 (Mason County), and Vancouver School District. Each District, although very different demographically, provide very similar academic services, the focus of each to provide academic and non-academic supports to re-engage those students who may or have already left the public school system.
Required Program Components include:
- Retrieval and re-entry activities
- Alternative education programming
- Student success plans
- Academic/graduation coaches
- Program integration with other school programs that provide services to “at risk” student populations
- Collaboration strategies with feeder elementary and/or middle schools to identify students “at risk” of middle/high school failure
Evaluation results in 2009-11 indicate that students that receive support and assistance for basic needs (housing, food, transportation) are more likely to re-engage in their education. Additionally, programs that provide coaches and/or mentors, staff that coordinate the community partners and services, retrieval or re-entry activities, and alternative educational programming for students have seen improvement in attendance, behavior, and credit retrieval.
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In 2007, the Washington State Legislature directed OSPI to create the Building Bridges state-level workgroup (HB 1573) to make recommendation on the development of a statewide comprehensive dropout prevention, intervention, and retrieval system. This workgroup has produced the following legislative reports:
In 2010, Superintendent Dorn put forward request legislation, based on the recommendations of the workgroup, resulting in the passage of ESSB 6403. This law requires OSPI, in collaboration with the Building Bridges workgroup, to develop and report recommendations to the Quality Education Council (QEC) and the Legislature for the development of a comprehensive K-12 dropout reduction initiative and the development of an infrastructure for coordinating services for vulnerable youth.