Reengagement Coordinator (Talbot County FY18 - Annual)

Story Behind the Curve

In 2016, Talbot County’s high school dropout rate jumped from 5.4% to10.23% and climbed to 10.92% in 2017. In addition to being a sharp increase, this change put Talbot’s rate above the Maryland average of 8.21%. The Talbot County Opportunity Youth Results Based Leadership team, the TFN Disconnected Youth Strategic Goal Board workgroup, and Talbot County Public Schools all independently identified the urgent need for intervention. 

In FY18 with competitive grant funds from the state, TFN and Talbot County Public Schools collaborated on a Reengagement Coordinator position to support recent dropouts as well as students at risk of dropping out. TFN funds the intervention component, reconnecting students who have already dropped out. Talbot County Public Schools funds the prevention portion of this program.

There has been early evidence that this program is turning the curve.  Since 2018, the county dropout rate has decreased. In 2019, though, Black, Latinx and Limited English Proficient students were still over 2 times more likely to drop out than their White peers. The COVID-19 pandemic is cause for serious concern about increased risk for teen disengagement in school and in the workforce. The pandemic has the potential to disrupt the progress made on school completion rates and to worsen existing inequity, making this continuing partnership an important investment for the county.

STRATEGIES AND STRENGTHS

FY21

  • Targeted outreach to students who have dropped out in the last 5-7 years
  • Relationship-based strategies foster trust and goal setting
  • Educational plan developed with each participating youth
  • Coordinator works to address individual barriers such as communication, transportation and timing issues
  • Strong relationship with Chesapeake College and the Workforce Training Center
  • Availability of night school for students who have work and family obligations. Staff speak both English and Spanish
  • 35 students served (FY20=30; FY19=20)
Partners
  • Talbot County Public Schools
  • Chesapeake College
  • Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center
  • American Job Center  
  • Talbot Mentors
  • Talbot Co Dept of Social Services
  • Talbot Co Health Department
  • Neighborhood Service Center
  • Talbot Hunger Coalition
  • Local Care Team
Action Plan

FY22

  • Repeat outreach to previous drop outs that have not been successfully reached yet
  • Contact partners to gather additional referrals 
  • Refer students to the night school option when appropriate during the year and into the summer
  • Continue to focus on relationship building and addressing individual barriers
Program Summary

Talbot County Public School’s student reengagement program includes both prevention and intervention components. TCPS funds the prevention segment. Talbot Family Network funds the intervention.

The intervention, or re-engagement, component outreaches students, ages 16-24, that have dropped out of school within the last 7 years and offers services to reconnect them with school or work.  These Disconnected Youth engage in a voluntary process to identify the best path for reconnection.  Students are initially identified via Talbot County school withdrawal records. Community partners may also submit referrals.  After the Reengagement Coordinator makes contact with the youth, s/he then reviews their school record, their goals and their options for either re-enrollment or other educational/ professional pathways.

For reengagement, the coordinator uses the Multiple Pathways to Graduation (MPG) strategy in order to increase graduation rates and decrease youth disconnection.  MPG has been utilized around the United States to identify local barriers to graduation, tailor services to the specific needs and barriers for each vulnerable and/or Disconnected Youth, and responsively develop an individual student plan. The Reengagement Coordinator is critical in simulating the MPG process and using community resources to improve outcomes for Disconnected (aka Opportunity) Youth.

Target Population

The Reeengagement Coordinator in TCPS serves Disconnected / Opportunity Youth in Talbot County.  The TFN-funded portion of the program targets young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school or working and who have dropped out of school. 

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