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Hawaii Consortium Adopts Early Warning System for At-Risk Students

Grant Profile
Smaller Learning Communities

Geographical Scope: National
: Public high schools with more than 1,000 students
Award amount: $52.2 million in 2010, with individual awards ranging from $562,000 to $4.73 million. Maximum grants are $1.175 million for a single high school or $14 million for multiple schools within a single LEA (maximum eight schools per application).
Grant period: 60 months
Deadline: Currently closed. Previous grant period opened in June 2010 and closed in August 2010.
More information: Grant site

The Smaller Learner Communities program awards grants to help improve student achievement in high schools serving 1,000 students or more by implementing smaller communities of learning, such as freshman academies or themed multi-grade academies, and creating support systems for students and teachers.

The program's appropriations have varied over the years considerably, from a low in 2001 of $45 million to a peak of $174 million in 2004. The most recent allocation, in fiscal year 2009, was $88 million, used to award 25 grants in 2010. --David Nagel

A high school consortium in Hawaii is turning to technology to help identify at-risk students.

Hawaii's Pinnacle of Success SLC Consortium reported it's adopted Pearson's Prevent, a dropout prevention tool, as part of a larger effort to improve student outcomes in its six member schools: James Campbell High School, Kaimuki High School, Kauai High School, President Theodore Roosevelt High School, Waiakea High School, and Waipahu High School.

The consortium received a five-year, $4.8 million grant from the United States Department of Education in 2008 under the Smaller Learner Communities program. Under the program, grants are awarded to large public high schools--those with at least 1,000 students--to adopt programs to improve student achievement and to help schools implement smaller learning communities among their student bodies, such as freshman academies, theme- or career-based academies, schools within schools, mentoring programs, and other activities. All of the grants are 60-month grants.

"As part of the Hawaii SLC Consortium, every day we focus on our mission to ensure that all of our students receive the high-quality education necessary to be prepared for college and careers in the 21st century," said Ann Mahi, principal at Roosevelt High School and lead administrator for the grant, in a prepared statement. "Now with Prevent, we will have a powerful tool for identifying students who may be straying off course academically, and can quickly develop a targeted intervention that will address their specific needs."

Pearson Prevent uses data stored in a school's student information system to identify students who may be in need of intervention to prevent them from dropping out or requiring credit recovery.

Some of the consortium's other efforts and planned activities under the SLC grant include personalized learning strategies through career academy mentoring and smaller learning academy advising; teacher professional development for AP and pre-AP courses; supports for struggling students, including remediation tools from Scholastic and Plato Learning; tutoring during school and after school; and college preparedness support.

The consortium's member schools serve a total of 10,300 high school students.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .