A backpack without any holes, pens with plenty of ink and pencils adequately sharpened. Most kids who arrive at school in the morning are sent in with everything they need to be present in mind and body. However, there are some who have very real and intrusive roadblocks that prevent them from achieving in school.

For some, these roadblocks become so extreme that they believe their only path forward is to drop out of school entirely.

October is National Dropout Prevention Month and to recognize the importance of preventing dropouts, we look at some of the main causes of dropping out and what can be done to keep kids in school.

The situation in which a young person finds themselves on the brink of leaving school varies greatly from student to student. Many experience various types of adversity in their lives and find staying in school to be a major problem.

Nearly 28% of all students who dropped out are failing classes, among other reasons such as disengagement, becoming a caregiver for a sibling or other family member, and believing that school was no longer relevant to their lives.

Conversely, 0.6% of students are getting kicked out or are being expelled. Other reasons for leaving school in this fashion include being pushed out of school, family issues, personal loss, and financial issues.

The majority of times a student considers dropping out of school are for reasons that are often preventable. No student has the power to foresee the obstacles in their life, but even in situations such as losing a loved one, for example, there are resources that can be made available to support them during the grieving process.

We believe that there are ways to prevent a student from dropping out by identifying the root causes of why a student is struggling. Being able to deconstruct what is causing a student to feel like there’s no hope is the key to keeping them engaged in school.

At Communities in Schools of Pennsylvania, we take a deliberate, organized, and thoughtful approach to identifying those students who are in need of our support. When we enter a new school, our Site Coordinators access student needs on a school-wide level, in group settings, and on personal, one-on-one casework. We then try to determine what is and isn’t working to address anything preventing the school from functioning for all students.

Simply put, our approach looks at what is causing a student to struggle and then identifies ways we can support them through it, whether it’s tutoring, school supplies, counseling, or other services. Our goal is to break down the barriers to learning and to honor National Dropout Prevention Month, we will continue to do what we’re doing. We believe in the ability of all children to succeed in school and in life and we’ll be ready to see them through to the end at graduation. Learn more about our strategies here.