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AIR has developed a seven-step Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System (EWIMS) implementation process to support the establishment and implementation of an EWS for identifying and monitoring students who are at risk for dropping out of high school. The process, shown in the adjacent diagram, is grounded in research about data-driven decision making. The steps guide users in making informed decisions about how to support at-risk students and how to continue to monitor their progress over time. In addition to focusing on individual students, the process guides users to examine the success of specific supports or interventions and to examine possible systemic issues (e.g., school climate) that may relate to dropout trends.

Documents and presentations on the EWIMS process and research on EWS can be accessed below. 


EWS Lessons Learned

From Accountability to Prevention: Early Warning Systems Put Data to Work for Struggling Students
This issue paper from the Early Warning Systems in Education team at the American Institutes for Research includes lessons learned from more than seven years of working with individual schools, school districts, and state education agencies as they design, develop, implement, and refine early warning systems. The paper provides practical lessons for educators at all levels and backgrounds –whether considering starting a statewide EWS for the first time or revisiting the structure of practices at a school that has been implementing an EWS process for many years, valuable insights and considerations can be found. Lessons are grouped by levels that include schools, districts, and states (May 2015).


Connecting School and Students Futures_9-2014

AIR’s Jenny Scala and Megan Sambolt Conduct Workshop on Connecting School and Students’ Futures with Actionable Early Warning Data
Jenny Scala, Senior Researcher at American Institutes for Research (AIR) and member of the Early Warning Systems in Education team, and Megan Sambolt, Researcher at AIR conducted a workshop at the National College Access Network annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona in September 2014. Content shared in this workshop included a summary of the research base on college readiness indicators, and overview of what an early warning systems is and how it can apply to college readiness. This workshop provided participants with the opportunities to solidify what college and career readiness means for their organizations while also learning more about launching and implementing an early warning system.


AIR’s Jenny Scala Hosts Workshop on Selecting Appropriate Interventions in Puerto Rico
Jenny Scala, Senior Researcher at American Institutes for Research and member of the Early Warning Systems in Education team, conducted a workshop on behalf of the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Northeast & Islands in Puerto Rico on October 10, 2014. The workshop was attended by more than 60 school-based social workers in primary and secondary schools and others from across the island. Scala led the participants through using a multi-tiered system of support and evidence-based recommendations from two Institute of Education Science practice guides on using data to improve decision-making and dropout-prevention. Matching supports to students needs is an integral part of an early warning system. Read more about the workshop by visiting the REL Northeast & Islands website (November 2014).


College Persistence Indicators Research ReviewCollege Persistence Indicators Research Review
This guide provides a review of research on higher education persistence indicators that can be used to predict whether a student will remain enrolled in college and complete a two- or four-year degree. A variety of factors at the personal, academic, and institutional levels affect the persistence of an individual student. In spite of these many factors, signs of risk that a student will not complete a degree can be detected early on. These indicators may be tracked by institutions of higher education to improve completion rates. The guide was originally developed for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education but has been adapted for many states (October 2014).


Report cover of Early Warning System High School Implementation GuideEarly Warning System High School Implementation Guide
This guide is designed to build the capacity of school- and district-level practitioners to implement the National High School Center’s EWS High School tool. The guide and tools support the establishment and implementation of an EWS for identifying and monitoring students who are at risk of dropping out of high school. (March 2013)


Report cover of Early Warning System Middle Grades Implementation GuideEarly Warning System Middle Grades Implementation Guide
This guide is designed to build the capacity of school- and district-level practitioners to implement the EWS Middle Grades tool. The guide and tool support the establishment and implementation of an EWS for identifying and monitoring students who are at risk of dropping out of the middle grades. (February 2013)


Report cover of What Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public Schools: A Focus on English Language LearnersWhat Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public Schools: A Focus on English Language Learners
A report from the National High School Center at AIR and the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) found that ninth grade course performance is more predictive of high school graduation for English language learners (ELLs) in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) than other ELL-specific indicators, including English language proficiency level and whether students experienced interruptions in their education. The study also found that ELL students who were newcomers to CPS after age 12 were less likely to graduate than other students with the same grades and attendance. The most important factor associated with these lower graduation rates was the quality of schools these students attended, suggesting that ELLs who arrive in CPS after elementary school may struggle to navigate CPS’s system of high school choice. Read the complete press release. (May 2012)


Report cover of What Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public Schools: A Focus on Students With DisabilitiesWhat Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public Schools: A Focus on Students With Disabilities
Freshman year course performance—more than background characteristics such as race, gender, socioeconomic status, or prior achievement—predict which students with disabilities are most at risk for dropping out of high school, according to a new report from the National High School Center at AIR and the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago. The report found that absences, course failures, course credits, and GPA all can be used to accurately predict whether ninth graders with disabilities will graduate from high school. Identifying these early warning indicators is especially crucial for students with disabilities, who drop out of high school at alarming rates. (December 2009)


Report cover of Developing Early Warning Systems to Identify Potential High School DropoutsDeveloping Early Warning Systems to Identify Potential High School Dropouts
This guide discusses the factors that help predict the probability that individual students will eventually drop out of high school prior to graduating and includes step-by-step instructions for building an EWS. (July 2008)


Report cover of Approaches to Dropout Prevention: Heeding Early Warning Signs With Appropriate InterventionsApproaches to Dropout Prevention: Heeding Early Warning Signs With Appropriate Interventions
This report outlines steps that schools can take to identify at-risk students and provide the necessary support systems and relevant interventions to assist students in obtaining a high school diploma. Further, the report discusses the use of early warning data systems to target interventions for groups and individual students, offers a variety of best practice approaches undertaken by higher performing high schools, and presents effective programs that are currently being implemented to stem the dropout problem. (October 2007)

Webinar 1: Implementing an Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System to Keep Students On Track in the Middle Grades and High School (EWS Middle Grades and High School Webinar Series) This webinar, presented by Dr. Mindee O’Cummings and Dr. Susan Therriault from the National High School Center, provided an introduction to the seven-step Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System (EWIMS) implementation process, the new EWS Middle Grades Tool, and the enhanced EWS High School Tool. (November 30, 2011)

Webinar 2: How to Use the Early Warning System Middle Grades and High School Tools to Keep Students On Track for Graduation (EWS Middle Grades and High School Webinar Series) This webinar, presented by Dr. Mindee O’Cummings, Matt Hauenstein, Michelle Perry, and Laura Yerhot from the National High School Center, provided an in-depth demonstration of the EWS Middle Grades and High School Tools, introduced the EWS Community of Practice, and responded to questions. (December 7, 2011)

Training 1: The EWIMS Process and Team Formation: The Fundamentals
(EWS Professional Development Training Series)
The Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System (EWIMS) implementation process supports the establishment and implementation of EWS for identifying and monitoring students who are at risk for dropping out of high school. This first of five 30-minute professional development presentation provides an overview of the seven-step process with a special emphasis on Step 1, Team Formation. (September 28, 2012)

Training 2: Introduction to the New EWS Collator Tools (EWS Professional Development Training Series) This presentation provides a demonstration of the free EWS Collator tools and how they can be used in conjunction with the National High School Center’s EWS Middle Grades and High School tools. Members of the National High School Center EWS team demonstrate how to load the EWS Collator tools with readily available student data and explain how that data can be then loaded into either the EWS Middle Grades or High School tools. This process corresponds with Step 2“Use the EWS Tool”of the seven-step EWIMS Implementation Process described in the first EWS Professional Development webinar. (October 10, 2012)

Training 3: Effectively Using Your EWS Reports: Hints and Tips (EWS Professional Development Training Series) This third of five 30-minute professional development presentation delivers an in-depth discussion of the various reports that can be run using the EWS Middle Grades and High School tools. Members of the National High School Center’s EWS team demonstrate how to run the reports and suggest different ways that schools and districts may use the reports to help inform their EWS decisions. This process corresponds with Steps 3 and 4 of the seven-step EWIMS Implementation Process described in the first webinar. (October 25, 2012)

Training 4: Assigning Students to Appropriate Interventions (EWS Professional Development Training Series) This fourth of five 30-minute professional development presentation provides participants with an understanding of how to use the EWS Tools to support at-risk students with effective interventions. Presenters from the National High School Center’s EWS Team explain how to identify root causes of student risk based on the EWS Tool reports and other information sources. The presenters also provide participants with resources to help them select appropriate interventions to address root causes of risk. This process corresponds with Step 5 of the seven-step EWIMS Implementation Process described in the first webinar. (November 8, 2012)

Training 5: Progress Monitoring With the EWS Tools (Professional Development Training Series) This fifth of five 30-minute professional development presentation provides participants with an understanding of how to use the EWS Middle Grades and High School tools to monitor students’ response to interventions. Presenters from the National High School Center’s EWS team discuss how to ensure that an intervention has been implemented with fidelity and that it is meeting a given student’s needs. (November 27, 2012)

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