Preventing students from dropping out of school is a critical component of meeting our goal of raising Minnesota’s graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020. Thanks to a screening tool developed by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), it is possible to identify students—as early as sixth grade—who are starting to disengage from school.
MDE designed the Minnesota Early Indicator and Response System (MEIRS) to assist educators in tracking and supporting student progress toward high school graduation in four years. The tool provides a snapshot of students who are at increased risk of not completing high school on time.
The tool uses validated research-based variables linked to dropping out of school: attendance, multiple enrollments, state accountability test scores and suspension/expulsion. Using this data, schools can develop supports and target them to students who need help to stay on track for graduation.
“The value of the MEIRS screening tool lies in the ability of school staff to examine their data— along with additional information—to help students stay on track. Graduation can open doors that lead to postsecondary success,” said Cammy Lehr, MDE’s dropout prevention specialist.
Minnesota’s six Regional Centers of Excellence offer the perfect vehicle for spreading the news about MEIRS across the state. Training opportunities that offer an overview of the tool, an introduction to the secure report and a corresponding seven-step response process have been offered and more are scheduled. Visit the Minnesota Early Indicator and Response System webpage for a training schedule.
The Regional Centers of Excellence will offer additional training on how to implement MEIRS in schools. These sessions will incorporate a continuous improvement process so that schools can conduct further data analysis, choose the most effective interventions, monitor activities and evaluate their results.
For more information, contact Cammy Lehr.