Several states are implementing the model in ways tailored to their circumstances, budget and needs.
State education leaders are currently presenting on the model and disseminating it throughout the state, as well as providing in-depth training when districts ask for it, says Louisiana Assistant State Superintendent Donna Nola-Ganey.
In Mobile, Ala., the framework received national recognition in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, thanks to a strong learning supports system already in place.
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The approach appears to be working in Sabine Parish: From 20, graduation rates rose from 73 percent to 81.2 percent.
"We thought there had to be a way to bring all of this together—not just to coordinate programs, but to really develop a major intervention framework," he says.
Their "enabling component" encourages school action in six areas: The framework also emphasizes the need to build students' sense of competence, self-determination and connections with others, rather than punishing them for "bad" behavior, says Taylor.
For instance, the group summarized Adelman and Taylor's work in an advocacy document for educating local, state and national government officials (see Enhancing the Blueprint for School) (PDF, 110.55KB). "For us, learning supports is really about trying to help folks understand that you don't think about kids' social and emotional needs as something you do after you address their academic achievement," says NASP Past President Kathleen M. "If you don't address their social and emotional needs as part of their whole school experience, you will never get the degree of academic achievement that our nation is seeking through school reform." School districts that have embraced Adelman and Taylor's model are excited by its promise and its early results, though it's not an easy fix.
If a district decides to "go all the way" and change its organizational charts to better integrate the enabling component into academics, for instance, it can mean new job titles, new job duties and other shake-ups, Neal-Waltman says.
When they developed a program to prevent school dropout, for instance, "we soon realized that at some school sites, we were one of 15 similar programs that were trying to address risky behaviors," Taylor says.
As they continued to see these phenomena play out in school and after school, it became clear the system needed an overhaul, Adelman says.