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Dropout Prevention

Dropout Prevention covers an umbrella of programs and services to help youth who are at-risk of dropping out of school. The Florida Department of Education’s new Bureau of Family & Community Outreach coordinates these programs.

Under Florida law, district school boards are authorized to establish comprehensive dropout prevention and academic intervention programs to meet the needs of eligible K-12 students who are at-risk of quitting school. These programs may differ in scheduling, structure, curricula, teaching methods, philosophy or setting. These programs currently utilized statewide are broadly categorized as follows:

Educational Alternatives Programs are designed for students who are unmotivated or unsuccessful in the traditional school setting. Students are identified as potential dropouts based on criteria such as retained in grade, high absenteeism, failing grades, or low Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test scores.

Teenage Parent Programs are designed for students who are pregnant or parenting. TAP programs offer regular academic classes so students can continue their educational program in addition to providing classes in child growth and development, nutrition, and parenting skills. Auxiliary services, which include health services, social services, childcare, and transportation, designed to meet the special needs of pregnant or parenting students and their children are provided.

Disciplinary Programs are designed to provide interventions for students who are disruptive in the regular school environment. These programs provide positive alternatives to out-of-school suspension and expulsion.

Educational Programs in the Department of Juvenile Justice are designed to meet the educational needs of students who are clients of the Department of Juvenile Justice. These programs are operated under the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services.

Truancy Programs are designed for students who have a pattern of excessive absenteeism or have been identified as habitual truants. These programs are operated under the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services.

The GED Exit Option Model is a strategy developed in collaboration with the American Council on Education. This strategy permits currently enrolled high school students to take the GED Test and helps students who may be at risk of not graduating with their class to gain a standard high school diploma through an alternate graduation route. Students utilizing the GED Exit Option Model must meet all of the following criteria:

  • be at least 16 years old and currently enrolled in a PK-12 program
  • be enrolled in courses that meet high school graduation requirements
  • be over age for grade, behind in credits, have a low GPA, and be in jeopardy of not graduating with their cohort group, which is the students with whom they entered kindergarten
  • have a minimum reading level of 9th grade
    Students who enter the program must pass the FCAT and then pass the GED Tests in order to receive a standard high school diploma.

School districts must apply to DOE and be approved on an annual basis to implement the GED Exit Option Model for all schools utilizing this strategy. We have provided each district’s Dropout Prevention contact. Check with your school district to determine if the GED Exit Model is utilized locally.

The Florida Legislature enacted attendance requirements for minors to maintain their driving privileges. The superintendent of each school district is responsible for enforcing school attendance requirements by reporting to the Dept. of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles all students between the ages of 14-18 who accumulate 15 unexcused absences in any 90 calendar day period, or who drops out of school. The DHSMV may not issue a driver’s license or learner’s driver’s license to such students, and shall suspend any previously issued driver’s license, pursuant to Section 322.091, Florida Statutes. This program is operated under the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services.

For more information about the state’s dropout prevention strategy and programs, contact the Office of Dropout Prevention, Florida Department of Education, Bureau of Family and Community Outreach, 325 West Gaines Street, Suite 544, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400 or online at www.firn.edu/doe-/family/dropoutp/index.html or contact your district office listed here: