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Reading Early SChool leaving signals
Start date: 01 Sep 2016, End date: 31 Aug 2019 PROJECT  ONGOING 

According to the Thematic Working Group survey on Early School Leaving (2012), there are 3 key issues to consider in creating a ESL prevention mechanism: (1) The importance of the role of teachers; (2) importance of individualized support and counselling; (3) co-operation between schools and other key stakeholders involved in the lives of young people. We built our intervention strategy on these very pillars.The same groups suggest that a ESL prevention mechanism should operate through a three-step process: a). an (on-going) assessment and identification of the ESL signals with constant revision and adaptation over time; b). development of systems and practices within schools and authorities that enable school staff and other relevant professionals to review ESL related data and identify those students that show distress signals/ are at risk of ESL. c). assessment of problems / support needs of students at risk and then responding to those needs before the students make the ‘cumulative decision’ to early leave school. In developing our intervention plan, we have closely followed these recommendations. The scope of our project is to empower School to trigger a cooperative reaction and action to the earliest warning signs of risk of ESL and effectively reach out to the other relevant stakeholders in the community in order to get them involved in preventing ESL. Our first objective is to determine the early warning signs and patterns of risk of ESL. We will continue by developing teachers’ skills to react to the early warning signs of ESL and to cooperate in multidisciplinary school teams, in target schools. Our teams will, then, act towards bolstering cooperation and communication between schools and the other community stakeholders to address issues of ESL, in target communities. Our last objective is to disseminate the intermediary and final project findings, best practices and experience. The participants in the project activities will be mainly stakeholders living and working in the target communities: teachers, school principals, mayors, social workers, doctors, members of the Local Councils and Community based organizations (parent and student councils, community consultative councils). They have a vested interest in involving in the issue of ESL as it is an issue which affects their children and communities on both short and long term. Relevant stakeholder institutions from regional and national level will take part in the consultation meetings and in the final conferences as well. They are targeted as important vectors in the process of dissemination, sustainability and replication process. The main activities focus on training and supporting teachers and community stakeholders to cooperate in efficiently in identifying and approaching students at risk of ESL, at school and community level. This attempt will be preceded by an extensive scientific research seeking to identify a profile of the student at risk of ESL and the warning signs of ESL that one should be aware of. A certain mechanism for cooperative action at school and community level will be created based on extensive feedback from local stakeholders as well as from regional stakeholders. It will be the framework of action for all the stakeholders involved in prevention of ESL at the level of target communities. It will benefit from instruments such as an interactive electronic database and specific tools for student case management. All the results and experiences will be disseminated through web instruments such as website, FB page and newsletter created during the project. The project development process and results will be disseminated to regional and national stakeholders in workshops and final conferences as a best practice model worth being sustained and replicated. As a result of the project, the target communities will mobilize around the issue of ESL. Each stakeholder will be able to bring their own contribution, within a mechanism which will integrate and make different people with different skills work together. The activities implemented will lead to creation of a critical mass of teachers and community stakeholders willing and able to efficiently tackle the ESL in their schools and communities, in a participatory and coordinated effort. The schools and the other local institutional stakeholders will become a more friendly and supportive environment, for students at risk. The ESL rate will decrease in target communities. The project will create the ground for a radical shift in the paradigm of ESL prevention at the level of the individual stakeholders’ consciences. Stakeholders will be able to discover the intrinsic interconnection between ESL phenomenon and other community related issues and will understand the high level of priority of the ESL in the public agenda. This new conscience will lead to a wider openness to approach the issue of ESL when discussions about community planning and budgeting will arise.
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