For Believe 2 Become and its expert partner, Peter Bergman, Ph.D., the hypothesis for Project LIFT was simple: timely and actionable information, persistently delivered to parents, can overcome traditional barriers to parental involvement.
Project LIFT was designed to provide actionable information to parents via text messages in their native language: directly from teacher’s grade books to parents’ smart phones. The messages contained detailed information about students’ missing assignments, grades, and attendance, allowing parents to intervene in a timely manner.
In addition to text messages, some parents received home coaching to help them navigate the school system and build more positive relationships with schools. Coaching equipped families with skills to access to valuable information and services, such as online grade books and high school graduation requirements, that helped them help their children succeed in school.
Results from the preliminary pilot showed positive outcomes in retention, student grades, and test scores. Data showed a 40% increase in the likelihood Project LIFT students would remain within the Grand Rapids Public Schools district. Of the families involved in Project LIFT, 85% said they would have liked the service to continue.
CREDITS, ATTENDANCE, SUSPENSIONS
Part of Project LIFT educated parents about the three most significant factors in helping their children graduate from high school:
Students need to earn 22 credits to receive a high school diploma. Students earn one-half credit by passing one semester of a year-long class such as English or math. Attending class, completing course work, turning in homework assignments, taking tests, and passing the final exam determine the final grade.
Good attendance increases the chance of passing classes and graduating in four years. If teens miss more than two school days per month, it will be difficult for them to keep up with class work. Students who follow the Challenge 5 rule, and strive for fewer than five absences each school year, are more likely to graduate on time.
Every school suspension decreases the chance of graduating in four years. Suspensions increase absences, making it difficult for teens to keep up with school work. Multiple suspensions in a single year make it difficult to earn credits needed for graduation. Parents can learn strategies for avoiding suspensions in the Graduating from High School video at parents.grps.org.