Arizona's High School Dropout Epidemic

By Rochelle Romero | Dec. 8, 2015

Individualized learning plans are being created to lower Arizona high school dropout rates

Education and Career Action Plan

ECAPs are meant to encourage students to set career goals for themselves. The students get to personalize them according to their interests and skills.

The Arizona State Board of Education approved Education and Career Action Plans for high school students in 2008.

James Buchanan leads the Education and Career Action Plan program for the Arizona Department of Education.

He said the ECAP program is more than just filling out a form. It gives students a choice in planning their futures.

In Superintendent Diane Douglas’ AZ Kids Can’t Afford to Wait! 2015 report, surveys from high school dropouts said they did not see a correlation between what they learned in school and real life needs.

“If you do ECAP right, then all of a sudden school becomes relevant to me as a kid,” Buchanan said.

Lake Havasu High School in Mohave County is leading the state in ECAP participation.

Principal Scott Becker believes the ECAP process is the answer to keeping kids in school.

Becker offers his students shadowing experiences with faculty and professionals to give them an idea of what to expect in the workforce.

By making school relevant, students are able to see a future career path they may have never thought about.

Buchanan hopes programs like the one at Lake Havasu will set an example for schools across the state.

Arizona has one of the highest dropout rates in the nation. Click the years to check out dropout rates per county.

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