FRONTLINE Dropout Nation

Institute for College Access and Success

A new study shows increases in the average level of student loan debt for 2011 graduates across the U.S.

Average student debt climbed to $26,600 for 2011 grads according to the study, up 5% from the previous year, an increase that is in line with the hike in prior years.

Daniel Robison / WBFO

Educators across the country agree schools need more students to excel in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Yet hooking students on these subjects remains a challenge, especially for generally low performing schools with few resources.

But this year, administrators in Buffalo Public Schools (BPS) tried to tackle the problem in a new way – by sending some of its teachers to summer school.

“I haven’t been in a lab in 43 years,” says Susan Wade, a BPS science teacher.

Nicola Delfino / Flickr

The research on this is pretty clear: between the ages one and five, the human brain develops faster than at any other time.

In Chemung County, a project called the School Readiness Project sends nurses to the hospital whenever a baby is born.

From day one, they offer new parents help, including home visits, and offer assistance on nutrition or with post-partum depression, whatever might come up.

And according to Ken Robin, a researcher at University at Albany, the project is proving successful. Robin analyzed the data collected once the project’s first group of kindergarteners had reached school age.

WXXI's Innovation Trail Dropout Nation forum

This story is part of the Innovation Trail's partnership with FRONTLINE's Dropout Nation. You can read the other reports here.

WXXI's Innovation Trail Dropout Nation forum

This story is part of the Innovation Trail's partnership with FRONTLINE's Dropout Nation. You can read the other reports here.

At a panel held in Rochester last night as part of the America Graduate project, participants in the forum said that some students may not excel in academics, but that doesn't mean they can't graduate, it just means their other talents must become the focus.

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