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This paper examines several perspectives and their implications for school social work services to prevent and deal with school failure and dropping out. It examines the different reform efforts and factors involved with dropping out of school. Much of this discussion is shaped by the personal general school social work experiences and knowledge gained by a school social worker while serving on a statewide steering committee that examined school dropout behavior in Kentucky. School social workers, whether explicitly stated in their job descriptions or not, have always been involved in dropout prevention. A broader ecological definition of dropout behavior is proposed and a helpful perspective, the interactionist model, is detailed. School social workers and other concerned school personnel must address the total problem of the student being at risk of failing in life. Some specific social work strategies and services to deal with school failure are outlined within this interactionist framework. Includes a selected bibliography and addresses of relevant web sites. (Contains 11 references.) (Author/MKA)

Descriptors: Academic Failure, Constructivism (Learning), Dropouts, Educational Change, Elementary Secondary Education, High Risk Students, Interaction, Intervention, Models, Prevention, School Social Workers, Student Behavior

Autor: Whitfield, Gary W.


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