News for Immediate Release
May 8, 2014
First Lady Susan Corbett Highlights her
“Opening Doors” Anti-Dropout Initiative with a Visit to Erie’s Roosevelt Middle
Erie – Pennsylvania First Lady Susan Corbett
today visited Roosevelt Middle School in Erie to learn more about the school’s
use of an Early Warning System (EWS) to identify students who are at risk of
the dropping out. She will also hear about Erie School District’s Intervention
Catalog (IC) that lists resources in the district and community that help keep
at-risk students engaged in school and on track to graduate.
An EWS/IC are key components of Mrs. Corbett’s initiative “Opening Doors” which aims to
increase the graduation rate in Pennsylvania by identifying middle school
students at risk of dropping out of school and providing them appropriate
interventions to keep them engaged.
The EWS is
a secure, web-based system that looks at academic progress in English and Math,
attendance and behavior. Research shows that having difficulty in even one of
these areas during middle school significantly increases the chances that a
student will drop out in high school.
The IC is
an extensive list of school, government and community resources that can serve
as interventions to keep these students engaged in school and on track to a
“The Early Warning System and Intervention Catalog are important
and extremely useful new tools to help our educators find and support students
who are at risk of dropping out before it is too late,” said Mrs. Corbett. “The
Erie School District is helping the commonwealth refine the EWS/IC so it can be
used by other districts in the future. This will help ensure our children who
need it most, get the help they need to stay in school.”
school districts are part of the first phase of this “Opening Doors” tool. In
addition to the Erie School District, the Albert Gallatin Area School District
in Fayette County and the Harrisburg School District in Dauphin County are
participating. The Lancaster School District in Lancaster County, which has its
own EWS/IC, is advising.
“Erie is honored to have the
opportunity to pilot this important state-wide initiative and we appreciate the
First Lady’s commitment keeping Pennsylvania middle school students on track
toward graduation.” said Dr. Jay Badams, superintendent of Erie’s Public Schools.
“By utilizing the EWS, our educators will be able to focus primarily on
providing assistance and interventions directly to at risk students, rather
than spending valuable time collecting and analyzing data in order to simply
identify those students in need of support.”
building administrators have always tracked student attendance, behavior and
academic performance, the Early Warning System makes these indicators available
to all staff who assist and support students in real-time,” said Teresa Szumigala,
principal of Roosevelt Middle School. “Not only will this help us sooner
identify students at risk of dropping out, it also provides us with an
intervention catalog to guide students toward available district and community
“Opening Doors” EWS/IC will be available to more Pennsylvania school districts
in Fall 2014 and will eventually be available to all interested schools across
The EWS/IC is offered to schools free of charge. It is being
funded by federal and private dollars. Team Pennsylvania Foundation is also
providing support for these efforts.
information on the “Opening Doors” initiative, visit www.pa.gov/Firstlady.
Ashley Mostek, First Lady’s Office; 717-787-1965