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West, Thomas C. Office of Shared Accountability, Montgomery County Public Schools, MD, March 2013. Each school year, roughly a thousand students drop out of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). However, unlike other large, urban school districts where students who drop out skip school and are suspended often (Balfanz & Byrnes, 2010), students who drop out of MCPS are present in school; they just are not doing well academically. These students are generally coded as dropping out of school due to: 1) a lack of personal motivation or interest to continue their education, or to 2) a lack of academic success including low grades and/or retention. These are both signs of a lack of student engagement (i.e., investment and motivation towards school). This study examines the early warning indicators (attendance, behavior and coursework patterns) for students in grades 1, 3, 6, and 9 who eventually drop out of school.

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