A report by PBS’s Frontline examines the work of Johns Hopkins researcher Dr. Robert Balfanz, who suggests there is a key period in middle school that determines whether a student will eventually drop out, the Huffington Post reports. Balfanz’s team analyzed data from high poverty schools, where at least 40 percent of students qualify for government-subsidized lunch. They identified a series of indicators that can predict how likely a student is to drop out of high school if nothing is done to intervene. According to Balfanz’s research, if a sixth grader in a high poverty school attends school less than 80 percent of the time, fails math or English, or receives an unsatisfactory behavior grade in a core course, there is a 75 percent chance he or she will drop out of high school. Frontline profiled one school that has adopted Balfanz’s system. Every week at Middle School 244 in the Bronx, statistics concerning absences, behavior and grades are collected and reviewed by a team of counselors and teachers. Students most in need are flagged, and their assigned counselor organizations an intervention…

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