Learning First Alliance Authors FRONTLINE's "Middle School Moment" Discussion Guide

Guide facilitates community screenings of DVD to help audiences understand the national dropout crisis and what they can do to take action

Washington, D.C. – September 24, 2012 – Hundreds of thousands of students drop out of high school each year. To address this extremely concerning issue and to offer a call to action for individuals and communities, the Learning First Alliance (LFA), a partnership of 16 leading education associations with more than 10 million members dedicated to improving student learning in America's public schools, was chosen by FRONTLINE, a production of WGBH, Boston, to author a community screening guide for their segment, Middle School Moment.

The DVD and accompanying guide are part of FRONTLINE’s Dropout Nation community engagement campaign supported by the CPB’s American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen public media initiative to help local communities across America address the dropout crisis. “The support students receive in middle school greatly impacts their success in – and graduation from – high school,” said Anne O’Brien, deputy director of the Learning First Alliance and author of the guide. “The DVD and guide help to raise awareness of the dropout issue and encourage communities and adults to start a dialogue and take action, all of which are essential to drive student achievement and lower the dropout rate.”

Middle School Moment explores the work of Dr. Robert Balfanz, a leading education researcher at Johns Hopkins University, who has uncovered a series of indicators that he says can predict how likely a student is to drop out of high school and that suggest the make-or-break moment for high school dropouts may actually be in middle school. Audiences are encouraged to use the DVD and discussion guide to raise community awareness about the national dropout crisis, the dropout issues in their communities and the importance of the middle grades and the vulnerability of students in them. In addition, Middle School Moment is intended to increase community engagement in supporting local schools and youth.

To receive information about hosting a screening and to receive the free DVD and discussion guide, visit FRONTLINE’s Dropout Nation website.

To learn more about efforts to help students graduate, watch FRONTLINE’s latest installment on Dropout Nation, on Tuesday, September, 25, 2012, on PBS. Check local listings for broadcast time.

About The Learning First Alliance

The Learning First Alliance is a partnership of 16 leading education associations with more than 10 million members dedicated to improving student learning in America's public schools. Alliance members include: the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Association of School Administrators, American Association of School Personnel Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, American School Counselor Association, Association for Middle Level Education (formerly National Middle School Association), International Society for Technology in Education, Learning Forward (formerly National Staff Development Council), National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Association of State Boards of Education, National Education Association, National School Public Relations Association, National PTA, National School Boards Association and Phi Delta Kappa International. The Alliance maintains www.learningfirst.org, a website that features what’s working in public schools and districts across the country.