White Papers

Dropout Prevention: Challenges and Opportunities in Rural Settings

Categorized Under: Education



This ICF International white paper examines how rural schools can confront the many challenges associated with their locale and how rural communities can leverage their numerous strengths to prevent students from dropping out of school.

For students in many rural areas, the choice to complete high school and attend college is also a choice to move away from home permanently. With limited opportunities available to students with advanced degrees, rural communities may lose young talent, which in turn hinders local economic viability. Rural schools can mobilize the tightly knit social fabric and abundant opportunities for active learning in rural communities to engage and retain students and possibly prevent dropout—even in resource-poor environments.

Authored By

  • Caitlin Howley

    Senior ManagerICF International

    Caitlin Howley has nearly 20 years of experience leading education research and program evaluation studies and providing technical assistance to educators. Located in ICF's Charleston, West Virginia office, she serves as associate director of the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center (ARCC) and conducts research for the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Mid-Atlantic and  K–12 and college programs for at-risk student populations across the Appalachian region. Dr. Howley also provides technical assistance to education leaders and practitioners via the Reform Support Network. In earlier capacities, Howley directed evaluation for the Appalachia Eisenhower Regional Consortium for Mathematics and Science Education, provided evaluation services to the Region IV Comprehensive Center, and served as a Research and Evaluation Specialist with the Appalachia Regional Education Laboratory.

    Dr. Howley has a Ph.D in Sociology from Temple University, and she has received awards from the National Rural Education Association and the American Educational Research Association.

Insight Details

Published: Sep 17, 2013
Authors: ,

Allan Porowski

Source: ICF International

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