Science wants to know, “Is it replicable?” It turns out, it is. The success that is Dohn school – meeting urban, inner-city students where they are – is a replicable practice that can turn an entire school around.
Dayton Business Technology High School was established in 2006 to connect Dayton inner-city high school students with vocational career pathways. This plan worked in concept, and not in practice. In 2016, attendance was at 13%. Sustainability was questionable, and the school’s sponsor decided not to renew the contract.
The principal at the time, Greg Stone, connected with Ramone Davenport, Director, Dohn Community High School, and Founder and President of Cincinnati Charter School Collaborative. Mr. Davenport consulted, and the results of his consultation and Dayton Business Technology School’s hard work led to a renewed sponsor contract, and student attendance levels at 75% and growing.
“Mr. Davenport came in and demonstrated how to meet the kids where they are,” says former principal, Mr. Stone. “Many of our kids came from Juvenile Court, and they could not handle a full day in the classroom. We modified their schedules and connected them to job enrichment opportunities. With these changes, our students started to show up and do the work.”
Fights decreased, and class participation skyrocketed to 93%. The students became more involved with opportunities for hands-on training and direct problem-solving. Flexing the schedule and rotating computer time with classroom lecture also helped the students keep focus. Project assignments and job-shadowing opportunities added to the variety of focus that kept students engaged.
Mr. Stone shares the story of a Marketing Class project: House of Bread is a Dayton area nonprofit that serves food to the homeless. The students explored inventory control options and learned different ways to track inventory. They proposed one of these new inventory control ways to House of Bread with the result that food spoilage level went down significantly. Providing inner-city students with direct impact on positive outcome increases self-esteem and goal setting. Dreams are created, and life trajectories are changed for the better.
Ramone Davenport also participated at Dayton Business Technology High School’s Strategic Planning Board meetings. He consulted with their teachers, through specially designed Professional Development days, and with their administration on recruiting staff and students.
Mr. Davenport, and Dayton Business Technology High School willingness to do the work helped reverse the school’s trajectory from failure to resounding success.
One of Dohn Community High School’s signature programs is Credit Recovery. In this program, students can test out of class content using a study guide and then take a test. Dayton Business Technology implemented this program through incentive. If a student showed up consecutively on time, for two weeks in a row, they could use a course study guide and then take a test to gain the credit. If the student did not pass the test, they could work with a tutor and retake the test. This program demonstrates immediate progress for a student who, due to socio-economic circumstances, is often challenged to see success.
“Mr. Davenport came in and demonstrated how to meet the kids where they are,” says former principal, Mr. Stone. “Many of our kids came from Juvenile Court, and they could not handle a full day in the classroom. We modified their schedules and connected them to job enrichment opportunities. With these changes, our students started to show up and do the work.” Greg Stone, Former Principal
Dayton Business Technology High School is now capitalizing on their ability to educate, graduate and secure post-secondary success for Dayton’s at-risk youth. They have refined their focus on helping students identify their career interests and skills sets. They collaborate on this goal with Sinclair Community College using a vocational assessment program called Focus 2. Each student who qualifies can receive a three-thousand-dollar scholarship to attend Sinclair Community College post-graduation from Dayton Business Technology High School.
Director Ramone Davenport has increased enrollment at Dohn from 95 students in 2009 to 1400 students in 2018. In 2018, Dohn graduated 469 students. This phenomenal success deserves to be replicated. At-risk, marginalized, and almost written-off for lost students are everywhere, due to the current conditions of income inequality and racial divide.
Mr. Davenport and his vision demonstrate that the future of these vulnerable students does not have to include failure, hopelessness, or lost opportunity. It is possible to meet these students where they are and lead them onto a path of life success. Ramone Davenport knows the how. We all know the why. These students, identified in the scientific literature as “Under-attached opportunity youth,” cost society trillions of dollars in lost revenue through not paying taxes and increased public expenditures through the costs of welfare services and societal costs from crime. Meeting students where they are is replicable and benefits everyone.