Early Warning and Response System Poised to Help 19,000 Buncombe County Students

Submitted by Elisabeth on Mon, 11/11/2019 - 12:09pm


There’s a problem in our community. 17 percent of low wealth students don’t graduate from high school. This means they are: 

  • 3 x more likely to live in poverty as adults
  • 6 x more likely to be arrested and
  • are more likely to have a shorter lifespan - nine years on average, 

All because they didn’t graduate high school. 

This impacts the student’s life long term. It impacts their families. And it impacts our whole community. 

Here’s what we know 

If a middle school student misses:

  • 18 days of school, or 
  • has 2 or more behavioral referrals, or 
  • fails a core class like English or Math, AND there isn’t a successful intervention,
  • the chances that this student will graduate DROPS to 25%. That’s TO 25% not by 25%. That’s huge.

Another staggering reality: it only takes ONE of those markers to impact a student for life and reduce their chance of graduating by such a significant amount. Last year 30% of the students at Asheville, Enka, Erwin and Owen Middle Schools were meeting at least one of those markers and they needed the help of our community.

Early Intervention Is Key

With the support of donors, United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County has worked in partnership with Asheville City Schools and Buncombe County Schools to build an Early Warning and Response System. 

This dashboard system uses red, yellow and green lights to help teachers and afterschool programs quickly identify when a student is starting to fall behind in those key areas of attendance, behavior or core subjects. 

Know when a problem is forming is critical, but being able to intervene is crucial. That’s why we think the best part of this system is that it will also let us know if a student is connected to support. If the student does have support, the teacher can make sure everything is going well. But if they aren’t connected to resources, this tool allows them to begin a process to link them to the right intervention and keep up with progress.

The Early Warning Response System is now available in 30 schools and 13 after school sites. While each of these sites is in a different stage of adoption, this means that soon, more than 19,000 students will be monitored with the help of this tool. 

Local educators love this tool

Using the Early Warning and Response System makes it much faster to target concerns and make adjustments. Teachers and staff are more connected to students and creative in their interventions and strategies. Social Counselor, Enka Intermediate School

We have a student who is having a super successful 7th-grade year...and his referrals have reduced a TON. This is in large part because we were able to identify and track where he was falling off track and keep up with his progress using the Early Warning and Response DashboardTeacher, Asheville Middle School