Can Comprehensive Case Management in High School Promote Educational and Economic Equity?
Completing high school and transitioning to post-secondary schooling or the workforce are critical steps to economic well-being in the United States. While high school graduation rates have increased, differential completion rates persist across school districts and between youth from high- and low-income households. These disparities lead to sharp inequities in later-life outcomes. In response, many programs aim to increase graduation rates among the most vulnerable students. One promising approach is to provide comprehensive, wraparound services, including coaching and mentoring, to address the needs of the whole child. This project aims to understand whether such a comprehensive approach can improve persistence in school and graduation rates. Because this intervention targets vulnerable students from low-income families, it has the potential to reduce inequality in high school completion, thereby reducing disparities in later-life outcomes. We will evaluate the impact of this program through a randomized controlled trial (n = 2528) implemented with an experienced practitioner organization and two urban school districts, which serve largely students of color and those from low-income households. Study findings will inform discourse about how to best support students through high school and for post-secondary success.