Ray McNulty

As a key strategic advisor for Penn Foster High School, Ray believes that the education system cannot wait for challenges to arrive at their doorstep; rather, the system needs to reach out and forge solutions. With over 40 years of experience as an educator, administrator, and education reform expert, Ray also serves as Chairman of the National Dropout Prevention Center Network and was previously Program Director and Senior Fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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Recent Posts

6 Ways to Improve Parental Involvement in High School

Posted by Ray McNulty on 10/22/15 4:00 PM

Parental involvement in student life is proven to improve education performance,1 but it tends to taper off in the high school years. Some of this is only natural — as children grow into teens, it's normal for a bit of distance to develop between them and their parents. In lower grades, parents are often required to attend parent-teacher conferences and sign off on report cards and homework, but this doesn't always continue into the higher grades. We think it should — more parental involvement in school correlates with higher grade point averages and further sets students up for success.

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Topics: Dropout Crisis

How to Set High Expectations Without Discouraging Teens

Posted by Ray McNulty on 10/15/15 10:30 AM

High school graduation rates continue to improve and remain on track to meet a national goal of 90 percent by 2020, according to the latest Building a Grad Nation report, released annually by a coalition of educational organizations.1 The graduation rate for the 2012-2013 school year hit 81.4 percent, the highest since states adopted a new method of calculating graduation rates in 2010. Advances by black and Hispanic students help account for this trend. However, national gains are distributed unevenly among school districts, and graduation rates remain unacceptably low in some areas for low-income, English-language learning and special education students.

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Topics: Dropout Crisis

8-Point Plan to Help Students Succeed Despite Personal Hardships

Posted by Ray McNulty on 10/8/15 11:00 AM

Unfortunately, not all high school students are set up for success. Many students who struggle at school come from challenging circumstances at home, and others are facing hardships such as the death of a parent, homelessness or addiction that threaten their ability to finish high school. The national high school dropout rate, while improving, is still a crisis — according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about 7,000 students drop out every day1. High school staff and administrators need to support students who are facing such hardships and enable them to succeed in high school and move into post-secondary education.

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Topics: Dropout Crisis

How States are Re-Thinking Online High School

Posted by Ray McNulty on 10/1/15 4:00 PM

Our current education system speaks to traditional in-class learning. But there are truly many ways to learn. From corporations onboarding new employees with online training, to YouTube how-to videos, to motivated learners taking at-home courses in their spare time, forms of education take on many shapes, and online learning has offered new spaces for students to learn. The area of online education continues to grow and mature, but unfortunately, it still has some antiquated legislation to overcome before alternative education can be a viable and accessible solution for students across our nation’s school districts.

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4 Ways to Improve Outcomes for ELL Students

Posted by Ray McNulty on 9/10/15 2:00 PM

“English language learners are the fastest-growing student population group in our schools. Providing them with high-quality services and programs is an important investment in America’s future.” – Dennis Van Roekel, President of the National Education Association

The number of English language learners (ELL) students has nearly doubled to 5 million over the past 15 years, according to the NAE.1 In fact, ELL enrollments in U.S. schools are expected to reach 10 million in 2015, and by 2025, about one in every four public school students will be an ELL.

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Topics: High School Completion, Opportunity Youth

How Blended Learning Courses Can Help Career Colleges Better Serve Students’ Needs

Posted by Ray McNulty on 9/10/15 9:00 AM

The future of learning is blended. The U.S. Department of Education agrees, citing 11 studies that suggest students in online or blended learning environments outperform those in traditional face-to-face classrooms.1 The blended learning model — a hybrid of face-to-face instruction with online learning — is better-suited to meet the needs of today's career college students. Let's look at five ways blended learning can help your career college improve student performance.

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Topics: College Enrollment & Retention

Career Colleges: Provide Your Students With Experiential Learning Opportunities

Posted by Ray McNulty on 8/12/15 9:00 AM

Experiential learning is the process of acquiring knowledge and skills outside the traditional academic setting. It embraces the idea that students learn better by doing — by experiencing — and reflecting upon those experiences, as opposed to being lectured to. Internships, applied learning projects and a variety of creative and professional work experiences are all examples of experiential learning.

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Topics: College Enrollment & Retention, Opportunity Youth

A Closer Look at How the Guidance Counselor Crisis Affects Students

Posted by Ray McNulty on 7/15/15 9:00 AM

For some, going to college is merely a stepping stone on the road to a bigger goal, one that includes a clear career path and the means to achieving long-held dreams. Yet even for this privileged group of students, the high school-to-college transition is filled with insecurity and uncertainty. Add the extenuating circumstances that often plague low-income and minority communities, and it’s easy to understand how for some, the route to college or a career is wrought with obstacles.

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Topics: High School Completion

How to Help First-Generation Career College Students Succeed

Posted by Ray McNulty on 7/8/15 1:00 PM

Only 10.9 percent of low-income students who are first in their family to attend college achieve a Bachelor's Degree within six years, according to Pell Institute data.1 This contrasts starkly with 24.1 percent for non-first-generation low-income students and 54 percent for students who are neither first-generation nor low-income. First-generation students face additional obstacles for various reasons, including absence of role models and social support, insufficient academic preparation, lack of specialized academic support, greater financial burdens than other students, and language barriers. Career colleges can help alleviate some of these factors by adopting measures to assist first-generation students.

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Topics: Middle Skills Gap, College Enrollment & Retention

How to Improve High School Graduation Rates within Latino Communities

Posted by Ray McNulty on 7/2/15 11:30 AM

In 2014, our nation's high school graduation rate topped 80 percent for the first time in U.S. history.Hispanic/Latino students were the subgroups with the greatest improvements in graduation rates. Between 2006 and 2012, the graduation rates of Latino students grew 15 percentage points. This fast-growing student population also increased 4.2 percentage points from 2011 to 2013 in Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR) reporting, according to "Building a Nation, Executive Brief: Overview of 2012-13 High School Graduation Rates."

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Topics: High School Completion, College Enrollment & Retention, Opportunity Youth


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