The Silent Epidemic

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					            Discussion Guide for MTV: Music Television’s
                       The Dropout Chronicles

Encouraging and empowering young people with the tools they need to
    graduate from high school ready for college, career and life.
                                Table of Contents

Objectives of This Discussion Guide                                          3

Overview and Background Notes for Instructors                                4

Fast Facts on America’s High School Dropout Crisis                           5

Introduction: Recall / Study Questions                                       7

Introduction: Classroom Activities / Group Discussion Questions              8

Act One: Recall / Study Questions                                            9

Act One: Classroom Activities / Group Discussion Questions                   10

Think About What They Said: Britney                                          11

Act Two: Recall / Study Questions                                            12

Act Two: Classroom Activities / Group Discussion Questions                   13

Think About What They Said: Glendy                                           14

Act Three: Recall / Study Questions                                          15

Act Three: Classroom Activities / Group Discussion Questions                 16

Think About What They Said: Renzo                                            17

Follow-up Activities: What can I do?                                         18

Additional Resources                                                         19

National and State Standards Covered by this Discussion Guide                21

Documentary Worksheet                                                        22

         The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles

                          Objectives of this Discussion Guide

This discussion guide is intended as a resource for teachers of high school students who
would like to explore the subject matter covered in The Dropout Chronicles. These
materials seek to aid students:

          Identify risk factors for dropping out of high school.
          Recognize the consequences of failing to graduate.
          Explore ways to reduce the chances of dropping out.
          Analyze the benefits of graduating high school.
          Formulate a plan to graduate and reduce the chances of dropping out.
          Motivate students to become an active part of the effort to reduce the dropout

The discussion guide mirrors the film in structure. For each of the documentary’s four
sections, it provides recall and discussion questions, suggested classroom and internet
activities, and background information for the instructor. Also included are a selection of
federal and state standards that may be met by discussion and study of the film.

           The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles

                     Overview and Background Notes for Instructors

       "The Dropout Chronicles," is a stark portrait of three high school students facing
unique obstacles as they stand on the brink of walking away from their high school
diplomas. This documentary film depicts how young people from similar backgrounds
make different choices about their education and how varied interventions by teachers,
parents, friends and other factors impact the outcome of these choices.

        “There is a high school dropout epidemic in America. Almost one third of all
public high school students – and nearly one half of all blacks, Hispanics and Native
Americans – fail to graduate from public high school with their class. Many of these
students abandon school with less than two years to complete their high school education.

        The decision to drop out is a dangerous one for the student. Dropouts are much
more likely than their peers who graduate to be unemployed, living in poverty, receiving
public assistance, in prison, on death row, unhealthy, divorced, and single parents with
children who drop out from high school themselves.”1

       This epidemic, “threatens our very ability to keep pace with an increasingly
demanding and globally competitive economy, is costing our nation billions of dollars
every year, and is diminishing the productivity and happiness of millions of our young
people. This tragic cycle... has continued during the past few decades when education
reform has been a national priority. We can and must do better.”2

         “As an educator, you represent the backbone of our national educational system
and are on the front lines in reversing this alarming high school dropout epidemic. Your
role is to prepare students for college or the workforce and equip them with the tools they
need to succeed in life. You will serve as the catalyst for change in this new era as we
attempt to address the reasons why so many students leave school without a diploma and
unprepared to face the world. The realities of schools, where in some districts nearly 75
percent of students attend schools where graduating is less than a 60 percent proposition,
make this task more challenging but no less critical.”3

       Students will also play a critical role in this crises, as it is they who ultimately
must, with our support, overcome the obstacles to graduation. This documentary
provides students with a vehicle to explore these difficulties and to visualize the means to

  Bridgeland, John M.; John J. Dilulio, Jr. & Karen Burke Morison (2007). The Silent Epidemic,
Perspectives of High School Dropouts. A report by Civic Enterprises in association with Peter D. Hart
Research Associates for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  Bridgeland, John M.; Christina Norman, Raymond C. Scheppach & Richard Stengel (2007). Open Letter
to the American People. Ending the Silent Epidemic, A Blueprint to Address America’s High School
Dropout Crisis.
  The Silent Epidemic (2007). Resources for Educators. Accessed at:
           The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles

                 Fast Facts on America’s High School Dropout Crisis

- Every 29 seconds, another student gives up on school. More than 1 million American
high school students drop out every year.

-Nearly one-third of all public high school students and nearly one half of all
African-American, Hispanic and Native American students fail to graduate from
public high school with their class. Of those who do graduate, only half have the skills
they need to succeed in college or work.

- There are nearly 2,000 high schools in the United States where 40 percent of the
typical freshman class leaves school by its senior year. In more than 20 cities, 75 percent
or more of students attend public high schools where graduating is less than a 60 percent

- Dropouts are more likely than high school graduates to be unemployed, in poor health,
living in poverty, on public assistance, and single parents with children who drop out
of high school.

-Dropouts earn $9,200 less per year than high school graduates and more
than $1 million less over a lifetime than college graduates.

- Dropouts were more than twice as likely as high school graduates to slip
into poverty in a single year and three times more likely than college
graduates to be unemployed in 2004.

-Dropouts are more than eight times more likely to be in jail or prison than
high school graduates.

- Dropouts are four times less likely to volunteer than college graduates, are half as
likely to vote or participate in community projects, and represent only 3 percent of
actively engaged citizens in the United States today.

-The government would reap $45 billion in extra tax revenues and reduced costs in
public health, of crime and justice, and in welfare payments if the number of high school
dropouts among 20-year-olds in the U.S. today, which includes more than 700,000 high
school dropouts, were cut in half.

          The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles

The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts was a study conducted to
better understand the lives and circumstances of students who drop out of high school and
to help ground the research in the stories and reflections of the former students
themselves. Here are some key findings.

-Most dropouts surveyed could have finished high school if only they had had more
challenging coursework, engaging classroom experiences, and access to extra help.
Dropouts also expressed regret about their decision to drop out and recognized in
hindsight that a high school diploma was critical for a successful future

-Nearly half of dropouts surveyed for The Silent Epidemic said the main reason they left
school was because classes were not interesting.

-Nearly 70 percent said they were not motivated to work hard, and two-thirds would
have worked harder if more were demanded of them.

-Approximately one-third left school for personal reasons (e.g., to get a job, become a
parent, or care for a family member), and one-third cited “failing in school” as a major

-Seventy percent were confident they could have graduated, including a majority with
low GPAs.

- More than 80 percent said their chances of staying in school would have increased if
classes were more interesting and provided opportunities for real-world learning.

-The majority said that higher expectations from teachers and parents and improved
supervision in the classroom would have helped keep them in school.

(Source: National Summit on America’s “Silent Epidemic”)

          The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles

                      Discussion Questions / Classroom Activities

                          Introduction “Who Will Drop Out”

Recall / Study Questions:

In the Introduction we are introduced to the problem of dropping out of high school.
The idea is put forth that although school may sometimes seem pointless, it is the ticket to
achieving one’s dreams.

1. How many American teenagers drop out of high school each year?
[A: Over one million]

2a. The narrator of the film states that, “sometimes (school) feels like a total waste
of time.” What are the reasons that he gives for this?
[A: Classes are boring, extra-curricular activities are “lame”, and teachers are not
teaching anything that you can use in the real world]

2b. Do you agree with him? Why or why not?

3. The narrator states that, “on average high school graduates make more money
and get better jobs than dropouts and that college grads do even better. How much
more money do you think you will make over the course of your lifetime if you go to
college than if you drop out of high school?
[The statistic will be given later in the film, have students compare what they thought the
answer was to the actual statistic.]

4. How often on average does a student drop out of high school in America?
[A: Every 29 seconds]

We are introduced to three students who are in danger of dropping out of high school
and told that only one will graduate, although all three want to graduate.

5. What do the three students dream of doing with their lives?
[A. Play football, professional sports; make money, buy a house, own a business; become
a celebrity stylist.]

          The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles

Classroom Activities / Group Discussion Questions:

1. Do you know anyone who has dropped out of high school? Describe how this decision
affected their life.

2. Explain why you think students drop out of high school. Have you ever considered
dropping out? If you have, why?

3. Use the internet to find out what the minimum wage is in your state. If you work 8
hours a day, 5 days a week at this rate, how much will you make a week (before taxes!)?
A month? A year? Do you think that you will be able to find a job above minimum
wage without a high school diploma?

Minimum Wage Finder:

4. What kind of career do you dream of having after school? What kind of minimum
education does that career require? Find out what the average yearly salary is for this
career. How does this compare to the average yearly salary at minimum wage?

Career Profiles:

5. One of the students from the video states that she wants to own a house. What is the
average cost of a home in your state? How much will you need to make to afford the
payments on an average home?

National Association of Realtors- statistics on state-by-state existing-home sales and
metropolitan area median home prices each quarter:

Visit, a consumer credit resource, to calculate on how much income
you will need to qualify for a home loan:

          The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles

                      Act 1 “Do Friends Let Friends Drop Out?”

Recall / Study Questions:
In Act One we meet the three students, Maxine, Glendy, and Sean whose progress we will
follow throughout the video. They will discuss the influences of friends and family on
their ability to graduate. We will also hear from students who have either dropped out or
graduated from high school to gain their perspectives on dropping out.

1. Maxine, four days away from graduation, says she has got through school by
doing how much work? What does she think will happen when she graduates?
[A. She states that she has got through high school by doing the bare minimum. She
believes that her life will begin once she graduates.]

2. What group of people have the greater influence on teens than their parents?
[A. Their friends.]

3. Does Maxine’s friend, Britney seem supportive of her education? Did Britney
graduate? How does this seem to affect Britney’s life?
[A. No, she states, “why would you want to be in school.” No, she dropped out. She is
living at Maxine’s house and appears to only be interested in socializing and uninterested
in working.]

4. Who did Renzo, age 20, hang out with in high school? What did he and his
friends do together?
[A. Friends who wanted to go to college. They worked on college applications together.]

5. How much more will you earn over your lifetime if you graduate from college,
than if you drop out of high school?
[A. Over one million dollars more.]

6. What difficulties does Glendy have that could prevent her from graduating high
[A. Parents who haven’t gone to high school, or college; she had to repeat a grade, so she
is older than other members of her class; she lives in the projects where the dropout rate
is high; she has to walk, ride a bus, and take a train to get to school; sometimes she would
rather work and have money now.]

7. What does Mauricio, 22, who dropped out of school to get a job, wish he could
have done?
[A. Finished school so that he could get a better job.]

8 What difficulties does Sean have that could prevent him from graduating high
[A. He has been absent from school for a number of days, he lives in a poor area with a
high dropout rate, most of the men in his family have dropped out of high school, and as
a black man he has fifty percent statistical chance of dropping out.]
          The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles

Classroom Activities / Group Discussion Questions:

1. Can you identify which of your friends are supportive of your education? Describe
how they are supportive. Discuss how you could be more supportive of your friends’

2. Describe the difficulties you have had in your life that could prevent you from
graduating high school.

3. We are told in the film how much more a person will earn over the course of their
lifetime if they graduate college. How does this statistic compare to your answer from
number three in the introduction? Based on this statistic, calculate how much more you
would make per year on average if you graduated college. Base your answer on the
premise that you will be working from the time you are 18 until you are 65.

4. Between 59 and 65 percent of high school dropouts report missing class often before
dropping out. Attendance is a strong predictor of dropping out. Recall how often you are
absent. Appraise your attendance record, would you categorize yourself as a dropout

5. Nation-wide almost 1/3 of all public high school students fail to graduate. Young
people who are low-income, minority, urban, single-parent children, or who attend large
public inner city high schools are particularly affected. Minority students (black,
Hispanic or Native American) graduate at a rate of approximately 50 percent. Graduation
rates for whites and Asians graduate at a rate of approximately 75 percent. Female
students graduate at slightly higher rates. Analyze your statistical chances of graduation
according to these figures. Do you fall into any categories that represent a greater risk for
dropping out? Argue why these statistics may not apply to you as an individual.

          The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles

                       Think About What They Said: Britney
In “The Dropout Chronicles” we meet Britney, Maxine’s friend who is a high school
dropout and who lives with Maxine. Here are some of the things Britney said and some
questions you might want to ask yourself or your friends about each of them.

-Britney says that she doesn’t want to work for the rest of her life.
        How does Britney’s attitude seem to be benefiting her?
        Does she seem to have any plans or ideas about how she will support herself?
        Do you think that Britney realizes that she will have to support herself? What
           do you think she really means? Discuss how could she avoid doing work she
           doesn’t enjoy.

-Britney asks why anyone would want to be in school when there is so much to do.
        What does Britney seem to be doing throughout the film?
        Is it possible to go to school and “have a life?”
        There is no doubt that sometimes there are things that we would rather do than
           school, but what could you do if you went to school that you might not get to
           do if you dropped out?

          The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles

                    Act 2 “Sometimes You Need a Helping Hand”

In Act Two we explore the idea that students must take responsibility for their own
education. Additionally we see that students need to reach out to insure that they get the
help they need and plan for the future, before it is too late.

Recall/ Study Questions:

1. How did Renzo find information about how to apply to colleges and how to get
financial aid?
[A. He looked online and did the research himself.]

2. Does Sean seem to have a mentor in the school who he can reach out to for
[A. Sean seems to be disconnected from school. He doesn’t see the use of the classes for
his life, and states that he has never had a teacher who has helped him.]

3. Sean states that sometimes he just wants to go out with his friends and have fun.
What do 47% of dropouts state is a major reason they left school?
[A. Because school was boring]

4. Most high school graduates are influenced by a positive role model. Glendy looks
up to her history teacher, Ms. Torrez. How is Ms. Torrez a positive role model for
[A. Ms. Torrez gives her positive feedback, tells her why she needs to graduate high
school, encourages her to go to college, helps her after school.]

          The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles

Classroom Activities / Group Discussion Questions:

1. Explore the college planning website . Locate what
resources are available through this site. Conduct a Google search using the key phrase
“college planning.” Identify at least two other sites that would be useful to you in
planning for education beyond high school.

2. Do you have a positive role model for your education (i.e. teacher, parent, counselor,
older sibling)? Discuss how this person motivates you in your education. If you don’t
have a role model, describe how you could develop a relationship with an educational
mentor. How could you increase your parents’ involvement in your education?

Visit for tips on finding a mentor in your

3. Throughout the film, students and graduates of high school (and the narrator of the
film!) state that high school can be boring. An old saying states that only those who are
boring are bored. How can take responsibility to make your education more interesting?
Develop a plan that would make your least favorite class more interesting. Make sure to
include ideas that you could implement, as well as ideas that you could propose to your
teacher. How can you hold your school accountable to make what you learn more

Visit think MTV’s educational top 10 for more ideas on how to demand more from your

          The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles

                        Think About What They Said: Glendy
In “The Dropout Chronicles” we meet Glendy, who struggles with school but wants to
improve her life by graduating and going onto college. Here are some of the things that
Glendy said and some questions you might want to ask yourself or your friends about
each of them.

-Glendy tells us that the life she wants is to make a lot of money, have her own business,
and have a big house.
        Imagine what you want your life to look like after high school. What do you
           have to achieve to get there? Have you begun to formulate a plan on how to
           reach your dreams?
        Glendy dreams of a life that her parents do not have, but she must overcome
           significant obstacles to achieve those dreams. Compare your life to Glendy’s;
           what obstacles will you have to overcome to succeed in your life?

-Glendy states that she is taking the responsibility to improve her life, but that doesn’t
mean she goes it alone. When she has difficulty with something she doesn’t understand
she stays after school and works with a teacher she looks up to.
         Can you identify a positive role model for your education? Do you seek them
            out for help? If not, how could you develop a relationship with a mentor?
         Examine what steps you take when you encounter material you don’t
            understand in school. Compare what actions you take with Glendy; could you
            improve your strategy?

          The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles

                         Act 3 “The Realities of Dropping Out”

Recall/ Study Questions:

1. Why did Sean drop out? What does he think about working?
[A. He missed too many days of school. He thinks work should be something you enjoy,
but he would rather be at school than washing cars. If he knew what he knows now,
previously, he feels that he would have tried his best to graduate.]

2. Studies show that GED holders do not do as well as high school or college grads
on the job market. What does Maxine end up doing after she gets her high school
equivalency? What does she say about her skills? Where does she think valuable
job skills are learned?
[A. She is working as a hostess in a Mexican restaurant. She says that she isn’t skilled,
that she isn’t trained for anything. She believes that college is where valuable skills are

3. What does Glendy do to help her chances of going to college?
[A. She asks for guidance from her teacher and counselor. She takes a college tour. She
surrounds herself with friends who also want to go to college who encourage her. She
understands that college is the start to pursuing her dreams of a good life.]

4. What does her guidance counselor suggest that she do?
[A. Her guidance counselor suggests that she take ownership of the college process. She
suggests that she spends time on the internet looking at college websites.]

5. What makes Glendy different from Maxine or Sean?
[A. Glendy states that she is determined to get to college. She “wants it all” and
understands the her future is greatly determined by her education. Despite having parents
who didn’t go to college, living in a poverty stricken neighborhood, having to travel via
public transportation to school, and having been kept back a grade, Glendy is determined
to graduate high school and make it to college. She prepares well in advance for college
admissions, and works actively with her teachers on material she finds difficult. Glendy
has a role model in Ms. Torrez who encourages her to graduate and continue onto

6. “The Dropout Chronicles” gives us several examples of reasons why students
drop out. Describe other reasons that students might drop out.
[A. Answers could included the following: students became a parent, had to care for a
family member, started high school ill-prepared, or had low parental involvement.
Answers will vary.]

          The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles

Classroom Activities / Group Discussion Questions:

1. In the film, Maxine finds out too late that she hasn’t met all of the requirements to
graduate. Glendy seems to meet with her counselor long before she is due to graduate.
Have you ever met with a guidance counselor or college counselor to ensure that you are
on track to graduate?

2. One of the strongest predictors of dropping out is attendance. What is the attendance
policy for your school? Describe how missing days at school can lead to dropping out.
Is attendance a problem for you or for your friends? How could you improve your
attendance, or help your friends get to school? Write 3 encouraging statements you could
say to a friend who is missing school frequently.

3. Restate the difficulties that you must overcome to graduate high school. Identify the
risk factors for dropping out. Visit for
a list of reasons why students drop out. Describe what you can do to reduce your risk of
dropping out. Formulate a plan to overcome these obstacles and to ensure that you have
the support to do so. Who can you get involved in your education? .

4. What is the graduation rate for your school district? You can find graduation rates for
you district here:
How does your school district compare to the national average? Assess the odds of
dropping out for your school (if you don’t have internet access, use the graduation rate of
70 percent). Divide your class along these rates to simulate how many students in your
class will graduate. Judge whether or not you think these odds apply to your school or to
your class.

          The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles

                          Think About What They Said: Renzo

Throughout “The Dropout Chronicles” we encounter Renzo, who has graduated high
school and gone on to college to get a business degree. Here are some of the things that
Renzo said and some questions that you might want to ask yourself or your friends about
each of them.

-Renzo tells us that he found friends who wanted to go to college and that they worked
together on their college applications.
        Explain why it might be important to have friends who want to graduate and
           go to college. Can you identify which of your friends want to go to college?
        Describe a situation in which you supported a friend’s education. Could you
           do more to support your friends?

-Renzo looked online to find out how to apply to college and how to get financial aid. He
states that he did the work himself.
          Discuss what colleges you might like to attend. Can you identify what might
             make the best college for your needs?
          Do you know anyone who has gone to college? Would they be willing to
             answer questions you might have about getting in? If not, can you explain
             what steps you could take to find the information?

-Renzo relates that his parents didn’t go to college, that he is the first one in his family to
go to college.
         Can you name anyone in your family that has gone to college? Explain why
            this might be important.
         Most of the parents in the show express that they want their children to have
            better opportunities than they have. Explain how graduating high school
            might provide those opportunities.

           The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles

                        Follow-Up Activities: What Can I Do?

After watching the documentary, students may wish to know how they can reduce the risk
of dropping out for themselves, their school or their community. This section provides
some ideas and resources that teachers can use to help students identify ways that they
can become involved.

-Organize a college fair. Have the college counseling department help you organize this
event. Many colleges look favorably at this type of community service work.

-Make an appointment to see your college counselor. Begin to prepare for your future

-Build a relationship with at least one adult in the school. Reach out to your favorite
teacher and meet with them one day a week after school. If you are having trouble in a
class, ask for help. If you feel a teacher could be doing more, talk to them about your

-Organize a dropout seminar. Teens who drop out of school express regret for their
decision, and would return to school if they could. Bring some of these young people
into your class, or your school to speak about dropping out and it’s consequences.

-Get your parents involved in your education. Make sure they attend the parent-teacher
night at your school. Ask them for help if you are falling behind in school.

-Assemble the stories of students who are in danger of dropping out. Bring these stories
to the administration and alert them of the risk these students face.

-Submit an article to the student newspaper about the dropout epidemic. Describe the
consequences of dropping out, and who may be at risk. Propose ways in which students
can reduce their risk of dropping out.

-Join the Strong American Schools campaign to demand change and real leadership on

-Write your elected officials. Demand that they make reducing the dropout rate a
national priority.

          The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles

                                 Additional Resources

The National Summit On America’s “Silent Epidemic”
The National Summit on America's Silent Epidemic sparked a "call to action" mobilizing
communities around the nation to act more effectively to keep students in school and on
track for success. Accurate accounts of students who dropout and students who
successfully complete the coursework requirements are helping communities to marshal
concrete steps that can be taken at the local, state and federal levels to ensure that all
students graduate from high school prepared for college and work.

think MTV
think MTV informs and encourages young people to take action on the issues that are
important to them, their community and the world. Young people are the future and have
the power to make a difference. think MTV provides a resource for young people to
inform themselves and take action on such important issues such as education, sexual
health, discrimination, the environment, national and global political affairs.
The think MTV Education 10 includes ideas and links on how to improve study habits,
how to prepare for standardized tests, how to get into college, how to pay for your
education and much more.
Information on why students should have a mentor, what qualities to look for, and how to
find one in their local community. Also links for adults who are looking to become
News segments produced in partnership with MTV and The Gates Foundation. Students
talk about why they dropped out of high school and what brought them back. Plus, meet
four young people who turned their educations into enviable jobs.

Strong American Schools
Strong American Schools is a nonpartisan public awareness and action campaign offering
a voice to every American who supports “ED in 08.” Their goal is to ensure that the
nation engages in a rigorous debate and to make education a top priority in the 2008
presidential election. They hope that candidates will offer genuine leadership rather than
empty rhetoric and tell voters how they intend to strengthen America’s schools so all
students receive the education they deserve.

          The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles

Sallie Mae
Your starting point in the planning for college process. Learn how to understand college
requirements, prepare for standardized tests, identify what you want in a school,
understand the admission process, how to pay for college; including a free scholarship
search, FAFSA assistance and information on student loans.

College Board
The College Board is a not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to
connect students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the association is
composed of more than 5,200 schools, colleges, universities, and other educational
organizations. Each year, the College Board serves seven million students and their
parents, 23,000 high schools, and 3,500 colleges through major programs and services in
college admissions, guidance, assessment, financial aid, enrollment, and teaching and

          The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles


This list of standards is not meant to be a complete list of all possible national and state
standards of which this discussion guide could be covered, but merely provides some
suggestions as to which standards could be met by the study of “The Dropout

National Health Education Standards
-Students will analyze the influence of culture, media, technology, and other factors on
health. (GP-IV)
-Students will demonstrate the ability to use goal-setting and decision-making skills to
enhance health. (GP- II)
California Health Framework
-Expectation 1: Students will demonstrate ways in which they can enhance and maintain
their health and well-being; avoid self-destructive behaviors and practice strategies for
resisting negative peer pressure, identify risk factors for negative behaviors and develop
effective strategies for counteracting these risk factors.
-Expectation 5: Students will understand and demonstrate how to promote positive health
practices within the school and community, including how to cultivate positive
relationships with their peers; demonstrate how to resist negative peer pressure.
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Health Education, High School.
§115.32. Health 1, Grades 9-10 (b) Knowledge and skills
(8) Influencing factors. The student analyzes the effect of relationships on health
behaviors. The student is expected to: (A) evaluate positive and negative effects of
various relationships on physical and emotional health such as peers, family, and friends
9) Influencing factors. The student differentiates between positive and negative family
influences. The student is expected to: A) describe the roles of parents, grandparents, and
other family members in promoting a healthy family
§115.33. Advanced Health, Grades 11-12 (c) Knowledge and skills.
(7) Health behaviors. The student generates strategies that address health-risk behaviors.
The student is expected to: (A) participate in school-related efforts to address health-risk
(15) Personal/interpersonal skills. The student synthesizes information and applies
strategies for making health-promoting decisions. The student is expected to: (A) apply
decision-making skills to health-promoting decisions
Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework
Social and Emotional Health Strand: Students will develop skills needed in daily life as
they come to learn about their identity and how to manage interactions with other people.
Standard 5 Mental Health: Students will acquire knowledge about emotions and physical
health, the management of emotions, personality and character development, and social
awareness; and will learn skills to promote self-acceptance, making decisions, and cope
with stress.

Copies of your state’s curriculum standards may be found here:

          The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles


Fill in the Blank - Statistics
In “The Dropout Chronicles” a number of statistics are shown about dropping out of
school. Fill in the blanks below to complete the statistics given in the documentary.

1. Every __ _______ a student drops out of high school.

2. Over ___ ______ American teenagers drop out of high school each year.

3. When you are a teen, studies show that ______ have a much greater influence over you
than your parents.

4. If you graduate from college you will earn over ___ ______ dollars more during your
lifetime than if you drop out of high school.

5. ____ of all black men do not graduate high school.

6. 47% of dropouts said a major reason they left was because school was ______.

7. Most high school graduates are influenced by a ________ role model.

8. Studies show that ___ _______ do not do well as high school or college grads on the
job market.

Multiple Choice
Choose the best answer for each question.

9. In the documentary, what do Maxine, Sean and Glendy all have in common?
        a. they all come from single parent homes
        b. their parents didn’t go to college
        c. they have all been held back a year
        d. they have teachers who they can turn to for support

10. Which of the three students seems to take the most personal responsibility for
completing high school?
      a. Maxine
      b. Sean
      c. Glendy
      d. Brandon

[A. 1. 29 seconds, 2. one million, 3. friends, 4. one million, 5. Half or 50%, 6. boring, 7.
positive, 8. GED holders, 9. b, 10. c]
          The Silent Epidemic – Discussion Guide for The Dropout Chronicles