1st Edition

From Ghosts to Graduates An Educator’s Guide to Identifying and Reconnecting Disengaged Students

By Emily Freeland Copyright 2023
    118 Pages
    by Eye On Education

    118 Pages
    by Eye On Education

    From Ghosts to Graduates is a timely book that recognizes that three years of interrupted learning has created an impending dropout timebomb of students who are traditionally at risk, as well as those who became disengaged during pandemic learning. Many students are ghosts in the system – they have become disconnected and disenchanted with schooling. Instead of only addressing strategies to treat the symptoms of dropping out, this important resource addresses the causes of the disengagement that led to those symptoms.

    Author Emily Freeland shows how to identify existing and potential ghosts, how to reconnect students to the learning process and communicate that we see them and believe in them, how to overcome barriers to progress, and how to restore hope. Each chapter offers current research and practical strategies, as well as Do Now and Reflection sections to help you apply the ideas as you read.

    With the deliberate practices in this book, you’ll be able to change the trajectory of the ghosting trend and help more of your students be seen.

    Meet the Author  Introduction  Part 1: Ghost Hunting – How do we find our ghosts?  1. Ghost Origins - Why do students become ghosts?  2. Ghost Indicators - How do we recognize when it is happening?  3. Ghosting Beyond the Numbers - What strategies can we utilize and what steps can we take to connect with our ghosts?  Part 2: Ghost Whispering – How do we see and connect with our ghosts?  4. Whispering in the Classroom - I see you!  5. Fostering Engagement and Motivation –Your learning is important to me!  6. Communicating High Academic Expectations – I believe in you!  Part 3: Closing the Gateway – How can we shut down the pathway to ghosting?  7. Call in Reinforcements - How can teacher teams face down the ghosting challenge together?  8. Instilling Hope - How can we instill hope in our ghosts and help them create a vision of their future?  9. Blocking the Pathways - How can we eliminate the school- and district-level policies that keep the gateways propped open?


    Emily Freeland has over 28 years of experience in education. She is currently serving districts and schools across the nation as an Instruction and Leadership Coach and is a certified National Dropout Prevention Specialist. Emily was awarded an Outstanding Curriculum Leader Award by the Alabama Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development. She was also a recipient of a Samford University Orlean Beeson School of Education Learning for Life Award. 

     “In this vitally important book, Dr. Freeland offers practical solutions for educators, leaders, and policymakers to address the dropout crisis.  This is not a momentary crisis, but one that will last for decades, as the legacy of dropouts includes poverty, unemployment, and excessive involvement in the criminal justice and medical care systems.  Thanks to Freeland’s insightful advice, we can both address the current dropout crisis and engage in systematic prevention of future dropouts. If we follow the guidance in this book, we can bring our dropout ghosts back into the light of an educational environment that offers hope for their future.”

    - Douglas Reeves, Author, Fearless Schools


    "Are you ready to get serious and address the drop-out issue in your school or district? Are you interested in identifying students who feel unseen and unvalued? Look no further. Emily Freeland has combined research with practical application and created a roadmap for educators to connect with their most at-risk students to take them from going through the motions to walking across the graduation stage. Whether you are a district leader looking to make changes at the systems level or an educator looking to make an impact at the individual level, you will find exactly what you are looking for in this book."

    - Allyson Apsey, educational leader, author and national speaker