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EWS 101: Introduction to the 5 Core Components of Early Warning Systems

Every 26 seconds a teenager drops out of school in the U.S. Early warning systems (EWS) can identify students at risk of not graduating so that schools can provide support early on to get students back on track to academic success and on-time graduation.

This first webinar of the REL Early Warning Systems Learning Series focuses five key components of an effective EWS:
  • Building a team
  • Identifying appropriate indicators
  • Creating data reports
  • Mapping interventions to indicators
  • Evaluating interventions

Additional readings

A Practitioner's Guide to Implementing Early Warning Systems (REL Northwest)
EWS research and implementation resources (American Institutes for Research)


Sarah Frazelle is Education Northwest's EWS practice expert and lead author of the Institute of Education Sciences' report, A Practitioner's Guide to Implementing Early Warning Systems. As the Montana state coordinator for REL Northwest, she works closely with a variety of education stakeholders to facilitate collaboration across departments within state and local education agencies. As the lead of the REL Northwest's Montana Date Use Alliance, Frazelle provides technical assistance on data quality and early warning systems for dropout prevention.

Jenny Scala is a senior researcher for the American Institutes for Research (AIR). She participates in multiple projects using her expertise in using data to inform instructional decision-making. Scala's technical assistance includes creating new strategies for supporting the implementation of early warning intervention and monitoring systems to identify and support at-risk students at the state, district, and school levels.

Amy Syzmanski has over 20 years of experience in the field of education, primarily in the area of special education. Szymanski currently works as a statewide Secondary Transition and Workforce Development consultant with the State Support Team Region 1 in Ohio. She is well-informed in the areas of secondary transition for students with disabilities and dropout prevention and has presented on these topics at the local, state, and national levels.

Denise Wright has worked for the Centennial School District in Portland, Oregon, since 1997. She has held the positions of learning specialist and student services consultant, and is currently the student services supervisor for the district. In this role, she works with K-12 staff who are developing and implementing multi-tiered systems of support, including early warning systems. Wright also provides training and supervision for special education staff.


The REL Early Warning Systems Learning Series is a coordinated set of technical assistance activities conducted by the Institute of Education Sciences' Regional Educational Laboratory Program. REL Central, REL Northwest, REL Southwest, and REL West are jointly coordinating this series of webinars.