The Government is investing almost €2m to help children in disadvantaged schools.
The School Excellence Fund teaches life skills alongside the usual subjects and tries to keep pupils in full-time education for as long as possible.
Education Minister Richard Bruton said the Department wants to level the playing field.
"We have a lot of disadvantaged schools who are doing well. they have cut dropout, they have improved literacy and we're now looking at how we can go to the next level," the Minister said.
"This is about piloting new approaches in 35 schools to some of the difficulties that some of the children from disadvantaged backgrounds face," he said.