Education Vital Signs: Children at Risk
Education Vital Signs collection of reports on Children at Risk.
Hope for Homeless Students
More than 3,000 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students live in homeless shelters. Forty-one percent of these attended two different CPS schools within one year, while 28 percent attended three or more. CPS/AmeriCorps’ Chicago HOPES program offers these students after-school tutoring programs based in Chicago shelters serving families with children.
Children At Risk: Middle School
With students at a turning point in their lives, middle schools have their work cut out for them. The stakes are higher in large urban schools, where the percentage of at-risk students is higher. A school's variety of after-school offerings and clubs helps students find their niche.
Children at Risk: Mental Health
The key to building a strong mental health program is not for schools to assume the mental health care of students, but for schools to provide seamless access to these services, which are best housed within schools and in partnership with community agencies. It is this intersection of community and school efforts that holds the best promise for improving mental health services for youth.
The Cost of Autism
New Jersey's Brick Township beckons new residents with its small-town charm, Cape Cod-style homes, public beaches, and smattering of pizza joints. School officials here, though, see families coming to the area for an entirely different reason: Their district, they say, has become a mecca for parents seeking a better education and therapies for their autistic children.
Children at Risk: Graduation Day
By embracing the community schools model, an Indianapolis school succeeds in helping students in danger of academic failure.
Searching for Zero
A dropout is a dropout. By this definition, nearly every school district has a dropout problem, regardless of its wealth or the kind of students it serves. The good news is that boards are key to solving the problem. Consider the influence school boards have over district policies: “What policies keep kids in [school], and what policies push kids out?”
Searching for Hope
The children arrive at the House of Hope at all hours of the day, torn from homes with violence, drugs, or uninhabitable filth. Some have witnessed unimaginable crimes; others have been ignored for days or weeks. Usually, all their clothing and toys have been taken away, along with any impression of security. In a sense, these children are lucky.
Children at Risk: The Family
For schools struggling to help at-risk children, it is essential to reach out to parents. But simply wanting “parent involvement” is not enough. Districts, especially those serving low-income families, need comprehensive outreach plans to strengthen family ties and provide parents with the skills and information to help their children succeed.
Nationally, neither schools nor state juvenile justice systems have had a good track record in rehabilitating juvenile offenders. In Florida and other states where these entities must work together in the same facilities, there has often been a clash between the public safety function of juvenile justice and the educational efforts of the schools. With academic failure proving to be a gateway to delinquency, what can schools do to help teen offenders turn their lives around?
People who work in schools know that children—even kindergarten and preschool children—don’t come to them as blank slates ready to be filled with knowledge. They come from families and neighborhoods; families that are troubled, neighborhoods with histories of unspeakable violence.
Children at Risk
On a malnourished 5-year-old, the facial fat is the last to go. Bundled against the Boston winter, he looks like a normal child, his plump little face peeking out from inside a discount store parka. But a doctor can tell he’s suffering. The 5-year-old described above is an “at-risk” child—at risk of failure in school and in life. Before he ever sets foot in a public school, he is months, perhaps years, behind. Now it’s the school district’s job—your job—to give him the best possible chance at success. What are you going to do?
Fostering the Right Relationship
Children who’ve been subjected to abuse, neglect, and abandonment, and who’ve been uprooted from the only home they’ve known, run the risk of developing disorders that interfere with learning. Like other students, foster kids are more likely to succeed if they learn to read well, take college prep courses, and graduate. But school success depends on getting foster kids enrolled in school promptly.