Sunday, December 16, 2007

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Early alerts should help shape education – December 8, 2007
Indiana stands ready to roll out a computer-based teaching tool that can serve as an early warning system for student learning problems. The system is designed to give quick tests to students throughout the year, said Superintendent of Public Instruction Suellen Reed. The tests will make sure children are learning what they should and reveal what they’ve missed. The program will be phased in over four years, beginning in the fall of 2008, for schools that wish to apply for the program, which will offer a variety of teaching aids on subjects such as math, science and social studies.

Adult education bringing hope to young dropouts
The Post and Courier – December 10, 2007
Unlike the dropout stereotype, James isn’t wasting his days lounging on his couch or stirring up trouble on the streets. Instead, he’s focused on earning his GED by taking classes at Dorchester County’s Adult Education Technical Assistance Center. He receives one-on-one attention in smaller classes and said he’s learning in an environment geared toward his needs. Students like James were once a rarity in South Carolina’s adult education programs. The centers were designed to help adults move up in the workplace, and partnerships with business and industry were the norm. Adult education programs today, however, have positioned themselves to meet the needs of the state’s multitude of high school dropouts. Part of the new young adult effort includes the recent hiring of transition specialists, who play a similar role to school guidance counselors, at each site across the state. Theses employees assist in organizing college tours, preparing resumes, formatting job applications and teaching interview skills. Students are encouraged to keep in contact with the transition specialists even after they earn their GEDs.

Colleges set up charters as pipeline for students
Sacramento Bee – December 8, 2007
Frustrated with students who come to college ill-prepared and an applicant pool that lacks the diversity of the nation’s high schools, universities around the country are creating their own K-12 schools. All of them focus on steering disadvantaged kids toward the university gates. And educators say they are making headway. “The reason these are happening more is that the universities are trying to do something to increase the number of minority students that come on their campuses and can be successful,” said Rob Baird, who funds school-university partnerships as vice president of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. “Universities are now seeing these schools as laboratories for learning how to do something about remedying the achievement gap between more affluent, typically majority-population kids, and poor, urban, minority kids.”

School programs prevent dropouts with flexible hours
Houston Chronicle – December 12, 2007
It’s shortly after 1pm Wednesday, and while most of her peers across Texas are in school, 18-year-old Angelina Banda is driving to her $7.50-an-hour job at Home Depot. “I need Pampers,” said Banda, who has a 2-year-old daughter and a 4-month-old son. The young mom is enrolled in a special program at Houston’s Furr High School, which allows her to attend class in the morning and work in the afternoon. Similar programs designed to keep teems from dropping out of school could become more popular thanks to a new law that makes it easier for districts to obtain state funding for students with nontraditional schedules. State Rep. Scott Hochberg, who proposed the bill, said he hopes it encourages districts to offer evening or weekend classes for students who must work to support their families and cannot attend school during the conventional 8am to 3pm day.

Juvenile Justice

Juvenile Justice Day urges students to make healthy choices
The Huntsville Item - December 14, 2007
Students at the Huntsville Transitional Disciplinary Academy literally came face-to-face with reality Friday during the school’s first Juvenile Justice Day. During the program, representatives from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and several parole officers discussed law-related issues and life decisions with the students. “The primary purpose of this event is to help students make healthy choices and to help them understand the dynamics of the law,” HTDA counselor Chris Tyson said. “We want to dare our students to have big dreams and to preclude them from getting into the penal system. “It’s so
important that we reach these kids while they’re still at this age, because if we talk to them while they’re in the seventh and eighth grades, we can hopefully prevent them from being involved in criminal activities later on.”

Ohio receives grant targeting mental health improvement in juvenile justice system
Wilmington News Journal - December 14, 2007
Ohio has been selected as one of four states to participate in a national and statewide collaborated effort to reform mental health services for youth involved in the state’s juvenile justice system. Ohio was chosen in a highly competitive process by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to participate in the Models for Change action network to improve mental health services for young offenders. “About 70 percent of youth in contact with the juvenile justice system have suffered with a mental health disorder. We have to improve the level of service offered to this population,” said Department of Youth Services (DYS) Director Tom Stickrath. “We anticipate that the Models for Change grant will allow Ohio to find new ways to identify and treat youth involved in DYS and the juvenile justice system as a whole with serious mental health needs and ultimately develop a more effective juvenile justice system.

Foster Care

Advocacy group seeks more info on abused foster kids
Detroit Free Press - December 14, 2007
The state and a New York-based children’s advocacy group are again at an impasse in the federal lawsuit that could result in radical, court-ordered reforms of Michigan’s foster care system. A U.S. district court magistrate in Detroit is to hear oral arguments today by the state Attorney General’s Office, representing the Department of Human Services, and Children’s Rights, the group pressing a class action on behalf of Michigan’s nearly 19,000 foster kids. Sara Bartosz, a Children’s Rights attorney, said her group has taken about 30 depositions from DHS officials about the foster care system. “What we’re seeing loud and clear, is a system that is not managed and staffed and resourced in a way to do its basic mission and do it safely,” Bartosz said this week.

Country singer helps students keep the beat
The Barnstable Patriot – December 14, 2007
Jimmy Wayne’s life sounds like something straight from a country music song, which is perhaps why it’s so fitting that country is his chosen genre. Wayne’s experiences include being a witness to serious domestic violence, having a parent in prison, being a victim of child abuse, spending time in foster care and being homeless. With such a past tucked beneath his belt, it’s a wonder the singer never threw in the proverbial towel, or mic. To the contrary, Wayne channeled his experiences and now speaks about them, and about overcoming them, to students throughout the country. On Wednesday Wayne made a special stop at the Performing Arts Center at Barnstable High School, where he performed a show for 957 Barnstable Middle School Students.

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