Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Youth in Transition: This Week's News


Freedom’s dropout rate sinks
The News Herald – September 1, 2008
How do you prevent 40 percent of a high school's students from dropping out before they graduate? Freedom High School in Morganton starts by treating each one as an individual, not as a number. It's part of a multi-faceted effort to help more students graduate. According to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, Freedom High's campaign is scoring exceptional results. Freedom High's graduation rate surpassed more than 235 other N.C. schools' after 77 percent of the FHS Class of 2008 graduated this past spring. That is a remarkable turnaround in only two years. The FHS Class of 2006 had 630 freshmen. Almost 40 percent dropped out and less than 400 graduated. Freedom High's graduation rate ranked with the state's lowest fourth.

Leaders Brainstorm About School Dropout Prevention
RedOrbit – September 1, 2008
Local educators joined with leaders of nonprofit groups, city government, law enforcement, students and parents Thursday to brainstorm ideas for improving graduation rates at Tulsa high schools. The city and the University of Tulsa hosted the "Keeping Our Promise Dropout Prevention Summit" at TU. The event was sponsored by the America's Promise Alliance, which was founded by former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Tulsa was selected as the site of the second such summit because it ranked 12th among metropolitan areas in the U.S. for disparity of graduation rates between urban and suburban districts.

Dropout figures prompt new efforts
The Muskegon Chronicle – August 26, 2008
The issue of high school dropouts has taken on greater urgency in recent months, with a local effort under way to tackle the issue, and a commitment by United Way to also address it. Muskegon Public Schools has devoted two full-time staff members to keeping kids in school and bringing dropouts back. The new computations by the state were made possible by a relatively new system of tracking each individual student. As a result, the state released a variety of rates reflecting how many students are staying in school and graduating.

Juvenile Justice

Pendleton High School sold on restorative justice
Independent Mail – August 31, 2008
Pendleton High School Principal Danny Merck believes in restorative justice. Merck says the restorative justice program that the school initiated several years ago has reduced dramatically the number of fights among Pendleton High students. “We used to have a problem with fighting among students. … But since we have been using the restorative justice approach, we have cut the number to just a few fights a year,” Merck said.

Public responds to state report on racial disparity in youth services
News-Sentinel – August 28, 2008
In Allen and six other Indiana counties with the largest percentage of African-American youths, black youths are more than twice as likely to be arrested and are twice as likely to be transferred to adult court than other youths. Black teens are also more likely to be locked up than non-black teens for committing the same crimes, a 2007 study by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, ICJI, found. Those and other findings led to 2007 legislation creating a commission to address racial disparities in youth services. During a videoconference meeting Wednesday, recommendations were presented to the public gathered at seven sites around the state, including Ivy Tech Community College in Fort Wayne.

Foster Care

Reaching out to kids in trouble
The Leaf Chronicle - September 2, 2008
Drug abuse is the No. 1 cause of neglect cases in Montgomery County, said Johnson, who serves as liaison for the Foster Care Review Boards. Johnson also recruits volunteers for the boards and helps children through the foster care system. According to a July report, 211 children in Montgomery County are in state custody. Of those, 50 are children involved in delinquency cases, and 156 are children caught up in dependency or neglect cases. Five children are involved in unruliness cases.

Keeping families whole
Baltimore Sun – September 2, 2008
A recent study by Advocates for Children and Youth, a group that lobbies for children's issues in Maryland, found that while African-Americans make up only a third of the state's children, they constitute nearly three-quarters of the children removed from their homes, and are five times more likely than white children to be placed in group or foster home care. Yet rates of maltreatment among black and white families are virtually identical. This week, ACY will ask Gov. Martin O'Malley to issue an executive order that begins to address these disparities. The order would direct the state Department of Human Resources to identify specific sources of bias within the current child welfare system and to retrain child welfare workers in family-centered practices aimed at keeping more African-American children in their homes. The advocates want to redirect funds not being used for foster families toward a team approach to resolve problems that affect the entire family and ensure that they get the services they need.

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