Monday, August 17, 2009

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Preventing high school dropouts can start in 4th grade
Missourian, New York, NY – August 12, 2009
Not everyone earns their diploma. One out of every four students fails to graduate from high school in four years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. But here's a shocker from Lynne Strathman, director of Lydia Urban Academy in Rockford, Ill., a small faith-based alternative program for dropouts. Strathman says the one thing that she consistently finds is that "the last time these students felt successful was the fourth grade."

‘Middle school’ is much more than a name
South Washington County Bulletin, Cottage Grove, MN – August 17, 2009
When School District 833’s junior high schools become middle schools this fall, much more than the schools’ grade configurations will change. Students in grades six through eight will be part of a middle school system, which emphasizes relationships among students and staff. Teams of teachers will work with the same group of students, and they’ll meet daily to discuss students to learn what is working, and what areas a student may need help in.

Schools launch pilot program to meet needs of at-risk students, Columbia, SC – August 17, 2009
Twelve elementary schools and middle schools in South Carolina are taking part in a pilot program to meet the needs of at-risk students in lower grades. According to a news release from the South Carolina Department of Education, the two-year effort - Early Connections - strengthens the collaboration of dropout prevention activities between high schools and their feeder elementary and middle schools. It will provide technical assistance and training, especially in analyzing school data and developing intervention strategies to reduce the number of potential at-risk students who may fail to graduate.

Juvenile Justice

Iowa senators announce juvenile justice grant
Chicago Tribune, Washington, DC – August 13, 2009
Iowa's two U.S. senators have announced the awarding by the Justice Department of a $600,000 grant to the Iowa Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning Agency in Des Moines. According to Sen. Chuck Grassley, the funds will help the agency "develop programs and policies that work to keep kids out of the juvenile justice system and stop problems before they arise."

EMU program helps teen parents with school, life
Chicago Tribune, Ypsilanti, MI – August 15, 2009
Having a baby doesn't have to mark a teenage girl for a life of failure, putting her on the path of welfare dependency and under-education, say two Eastern Michigan University professors who run a program to give young mothers a better shot at success. The Ypsilanti school is using a $539,000 grant from the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to operate the program.

Foster Care

Iowa foster program receives national award
Examiner, Des Moines, IA – August 15, 2009
The statistics can be grim for teenagers in the foster care system here in Iowa and across the nation. According to the Iowa Department of Human Services, less than half of those who "age out" will graduate from high school within four years of release from care. Consequently fewer than 20% will be able to support themselves financially. Fortunately, Children & Families of Iowa has a program named Elevate that is designed for and run by youth in foster care.

New program helps foster youth find housing
Contra Costa Times, San Bernardino County, CA – August 14, 2009
Every year, thousands of foster youth age out of the system in San Bernardino County and end up living on the street, going to prison or worse. To ensure these vulnerable young people don't fall through the cracks, ASPIRAnet, a nonprofit family services agency, now offers a program that gets them started on the road to self-sufficiency. "At least 50 percent of the youth who leave foster care at 18 leave with no stable housing. In other words they are technically homeless. " said Tonya McCampbell, program manager for the ASPIRAnet office in San Bernardino. "This grim scenario plays out all over the U.S., so we are excited to begin the program."

Foster kids make transition to adulthood through summer program at Rutgers, New Jersey – August 13, 2009
Tina Colagero knew it was time to grow up. "I started to figure out things for myself, for my life, like where I could go, what I was going to do next if this didn't work out and what was my plan going to be." She was 10 years old. This summer Colagero, 19, was one of 10 students selected to participate in a 10-week Transitions for Youth Summer Housing and Internship Program (SHIP) managed by the Institute for Families at the Rutgers University School of Social Work.

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