Monday, February 22, 2010

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


High Schools to Offer Plan to Graduate 2 Years Early
The New York Times – February 17, 2010
Dozens of public high schools in eight states will introduce a program next year allowing 10th graders who pass a battery of tests to get a diploma two years early and immediately enroll in community college.  Students who pass but aspire to attend a selective college may continue with college preparatory courses in their junior and senior years, organizers of the new effort said.

E-math classes: One community's approach to help kids make the grade, Edina, MN – February 16, 2010
Edina High School principal W. Bruce Locklear was talking about "math deficient" students, those kids who have failed or are at-risk of failing math graduation standards tests and thus likely to leave school without a diploma.  And, since it reflected a grain of truth, he was using a little humor with his audience at a recent Association of Metropolitan School Districts meeting.  "Inevitably we were waiting on some divine intervention to teach them math and it wasn't working,'' Locklear said wryly. So, for those kids not making the grade in math, Edina is trying an experimental approach: E-math classes, a hybrid of human and computer-generated math tutelage.

HISD's 'Grad Lab' tackles dropout problem
ABC13, Houston, TX – February 16, 2010
As part of a new initiative, this January all HISD high schools began offering a new alternative for students who have dropped out of high school or are in need of credit recovery. It's designed to reach not only those who have already dropped out but those students who are at risk of dropping out. It's called "Grad Lab" and it's designed for students who have failed three or more courses in a previous semester, students with excessive absences, students at any grade level who have been retained while in high school and those who have dropped out and want to return to school.

Juvenile Justice

Second chance for first-time offenders
MyFox, Tampa Bay, FL – February 17, 2010
From Tallahassee to Tampa, governments are under a lot of pressure to trim their budgets and Florida's criminal justice system is becoming a big focus of attention.  Cost-cutting experimental juvenile justice reforms aimed at keeping non-violent kids out of the system are already underway in Tampa.  A program that may be under the axe is one that gives civil citations to teens in trouble, instead of placing them under arrest.

Mental health court keeps children out of jail
Houma Today, Shreveport, LA – February 15, 2010
Eyes glassy from lack of sleep and prescription mood stabilizers, the 13-year-old sat on the sofa in his parents’ home and muttered angrily under his breath. A moment later he yelled at his mother.  He is on probation for assaulting a staff member at a local medical facility and hurting another child, and suspended from seventh grade for threatening a teacher. At age 5, he set the schoolyard on fire. The Individualized Disposition Docket Court — the first of its kind in Louisiana — was established four years ago to deal with juveniles found guilty of crimes and diagnosed with serious mental illnesses.  “It’s not that we are going into the community and snatching up kids with mental illnesses,” said Judge Paul Young, who oversees the program. “These are children who have committed offenses or are ungovernable and have been adjudicated by the court.

Foster Care

CASA seeks to aid at-risk foster teens
The Daily News, Kentucky – February 13, 2010
Foster children who become “of age” and leave the state’s custody are at risk of becoming homeless, a victim or even a criminal.  It’s those circumstances that mentoring programs, such as “Fostering Teens” planned by Court Appointed Special Advocates of Southern Kentucky, seek to change. “This is not a new program per se but more of an emphasis for CASA to work with those teenagers,” said Will Constable, director of CASA. “Kids who are not adopted ... have very poor outcomes. Kentucky has a wonderful program that if they extend their care with the state, they can get lots of educational benefits.”

UIC gets govt. grant for foster kids mental health
Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago, IL – February 18, 2010
Mental health services for foster kids could get a boost thanks to research at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  UIC social work researchers have received a nearly $1 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. It's part of the government's stimulus money.  The funds will be used to analyze ways for social workers to address behavior problems in child-welfare settings.

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