Type of Project
At-risk children benefit from access to specific programs that support their success in a school environment. By providing opportunities that students can connect with, the probability of them staying in school and matriculating to a two- or four-year college or university will increase.
Biotech Academy in San Jose, California is an interdisciplinary program that focuses on bioscience. The program and its faculty, however, provide supports for at-risk students that go far beyond academics. To prepare for this discussion, watch the nearly 10-minute video Biotech Academy: A catalyst for change (Links to an external site.) . Note that this video can also inform your completion of the Week Four Assignment.
Initial Post: Create an initial post that addresses the following:
Week Four Instructor Guidance Welcome to Week Four of EDU644: Child and Family Welfare! Please be sure to review the Week Four homepage in the course room to see the specific learning outcomes for the week, the schedule overview, the required and recommended resources, an introduction to this week’s focus, and a listing of the assessments to be completed. Next, be sure to read the Instructor Guidance in its entirety.
Overview In Week Three, your understanding of families and children at risk expanded further by examining issues related to homelessness and comparing and contrasting the data and approaches to homelessness taken by two urban areas. Also, you considered the issue of child maltreatment by creating a brochure so as to increase awareness and assist families and children at risk as well as to support professionals who could benefit from the information.
This week, a connection will be made between children and families at risk and academic achievement. Attention will also be paid to special schools, districts, and programs that support students at risk.
“The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.” Dan Rather
Without a doubt, teaching is a work of passion, something that typically is innate, driven by a desire to help others and make a difference. The same can be said for those in social services and other care-related fields. When it comes to meeting the needs of students identified as being at-risk, important factors must exist between teacher and student in an effort to reach social, emotional, behavioral, and academic success.
Academic Success for Students at Risk Academic success for students at risk and their conditions with families at risk represents a strong interrelationship. Both risk and resilience, also termed protective factors are important to identify when working with school-aged children demonstrating at risk behavior.
Risk represents the potential for behavioral, academic, and mental health issues based on a variety of factors, impacting the school-aged child and their ability to reach and maintain social, emotional, and academic success. “Risk has become a catch-all term for a multitude of conditions that may lead to negative outcomes” (Morrison & Cosden, 2010).
Resilience or protective factors associated with resiliency indicate the ability of children to overcome or adapt to challenging or threatening circumstances (Garmezy and Masten as cited in Morrison & Cosden, 2010). While extensive social science research on children and families at risk has identified poverty as the leading factor putting a person “at risk”, others such as policy makers and the media have personalized what it means to be at risk.
While this approach is sometimes successful at providing children and families with needed resources, “it leads to stereotyping, tracking, lowering expectations, and sometimes prejudice and discrimination” (Bernard, 1997, p.2). Bernard adds that by viewing children and families through a deficit lens, recognition of their abilities and strengths, as well as their individuality and uniqueness is obscured.
Research in resiliency demonstrates the power teachers have in” buffering risks and enabling positive development of youths by meeting the basic needs for safety, love and belonging, respect, power, accomplishment and learning, and ultimately, for meaning” (Bernard, 1991, 1998, p.2). Bernard terms these teachers as turnaround teachers and identifies three protective factors these teachers practice that contribute to transforming risk to resilience;
Caring relationships: Turnaround teachers listen to students and validate their feelings, demonstrate kindness, compassion, and respect, refrain from judging, refuse to take students’ behavior personally, and understand that youth are doing the best they can. Positive and high expectations: Turnaround teachers recognize students’ strengths and help students to identify them in themselves.
They assist students in using their personal power to grow into a resilient survivor by helping them to a) not take personally the adversity in their lives; b) not see adversity as permanent; and c) not see setbacks as pervasive. Turnaround teachers also create student-centered learning environments by using students’ strengths, interests, goals, and dreams as the starting point for learning, tapping into students’ intrinsic motivation to learn. Opportunities to participate and contribute:
Turnaround teachers give students opportunities to express their opinions and imagination and treat them as responsible individuals, allowing them to make choices and participate in all aspects of the school’s functioning. Students are encouraged to problem solve, work with and help others, and give their personal gifts back to others through the provision of a physically and psychologically safe and structured environment.
Without the relational aspect between student and teacher, children at risk can cause disruptions in the classroom, ultimately impacting their ability to reach and maintain social, emotional, and academic success and oftentimes hindering the learning of others. To provide solutions for students at risk and to mitigating the potential consequences associated with at risk behaviors such as dropping-out and high truancy rates, a team-based approach involving all stakeholders should be taken in an effort to provide support and promote success for the student at risk.
As discussed in the work of Morrison and Cosden (2010), the presence of a diagnosed learning disability is a risk factor in and of itself. However, the authors suggest that other risk and protective factors interact with an existing learning disability affecting nonacademic outcomes such as emotional adjustment, family functioning, substance abuse, juvenile delinquency, and adult adaptation. Therefore, risk factors can be internal to the individual or external.
Federal Policies The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) Federal policies are in place to protect the learning rights of all students and bridge the learning gap between those with and without disabilities, and other factors putting children at risk such as poverty.
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) is the most recent version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) which authorizes federal spending on programs supporting K-12 schooling (New America Foundation, April 24, 2014). The primary goal of NCLB is to improve the educational opportunities for children from lower income families.
The most notable component of NCLB and likely most debated is that of its requirements for testing, accountability, and school improvement (New America Foundation, April 24, 2014). Under the law, schools, school districts, and states must test and report results of all subgroups of students including low-income students, those with disabilities, English language learners (ELL), and major racial and ethnic groups (New America Foundation, April 24, 2014).
NCLB required states, school districts, and schools to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) as they work toward the goal of ensuring all students are proficient in grade-level reading and math by 2014; another controversial point of the law. However, since February 2012, 43 states and Washington D.C. have received flexibility through the provision of waivers extending the deadline for another two years past the 2014 deadline (New America Foundation, April 24, 2014).
NCLB provides parents with information on how students, schools, and school districts are performing through annual school report cards. The knowledge of how specific schools are performing as well as their own student empowers parents to make educational decisions on behalf of their child in hopes of giving them the best opportunities to learn and achieve academically.
Individuals with Disabilities Act of 2004 (IDEA) Another key piece of federal legislation tailored to support students with disabilities and other impairments is the reauthorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004. Under President George W. Bush, most elements of the law came into effect on July 1, 2005 with the exception of the definition of “highly qualified teacher” which went into effect upon signing of the law ( Source (Links to an external site.) ).
IDEA ensures that public schools meet the educational needs of students with disabilities and requires that schools provide special education services to students as described in a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Under the law, schools and school districts must also provide a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE)—two protective rights of every eligible student in the U.S. and U.S. Territories (National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2014).
IDEA aligns with NCLB by requiring special educators be highly qualified teachers; and by schools and districts meeting requirements for local and state funding. Students eligible for special education services must be permitted to participate in the state accountability testing as well. The scores for students with disabilities, as well as students identified as being English language learners must still be reported to the state and federal government.
While this too, is a controversial point of the law, the ultimate purpose is to leave no child behind…to ensure that ALL students, regardless of ability, income level, or language, are included. What Can Schools and School Districts Do? While states, school districts, and schools must follow the laws in an effort to provide the highest quality educational opportunities for all students while maintaining accountability and showing progress, how support is provided to students is ultimately left of up each Local Education Agency (LEA) or school district.
Each state’s Department of Education is responsible for providing information meant to assist students, families, and educators in an effort to support student achievement. As you will discover in this week’s Discussion 2, Departments of Education, LEAs, and individual schools design a variety of ways to support children and families at risk, including students eligible for special education services. Parental programs and supports are a large portion of such support as educators and researchers in the field understand that support cannot be exclusive to what is provided within the confines of the school building.
Assessment Guidance This section includes additional specific assistance for excelling in the discussions for Week Four beyond what is given with the instructions for the assessments. If you have questions about what is expected on any assessment for Week Four, contact your instructor using the Ask Your Instructor discussion before the due date.
Discussion 1: Making a Difference: Biotech Academy
This discussion is an opportunity to demonstrate your mastery of the fourth course learning outcome, “Evaluate the impact of family and community resources on the behavioral, social, and academic achievement of children.”
Consider the information previously shared regarding risk and resilience indicators as you develop a response to Discussion 1. Here, you examine how specific programs and approaches can best assist students at risk in the K-12 school system. By addressing the social, emotional, and academic issues of students, the Biotech Academy offers one example of a holistic program that supports families and students at risk.
By providing opportunities that students can connect with, the probability of them staying in school and matriculating to a two- or four-year college or university will increase. Biotech Academy in Oakland, California is an interdisciplinary program that focuses on bioscience. To prepare for this discussion, watch the 10-minute video on the Biotech Academy: A catalyst for change.
Note that this video can also inform your completion of the Week Four Assignment. Discussion 2: School District and School Building Supports This discussion is another opportunity to demonstrate your mastery of the fourth course learning outcome, “Evaluate the impact of family and community resources on the behavioral, social, and academic achievement of children.” One way to improve the wellbeing of youth at risk is to identify resilience indicators that lead to targeting solutions to the specific needs of those at risk.
With the provision of school-level, district, state, and federal supports, efforts can be made to move students from being at-risk to that of thriving. School districts across the nation by law must provide some level of support for students having a variety of risk factors including those with diagnosed disabilities.
Besides the legal factors involved, a great deal of research shows the positive correlation between the various types and levels of support and academic success for students at risk. Additionally, consider reviewing the Recommended Resources from authors Bernard, and Anthony, respectively. For additional information related to this subject, you may also consult the recommended chapters from Rubin (2012) located under the Recommended Resources section.
Discussion 2 examines the risk indicators impacting a student’s ability to succeed in a school environment. Start by reviewing the background on the National Center for School Engagement website to gain insight on risk indicators commonly observed in youth at risk in school environments. The resource provides strategies for re-engagement that support the building of student resilience including parental involvement , truancy (Links to an external site.) , youth development philosophies & approaches , and reengagement supports or strategies for at-risk youth .
Next, access your state’s Department of Education website, specifically for their special education link which may also be titled something similar to Exceptional Student Services. Read their mission or vision statements; notice that your state’s website may have far-reaching statement as well as specific missions or visions for funding, programming, and resources. Investigate some of the programs and resources available from your state and review the methods the state uses to provide assistance to schools.
These sources serve as models as you complete the third step in your research before responding to the discussion; selecting a school district website of your choice to evaluate. You might want to select the school district in which your own children attend school, where you attended school or one that simply interests you that is near your residence. Consider this a fact-finding mission to determine the level of supports your selected school district is providing to its students and families.
Assignment: School-Based Efforts: A Plan to Support Youth at Risk This assignment is another opportunity to demonstrate your mastery of the fourth course learning outcome, “Evaluate the impact of family and community resources on the behavioral, social, and academic achievement of children.” The assignment allows you to apply knowledge gained from the readings and class discussions.
In this assignment, you will look through the lens of a particular professional role that you either have related experience in or anticipate having in your future professional practice. Assuming the role of the professional you have identified, your task in this assignment is to prepare a professional presentation for a diverse group of professionals, such as school principals or district administrators, social service providers or community outreach providers, medical professionals, and other related service providers.
Prepare a professional presentation with the purpose of informing participants of facts pertaining to youth at risk as it relates to student academic success. Considerations should be made for both school and classroom environments. A variety of solutions including; curriculum, programs, services related to treatments, therapies, support groups, and educational/instructional approaches should be included.
This article is located in the Ashford library and supports the Week four Assignment. The authors discuss Out-of-school time (OST) programs that offer unique opportunities to provide educational supports to students and children at high risk. The application of risk and resilience indicators to the development and evaluation of an OST are described as an approach to service delivery.
Bernard, B., & ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education, N.Y. (1997). Turning it around for all youth: From risk to resilience. ERIC/CUE Digest, Number 126. Retrieved from the ERIC database.
Education World. (2011). School mission statements: Where is your school going? (Links to an external site.) Retrieved from http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin229.shtml
Morrison, G., & Cosden, M. (1997). Risk, resilience, and adjustment of individuals with learning disabilities (Links to an external site.) . Learning Disability Quarterly, 20,43-60. Retrieved from http://www.ldonline.org/article/6174/
[Edutopia.] (October 1, 2003). Biotech academy: A catalyst for change [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/biotech-academy-school-career-video
National Center for School Engagement. (n.d.). Serving at-risk youth. Retrieved from http://schoolengagement.org/school-engagement-services/at-risk-youth
National Coalition for Youth. (2012, September 11). A shared vision for youth: Common outcomes and indicators (Links to an external site.) . Retrieved from http://www.collab4youth.org/documents/NCYCommonOutcomes.pdf
Potential of Risk among Students Paper
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