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Articles: At-Risk

Learning to use the mind: New Haven Superintendent Garth Harries enjoys inspiring students, interacting with them, and giving them knowledge outside the classroom.

Within a few months of becoming superintendent of New Haven Public Schools a couple of years ago, Garth Harries had already attended too many teenagers’ funerals. After Harries left these grim ceremonies—and in other occasions when students were shot but survived—his office went back over the victims’ academic records for signs of trouble.

Chronically absent students are more likely to struggle academically and less likely to graduate. (Click to enlarge graphic)

More than 6 million students—representing 13 percent of the K12 population—missed at least 15 days of school in 2013-14. These chronically absent students were more likely to struggle academically and less likely to graduate.

Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez's initial spending plan was cut by $3.2 million by the school board.

Beth Schiavino-Narvaez has led Hartford Public Schools in Connecticut for two years. But it’s been two decades since a landmark state court case ruled the district had violated the U.S. Constitution by isolating children based on race and socioeconomics. And despite new budget woes, Schiavino-Narvaez continues to fight for better schools.

Meria Carstarphen came to lead Atlanta’s troubled school system in 2014 after 20 years of experience in education in districts in Texas, Minnesota and Washington, D.C.

Meria Carstarphen is a team player—literally. She has played football in the hot summer sun alongside varsity players at Atlanta Public Schools. The district superintendent also gives her personal cell phone number to staff and students alike. They can text her or call her—any time. In addition, they follow each other on Twitter.

In her new book, Pamela Lewis underscores the importance of filling classrooms with teacher role models who look like their students of color.

When it comes to racism in our public schools, many people pretend it doesn’t exist, says Pamela Lewis. In her new book, Teaching While Black, Lewis says a misplaced focus on test scores hides the true causes of underperforming inner-city schools: poverty and race.

This third-grade class at Vanderburg Elementary School in Clark County Schools operates on a year-round calendar that’s divided into five tracks. .

Educators have sometimes likened a school year to running a marathon. A balanced calendar may offer more chances to rest and refuel—enabling a strong effort in the next leg of the race.

Students from Project WHAT! (We’re Here and Talking), a program that hires San Francisco teens with incarcerated parents to lead trainings and presentations for school administrators, staff and students.

Research shows that children with an incarcerated parent are less likely to graduate from high school and go on to college. They are also more likely than their peers to have behavioral problems, be held back in the early grades and be placed into special education.

Danae Davis, executive director of Milwaukee Succeeds, reads to a class at Milwaukee Public Schools.

Urban districts struggling with budget cuts can increasingly look to foundations, nonprofits and private companies for support in driving district success efforts—from enhancing instruction to expanding healthcare to boosting college preparation.

ool Nurses, holds the inhalant form of Narcan, the emergency antidote that can revive students after a heroin overdose.

The number of districts and states rushing to stock an emergency antidote that can revive students suffering heroin overdoses shows the severe degree to which the nation’s latest drug epidemic has disrupted schools.

 Superintendent Barbara P. Canavan of Harford County Schools in Maryland speaks during a recent student summit on drug abuse. Among a range of other initiatives, the district shares data about the number of students who never use drugs in an effort to discourage others from becoming addicted.

Prevent people from starting heroin

  • Reduce prescription opioid painkiller abuse.
  • Improve opioid painkiller prescribing practices and identify high-risk individuals early. 

Reduce heroin addiction

  • Ensure access to Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).
  • Treat people addicted to heroin or prescription opioid painkillers with MAT, which combines the use of medications (methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone) with counseling and behavioral therapies. 

Reverse heroin overdose

    Mesquite ISD Superintendent David Vroonland says he has worked to give teachers more autonomy.

    Mesquite ISD Superintendent David Vroonland says his own atypical childhood has driven his focus on teachers and improving the culture for students in need.

    Pomona USD in California has raised its graduation rate to 88 percent. The turnaround began when Pomona formed partnerships with several community organizations and nearby colleges.

    No matter how cutting-edge the technology or advanced the curriculum, students have a hard time mastering essays and equations if they’re hungry, traumatized or feeling marginalized by a textbook’s inaccurate portrayal of their ethnic group.

    In the mountains of western North Carolina, administrators in Buncombe County Schools have seen a steady rise in the number of its 25,500 students who are homeless, food-insecure and involved in domestic violence.

    In January, the Jackson Public Schools became the first district in Mississippi to launch an evening high school that students attend from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m. It’s designed for students whose other commitments—such as jobs or caring for their own children or younger siblings—make traditional school hours difficult.

    Kicking a soccer ball might feel a bit like poetry—the power of your foot sending the ball curling through the air to a teammate or into the back of a net. Washington, D.C., teacher Julie Kennedy has for the past 20 years paired verse with the world’s most popular sport to provide a safe haven for thousands of urban students.

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