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Articles: At-Risk

Former Washington Post reporter Dale Russakoff's new book, "The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools?," looks at public schools in Newark, N.J.

Former Washington Post reporter Dale Russakoff's new book looks at what went wrong with Newark’s ‘Hemisphere of Hope’ and massive grant from Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg that supported the initiative. She says most funds went to hiring consultants, expanding charter schools, closing low-performing schools and subsequently firing teachers.

A first-of-its-kind, 50-city analysis of public education finds that while academic progress remains flat in most urban areas, underserved students in some parts of the country are gaining access to more rigorous learning.

In lieu of suspensions, Broward County students are referred to a program where they receive counseling and academic help.

Disproportionate suspension rates for black students and disabled students have created a national “discipline gap,” making it more difficult for these students to succeed academically, according to the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA

New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones examined resegregation in Missouri’s Normandy district.

Politicians often express concern over the widening achievement gap between black and white students in this country. But there was a time when that gap was reduced by as much a half. The reason? Integrated schools.

Sharie Akinmulero is an English teacher in San Antonio, Texas.

As school districts around the country experiment with various reforms aimed to increase graduation rates and prepare student for college, one such initiative already has established a proven track record of success.

Students attending an Internationals Network-supported school learn English language skills.

Despite fewer unaccompanied minors arriving from Central America, many U.S. K12 schools still struggle to adapt to the challenges of educating this diverse set of immigrant students.

During the 2014 fiscal year, the Department of Homeland Security reported that 57,496 unaccompanied minors arrived in the United States. In the first eight months of fiscal year 2015, the number dropped to fewer than 18,000.

Elizabeth Rose’s new book tells the story of a substitute teacher moved between schools each week in New York City.

When Elizabeth Rose’s teaching job was cut, she was presented with two options: leave the profession or substitute in a different Manhattan public high school each week. Rather than give in, Rose—who’s also a musician, writer and actor—took on the substitute challenge. It was “a temptation no storyteller could resist,” she says.

Des Moines Public Schools Superintendent Thomas Ahart has tried to instill greater pride in his district’s urban schools.
Des Moines Public Schools celebrates its diversity in a state that remains predominantly white. A quarter of its students are Hispanic and nearly 18 percent are African American. About 100 different languages are spoken among the student body that includes refugees from Myanmar and Nepal.
Students created and set up colorful poles on the lawn of Findley Elementary, a high poverty school where many students receive free or reduced-price lunch.
Art teacher Lisa Hesse shows off Findley Elementary’s movable “Living Wall,” where students have combined arts and gardening in an eye-pleasing project examining how plants grow.
Des Moines’ Central Campus, a regional technical high school, offers a wide range of career-focused programs, including an extensive marine biology lab that students tend to 365 days a year.
Graduation rates have been rising steadily during Ahart’s tenure. The Class of 2014 hit an all-time high of nearly 82 percent, a 2.5 percent increase over the previous year.
About 100 different languages are spoken among the student body that includes refugees from Myanmar and Nepal.
Technology has played a major role in Des Moines' turnaround. It was one of the first district's in Iowa to launch a high school 1-to-1 program.
Art teacher Lisa Hesse leads students through movements to help them pay better attention during instruction time.

Des Moines Public Schools Superintendent Thomas Ahart strives to bring equity, pride and higher achievement to a once-struggling district that is far more diverse than the rest of Iowa. A garden of multicolored poles students have installed outside one low-income school taunt would-be vandals and represents Ahart's belief in the transformative power of education.

Clockwise from top left: Kara S. Finnigan, Lesli C. Myers, Kevin McGowan and Shaun Nelms

Although the country is becoming increasingly diverse, our schools remain racially and economically segregated. High poverty schools with large proportions of students of color often have less experienced teachers, more transitory populations and challenges in providing a safe environment.

The 2014 annual survey of the American Psychological Association found that teens reported stress greater than did any other age group.

With that in mind, a new pilot study, published in the spring issue of the journal Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, describes how a stress-reduction/resiliency-building curriculum developed by the Benson-Henry Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital helped a group of Boston-area high school students significantly reduce anxiety.

Kimberly Cervantes is an 18-year-old Compton student and plaintiff in the trauma case. The other four students involved in the case are under 18 and anonymous.

A first-of-its kind class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of five students and three teachers against Compton USD in California alleges the district does not adequately address the impact of childhood trauma on learning.

All preschool students within Washington’s Bremerton School District boundaries receive the same math and reading curriculum for kindergarten readiness.
Dallas ISD teachers undergo rigorous evaluations.
Art projects within the Humanities Research Program at Montville schools in New Jersey ignite passion in students.
The Employee Health Clinic at Independence School District in Missouri is convenient and cost-effective.

From early-learning to entrepreneurship to the environment, innovative instruction propels students to meet more rigorous standards and graduate high school better prepared for their next steps in life.

Under a new plan for decentralization, Denver Public Schools will have flexibilities in curriculum and assessments that are traditionally associated with charter schools.

Principals in Denver Public Schools will soon have the power to purchase their own curriculum, professional development plans and testing programs.

Denver schools announced in May its move to a decentralized model for 2015-16, joining a growing urban district movement to give traditional public schools the flexibility of charters.

Last year, more than 900 middle school students gathered at the American Museum of Natural History in one of New York City’s largest science fairs (with more than 400 projects) on the 10th anniversary of the museum’s middle school science initiative, Urban Advantage.

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City is leveraging its scientific resources to address K12 STEM education needs and to help develop future scientists.

The museum’s mission is to “discover, interpret, and disseminate, through scientific research and education, knowledge about human cultures, the natural world and the universe.” It houses more than 33 million specimens and artifacts.

Gifted students from Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia study a local pond ecosystem and its feeder stream.
Fairfax County Public Schools gifted students test water samples from a nearby stream to determine its health. Teachers work with Young Scholars to build basic skills and provide challenges.
Students in a Fairfax County Public Schools gifted classroom use scientific inquiry to conduct an experiment and record results.
Fairfax County students examine leaves, pinecones and other objects to learn observation skills, classification and the importance of thinking like a scientist.
31 states require districts to identify gifted students and provide gifted programs.

The U.S. public school system’s focus on struggling students leaves high-achievers—especially minorities, the economically disadvantaged and English-language learners —without a challenging enough education, experts say.