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Articles: At-Risk

Superintendent Darwin Stiffler has raised achievement for migrant students in his Yuma, Arizona district.

Driven by a passion to create an environment where teachers and students can reach full potential, Superintendent Darwin Stiffler has implemented programs to support the migrant workers and military families whose children attend the Yuma Elementary School District in Arizona.

American Indian students consistently trail all other minority groups on standardized tests. But this population had the largest reported graduation rate gain of any demographic between 2010-11 and 2012-13, rising from 65 percent to nearly 70 percent in two years.

The jump is perhaps due in part to greater numbers of native teachers and administrators returning to reservation districts, some experts say.

A Champions of Wayne student receives her award for reaching an academic goal at a large ceremony at the end of the year.

A mentorship program’s $200 incentive for academic achievement is successfully motivating students in a district located in the heart of the declining automotive industry. "Champions of Wayne" was created by a school psychologist who mentored a handful of students and engraved their names on a four-foot trophy if they achieved an academic goal.

Mark D. Benigni is the superintendent of Meriden Public Schools. Miguel A. Cardona is the district’s performance and evaluation specialist.

Meriden, Connecticut, is a struggling, former industrial city, once known for its silver manufacturing, lamp producers, military product development, and automotive component assembly plants.

We were both born there, to parents who had little more than each other and a dream for their children. We were poor. We were the statistic.

Yet, just as we were unleashed from the grip of poverty, so too can millions of other children break free. We chose education as a profession because we wanted to make a difference in the lives of children.

Students served by Oakland USD’s Office of African American Male Achievement have increased GPAs compared to their peers.

Oakland USD created the Office of African American Male Achievement to develop a sense of pride and identity in the black male student community, in hopes of raising achievement and eliminating harmful discipline policies. Now, other large districts across the nation are following suit to close achievement gaps and to help this population reach college- and career-readiness.

Boggy Creek Elementary School, which has a high homeless population, celebrates winning a national reading competition.
St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams speaks to clergy members about the how they can help support the district’s homeless students.
Employees at School District U-46 outside Chicago adopted 60 families and purchased presents for nearly 150 homeless students.

Transportation may be the most complex and costly issue. But to keep homeless students from dropping out or falling too far behind in class, administrators have to tapped into federal funds and community donations to provide tutoring, school supplies, extra meals and clothing, among other necessities.

Steve Suitts, vice president of the Southern Education Foundation, the nation must deal with the increase in the number of low-income students.

The number of U.S. students who come from low-income families has long been the metaphorical elephant in the room when it comes to education funding. But, according to a new report by the Atlanta-based Southern Education Foundation, it’s a problem that can no longer be ignored.

The National Core Arts Standards were released in October. They emphasize developing artistic ideas, refining them, and following projects through to completion. (Americans for the Arts/Scott Cronan Photography)

You think math and English have high standards? Try the arts.

The National Core Arts Standards were released in October. They update the initial standards released in 1994, which included instructional guidelines for dance, music, theater and visual arts.

Andre D. Spencer is superintendent of the Harrison School District Two in Colorado Springs, Colo.

With the national trend of institutional achievement being measured by the number of graduates who go on to the next level of college or career, Harrison School District Two in Colorado collaborates with the community on a pioneering student success program.

Jasper County Public Schools was one of 36 rural, high-poverty districts to file a lawsuit against South Carolina, claiming that the state’s funding formula was unconstitutional.

After more than two decades, rural schools in South Carolina are tasting a sweet historic victory.

The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in November that the state funding formula denies many poor, rural students their right to an adequate education—21 years after several districts first filed the lawsuit.

Superintendent Arthur W. Tate of Iowa’s Davenport public schools has launched several programs to keep at-risk students from dropping out.

Superintendent Arthur W. Tate of Iowa’s Davenport public schools took over a 27-school district with nearly 16,000 students that had recorded the state’s highest urban dropout rate. The rate has been decreasing steadily, thanks to several programs Tate launched to keep at-risk students in school.

A Grand Rapids Public Schools interventionist sits with students on an academic assignment while also discussing cooperation and working together—illustrating the teaching component to the restorative justice discipline method.

Districts large and small, urban and rural, are revamping discipline as increasing numbers of experts and educators find that zero-tolerance—and widespread suspension and expulsion—has been ineffective and even discriminatory.

U.S. graduation rates reached a historic high of over 80 percent in 2012—an increase of about 8 percent over the past decade, says America’s Promise Alliance.

“We’ve made these improvements, but we’re still left with about 20 percent of young people who are on a course to failure,” says Jonathan Zaff, executive director of the Center for Promise at Tufts University, the research center for America’s Promise Alliance.

Donald Aguillard is the superintendent of St. Mary Parish Public Schools in Louisiana.

With several schools in Academic Assistance and test scores lagging behind the state average, St. Mary Parish Public Schools (Louisiana) knew powerful change was needed.

S. Dallas Dance has raised test scores at Baltimore County Schools since becoming superintendent in 2012.

President Barack Obama in August appointed Baltimore County Schools Superintendent S. Dallas Dance to the Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. Dance has been superintendent in Baltimore County since 2012. He helped raise the graduation rate by 2.5 percent—to over 86 percent—between 2012 and 2013.