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Articles: At-Risk

In the wake of a divisive presidential election, hundreds of students from about a dozen high schools in Oakland, California, cut class last November to voice their discontent with President-elect Donald Trump. 

A 2015 study shows that education that focuses on the causes and consequences of depression and how to cultivate healthy emotions can decrease the rise of suicide.

The suicide rate among 10- to 14-year-olds is on the rise. While the statistics are dire, a solution seems to be taking shape. Prevention may be in the hands of the students themselves.

Superintendent Yolanda Valdez rallied community support in raising the graduation rate in her Central California district from 76 percent to 92 percent.

Superintendent Yolanda Valdez takes messaging seriously. Not emoji-filled texts or IMs, but messages that convey a goal for 4,000-plus students at Cutler-Orosi Joint USD in rural California: That they will attend college.

The U.S. Department of Education has released guidance over the new Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, a funding initiative under ESSA. (Gettyimages.com: Macrovector)The U.S. Department of Education has released guidance over the new Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, a funding initiative under ESSA. (Gettyimages.com: Macrovector)

Schools that offer more comprehensive instruction, increase school safety and student health, and better integrate educational technology may be eligible for new federal funds. A new grant program from the U.S. Department of Education will reward schools that improve access to music, social studies, environmental education and computer science.

Research regarding the effectiveness of random drug testing of students at school is scarce and inconsistent.

About 27 percent of high schools nationwide have a form of student drug testing. Some schools also perform “reasonable suspicion” testing on students who show evidence of illegal drug use, which can include abnormal behavior or physical symptoms.

 One child in five has had or will have a “seriously debilitating mental disorder,” according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Educators in Virginia’s Fairfax County Public Schools intend to remove the obstacles that prevent students who have severe social anxiety from attending school, a phenomenon known as “school refusal behavior.”

COMPASSION IN ACTION—At Johnston Elementary School in Buncombe County Schools, police officers spent time with students last summer after three shootings in the community. The school uses “compassionate response,” which in part means giving students specific duties to feel proud of themselves and valued by staff.

Educators across the country have boosted student performance by weaving social-emotional lessons—such as regulating emotion, accepting mistakes and coping with stress—into everyday instruction.

Pamela Davis Smith is the principal of Highland View Elementary, a Title I school in Bristol, Virginia.

In a perfect world, every child would have access to food, shelter and clothing. They would have loving, attentive parents. They would arrive at school eager, focused and ready to learn. Unfortunately, our pre-K through 5 school, like a growing number of U.S. public schools, does not reside in that world.

Superintendent Michael Kuzniewski has increased graduation, testing and proficiency rates.

For decades, the J. Sterling Morton High School District in the Chicago suburbs was in bad shape. In 2008, when Michael Kuzniewski became superintendent, he vowed to change all that, with help from a new school board.

Young refugees who have fled foreign war zones, religious violence and dire poverty represent some of the country’s most “at-risk” students. In one New York district, for instance, refugee students who recently heard alarms during a fire drill worried the school was being bombed.

In the 2013-14 school year, there were more than 1.3 million homeless students, a 7 percent increase from the previous year and more than double the number in 2006-07. While that number is troubling, researchers believe it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

One in four California sixth-graders has never seen a dentist. A student at Harmon Johnson Elementary School in Sacramento, above, gets a cleaning. A University of the Pacific study helped establish on-site dental care to high-needs schools.

A quarter of California students have never seen a dentist by the time they complete fifth grade, according to a recently completed six-year study by the University of the Pacific.

Paul Glassman, the director of Pacific Center for Special Care, a program of the university’s dentistry, established dental care in various high-needs schools in 2010. The project has already inspired legislation to help fund more dental services.

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires districts to grant homeless students credits for work done in other school systems.

The number of homeless students increased in the 2016-17 school year to about 1.3 million—doubling since 2006-07. Districts and states that have done the best job graduating homeless students have now seen some of their practices enshrined in federal law as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act.

DeRay Mckesson is the interim chief human capital officer for Baltimore City Public Schools in Maryland.

DeRay Mckesson is the interim chief human capital officer for Baltimore City Public Schools in Maryland, managing personnel, staffing, benefits and other related issues. The civil rights activist and former Baltimore mayoral candidate returns to the human capital office, where for 2 1/2 years he oversaw key reforms as a strategist and special assistant.

He now manages 56 employees and a $4 million budget. Mckesson also served in Minneapolis Public Schools until he resigned two years ago to protest the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson.

Equity in K12 education doesn’t mean the same thing as equality. In fact, achieving true equity often requires providing lower-income schools and students with more resources than are given others in the same district, says Joel Boyd, superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools in New Mexico.

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