Communities In Schools Board Chairman Elaine Wynn with students from Communities In Schools of Jacksonville's"Jump Start Strings" program. "Jump Start Strings" enables students to explore and enjoy music after school.
Education Week: Youth who spend time in juvenile detention centers often find themselves behind in school when they return to the real world, and the fight to catch up pushes many to drop out. Education Week examined what happens to juvenile offenders when they try to become re-acclimated to school life. A lack of state and local regulation often leaves these students to strike out on their own with little support or guidance. They feel stigmatized, struggle to catch up in coursework and often cannot transfer credit from courses they took at a juvenile detention center—forcing them to have to re-take classes. Communities In Schools can help ensure that kids re-entering mainstream life have a true second chance. For instance, Communities In Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., formed a partnership with the County Sheriff’s Department and local schools to provide counseling and resources to juvenile offenders, with the goal of helping them transition successfully back into school or another educational setting.
Associated Press: Graduation season is right around the corner, but for this year’s college grads, the ceremony is bound to be a bittersweet one. An analysis of government data conducted for The Associated Press shows bleak career prospects for 2012’s crop of graduates.Young adults with bachelor’s degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs, such as waiter, bartender or retail clerk— and that’s confounding their hopes that a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans. Yet having a college degree is still better than having no degree at all. People with a bachelor’s degree are estimated to earn more than a million dollars more over the course of their lifetimes than people with just a high school education.
Washington Post: Can music and art turn the beat around for America’s low-performing schools? In an effort to transform America’s worst schools, the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, working with the Department of Education, announced an unusual experiment to infuse art, music, dance, theater and other forms of creative expression into eight schools over a two-year period. The arts can help students achieve success in subjects, such as math and science. Yet a recent survey by the Department of Education showed that children in high-poverty schools have less access to artistic programs. More than 1.3 million students in elementary school and 800,000 secondary students receive no music education.
In his book, Dropping Out: Why Students Drop Out and What Can Be Done About It, (Harvard University Press, 2011), Russell W. Rumberger, vice provost at the University of California, chronicles how the issue of dropout prevention has been dealt with in the last 40-plus years. At a recent forum held on Capitol Hill last month, Rumberger highlighted points from the book on what can be done to fix the problem. The work Communities In Schools does to surround students with the resources they need to graduate is in direct alignment with several of his suggestions.
On the subject of reform efforts, Rumberger doesn’t sugar coat his impressions. He cites a lack of attention to cost, sustainability and scalability as one limitation to the large-scale programs that exist today. What sets Communities In Schools apart from other organizations is our model of integrated student services – the ability to provide a comprehensive range of community services. Structured to meet each community’s unique needs, it is adaptable to urban, rural and suburban communities and across states, school settings and grade levels. The annual cost per student is extremely low: less than $200 a year. In addition, Communities In Schools sets out to stay in communities as long as is needed. Dan Fuller, vice president of Legislative Relations at Communities In Schools, and a panelist at the forum, succinctly expressed the Communities In Schools mission when he stated going into a school for three or five years is simply not good enough. View full article »
Today’s blog post comes from National Network Executive Vice President Gary Chapman.
Communities In Schools of Central Texas students
After I graduated from college, my first job was as a mental health therapist working with juvenile delinquents. Mitchell, a seventh grader referred for truancy, was the first young man I worked with. I remember the shack he lived in with its dirt floor, and the depressing detention room where he spent his days at school. When I asked Mitchell what his dreams were for his future, he would simply say, “Just not to be in prison like my dad and brothers.”
Fourteen years later, I’ve been able to see first-hand what a difference the right kind of support can make in the lives of students. I recently had the honor of visiting Garcia Middle School in Austin, Texas, where I experienced the thoughtful and comprehensive work underway to empower students through Communities In Schools of Central Texas. I visited students, dynamic campus manager Crystal Pena, AmeriCorps members and school staff. After visiting the Communities In Schools room, where site coordinators keep their office and meet with students, I had the opportunity to speak with four impressive seventh and eighth graders. They’ve all been involved with our organization for at least two years, have significantly raised their grades and now attend school regularly. View full article »
Today’s blog post is from Government Grants Manager Megan Robinson.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to represent Communities In Schools at the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) conference at the National Harbor in Maryland. The conference brings together hundreds of leading experts, researchers and practitioners from around the country to examine and address many of the key issues facing the juvenile justice community.
The two-day event featured workshops, plenary sessions and keynote presentations to promote the latest research findings and developments in the field of children’s justice and safety, and to learn more about Department of Justice initiatives.
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Last week I had the opportunity to hear Communities In Schools President Dan Cardinali speak at a conference. His eloquent and intelligent presentation highlighted the work our network does to help 1.3 million students stay in school and graduate.
President Dan Cardinali at the "Educating the Whole Child" panel.
The occasion for Dan’s speech was the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s celebration of its 41st Annual Legislative Conference. On the agenda were several panel discussions on the issues of greatest concern to the African-American community. Education was one of those issues. Poor math and reading scores, closing the achievement gap and lowering dropout rates were just some of the topics covered.
Dan Cardinali participated in an Education Braintrust panel discussion to contribute to the conversation and present the Communities In Schools integrated students services model as one of the solutions.
The event, entitled Educating the Whole Child, was part of a larger discussion called Ensuring African American Students get the Education They Deserve. Legislative representatives and education advocates from around the country joined nearly 150 in attendance as the discussions centered on closing the achievement gap, and how best to address the education needs of under-served students. View full article »