How To Help At Risk Students Graduate

5506 words - 23 pages

Introduction
An ‘at-risk’ student is a young person at risk, or educationally disadvantaged, if they have been exposed to inadequate or inappropriate educational experiences in the family, school, or community. Many of these students are located in large, mainly urban high schools around the country (Balfanz, 2007). Urban high schools face five common problems: low student engagement, poor prior preparation, low ninth-grade promotion rate, low graduations rates, and isolation from the community (Herlihy & Kemple, 2004). When at-risk students are exposed to such environment everyday, they have a greater probability of dropping out of school (Princiotta & Ryan, 2009)
Nationally, 1.3 ...view middle of the document...

It was used for reconstructing large high schools with persistent attendance and discipline problems, poor student achievement, and high school drop out rates (Kemple et al, 2005). In this paper, I will discuss the implementation of the TDHS model and how it would be evaluated and supervised in Uniondale High School.

Chapter 2
Literature Review
High schools around the country are looking towards creating small learning communities as a solution to current problems happening in urban high school. In A Big Idea: Smaller High Schools, the majority of American high school students attend schools that consists of more than 1500 students, which the majority of these schools are located in large urban or suburban areas. A traditional high school setting is too large for students to receive the guidance and nurturing that they may need during this stage of life (Shakrani, 2008). Students in large high schools lack the essential interactions with teachers and other staff because they tend to get lost in the crowd. This can be detrimental to at-risk students because they do not have the support they need to help them took excel in school (Howley et al, 2000).
Many schools are adapting the small learning communities model to help alleviate this problem. Some new schools are created for smaller populations however it is not cost effective. Instead schools are opting to create schools-within-schools as a means to save money. Researchers define school conversion as replacing the design, structure, governance and operation of a large high school with a set of small, largely autonomous, focused distinctive and deliberately incomprehensive schools that share the same site and employ mostly the same teaching and administrative staff. The smaller schools tend to have an average size of 400 students enrolled (Shakrani, 2008). Recent studies suggest that student in small public high schools perform better academically, have higher attendance rates, feels safer, experience fewer behavior problems and participate in extracurricular activities (Cotton, 2001). The students who truly benefit from smaller communities are those who come from low achieving high schools located in urban areas (Howley et al, 2000).
During 2007 study by New York University’s Institute for Education and Social Policy small schools provide a positive social and academic environment for students and facilitates effective interactions between students, teachers and administrative staff, which contributes to higher attendance and graduation rates (Shakrani, 2008). Students and teachers begin to establish caring relationships that genuinely have each other’s well being in mind (Cotton, 2001). Some researches believe that educators in small high schools interact with fewer students and they are able to accommodate different learning styles and provide personalized assistance to students who need additional help (Shakrani, 2008).
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