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Koala
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Koala
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Rule numer one for schools: When you hear about a succesful school (like the PS 428 in Baltimore), contact that school directly and ask them about what they're doing. Its always best to get your info from the admin/teachers/students that are involved directly in successful projets.

That said, from my perspective it takes a great deal of work and committment on the part of all involved to make education a success.

Structuring an environment that places a priority on learning comes first. The biggest issue for many areas is you'll have a few really great teachers/classes, but the whole school (and especially the school/district administration) doesn't buy into anything except the need to prove performance through testing.

Where I've seen the greatest success with teens is in environments where learning is student-centered and flexible. Split shift programs, where students come for just morning, just afternoon, or just evening classes really work. This means there's a higher likelihood that another family member can take care of their children; and it makes work schedules much easier to handle (so many of these students HAVE to work to survive). When schedules are kept to a strict 7:45-2:45 (day) schedule, the likelihood that teens with children can attend enough classes to complete a course, let alone a full high school program, decreases tremendously. This does NOT mean shifting kiddos off to your "alternative" center, either. This means restructuring regular campuses (one or more) within the districts.

Many of the schools in my service are with the most at risk populations also encourage the teachers to go to the students/parents at home. We make all kinds of assumptions about why parents don't come in--but do we really know why? No. Home visits are encouraged--though I'll add that teachers don't go out alone, always in pairs.

Involving your local health/human services agency and workforce/employment agency in the school also helps. This increases the likelihood that students will have access to the information they need to gain support services that help them stay in school.

Peer to peer counseling is also encouraged. Schools that set up committees of teens to review and adjudicate issues related to their peers, that appoint teens as peer counselors, and heavily involve the teens in every part of the educational process are more successful. Find those one, two or three teens in the school that have been successful and ask them to be leaders in the school.

Also, administration needs to be 100 percent clear on expectations--and these expectations need to make sense. Kids understand a lot more than we give them credit for. If they feel the ONLY reason admin is pushing academics is because of testing/finance issues (they read the papers, they watch the news, they know about the links between money and performance), then they're going to blow you off. Admin./teachers have to find a way to make education personally important to kids. "What's in it for me?" plays a big part in the performance issue.

Its going to boil down to really getting to know your population, involving them in the educational process, clearly defining expectations, making outcomes real for students (what's in it for me), providing information/access to support services to keep kids in school, being flexible, and committing resources (time/effort) to students outside the classroom.

Getting admin to buy into the importance of change and getting teachers to be involved with their students lives outside of class/campus is usually the biggest hurdle in the process. I wish you luck!

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Chipmunk
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Chipmunk
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Thank you!

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Gecko
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Gecko
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Not trying to hijack the thread but did want to comment on something said last week:

"the age at which he/she can legally vote, sign contracts, serve in the military, and some places drink"

In America, there is no place that once a person is legally able to vote, sign contracts, serve in the military and get married that they are also able to drink.

No place.

The only alcohol related "right" that accrues to a citizen at 18 (majority) is the right to go the the adult county jail for drinking a glass of champagne to celebrate getting a mortgage for a home to to raise your newborn in before shipping off to Iraq as a newly enlisted Marine.

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Koala
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Koala
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FrankJBN:

Not everyone using BellaOnline.Com hails from the states.

We have users and readers (and high-school/college students from that matter) from all over. Depending on where you are in the states there are situational exceptions to the 21 law; and in parts of the world, there may not be any legal age limit for drinking (Legal Drinking Age Info).

It's a very general statement and still applicable.

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Gecko
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Gecko
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When I were a lad I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing "Hallelujah."


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Last edited by freespirit; 10/17/06 05:18 PM.
#263079 10/19/06 04:18 PM
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Chipmunk
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This is a problem in schools from Kindergarten through College. A couple of years ago Time Magazine had a fantastic article about this problem (What Teachers Hate About Parents).

I've seen a parent berate a kindergarent teacher because a worksheet was in black and white and it "confused" her daughter. The little girl got 1 answer wrong. Another parent screamed at a teacher because she didn't carry a fifth grader's backpack for him--no there was nothing physically wrong with the boy. I've seen a third grade girl play soccer wearing a cast because the dad/coach insisted she play in every single game.

Last year I had to require that all work on a major assignment be done in school because of parents who basically did the students' work. I still had a 7th grade student bring in a floppy because he had "done it all" the previous night with his mother.

Parents want their children to succeed so much that they want to control every aspect of their life. One year we had a mom declare that her fifth grade son wouldn't be in the boy's "hygiene class" because he wouldn't be going through puberty until he was 17. They are often so busy protecting that they don't prepare thier children for life.


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Parakeet
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Parakeet
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I think we have to keep in mind who is paying the bill. When I pay for something, I expect to know what I got for my money and to be sure my money is well-spent. I know of a college that sends schedules and grades to whoever pays the bill. They tell the students it isn't treating them like a baby--it's an issue of accoutability. If you want someone else to pay your way, you'd best be prepared to meet their expectations. If you want to do it your way...pay your own bills.


Terrie Lynn Bittner
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Shark
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Shark
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Does paying the bill give parents the excuse to be rude and abusive.


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Koala
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Koala
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You know of a college that sends schedules and grades to whoever pays the bills? I sincerely hope its not a US institution. For that to happen, legally, in the US the student has to give express written permission. An adult child is entitled to his/her privacy under federal law in the US.

If you want to know how your child is doing, ask him/her. Its overstepping major boundaries to go and ask fot this information from the college/university.

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