The Characteristics of Reentry Programs for Out-of

Characteristics of Reentry
Programs for Out-of-School Youth
Julia Wilkins, Ph.D.
Research Associate
• Review of recovery initiatives
• Review of reentry programs
• Definitions
– How are dropout reentry and recovery
defined in your state/school district?
Need for a Broad Range of Options
• The variety of reasons that students drop out makes it
difficult to implement a uniform approach to reentry
• Many students who drop out have a long history of
course failure and retention (Kaufman & Bradby, 1992;
Roderick, 1993), and returning to school to obtain a
high school diploma may therefore seem like an
unachievable goal
• Students who repeated a grade and are significantly
overage may feel embarrassed to return to school
• Students who drop out often had poor relationships with
teachers and may even believe teachers wanted them to
leave (Croninger & Lee, 2001; Fine, 1991; Jordan &
McPartland, 1994; Rumberger, 1995)
• Lack of close relationships with teachers can lead students to
feel alienated and disconnected from school (Cooper & Liou,
2007; Le Compte & Dworkin, 1991) and students are unlikely
to want to return to same environment
• Many students drop out because classes are not perceived as
interesting (Bridgeland, DiIulia, & Burke Morison, 2006)
• Personal and family situations may have forced students to
drop out
Credit Needs
• Most students who reenroll in traditional public schools do not earn
enough course credits upon reenrollment to graduate within 5
• Of students who reenrolled in the San Bernardino City Unified
School District over a 5-year period, only 18% ultimately earned a
diploma, representing just 6% of the students who dropped out
(Berliner, Barrat, Fong, & Shirk, 2008)
• The Denver Public Schools and Colorado Youth for a Change (CYC)
analyzed data from students who dropped out of high school in the
2006-2007 school year and found that only 3% of students were in
situations where they could easily return to the traditional school
system (28% of 17-20 years olds had very few credits)
Reentry Programs
• Specifically attempt to address the barriers students
face in returning to and remaining in school
– child care for parenting students
– self-paced classes for working students
• Learning is placed in real-world contexts
– work experience, service learning
• Small class sizes
• Partnerships with community-based organizations
Options for Returning Youth
High school
diploma and
High school
and work
alternative schools
charter schools
online schools
adult education
adult high schools
programs for youth
with specific needs
dual enrollment
high school/college
community colleges
High school
diploma and
GED and
School District-Specific Options
• Los Angeles Unified School District
– Continuation high schools, Alternative Education Work
Centers (AEWC)
• New York City Public Schools
– Young Adult Borough Centers, Learning to Work programs
• School District of Philadelphia
– Accelerated high schools, Educational Options Program
• Portland Public Schools
– Alternative programs that offer credit recovery, credit for
proficiency, and credit for work/volunteer experience
Initiatives to Locate and Reenroll Students
Phone Calls/
Home visits
Information Sharing
Between Schools
School Teams
Collaboration with
Reengagement /
Transition Centers
Print and Electronic
School Expos/
Reengagement Fairs
Characteristics of Reentry Programs
flexible programming
options for credit recovery and accrual
meaningful curricula
additional services and support
staff involvement
Flexible Programming
Year-round enrollment
Classes in the evenings and/or on
Classes in morning, afternoon,
and evening sessions
Classes in various locations
Online courses
Self-paced curricula
Variety of course delivery modes
(e.g., project-based, independent
Alternative modes of course
completion (e.g., portfolios)
Students can return to school at
any time
Flexible timetabling enables
students with other commitments
to attend school
Self-paced courses allow students
to succeed even if they cannot
maintain regular attendance
Overage students are more likely
to attend school at alternative
sites than reenroll in traditional
high schools
A variety of instructional and
assessment techniques can
accommodate individual learning
Examples of Flexible Programming
• Portland Public Schools, Oregon
– Alliance High Schools operates on four campuses, including two night
schools for working and parenting students and a school with a
technical education focus at which students can participate in job
shadowing and internships
• Diploma Plus Schools in Indiana
– Offer flexible scheduling, flexibility in course titles and construction of
courses, alternative instructional media, and competency-based route
to high school diploma (Arlington High School)
• Youth Connection Charter School (YCCS)
– 22 community-based campuses around Chicago that offer portfoliobased course completion, dual enrollment in high school and
community college programs, evening programs, and targeted
programs for gang-involved, pregnant, and parenting youth
Options for Credit Recovery and Accrual
Opportunities to earn high school
and college credits through dual
enrollment at high school and
community college
Opportunities to obtain a diploma
and industry-recognized
Credit for internships/work
Credit for community service
Self-paced online credit-recovery
programs (available at school or
alternative location with credits
transferred to home school)
Students who are overage can
obtain high school diploma in
timely fashion and make headway
into occupational certificate or
associate’s degree
Students can earn credits while
developing employment skills
Students can earn industry
qualifications that increase their
chances of gaining employment
Online courses can be taken from
any location with internet access
Examples of Options for Credit Recovery and Accrual
• Online Credit Recovery
– At The Arkansas Virtual High School students can take supplemental
courses and have credits transferred to their home school
– Houston Independent School District has “Grad Labs” (computer labs
with self-paced online credit-recovery program) at 46 school
• Gateway to College
– 24 colleges in 14 states at which students can complete high school
diploma requirements while simultaneously earning college credits
Meaningful Curricula
Academic instruction combined
with training for industryrecognized credentials
Opportunities for on-the-job
School-to-work internships
Service learning projects
Mentors and instructors from local
Instruction in “soft skills” needed
for employment
Students can see connection
between education and “real life”
Students can gain qualifications
that provide entry to the
Students can gain exposure to
work practices and related
employment skills
Service learning gives students
sense of civic responsibility
Recipients of service learning
projects gain from students’
Examples of Meaningful Curricula
• Rosemary Anderson High in Portland, Oregon
– Students work towards high school diploma while participating in job
shadowing and paid internships with local businesses
• Gonzalo Garza Independence High School in Austin, Texas
– In addition to job shadowing and internships with local nonprofit
organizations, students can take a multi-credit course in horticulture
and sell herbs at a local farmer’s market
• Baltimore City Career Academy in Maryland
– Academics, work experience, and “soft skills” needed for employment
are addressed through an integrated curriculum
Additional Services and Support
Additional academic instruction
(e.g., individualized tutoring)
Classes in areas such as
parenting, life skills, and conflict
Services such as child care,
counseling, and substance abuse
Case managers to coordinate
additional services
Mentors to provide ongoing
support during transition to
college or employment
Students can get individualized
support in areas of academic
Students can learn additional skills
needed for the workplace (e.g.,
anger management, appropriate
Barriers toward attendance can be
Services can help to address
needs of the entire family
Assistance with obtaining
employment or attending college
can be individualized
Examples of Additional Services and Support
• Los Angeles Conservation Corps
– Operates 3 charter schools that provide counseling, mentoring, and
job search coaching services.
• EDCO Youth Alternative in Boston
– Counselors from Wediko Children’s Services provide conflict resolution
and crisis management services, The Higher Education Information
Center provides college preparation, The Boston Private Industry
Council (PIC) provides career counseling.
• Youth Opportunities (YO) program in Baltimore
– Staff provides SAT preparation, postsecondary information, and
college tours. Students with disabilities are referred for vocational
services at Sinai Hospital where they receive job-seeking skills, direct
employment, and case management.
Staff Involvement
Collaborative meetings between
teachers, parents, and students to
establish students’ learning goals
Close teacher monitoring of
students’ behavior and academic
Teams consisting of various school
personnel to help address
students’ problems
Attention to instructional/credit
needs as well as day-to-day needs
Staff who is accessible both in
school and after school hours
Staff to provide ongoing contact
and support for students
Students’ educational programs
can be individually tailored to
meet their needs
Involved staff can make referrals
to appropriate outside resources
and services
Students who got “lost in the
crowd” in previous high schools
feel increased sense of support
and belonging
Mentors can motivate students to
graduate from school
Students can be given personal
guidance to help them transition
to postsecondary education or
Examples of Staff Involvement
• Academy of Scholastic Achievement (ASA), a Youth Connection
Charter School (YCCS) campus in Chicago
– At the beginning of each school year, teachers, parents, and students collaborate to
develop students’ individual learning plans. The plans outline students’ learning and
behavioral objectives, as well as teacher expectations and potential barriers to students’
• Austin Independence School District (AISD) in Texas
– Each school campus has a task force that intervenes when students experience
attendance, academic, or behavioral problems. Task force members include principals,
counselors, nurses, dropout prevention specialists, regular classroom teachers, and
special education teachers.
• The Reengagement Center in Philadelphia
– Staff evaluates students’ academic needs and directs them to appropriate academic
programs, as well as other supports. E.g., Advisors from the City’s Office of Mental
Health meet with youth to conduct clinical interviews, assess their behavioral health
needs, and make behavioral health referrals.
Local businesses for onsite job
training and internships
Local colleges to allow for dual
Community-based organizations to
provide alternate settings at which
students can take classes
Local organizations to increase
students’ access to community
Social service agencies to provide
services for particularly vulnerable
groups of youth
Students can simultaneously gain
diploma and vocational
Students can earn college credits
while working toward high school
Students can make smooth
transition into postsecondary
Students can get access to a
variety of community resources
Students’ varied needs outside of
school setting can be met
Examples of Partnerships
Partnership between Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the Los
Angeles Community College District (LACCD) enables every LAUSD student to
take at least one college transfer or career/technical course before leaving high
In Vermont, partnership between high schools and Learning Works, the statewide
adult education and literacy system, enables students to complete high school
diploma through service providers in the community.
New York City Department of Education operates Learning to Work in
The Horizonte Instruction and Training Center in Salt Lake City has partnerships
collaboration with Good Shepherd Services (GSS). GSS staff provides supervision
for students in the workplace and a year of follow-up support.
with local government agencies, businesses, and community-based organizations
to host resource fairs and seminars on topics such as employment, housing, and
banking. Also provides meals to students and their children through partnership
with the Utah Food Bank.
Next Steps
• Review characteristics of reentry
programs for particularly vulnerable
groups of youth
• Develop database of reentry programs
• Create groundwork for future research
Upcoming Publications
• Reentry Programs for Particularly Vulnerable Groups
of Youth
African American and Hispanic/Latino
Native American
English Language Learners
Foster Care
Juvenile Justice
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT)
Substance Abusers
Mental Health Needs
Teen Parents
Database of Reentry Programs
• Will be available on National Dropout
Prevention Center for Students with
Disabilities website
Contact Information
Dr. Julia Wilkins
209 Martin St.
Clemson, SC 29631
Tel: 864.656.2595