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In The News …

In Maryland, forecast calls for more hires (Gazette): “About 22 percent of companies in Maryland plan to hire more employees in the first quarter this year, up from 17 percent in 2012′s first quarter, according to a recent survey by employment services company Manpower Group.” Nationwide, that number is five percentage points lower and the best prospects, reportedly, are in professional and business services. One reason? Many “employers that have been piling up profitable quarters say factors such as the fiscal cliff and a lack of qualified employees put a damper on their hiring plans last year.”

Chancellor Kaya Henderson names 15 DC schools on closure list (Washington Post): “More than one in 10 DC public schools will close as part of a plan Chancellor Kaya Henderson put forth Thursday, a retrenchment amid budget pressures, low enrollment and growing competition from public charter schools [...] Closing half-empty schools will allow her to use resources more efficiently, she said, redirecting dollars from administration and maintenance to teaching and learning.” Community feedback persuaded the Chancellor to keep open five schools originally slated for closure. You can read the detailed Consolidation and Reorganization Plan on the DCPS website.

Graduation Rate Hits Record High For High School Students: Government Report (Huffington Post): “More US high school students than ever are graduating on time, according to new information released by the research arm of the US Education Department. The percentage of students who graduated from high school within four years of starting ninth grade in the 2006-2007 school year hit a record high.” In that year, 4 million students began high school and, four years later, just over 78% have graduated — a 2% increase overall. But while more students are completing high school, “fewer than half of those in the class of 2012 were “college ready” as determined by the College Board last fall.”

Battle to Graduate

From “Battling Homelessness, Crime On The Path To Graduation” on WAMU 88.5′s Morning Edition:

Homelessness often insurmountable for high school students

Staying in school with an ever-changing address hasn’t been easy for Christopher. That’s because his mother had a hard time holding down a job and they frequently couldn’t pay the rent.

“For the most part, things stayed in containers, so all I had to do was store some trophies here, put some papers there, done,” he says. “My room is packed up perfectly ready to go.”

Christopher also had to ration food, and hide the fact that he couldn’t afford to do laundry more than once a month. [...]

School and other social support systems crucial

Children who are homeless are much more likely to drop out; one study shows that only 50 percent of children who are homeless for some period of high school will graduate. Christopher?s positive attitude has been tested. He has to travel farther and get to school earlier now to use the internet. Sometimes it gets to be too much.

WAMU also profiles Travaris, who is about to graduate from high school at 22 years old after spending 3 years in prison. But despite the financial and psychological challenges, he “comes to school on time every day and stays after class to complete assignments mentors other students.” He attends Luke C. Moore Academy, which offers a second chance to at-risk students, and Christopher is set to graduate from Hospitality High School and continue on to Michigan State. The obstacles for these students are markedly different — and the supports that they needed (and need) to overcome them are not strictly academic. So how can we ensure that students have the tools that they need to get to class and be free to learn, be that a mentor or clean clothes?

Learn more about our enrichment-focused education non-profits here and get to know our human service organizations that are dedicated to kids and families.

In The News …

Why Kids Drop Out: Identifying The Early Warning Signs (WAMU): “New graduation numbers to be released this month are expected to show that just more than half of public school students in the District actually graduate high school in four years. Students don’t drop out of school for any one reason. It’s usually a complicated mix, including individual traits, home life as well as school and neighborhood characteristics. But many researchers believe children exhibit clear warning signs early on that can help identify those at risk of dropping out. This report focuses on Turner Elementary School in Southeast, whose graduates attend a middle and high school “where approximately 20 percent of students can read and do math at grade level.” Attendance is the most critical challenge, as nearly 20 percent of DCPS students “had more than two weeks of unexcused absences last year.” To learn more about Catalogue education enrichment nonprofits, head this way.

Study: Child Abuse Affects More US Kids than SIDS (TIME): “When it comes to child abuse, the first year of life is the most dangerous for children. Although SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, attracts far more attention, the rate of hospital admissions related to SIDS is actually lower than the rate of child abuse — 50 per 100,000 children under age 1 for SIDS, compared with 58.2 per 100,000 births. [...] Researchers at Yale University found that abuse landed 4,569 children under 18 in the hospital in 2006; 300 of them died.” Locally, SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now) of Northern Virginia and Alternative House are working for safe, permanent homes for children in need.

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Classroom Character

From “What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?” by Paul Tough, New York Times Magazine, Education Issue:

“But as Levin watched the progress of those KIPP alumni, he noticed something curious: the students who persisted in college were not necessarily the ones who had excelled academically at KIPP; they were the ones with exceptional character strengths, like optimism and persistence and social intelligence. They were the ones who were able to recover from a bad grade and resolve to do better next time; to bounce back from a fight with their parents; to resist the urge to go out to the movies and stay home and study instead; to persuade professors to give them extra help after class [...]

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