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Building Resilience in an At-Risk Youth Population

1 January 2014


Miller Education Center (MEC) is an alternative school located in the Hillsboro School district that serves approximately 100 middle and high school students. Students that attend MEC face a myriad of issues that pose as a challenge to meeting standard performance in a traditional school setting. While teachers or counselors at the students’ home schools make the referrals for students to attend MEC, all students are still required to apply and interview with the principal to be able to enroll.

A needs assessment of MEC services was completed in February 2014. Completion of the needs assessment revealed that MEC high school students currently have an advising period scheduled into their curriculum. However, advising periods are typically unstructured and are used as advising staff see fit. MEC high school students who were enrolled in advising were surveyed to understand how they perceived advising sessions. Overall, students were interested in seeing greater incorporation of group games, college preparation, and relationship building skills in advising sessions. MEC students were less interested using advising time for reading (silent and aloud) and personality testing.

After analyzing student survey results and discussing the advisory program with the principal at MEC, it was determined that the high school students could benefit from implementing a resiliency-based curriculum in the current advising program. A more structured approach to advising sessions had the potential to meet the interests of students but also to foster greater resiliency and coping strategies for the high school student population as a whole.


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