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Strategies for implementing "at risk programs": Two case studies

1 June 1995


According to John F. Jennings in National Issues in Education, The Past Is Prologue; Twenty-three million Americans are illiterate. Twenty percent of white and 40% of black male high school graduates do not earn enough to support a family of four above the poverty line. Reading scores for white students remained essentially unchanged during the last 10 years; scores for black students had been going up during the last decade, but now have begun to decline again. The gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged students had been closing, but now is widening. Twenty-four percent of all college mathematics courses are still remedial. Even the most elite colleges are concerned about high school preparation their entering students have received. Sixty percent of all those who go to college fail to receive a degree. (1993, Jennings, John F.) I point out these important issues in order to ~llustrate that our public schools in the United States are facing an increasing number of problems. These problems include children that come from conflict-filled families, prenatal exposure to drugs, and a growing rate of divorce. Such societal problems create children who are at risk to fail in our present day public school system. At Briggs Middle School and in the Springfield School District there are programs in place to help at risk children succeed. This study examines two different programs and explores the key strategies in implementing at risk programs at the middle school level.


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