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At risk students: The effectiveness of the North High School Program

1 December 1993


At-risk is a term used for students who are perceived as at-risk of dropping out of school. The literature on at-risk students defines them very broadly. All the sources consulted had their own version. For the purposes of this study at-risk was defined as a student who has a high rate of absenteeism, displays a low grade point average, and has low self esteem. There are many programs for at~risk youth and all have had some success, but some had greater success than others.

Data collection on the at-risk program at North High School involved shadowing three students enrolled in that program. Findings indicate that the program at North seemed to have some success but could have had more. What the students in the at-risk program at North lacked was control. At-risk students are generally kids who are told what to do and how to do it all of their waking hours. These students have needs that are not being met through the program at North and they would be better off if they were given a chance to acquire these needs. Students are placed into a program without a choice and are expected to eventually return to a normal classroom.

Findings of this study show that at-risk students who are allowed to participate in the design and implementation of a program for their benefit will be more likely to use it to their advantage than one that is place before them to be taken advantage of.


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