Title

Working with “At-Risk” Students: Self Check

Location

Scarbrough 2

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance

The “At-Risk” population encompasses a diverse group of our youth. Whether it is racially, social economically, culturally, and/or gender; youth are at-risk for multiple reasons. Understanding the impact professionals have on our youth’s mental health/wellness is critical to the student’s academic and social emotional progress, and the ability of professionals to establish effective interventions and programs. Further, understanding school climate and culture with a focus on “Self”, helps for individuals to look within and examine new methods of establishing meaningful relationships with youth to help facilitate change.

Brief Program Description

This session is designed to illuminate the pitfalls of recognizing and maximizing one’s potential. We will address issues and current trends within the “At-Risk” community. Further, this session will provide participants with practical strategies to help develop self-awareness, understand identity and purpose, re-evaluate the meaning of “versatility”, and also provide strategies to work more effectively with “At-Risk” youth.

Summary

Community organizations and academic institutions are finding it more and more challenging to provide effective and efficient services to the “At-Risk” population. Too often resources are minimal and training is insufficient to meet the needs and demand of these specific communities of learners. Traditional methods of teaching, providing mental health services, and community programming do not always produce desired outcomes. For this reason, providers must develop non-traditional frameworks and approaches to working with these populations. Within the K-12 school setting, attempts have been made to address behavior, achievement, and graduation rates. Despite these efforts, many school districts continue to see the academic decline, psycho social challenges, and increased dropout rates among their “At-Risk” youth. For example, according to the Schott Foundation of Public Education (2012), 52% of Black and 58% of Latino males graduated in four years from high schools where they began as ninth graders, compared to 78% of their White male classmate. Further, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (2011) for the first time in history, the majority of the babies born in the U.S. are babies of color. This statistic alone illustrates the changing demographic within our student population. However, according to the Center for American Progress (2014), nationally 82% of teachers are white females and in many states this teaching statistic does not mirror the changing student population which includes a diverse group of "At-Risk" students of color. This concept alone does not adequately acknowledge the many struggles of “At-Risk” youth. However, the role of our “At-Risk” youth, teachers and other professionals must be examined to help with the progress of this population. This presentation has been developed to first identify and deconstruct the stereotypical beliefs about “At-Risk” youth and working with this population through the lens of popular media icons. Second, the presenter will offer research supported examples of how current academic, mental health and community practices perpetuate ineffective strategies grounded in similar stereotypical beliefs. Lastly, the proposed presentation aims to demystify key pitfalls of community organizations, academic institutions, and the mental health profession when working with the “At-Risk” population.

Evidence

Two of the most important forms of social relations that students form and maintain in school are relations with peers and with teachers, and the former seem to be more consistently related to academic outcomes from childhood to adolescence (Murdock 1999; Ryanetal.1999). Recent research clearly indicates intertwinement between social relations and academic outcomes in students’ school adjustment (e.g., Furrer and Skinner 2003; Niehaus et al. 2012; Sakiz et al. 2012; Wentzel 1998). Establishing a relationship in any capacity often involves trust. In a study on trust, Holmes and Rempel (1989) found, within high-trust relationships, individuals interpreted the behavior of others in a positive light; negative behaviors were deemed to be less important than the longer list of positive characteristics. Whether it’s teacher-student, counselor-student, or any professional adult-student relationship; the ability to establish meaningful, trustworthy relationships are beneficial to both parties involved. When working with “At-Risk” youth, relationship is one of the main variables professionals must understand.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Joe Johnson was born in Milwaukee, WI but has lived in several places during his childhood including Hawaii and New York. He considers Milwaukee, AKA: “The Mil” his hometown because of the family ties.

Joe Johnson understands the meaning of struggle but has lived with a mentality instilled in him by his mother, “I can do and be anything I want in life". Johnson learned the value of education from both parents but as he began his love for sports at an early age, his focus with competing on the football field and basketball court caused him to develop a "who cares" attitude toward his education.

Growing up in the inner-city of Milwaukee allowed for Johnson to almost fall victim to what many young males were doing in his neighborhood. Sports were his key out of a city where many black and Hispanic males were often victims of gang violence and self-destruction. After becoming a high school standout football and basketball player, his education finally caught up with him when Division 1 colleges passed on him when finding out his grade point average (1.6) and his score of 13 on the ACT (standardized test). After taking the long route by attending community college then enrolling in a university, he understood education and its affect but he continued his mediocre classroom habits with hopes of playing professional football. Although the opportunity to play professional football was close, his dream faded away and Johnson was stuck graduating with his 2.4 college grade point average and no plans about his future.

Johnson soon learned the power of competing in the classroom, the same way he competed in sports. With his new found attitude and focus, he began to excel academically after being accepted into a Master's program. Johnson began to love learning and realized his purpose was working with the youth and allowing others to be inspired by his voice.

With over 15 years of experience working with youth, Johnson has worked as a school counselor at all levels, held two positions at the university level, and continues to work in communities across the country with our youth.

As a proud graduate of Milwaukee Bay View high school, Johnson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business from Saginaw Valley State University and a Master’s degree in Counselor Education from Western Michigan University, Johnson is now in pursuit of a PhD. in Counselor Education at the University of Florida, travels the country as a professional speaker, authored two books, and is ready to take on the world!

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-2-2015 1:15 PM

End Date

3-2-2015 2:30 PM

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Mar 2nd, 1:15 PM Mar 2nd, 2:30 PM

Working with “At-Risk” Students: Self Check

Scarbrough 2

This session is designed to illuminate the pitfalls of recognizing and maximizing one’s potential. We will address issues and current trends within the “At-Risk” community. Further, this session will provide participants with practical strategies to help develop self-awareness, understand identity and purpose, re-evaluate the meaning of “versatility”, and also provide strategies to work more effectively with “At-Risk” youth.