Title

Voices of the At-Risk Student

Location

Harborside Center

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

Many of the students I have taught in the more than 10 years of teaching in Richmond County Schools have dropped out of school for one reason or another. These include both black and white and male and female. While I realize that there are many factors that can lead to this, I want to know if there is more that teachers and schools can do to end this cycle.

Brief Program Description

Students who drop out of school are given a venue to tell their stories, so that we as teachers and professionals working in public schools can better understand and do what we can to break the cycle of school dropout. Through the use of written and visual narratives, professional educators working in public schools are encouraged to read and listen to what students at risk of dropping out are saying in order to understand what if anything can be done to stem this tide.

Summary

My proposal is to have students who have dropped out to tell their stories and what they want their teachers and schools to know through a series of letters about their lives and what led to them dropping out of school. Their audience would be teachers and those professionals working in public schools. I plan to then turn these letters into a series of dramatic readings that would be videotaped and presented as a mini-documentary. I will work with the drama teacher and department at my school to help me to develop this. I feel that this would enable the stories of these young people to come alive.

Evidence

Several researchers have used various means to relate the stories of young people who have dropped out of school. Modaresi (2007) conducted an afterschool program using a focus group centered around urban immigrant and minority working class students using participatory video as a methodological tool in a discussion about high school dropout. Modaresi used this approach of participatory video, observation, and interviews to understand this phenomenon and the factors contributing to it.

Modaresi, A. (2007). Immigrant and minority student visual narratives of high school dropout in atlanta. Georgia Southern University. ScholarWorks@Georgia State University.

Drewry (2007) for her dissertation conducted a phenomenological study using a narratological approach to collect the lived experiences of high school dropouts to provide information related to the root causes of dropout behaviors.

Drewry (2007). High school dropout experiences: a social capital perspective. Retrieved from: http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-02202007-181201/unrestricted/DrewryETD.pdf.

Cameron (2012) in her book Canaries Reflect on the Mine uses the stories she gathered from high school dropouts to understand why these young people drop out of school. She highlights the dropout crisis as a symptom of the alienating and dehumanizing practices and policies in schools driven by accountability legislation.

Cameron, J. (2012). Canaries reflect on the mine. Information Age Publishing.

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Judy Ward has been a high school science teacher for twenty-two years. She is currently teaching Chemistry and Physics at the Academy of Richmond County in Augusta, GA. She received her BS in Psychology from Augusta College (currently Georgia Regents University) and her MEd and EdS in Science Education from the University of Georgia. Ms. Ward is currently enrolled in the Curriculum Studies Doctoral Program at Georgia Southern University. She is also National Board Certified in Science. Ms. Ward also teaches part-time for Georgia Virtual School and K-12 Cyber Academy.

Keyword Descriptors

Educational attainment, School dropout, School attrition and retention, Participatory video, Narrative

Presentation Year

2016

Start Date

3-8-2016 4:00 PM

End Date

3-8-2016 5:30 PM

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Mar 8th, 4:00 PM Mar 8th, 5:30 PM

Voices of the At-Risk Student

Harborside Center

Students who drop out of school are given a venue to tell their stories, so that we as teachers and professionals working in public schools can better understand and do what we can to break the cycle of school dropout. Through the use of written and visual narratives, professional educators working in public schools are encouraged to read and listen to what students at risk of dropping out are saying in order to understand what if anything can be done to stem this tide.