Title

1. Youth Perspectives on Practices that Support On-Track for Graduation Indicators

First Presenter's Institution

University of Miami

Second Presenter's Institution

University of Miami School of Law

Third Presenter's Institution

University of Miami

Fourth Presenter's Institution

University of Miami

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Session 6 (Verelst)

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

This proposal examines the academic achievement (on-track for graduation indicators) of youth (N = 16) in foster care enrolled in a transition program over the course of 9thgrade. Importantly, youth perspectives are shared related to effective practices that they believe support their progress toward high school graduation. This proposal relates to both Academic Achievement and Social Emotional Skills Strands (Head and Heart).

Brief Program Description

In this presentation, we highlight the voices of high school youth in foster care related to effective supports and practices that support their goals and high school trajectory. Our purpose is to share effective practices and supports as well as ongoing challenges as identified by on-track graduation indicators and youth themselves.

Summary

  1. Nationally, only half of foster youth graduate high school (Courtney et al., 2007). As a result, this population experiences a disproportionate number of deleterious consequences as within two years of aging out of foster care more than 50% are homeless, incarcerated, or on welfare. The purpose of this presentation is to provide descriptive statistics and youth perspectives related to on-track for graduation indicators for high school youth in foster care who are participating in a transition program (First Star University of Miami Academy). The data shared includes a program description and academic performance outcomes from baseline (start of the program in summer after 8thgrade) through the summer after 9thgrade (year 1 outcomes) and youth perspectives of factors that helped them move toward graduation as well as challenges encountered. An overview of the analysis and outcome data include academic credits earned, grade point average, and performance on high-stakes state assessments as the indictors for determining if youth were on-track for graduation after their 9thgrade year.

Our data includes transition plans developed by youth that include their goals for education. The majority of students identified completing high school and pursuing a degree in college as their primary educational goal. Most students included steps toward goals that included getting good grades, maintaining a high GPA, passing all state assessments and classes, graduating high school, and studying. A few students listed assistance they needed to achieve their goals, such as extra help in academics, becoming fluent in English, and scholarships and financial help. When students were asked if they were receiving supports, 11 indicated they were receiving academic supports within the school setting by academic coaches, teachers, tutors, and credit support. Five students listed the First Star program as a support that they were receiving to achieve their academic goals. Eight students noted a specific family member supported their academic achievement, and four students wrote that their friends helped them to achieve their goals.

This presentation will provide for rich dialogue among attendees related to identified effective graduation supports for youth in foster care.

Evidence

Centering student perspectives has been identified as an essential component of transition planning for decades (Martin & Williams-Diehm, 2013); however, research that highlights student voices related to the transition process has been limited. Flennaugh et al. (2017) highlighted the importance of heeding insights of often marginalized students, in that these students’ “ voices are invaluable since these students directly experience and understand the difficulties of navigating urban schools … [and] may provide insight on practical solutions to transforming their learning conditions and enhancing the high school to college transition” (p. 211).

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Wendy Cavendish, PhD, is a teacher educator with 20 years experience working with district schools on programs to facilitate more equitable outcomes for marginalized students. Her research is focused on systems of transition.

Kele Stewart, JD, is a clinical professor in the University of Miami School of Law whose legal clinic advocates on behalf of youth in foster care and whose academic research focuses on policies at the intersection of education and child welfare.

Brittney R. Davis is a doctoral student in the Community Well-Being program at the University of Miami. A former high school English teacher, data analyst for an urban teacher preparation program, and higher education professional, Brittney has held a continued interest in improving the environments in which minoritized students learn and grow.

Grace Migliozzi is a teacher and research assistant whose work is focused on understanding youth perspectives of effective academic supports.

Keyword Descriptors

Graduation, Transition, Foster Youth

Presentation Year

March 2020

Start Date

3-10-2020 1:00 PM

End Date

3-10-2020 2:15 PM

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Mar 10th, 1:00 PM Mar 10th, 2:15 PM

1. Youth Perspectives on Practices that Support On-Track for Graduation Indicators

Session 6 (Verelst)

In this presentation, we highlight the voices of high school youth in foster care related to effective supports and practices that support their goals and high school trajectory. Our purpose is to share effective practices and supports as well as ongoing challenges as identified by on-track graduation indicators and youth themselves.