Research: Transitioning Youth to the Public School Systems

Below is the summary section of results from a doctoral thesis, pages 86-88.  By Cheryl Graham Watkins.

“Youth incarcerated in detention centers will at some point transition back to their base schools and communities. For many, the detention education program is the last chance of having a formal education. As indicated in the research (Nelson, Rutherford, & Wolford, 1987; Wolford, 2000) many have had unsuccessful experiences in school and many complete their schooling in programs at the detention center. While others return to the base school and continue to experience unsuccessful attempts at transitioning. Thus, effective transition from the facility to the school and community is essential. The recommendations offered in this section are based on the findings of the study, current literature, and personal experiences. The recommendations are not in any order but are included for their relative importance for promoting successful transition of youth from the detention setting to educational mainstream and the community.”

  1. Employ and fund qualified transition personnel.
  2. A transition plan must be developed for all youth, and transition should begin at the point of entry.
  3. In order to address the academic needs of all youth, programs geared toward all academic levels, especially for youth coming into detention having been involved in advanced studies programs designed to obtain advanced studies diploma is essential.
  4. Policy makers may want to consider more closely the need to include in the education program vocational skills training, with an emphasis on extensive career exploration, and vocational aptitude testing.
  5. Both GED and High School Graduate are considered meaningful end products.
  6. In addition, to the above recommendations, given the era of accountability there should be much better record keeping and understanding of what happens to youth following release from detention facilities.
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