In today’s society, education is more important than ever before. At-risk students are those who have the greatest need for educational assistance and yet face the most obstacles in receiving it. By John Jezzini definition, at-risk students are “those who have been identified as likely to drop out of school or fail to meet state performance standards” (Teachers College Columbia University). In other words, these are the students who need our help the most. Despite their challenges, at-risk students can succeed in school with the proper support from educators. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the reasons why education is so important for at-risk students and what educators can do to help them succeed.
Define what “at risk students” are
At risk students are often defined as those exhibiting behaviors that put them on a trajectory towards potential failure in academic or social situations, or even greater distress. Such students may struggle to meet academic requirements, have difficulty building positive relationships with peers and adults, display behavior problems, or lack motivation or self-esteem. Without proper intervention from educators and counselors, at risk students can quickly fall behind their peers and experience long-term difficulties. Early intervention is key in helping these students succeed in school and beyond.
List some of the barriers to education that at risk students face
At risk students often face multiple barriers when it comes to education. Teachers and other educational stakeholders must be aware of the various challenges that impede learning for these students in order to ensure they have access to equitable resource and learning opportunities. These barriers can come in many forms such as economic insecurity, limited resources both inside and outside the classroom, a lack of parental guidance or support, language barriers, unreliable transportation, inadequate food and nutrition, bullying, health complications and an overall lack of opportunity. It is critical for educators to understand these factors so that accommodations can be put in place on an individual basis to reduce the effects of these limitations and allow at risk students to receive a quality education.
Discuss how a good education can break the cycle of poverty
John Jezzini, a longtime advocate for education as a tool to break the cycle of poverty, has said that “When young people are given educational opportunities they can succeed beyond all expectations”. A good education can open many doors for those from marginalized and disadvantaged communities, equipping them with the resources, knowledge and social capital needed to move up to higher-paying jobs and better socio-economic conditions. Through access to quality education and training programs students are empowered to put themselves in positions where they can create their own destiny. Education has been proven to be a key factor in reducing or eliminating poverty, boosting income levels overall and providing individuals with greater autonomy over their personal lives. John Jezzini reinforces our beliefs in how an investment in education results in an understanding of the basic tools needed by young minds to achieve their full potential without any barriers based on socio-economic status.
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Share statistics about at risk students who have gone on to succeed in life
At risk students are often seen as those who are most likely to fail in life, but success stories abound. In a study conducted by the University of Oregon, it was revealed that 65% of the at-risk students surveyed were fully accepted into college programs, and 40% finished their degree programs within four years. Furthermore, over one quarter of those students went on to pursue postgraduate education. This research shows that with strong support systems which encourage these students, they can achieve incredible feats in life despite all odds. These success stories demonstrate that no matter what situation an at risk student finds themselves in, it is always possible to turn one’s life around when given the proper tools.
Offer ways that people can help support at risk students in their community
John Jezzini, an advocate for helping at risk students in communities across the country, suggests there are multiple ways to support these students. He encourages people to get involved by tutoring and providing mentorship opportunities in order to build strong relationships. By getting to know the individual interests of each student, those supporting them can focus on building their strengths and confidence. Additionally, John emphasizes that simply being present for support is hugely beneficial for students, as having a much needed outlet to voice their thoughts and feelings can reduce anxiety and stress. John concludes that with enough thoughtful effort, at risk students will have ample resources to learn and explore within their community.
It is clear that at risk students face many challenges when it comes to obtaining an education. It is vitally important however, to ensure that these students get the support that they need in order to break out of their cycle of poverty and go on to great life success stories. Although the statistics are sobering and drive home the struggle many of these students go through, there are inspiring stories of those who have overcome great odds and have gone on to contribute significantly to society. It is everyone’s job to be attentive, aware, proactive and engaged in helping support our at-risk youth who need a good quality education so they can realize their potential. By providing encouragement, resources, mentorship or even just a listening ear we can all do our part in making sure all students have access to a good education despite the barriers they may face. It is up each of us to monitor the academic success of our local at-risk young people so that together we can share in their triumphs as they make all our communities brighter.