New Program Helps At-Risk Students
They may be the most challenging group of students to work with, but kids labeled "at-risk" are often the most in need of attention. Teachers, psychologists and community organizations met at the A.Quinn Jones School to try out a new intervention method called "Why Try?"
"What we are trying to do is motivate these children often who are bright, but locked into a cycle of not achieving," said A.Quinn Jones Guidance Counselor Peter Huber.
With a small $4500 grant, Huber hopes dozens of teachers along with psychologists and resource specialists in Alachua County schools will learn new ways to help the students, traditionally labeled "bad kids." So they brought in an expert, the founder of "Why Try."
"As a society how do we respond to that?" said Why Try President J. Allen. "We say they're not prepared for education send them home again, that doesn't work."
Allen says the key to helping students with emotional and behavioral disorders, like the 125 students who attend A.Quinn Jones and Horizon Center is building meaningful relationships.
According to Huber, programs like "Why Try" have worked at his school.
"They made significant gains in their FCATS this year," said Huber. "We know that interventions work."
A.Quinn saw a 13-percent improvement in FCAT scores, but the gains are more than just educational.
"Passing the FCAT is great, but staying out of prison is better."
"They're still younger, and if they can get the control now it'll be easier than when they go into society," said A. Quinn Jones School Teacher Scott Zofnas.
Many of the educators say that it is a group effort to help children with dysfunctional home lives. The training was a collaborative effort with Meridien, Reichert House, Corner Drugstore and others.
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