|Image via Flickr/paul.hadsall|
|Image via Flickr /MomMaven|
On Friday, my wonderful former student-turned-current-co-worker held a surprise going away party for me. I was shocked to look around the room and find out how many of the attendees were kids who didn't earn a diploma when they were working with me. They left my program at age 17 or 18, and went on to either get an adult high school diploma, a GED, or to pursue a job. In the statistics I put together for the state at the end of each year, they are dropouts ("failures") and not recognized in any positive way for their accomplishments--even though they had to persevere and show more stamina than many of their peers to get where they are now.
But here's the thing...while there are a few stories of Valedictorians and Salutatorians rising up after difficult childhoods, most successful kids started their k-12 educations with:
- At least one parent who graduated from high school and attended some college
- A mom who at least knew about the benefits of breast feeding and didn't feel pressure from social service agencies to sign up for free formula
- A roof over their heads--and most likely the same roof for a good portion of their childhood (in other words, low mobility and lots of routine)
- At least one parent who read to them every day as a toddler
- Access to quality preschool
- At least one parent who could help with homework after school
- Access to quality after-school programming
- Transportation to and from programming after school
- Regular meals, every day, every month, every year
- Clothing that not only fit well, but allowed them to fit in well
WAY TO GO!