National Youth-At-Risk Journal

Published by Georgia Southern University
Online ISSN: 2470-6426
Publications
Letter from the Editors- Updates about the journal
 
The Connections Project (Pristawa,2014) is designed to assist school personnel in identifying students at-risk for social-emotional concerns by examining students’ perceptions of connectedness with adults and peers in school. Currently used in several states, schools complete the screening measure as part of their use of the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) framework. While many measures of connectedness are lengthy and designed for elementary grade children, the Connections measure is an efficient, straightforward assessment employed with middle school and high school aged youth and school personnel. The purpose of the current study was to examine student connectedness with adults (including advisory teachers) and peers in relationship to several student outcome variables (i.e., tardy arrivals, attendance, disciplinary referrals, failed courses, and school dropout) when controlling for SES and student qualification for IEP or 504 plan. Results indicated that students with higher levels of perceived connectedness to adults and peers in their school building had more positive school outcomes. Students with higher levels of connectedness had fewer instances of disciplinary referrals and fewer failed courses when compared to peers with lower levels of perceived connectedness. Further, students who named their advisory teacher as an adult connection had fewer instances of tardy arrivals, absences, and failed courses. However, student-perceived connectedness was not a significant predictor of dropout risk. Study limitations and future research directions are discussed.
 
The impact of chronic absenteeism is devastating nationally as it can lead to poor academic achievement, increased dropout rates, and the school-to-prison pipeline (Balfanz & Cornfeld, 2016). The purpose of this program evaluation is to examine the attendance program at large suburban high school in the southeast United States. This program evaluation uses longitudinal data over six years, retrieved from the Department of Education’s website, to show the impact of the attendance program on rates of absenteeism, specifically the percentage of students that were absent 21 or more days. Findings show that the chronic absenteeism prevention program was successful as it lowered the percentage of students that were absent 21 or more days from 13.42% in the 2013-2014 academic school year to 5.00% in the 2018-2019 academic school year.
 
Recent research in psychology introduces “grit” as a characteristic observable in successful students (Duckworth, 2016). Popular applications of the grit framework can further the notion of "rugged individualism," placing the onus of achievement upon the individual. This perspective can lead failures to be considered the result of deficiencies, overlooking effects of structural factors associated with learning. Sociologically, certain applications of grit can be limited in explaining mobility: they may not address the social contexts of the people they assess; or, they may lack a dynamic understanding of students’ cultures. This article applies a qualitative, sociological framework offering “agency” as a concept to complement grit and understand social structures, which facilitate student mobility. Through in-depth interviews, this research gives voice to students who experienced significant upward mobility, despite low-income backgrounds. These cases suggest that interplay between personal agency and a supportive social structure is necessary for students to navigate barriers towards academic and professional success.
 
This article describes a service project involving a 3–year partnership between a university professor (the author) and P–12 faculty at a local rural Title I elementary school. Major aims of the project were to provide an opportunity for students to explore and learn about their natural surroundings through the use of nature photography activities and to connect these experiences to classroom activities with the goal of supporting academic skill development. The author visited the school twice per week to take children around the school grounds to photograph nature for about 20 minutes per session. Outcomes included the following: (a) students demonstrated increased interest in and curiosity about the subjects of their photographs over time; and (b) the nature photography project provided a beneficial context for supporting students’ learning in art and technology and for practicing their writing skills. Sample student photographs and writing excerpts are presented here.
 
Millions of students in the U.S. continue to live in varying degrees of poverty and the impact it has on learning and academic achievement cannot be understated. These students have specific learning needs as well as emotional and social challenges, and these must be accounted for by educators. Bridging the school system with the surrounding community through outreach strategies for students living in poverty has the potential to not only improve academic success, but the community in which they reside. The aim of this article was to examine the literature to ascertain specific needs of students living in poverty, identify community outreach programs and strategies that demonstrate positive results, and provide suggestions on how to effectively utilize this approach with impoverished youth.
 
This editorial perspective examines some ways that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which becomes operational in the 2017–2018 school year, may enhance the capacity of educators to help students and schools at risk of underperforming. It also addresses some of the challenges that educators will face under ESSA in ensuring success for all students. We highlight aspects of ESSA that may be of most interest to our readers including the broadened definition of academic success, expansion of subgroups for data reporting, emphasis on evidence-based research and practice, focus on continuous improvement, and need for increased educator understanding of research and evaluation. Resources are included that provide information for educators on how to use evidence, locate research findings on existing interventions, and access funding opportunities.
 
This article examines the history, development, and issues of urban education in the United States. In an effort to address persistent educational inequalities and better support youth placed at risk because of existing disparities, this article connects interdisciplinary literature and illuminates the plight of high-poverty, public schools in urban settings. The author issues a call for collective action for social justice and educational equity.
 
GrowingChange is a grassroots organization dedicated to improving the futures of teenage males in the juvenile justice system. The group is working to reclaim an abandoned prison in Wagram, North Carolina in order to convert it into a sustainable farm and agricultural center for the local community. If successful, GrowingChange hopes to institute a national model for converting closed prison sites into community centers across the country. Youth involved in the program undergo unique forms of therapy to reset their paths toward more promising futures. A core therapeutic component of GrowingChange is teaching youth in the program about ways to provide food and food-related products to impoverished populations in surrounding communities. As the fledgling organization grows, its founder, Noran Sanford, has discovered that promotional media endeavors provide additional therapeutic benefits for the adjudicated youth of GrowingChange.
 
Federal and state initiatives designed to improve schools have created unintended, negative consequences. Educational research studies link these initiatives to declines in teacher job satisfaction, decreased teacher retention, and the potential development of adversarial relationships between teachers and administrators (Darling-Hammond, 2010). The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of the FranklinCovey Leader in Me Program’s effect at an identified, Title I school in Georgia that implemented the program as a means of school reform and improvement. Data were obtained through observations, document analysis, and interviews. A constructivist epistemology was used to synthesize collected data to create meaning. Findings indicated faculty and administrators established strong interpersonal relationships with each other and created a school family. Participants expressed they shared a common language and students and faculty were empowered to develop leadership roles.
 
The overall purpose of this study was to explore predictors of forced sex among a sample of middle school students. Youth Risk Behavior Surveys were distributed to middle school youth in southeast Florida. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Chi-Square Automatic Interaction Detector (CHAID), and logistic regression. In the final CHAID model, the segment most at risk was comprised of youth who had been harassed for being gay, lesbian, or bisexual and youth who had experienced dating violence. Past exposure with violence yielded the highest association with forced sex. Moreover, having multiple sexual partners, use of prescription drugs, and experiencing harassment for being gay, lesbian, or bisexual are predictors of forced sex. This study has implications for school-based prevention of forced sex through the identification of risk and protective factors that can be targeted with evidence-based interventions.
 
By the time students enter the fourth grade, it is expected that they possess the basic literacy skills needed to read and learn content. It is the general belief that in the early grades, students are taught foundational literacy skills that make them proficient readers by the time they become adolescent learners. For many, this assumption is true. However, for a large majority of students between Grades 4 and 12, basic literacy skills are not in place, leading them to struggle to acquire information. Oral reading fluency, one of the basic literacy skills that adolescents must possess, can be explicitly taught beyond the early years. In this article, the author discusses who are struggling adolescent readers, what is oral reading fluency and why it is significant for this group, and how five specific strategies can be used with this population.
 
Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, flipped the script on courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy in personal and professional situations through her research, writing, and scholarship. Widely known for her TED talks on these topics, including The Power of Vulnerability over ten years ago in Houston, in 2017, Brown released “Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone”, a self-help memoir, in the United States by Random House. In this review, I provide a highlight of each chapter in relation to its use for practitioners working in community-engaged programs with urban youth at-risk.
 
The authors propose a collaborative application of narrative therapy utilizing the school counselor, teachers, and parents to support students of color transitioning from an alternative school setting. Research indicates that students of color transitioning from alternative settings often face stigma and marginalization by teachers and peers. The authors contend that school counselors can use this collaborative narrative approach to support students to create new narratives within a supportive environment. Included is an illustration demonstrating the application of the collaborative narrative therapy process.
 
This editorial article provides an introduction to the first issue of the National Youth-At-Risk Journal. Information highlighted regarding the journal includes its mission, historical background and inspiration, and holistic aims and scope. Biased and realistic uses of the phrase “at risk” are also addressed. The editorial also introduces the journal editors and presents a preview of issue content.
 
This editorial article provides an introduction to the first issue of the National Youth-At-Risk Journal. Information highlighted regarding the journal includes its mission, historical background and inspiration, and holistic aims and scope. Biased and realistic uses of the phrase “at risk” are also addressed. The editorial also introduces the journal editors and presents a preview of issue content.
 
George E. Miller II, a child advocacy artist based out of northeast Florida, displays his artwork in this issue. His colorful illustrations are vibrant, multicultural, and uplifting. He uses his artistic gift to draw attention to educational concerns such as literacy, dropout prevention, mental health, child abuse prevention, and homelessness. His current contribution illustrates children looking ahead to the future with hope.
 
Bradley E. Bunn, a self-taught artist living and working in Mid-Michigan, reveals the nature of resiliency found in adolescence through his artwork in this issue. His work captures the glimmers of hopeful expectancy found within the many faces of youth who have crossed his path over the years.
 
George E. Miller II, a child advocacy artist based out of northeast Florida, displays his artwork in this issue. His colorful illustrations are vibrant, multicultural, and uplifting. He uses his artistic gift to draw attention to educational concerns such as literacy, dropout prevention, mental health, child abuse prevention, and homelessness.
 
This article showcases an arts-based project incorporating designs from youth participants in Project GROWL (Growing Real Opportunities in Work and Life). Project GROWL incorporates agricultural and environmental education with personal and professional development skills. Youth participants actively engage in an urban garden. These paintings were completed by youth and sprayed with a clear overcoat to protect them from the weather. All paintings and bee boxes were placed strategically around the urban garden to promote visual stamina for human and pollinating visitors. By creating these art pieces for the garden, youth found a deeper sense of belonging with this outdoor space. This activity also promoted by-in with youth to keep the garden safe and welcoming for all things living.
 
Rajni Shankar-Brown, an internationally recognized scholar in the areas of poverty and homelessness, diversity and inclusion, and social justice education, is featured in our Art Corner. She is an associate professor and the Jessie Ball DuPont chair of social justice education at Stetson University. Through her research, scholarship and service, Shankar-Brown is committed to transforming education and positively impacting the lives of marginalized students, particularly children experiencing poverty and homelessness in the United States. She is also an accomplished multi-media artist, and, in this issue, she shares her spoken word poem that depicts her concern and anguish regarding schooling today as well as the small “morsels of light” that inspire hope for her children’s educational future.
 
In this article, we focus on interrelated mechanisms and practices that support students living below the poverty line. Addressing the needs of students living below the poverty line requires that educators consider both the inside- and outside-of-school realities of students and their families. Before discussing the recommendations, we define poverty and describe the complex ways it may shape student realities. We then discuss why we believe recommendations to support students must account for student realities outside of school. Finally, we outline recommendations for educators interested in becoming “poverty-responsive,” meaning that they discontinue practices that do not support students in poverty and replace them with practices responsive to student needs. We offer three recommendations: (a) promote reflection among educators as a means to identify and discard any deeply held beliefs that are not in support of students living in poverty, (b) develop partnerships between educators and communities that address key outside-of-school factors shaping the learning experience of students living in poverty, and (c) ensure that educators teach students skills in targeted areas that are likely to improve their academic success.
 
Guided imagery is a valuable intervention strategy that can benefit children who are at risk for social, academic, and mental health problems. Guided imagery is a technique that employs imagination, emotions, and a spectrum of bodily senses (Naparstek, 1994). This particular technique can be applied in community and academic settings to help enhance self-efficacy and mental health functioning for youth at risk. The need to implement creative interventions for youth can be overlooked by the chaos of poverty and social problems in vulnerable communities. Many schools and community agencies carry the burden of managing daily crises with few resources. This article is a call to action for effective mental health prevention treatment for youth at risk with a focus on guided imagery techniques that enhance creativity and positive visualization. This article presents an overview of mental health needs of vulnerable children, including those living in poverty; an explanation of guided imagery strategies and efficacy studies; and recommendations for the use of guided imagery interventions in academic and community youth settings.
 
This is an interview with Dr. Bettina Love on her work with the Kindezi Schools, a small, high-performing charter group in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Love’s thought provoking responses provide insight into the dynamics that make Kindezi Schools successful at reaching their students. Additionally, she shares concerns about the dilemma of Opportunity School Districts (OSD) and the schism OSD’s create in minority communities. Lastly, she shares how Kindezi became an opportunity school for Atlanta youth. This interview will be beneficial for parents, principals, teachers, and stakeholders who are interested in understanding how and why creating spaces to nurture student learning matters.
 
A Culture of Hope provides a blueprint for schools wanting to meet the social/emotional needs of youth at risk. In working with staff to develop cultures of hope, the influence of implicit biases and prejudices about people who are living in poverty must be addressed. This essay introduces information and research about implicit biases, illustrates the impact of implicit biases on teaching and learning, and shares strategies for raising awareness about implicit biases against poverty in order to build staff consensus around core beliefs and values.
 
In his recently published book, Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap, Paul Gorski critically addresses concepts that perpetuate stereotypes of those categorized as members of the “culture of poverty.” This review provides a highlight of each chapter to illustrate some key concepts and teaching strategies that Gorski examines in his book.
 
This review of The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates explores the role choices and accountability play in youth development. This book illustrates how two young men with the same name from the same city and raised with similar life experiences would make different life choices that resulted in drastically different outcomes. One Wes Moore is a graduate of Johns Hopkins, Rhodes scholar, White House Fellow and successful business person. The other Wes Moore is serving a life sentence in prison for his involvement in a robbery and murder of an off-duty police officer. Recommendations for youth practitioners are discussed.
 
During the past three decades, growing attention has been paid to the idea of mind/brain-based teaching and learning—an exciting approach, rooted in neuroscience research, that proves the interrelatedness of the mind, brain, and body. The purpose of this report is multifold: (a) to explain why mind/brain-based teaching and learning is relevant to children growing up in poverty; (b) to offer a review of the findings in cognitive neuroscience; (c) to offer a review of the findings regarding the effects of poverty on the developing mind/brain; (d) to identify themes emerging from these findings (i.e., research and understanding, communication, multiple intelligences, emotions and climate, patterning); (e) to describe my urban classroom settings and my struggles therein; (f) to share cross-curricular practical strategies that I have applied successfully with children living in poverty that reflect the research and emergent themes; and (g) to offer a summary/conclusion with implications for practice.
 
A Culture of Hope provides a blueprint for schools wanting to meet the social/emotional needs of youth placed at risk. While the importance of meeting students’ social/emotional needs is clearly supported in the literature and in the media, teachers and administrators may need help in determining where and how to start. This essay introduces the Culture of Hope, provides an overview of the four Seeds of Hope, and shares links to student and staff surveys as well as methods for analyzing surveys to reveal student and staff needs.
 
In this paper, the authors examine how a charter high school in a large upper-Midwest city is successfully serving students who have not succeeded in the traditional school system and are in danger of experiencing the school-to-prison pipeline. The school accomplishes this through its enactment of five key qualities: 1. A casual, family-like atmosphere; 2. Commitment to a small, close-knit community; 3. Creative responses to absenteeism; 4. Extreme patience and flexibility in the classroom; 5. Innovative, trade-focused programs. The authors also examine the central challenges the school faces as it works to serve this group effectively. The paper describes an overarching model for serving adolescents who have had adverse childhood experiences (ACES) – a philosophy and practice of pedagogical and institutional plasticity.
 
In this literature synthesis, research concerning the effects of parental incarceration on children is reviewed. Literature from across disciplines is synthesized to advance the understanding of how parental incarceration affect children, as well as to propose vicarious reinforcement and punishment as a potential mechanism to explain positive outcomes of this type of separation. It has been a predominant view that this population is at risk for serious negative outcomes, like behavioral issues, even before parental incarceration. It is obvious that children with parents in prison or jail do constitute an especially fragile population group needing urgent attention for social, educational, and psychological services. However, research findings are mixed and several problems with research on this population have been identified, such as issues with identification, access, as well as research quality. The purpose of this review is to summarize recent research findings on the differential effects of parental incarceration on educational outcomes, as well as introduce vicarious reinforcement and punishment from Bandura’s social learning theory as possible mechanisms that safeguard these children from negative outcomes. Implications for future research and intervention development are offered.
 
This is an interview of Christine Sleeter on her work in multicultural education over four decades. Links to videos of this interview are available in the Appendix after the references. Transcriptions and videos of Dr. Sleeter’s interview provide plain-spoken content for teacher educators, school administrators, and teachers interested in advancing multicultural education and its critical and practical translation into public school classrooms. The main topics covered in this interview are: (a) the “origins” of multicultural education, (b) the basics of multicultural teaching in student and community relationships, (c) advice for new teachers coming into the profession, (d) discussions of White racism and what White teachers can do, and (e) the new social movement on ethnic studies curriculum. Broadly speaking, this interview provides a plain-spoken account of multicultural education’s past, present, and key future directions from Christine Sleeter, one of the field’s founding and most committed members.
 
Project LION (Learning In Our Neighborhood) was a community partnership between a local University, a Charitable Foundation, the City, and the Parish (County) School System that provided affordable after-school academic and enrichment activities for students who are at risk in grades 4 through 8. The multiple-year foundation grant provided program development and fee waivers that allowed a broad participation among low-income students with low educational attainment levels. The program goal was to improve middle school student outcomes by providing programming that focuses on school engagement, academic performance, and social-emotional skills while enhancing real-world opportunities for preservice teacher candidates to work with diverse populations, as well as build after-school program sustainability.
 
Although K–12 online learning institutions may be protected from certain school safety concerns (i.e., physical violence on a student or a teacher), physical distance does not offer protection from all potential crises that may impact individual students or the online school environment. The current survey research explored educators’ perceptions of and preparedness for the following crisis frequencies in the online learning environment: suspected child/adolescent neglect, suspected child/adolescent abuse, suspected student suicidal ideation, suspected student homicidal ideation, unexpected death of a student, unexpected death of a teacher, emotional aftermath of natural disasters, and emotional aftermath of terrorist incidents. Across the sample, the crisis events were noted as occurring at least one to two times per year by some participants. Even more striking, 80–95% of participants noted having no training for recognizing the warning signs of the various crisis events in online content, and at least 1 in 4 participants in every category indicated that they felt somewhat unprepared or very unprepared to respond based on their school’s current crisis plan.
 
Offering youth, especially youth at risk, access to something different has the opportunity to allow participants to discover new passions and interests. A nontraditional sports program was offered to middle school students who were members of the local Boys and Girls Club during the 2015–2016 academic year. Identifying a program focusing on CrossFit was valuable because CrossFit Kids programming is geared to develop the whole child addressing health and lifestyle choices and social responsibility. The purpose of this paper is to describe the program, examine what worked and did not work, and note what changes were made based on the outcomes. Overall, the program proved to be valuable for the participants. Success was found when the participants’ voices were used to inform adjustments to the program based on their needs instead of following pre-defined, fixed outcomes.
 
This poem is inspired by a participant in Sunde-Peterson’s (2014) case study that explored how a gifted youth faced adversity. The participant who inspired the subject of this poem faced much trauma; Sunde-Peterson was interested in how this impacted her development, while this poem attempts to imagine her escape beyond the data collection period. Like Sunde-Peterson, the speaker of this poem also posits that how gifted youth respond to trauma warrants more attention. Amber Moore is a Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia studying language and literacy education with the Faculty of Education. Her research interests include adolescent literacy, trauma literature, and exploring gender and sexualities issues in school. She also enjoys writing poetry and creative nonfiction.
 
A large number of students in American public schools attend rural schools. In this paper, the authors explore rural science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and the issues associated with STEM education for students, teachers, and parents in rural communities. Characteristics of rural STEM education are examined to highlight unique considerations for this context. The authors conclude with the recommendation that more research is needed that specifically addresses rural STEM education.
 
This qualitative case study examines and illuminates the social-emotional and educational experiences of children ages 5 to 18 residing in an urban, family emergency housing shelter located in the Southeastern region of the United States. Data were collected and triangulated through participant observations, semi-structured interviews, and document analysis. Findings revealed deep educational estrangement and adverse impacts on the social-emotional development of children and youth experiencing homelessness. The study suggests an urgent need to provide high-quality educational preparation to public school administrators and teachers working with children living in poverty and experiencing homelessness in the U.S. With persistent and rising child poverty, the author asserts that in addition to collectively working to dismantle systems of oppression that perpetuate poverty, building culturally responsive and inclusive learning environments in U.S. public schools must be a priority at national, state, and local levels. The author also shares critical research-to-practice recommendations for educators working in high-poverty schools.
 
The National Youth-At-Risk Journal was developed to provide meaningful information and resources for professionals who work with youth placed at risk. In order to further this goal, we are calling on practitioners to communicate directly with their colleagues via the journal. We are especially interested in publishing practitioner reports on effective programs, strategies, or interventions that improve both the practice and well-being of youth. The editors provide an overview of practitioner research, describe three approaches to practitioner research, outline the process for conducting practitioner research, and emphasize the role of practitioner-researchers as agents of change. Resources are provided to assist practitioners in conducting research and in reporting their experiences and outcomes.
 
Letter from the Editors- Updates about the journal
 
In this interview, Pedro Noguera, distinguished educator and sociologist, provides three major recommendations for school personnel and policymakers to assist students and schools in poverty: make student learning relevant, establish a positive school culture, and integrate students’ academic needs with their social and physical needs.
 
There are currently an estimated 1.1 million juveniles involved with the juvenile justice system. Of that steadily-climbing number, a high percentage will be rearrested, readjudicated, or recommitted to a facility, program, or group home. Although many researchers have studied the factors influencing juvenile criminology and recidivism rates in general in order to reduce these numbers, little is known about the possible influence that an active and thriving library media center may have on these adolescents. Therefore, this literature review will examine the possible connection between having a library media program available during a juvenile’s incarceration and reducing juvenile delinquent recidivism rates.
 
Studies of children growing up in poverty describe increasingly devastating effects on many areas of development (e.g., cognitive, linguistic, socio-emotional, affective, psychomotor). Teachers need to be aware of these findings; they also need to develop empathy for their students living in poverty. One way to do this is to experience a poverty simulation wherein participants (i.e., teachers) learn what it is like to “walk in their students’ shoes.” This report describes the history of a poverty simulation in southeast Georgia. Analysis of quantitative data, collected via surveys administered before and after recent poverty simulations, revealed the following findings: increased teacher understanding of poverty, increased teacher recognition of their own biases toward their students and their families who live in poverty, and increased teacher empathy toward their students and their families who live in poverty. Findings also showed that teachers plan to apply their new understandings regarding poverty in their classrooms. Implications for practice, especially for teachers working in urban settings with poor children, are offered.
 
Youth at risk for negative health outcomes due to reduced access to social, mental health, and educational support systems are in particular need of resources promoting social-emotional resilience and positive educational outcomes. A growing body of research documents the positive benefits of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs), but few studies have examined the impact of MBIs for at-risk adolescents, particularly in school settings where barriers to access can be minimized. This pilot feasibility study examined the effects of a nine-week school-based MBI, augmented by cross-course curricular material, in a group of high school students attending a transfer school, designed to re-engage students who have dropped out or fallen behind in credits (N = 63). Pre- and post- MBI, students completed self-report measures of attention control, trait anxiety, coping, and emotion regulation, and attendance and academic achievement records were obtained from the school. Findings showed that the MBI promoted social-emotional resilience over the course of the semester. Moreover, students who took part in the science curriculum component of the program showed a trend for improved academic performance. Findings are discussed in terms of the potential for school-based MBIs to promote positive outcomes in at-risk youth.
 
Figure. Screenshot from survey Part 2: Instructions: "Please click and move the slider to the point on the continuous line under each statement that best corresponds to how true each statement is about you. For instance, the closer the slider is to 'Not at all true of me' the LESS true that statement is about you. On the other hand, the closer the slider is to 'Very true of me' the MORE true that statement is about you. Likewise, moving the slider to either end of the line (0 or 100) indicates that the statement is either not at all true of you (0) or very true of you (100). Please be as honest and accurate as possible to each of the statements, as your responses will be grouped and we will not be able to tell your individual responses to the items. For example, for the following statement: 'I can play basketball very well,' a professional basketball player like LeBron James would rank himself close to 100, while a 5-year old child would rank himself/herself close to 0." 
The Photography and Media Literacy Project (PMLP) was an after-school program designed to teach fourth and fifth grade children about the science and art of photography in a Title I school in rural southeast Georgia. Through the completion of a problem-based applied project, we endeavored to further enhance and develop students’ media literacy, critical thinking, and metacognitive skills. The project involved having students consider some aspect of their environment (i.e., a problem from the natural, physical, school or social environment) and develop a media presentation about the topic (e.g., a movie), which included images that they took (with iPods that we provided), as well as a narrative that described their observation, research, argument and/or experience. Through the use of technology and various other media, our purpose was to help these young learners improve their metacognitive planning and monitoring skills, as well as their problem-solving and reasoning ability, all foundational skills critical for success in high stakes assessments such as Georgia Milestone Assessment. Although no significant differences were found in pre-posttest assessments, we believe that with minor modifications, this type of program shows promise in its potential for boosting participants’ metacognitive functioning and other skills related to critical evaluation of information, which have been found to enhance learning outcomes.
 
This is a book review of Christine Sleeter’s new novel White Bread: Weaving Cultural Past into the Present. This review extolls White Bread as a significant contribution that aids in White teachers’ race-cognizance and race-visible teaching. After providing necessary background on Sleeter, the review situates White Bread as reflective of four key dimensions of her critical multicultural research. Importantly, Sleeter’s fictionalized representations in the novel show what committed and effective teachers actually do when teaching across race, culture, class, language, and other differences in public school classrooms. Overall, the review recommends White Bread as a “must read” for professional development consultants, teacher educators, administrators, and teachers interested in race-visible teaching and learning.
 
Educators are often blamed for the achievement gap between low-income and higher income students. We propose to replace the divisive “blame game” with a holistic framework for collaborative action between schools, families, and communities. This 5H Holistic Framework (5HHF) is composed of the 5H protective factors (Health, Hands, Heart, Head, Home). These protective factors holistically address the educational needs and capacities of all students—especially students in poverty—for physical/mental health (Health), safety/security (Hands), social-emotional care (Heart), cognitive development (Head), and family/community support (Home). The 5HHF is used to identify and organize best educational practices and to recommend the community school model to reduce the income-based achievement gap and promote student well-being. The 5HHF of best practices and community school model expands the collective capacity of schools, families, and communities to meet equitably the educational needs of students in poverty and to enhance their opportunities for a quality education. Furthermore, we show how the 5HHF and community school model are aligned with and supported by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
 
Top-cited authors
Dan Rea
  • Georgia Southern University
Charles B. Hodges
  • Georgia Southern University
Cordelia Zinskie
  • Georgia Southern University
Heather Cunningham
  • Chatham University
H. Richard Milner
  • University of Pittsburgh