With inner-city school year finals wrapping up, students will make decisions about the summer season, now in full swing for a couple of short months. For some, this will mean seeking gainful short-term employment, perhaps at a local retailer, working in shipment, or at area theme parks until school starts again in the fall. The diligent, the responsible, and the more motivated students undoubtedly will just about have this in place. For others, school break may mean traveling with their families to see relatives from afar. Unfortunately, however, for still others, the more passive and unwise decisions they made over the course of the academic year gone by will dictate their summer plans.
In urban area schools, the latter group translates to youngsters who, all year, wandered the hallways, aimlessly or perhaps with intention, to do anything but fulfill their roles as students working toward a high school diploma. These students present with either a depressed affect, or worse, no affect at all, and have essentially ‘checked out’ after repeated signs of academic challenge they were fearful, resistant, or just plain clueless about how to tackle.
In the most fortunate of circumstances, these disadvantaged students will recover the school year credit they lost by enrolling in summer school, an additional cost to their families, where there is a whole lot less pressure and greater individualized attention to make up the work. The grim reality, however, is that they never took advantage of the help available all year long, through after-school credit retrieval programs, extra-help from their teachers, and an open door to their related service providers for all their academic needs. Given a multitude of compounding factors ranging from a broken family to simply an uninvolved one, stemming from a myriad of depressed socio-economic circumstances, what are the odds that these chronic, haphazard wanderers will ‘step up’ and make the grade? In urban education, teachers maintain an unfaltering hope that these special and unique teens can find their way and ultimately get back into the game!