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RECLAIMING YOUTH AT RISK

1. Experiencing belonging in a supportive community, rather than being lost in a depersonalized bureaucracy. 2. Meeting one’s needs for mastery, rather than enduring inflexible sys­tems designed for the convenience of adults. 3. Involving youth in determining their own future, while recognizing so­ciety’s need to control harmful behavior. 4. Expecting youth to be caregivers, not just helpless recipients overly dependent on the care of adults.10 With increasing pressures to serve at-risk youth, schools are assigned responsibility for educating society’s most difficult youngsters. These stu­dents are found at every point on a “continuum” of services—in regular classrooms, special education programs, alternative schools, and in residential schools and treatment centers. Youth at risk have a right to the “least re­strictive” intervention appropriate to their needs. But the ultimate test of the appropriateness of any placement, program, or policy is whether it serves to create the “most reclaiming” environment. It is no secret what kind of environments lead to “rotten outcomes” with vulnerable youth. Research tells us, two centuries of wisdom from educa­tional pioneers tell us, the children tell us. As Lisbeth Schorr8 observes, until very recently children who were culturally different, disturbed, learning handicapped, or experiencing trouble at home were simply shoved out of the way because someone in authority decided they did not need or deserve a serious education. By moving aside in large numbers, these children helped a supposedly democratic and universal public school system maintain the facade that it was working smoothly. But today, we have a greater stake in achieving school success for all of our children. The costs of supporting our dropouts and dumpouts as il­literate, unemployable, violent, or

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Reclaiming Youth at Risk  

Open new doors for youth at risk by using strategies based on a compelling, effective combination of Native American philosophies and Wester...

Reclaiming Youth at Risk  

Open new doors for youth at risk by using strategies based on a compelling, effective combination of Native American philosophies and Wester...

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