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This paper summarizes five developmental characteristics of young adolescents and their implications for practice in schooling: physical, intellectual, emotional/psychological, moral/ethical, and social developmental characteristics. Practitioners, parents, and others who work with young adolescents need to be aware of any changes—subtle or obvious—in these developmental characteristics.

July 2007

In this report, we look closely at students’ performance in their coursework during their freshman year, how it is related to eventual graduation, and how personal and school factors contribute to success or failure in freshman-year courses in Chicago public high schools. We show that data on course performance can be used to identify future dropouts and graduates with precision, and we compare performance indicators to discern how they might be used for nuanced targeting of students at-risk of dropping out.

This news article discusses the research of Dr. Jay Giedd, chief of brain imaging in the child psychiatry branch at the National Institute of Mental Health, to determine how the brain develops from childhood into adolescence and on into early adulthood.

This guide is divided into three sections. The first section outlines the developmental characteristics (the intellectual, social, physical, emotional and psychological, and moral characteristics) of young adolescents Turning Points schools seek to address. The second section addresses the implications these characteristics hold for teaching and learning by suggesting six areas Turning Points schools engage in to respond to the unique needs of young adolescent learners:

March 2006

While some students drop out because of significant academic challenges, most dropouts are students who could have, and believe they could have, succeeded in school. This survey of young people who left high school without graduating suggests that, despite career aspirations that require education beyond high school and a majority having grades of a C or better, circumstances in students’ lives and an inadequate response to those circumstances from the schools led to dropping out.

In this paper, the authors propose a model of the prosocial classroom that highlights the importance of teachers’ social and emotional competence (SEC) and well-being in the development and maintenance of supportive teacher-student relationships, effective classroom management, and successful social and emotional learning (SEL) program implementation. This model proposes that these factors contribute to creating a classroom climate that is more conducive to learning that promotes positive developmental outcomes among students.

This report summarizes results from three large-scale reviews of research on the impact of social and emotional learning (SEL) programs on elementary and middle-school students. Results found that SEL programs yielded multiple benefits and were effective in both school and after-school settings and for students with and without behavioral and emotional problems. They were also effective across the K-8 grade range and for racially and ethnically diverse students from urban, rural, and suburban settings.

National research has established that students who are chronically absent as early as kindergarten have lower achievement in later grades. To demonstrate that connection in New York City schools, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity reviewed the attendance records, state assessment scores and various demographic factors for fourth-graders attending New York City public schools in the 2007-08 school year. The study considered attendance in both third and fourth grades, and analyzed
other school and student factors that can weigh heavily on academic performance.

This newsletter addresses student motivation and illustrates strategies that can help create a meaningful curriculum to engage middle level learners. Educators can facilitate student engagement by fostering motivation with task-oriented learning environments and teaching students that building new knowledge requires effort. In addition, when curriculum content and learning tasks are relevant and authentic and incorporate choice, students are more likely to view their education as purposeful and engaging.

This template helps schools identify the necessary structures and supports for educating adolescents across six dimensions: school practices & structures, physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and moral.

This tool helps schools identify the key characteristics across five adolescent developmental areas (social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and moral) and brainstorm how they can adapt practices to best meet the needs of their students. This plan can help ensure that the setup of their school and classrooms will help students succeed, and the daily school routines are designed with middle grades students in mind.

October 2007

In this article, we summarize knowledge on the health benefits of high school graduation and discuss the pathways by which graduating from high school contributes to good health. We examine strategies for reducing school dropout rates with a focus on interventions that improve school completion rates by improving students’ health. Finally, we recommend actions health professionals can take to reframe the school dropout rate as a public health issue and to improve school completion rates in the United States.

March 2010

At-risk students, as well as parents and teachers of at-risk students, from public high schools throughout the US came together to share their perspectives on the high school dropout challenge and what they would be willing to do to keep more students on track to graduate. This report summarizes the stories from each group on the unique pressures and barriers they face and to share their thoughts and ideas for increasing the number of students who graduate from their high schools ready for college, career, and life. 

2007

This article considers the practical, conceptual, and empirical foundations of an early identification and intervention system for middle-grades schools to combat student disengagement and increase graduation rates in our nation’s cities. Many students in urban schools become disengaged at the start of the middle grades, which greatly reduces the odds that they will eventually graduate.

This report summarizes the views on the school dropout epidemic based on surveys and focus group discussions of high school teachers, principals, superintendents, and school board members throughout the US.