Supporting At-Risk Students

Donella September 09, 2017 0

Not long ago “at-risk youth” could be defined as a young person exposed to a daily onslaught of gangs, drugs, and violence within a single-parent, low income demographic.  According to the organization: At Risk Youth Programs, behaviors that result in “dangerous lifestyles” are often the result of stress that kids experience.  In recent years we have seen a shift in demographics of at-risk youth.  With the stress of school, extra-curricular activities, learning differences, and ever increasing mandates to test and measure progress, our kids are being medicated and go to therapy to “normalize” outcomes.  As a result, our education system in America has created an entire population of at-risk youth from every demographic!

Our education system in America has created an entire population of high-stressed, at-risk youth from every demographic!

At Makarios Community School we aim to reverse this trend by providing a safe and supportive environment for ALL students to experience failure and success as they become lifelong learners with the confidence to make choices in pursuit of their unique interests and goals.  This value is so important to us that we offer a Grant & Aid Program so that any student, regardless of the family's financial status can be a part of MCS.  We also know how important it is for students and their family members to have some “skin in the game” and have a policy that everyone contributes to the betterment of the school.  

Please consider a timely donation so that at-risk students may enjoy a safe and supportive environment in which to learn according to their unique interests and talents.

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This year the MCS grant fund has been well placed with deserving students and is in need of replenishment so that other students on our waiting list may join the learning community. Please consider a donation to rebuild this fund so that creative, curious students have a safe and supportive environment in which to learn according to their unique interests and talents.

To do our part and make a difference, we must take a close look at the undercurrents of the modern education environment.  A simple Google search of stress, youth, and school will provide enough material to write a master’s thesis, let alone the antidotal stories from friends and family of the daily grind that begins before a child loses their first baby tooth.  In 2010 Newsweek reported that the pressure of academic performance means that many young people have little to no time for play and creativity.  And while China acknowledges that their children need time to play to foster creativity, Chinese parents (like their American counterparts) scramble to hire weekend and after school tutors to ensure academic success.  

In American, roughly two-thirds of youth receive some physical and/or developmental accommodation in the traditional classroom (Allen & Cowdery, 2015).  What this means is that two-thirds of students do NOT fit in the traditional education system box, and while everyone is entitled to a free and appropriate education (FAPE), parents often advocate for years for the local public school to meet the needs of their children.  Underperformers in traditional school are plied with medication and restricted from creative forms of learning until they can demonstrate achievement through testing.

At Makarios...each student is valued as the unique person that they are...letters such as ADD and ADHD have no bearing on the outcome of their education.

At MCS these are non-issues!  Children are NOT expected to fit inside the bell-curve.  Each student is experienced and valued as the unique person that they are, and letters such as ADD and ADHD have no bearing on the outcome of their education.  At MCS we value play and creativity as well as academics, and we honor the students' freedom to pursue their interest.   Makarios provides an atmosphere where everyone has access to varied learning opportunities with exposure to novel ideas, field trips, special speakers and hands on activities, as well as formal academic endeavors.

In the past three years, 30% of our students have participated in the Grant & Aid Program at Makarios while in a traditional school setting about one-third of our students would have an individual education plan (IEP) to accommodate a particular special need.  The beauty of Makarios is that these demographics do not matter!  We are not just a school for low-income, special needs, middle class, or white collar professional’s children; we are a school for EVERYONE that values the Democratic, Free Education model that we advocate at Makarios Community School.  We strive toward a diverse population with the knowledge that our students will engage and interact with people from all backgrounds as they mature into adults participating in our ever increasing global economy where they will need to be creative problem solvers.

Help us make a difference! Support our North Texas Giving Day Campaign to help fund the education of an at-risk student.  North Texas Giving Day is Thursday, September 14, 2017.  Online giving is now open to receive your contribution.

For more information, call us at 682-422-6886, or send an email to [email protected]

Sources:

Allen, E. K., & Cowdery, G. E. (2015). The Exceptional Child: Inclusion in Early Childhood Education.

Bronson, P., & Merryman, A. (2014, January 23). The Creativity Crisis. Retrieved September 09, 2017, from http://www.newsweek.com/creativity-crisis-74665

Children. (2017, March 01). Retrieved September 09, 2017, from https://www.stress.org/children/

Definition of an "At Risk Youth". (n.d.). Retrieved September 09, 2017, from http://www.atriskyouthprograms.com/youth-programs/definition-of-an-qat-risk-youthq.html

DeNoon, D. J. (n.d.). Your Child and Anxiety: School Stress Starts Early. Retrieved September 09, 2017, from http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/features/school-stress-anxiety-children#1

Free Appropriate Public Education under Section 504. (n.d.). Retrieved September 09, 2017, from https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/edlite-FAPE504.html

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