Blog: school

Reclaiming Futures SBIRT Implementation: Progress & Plans

Before sharing our accomplishments and expansion efforts, let’s take a moment to acknowledge numerous people and organizations that we have had the privilege of working with over the past few years to implement Reclaiming Futures’ version of Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (RF-SBIRT).

Teen Drug Overdose Death Rate Doubles Over Last Decade; News Roundup

Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance use treatment, and teen mental health. 

Teen Drug Overdose Death Rate Doubles Over Last Decade (Psychiatry Advisor)
Trust For America's Health released a new report with findings that the American drug overdose mortality rate has more than doubled over the last ten years, and especially among young men between the ages of 12 to 25 years old. Prescription drugs were found to be responsible for many of the overdoses, and were also found to be connected to heroin addictions in young people.

November is Native American Heritage Month

first-nation-908605 (2)President Obama has proclaimed November as "Native American Heritage Month." This is a time to celebrate the many significant historic and contemporary contributions of American Indians and Alaska Natives, a population of 5.4 million people in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In the juvenile justice field, this month is not only a time to celebrate Native American heritage, but also an opportunity to make visible the unique youth justice challenges faced by Native American communities, and to highlight steps for collaboratively working with tribal communities to improve conditions for Native American youth and their families.

Though 1990 was the first year "Native American Indian Heritage Month" was recognized as a national legal holiday, according to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, the pursuit of a holiday to celebrate heritage began in the early 20th century when Dr. Arthur C. Parker - a Seneca Indian and director of the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Rochester, New York - promoted a day to celebrate "First Americans." In May 1916, the first "American Indian Day" was declared by the state of New York, and many states observed a version of this day for years before official national recognition in 1990 for the month of November.

President Obama Announces New Actions to Promote Rehabilitation and Reintegration for the Formerly- Incarcerated; News Roundup

Every week Reclaiming Futures rounds up the latest news on juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance use treatment, and teen mental health. 

FACT SHEET: President Obama Announces New Actions to Promote Rehabilitation and Reintegration for the Formerly- Incarcerated (The White House)
On Monday President Obama announced steps the Administration will take to create "meaningful criminal justice reform," including reforming the reentry process of formerly-incarcerated individuals. Among the measures announced was the "Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program Awards to Support Public Housing Residents," a program to make fresh starts possible for youth with expungeable convictions. In an effort to promote second chances for youth, the Obama Administration will no longer use the term "juvenile delinquent,' and will now exclusively use the term  "justice-involved youth."

The Importance of a Positive School Climate

We all want schools to have a culture of high achievement. A place where students are challenged; where they have the freedom to think creatively, where they are pushed by their teachers; where they are more than test scores; and where they go on to exceed all of their hopes and dreams and our hopes and dreams for them. Education reformers spend countless hours and dollars to create high performing schools. But we don’t seem to take into account what research has shown us: that positive school climate is associated with positive child and youth development, effective risk-prevention and health-promotion efforts, student learning and academic achievement, increased student graduation rates, and teacher retention. Aren’t these results what we expect in a high performing school?
During the past year as a Stoneleigh Fellow, I have had the privilege to immerse myself in the issue of how to provide for positive school climate throughout the district. I often find myself thinking about a conversation that I had with a School District of Philadelphia principal. This principal had made great strides towards improving his school’s climate. During our conversation, I was pressing him about what he had put in place to create a safe, secure and positive school environment. He told me that creating a positive school climate and school culture isn’t “rocket science,” but simply about creating a culture of care.
There are many schools in the Philadelphia system that have created a culture of care. For instance, I visited a middle school that was in its first year of implementing restorative practices. During the course of the day, I watched classrooms using restorative circles to talk about the school’s new lateness policy. Students held thoughtful discussions about the pros and cons of being late and, together with teachers, they talked about why this policy was needed and how they could help to prevent students from coming to school late. Later that day, I observed a circle with two staff members and four young ladies. It was convened because the staff over heard the students talking about fighting each other. During the course of the circle, they talked about what led to the fight, how it made the participants and the bystanders feel, what they could lose by fighting, and what was to gain. In the end, the students acknowledged that they did not have to be friends, but apologized and said they didn’t want to fight each other.
In Chicago I visited an elementary school where there has been an intensive and pro-longed focus on social-emotional learning, or SEL. Children as young as pre-K talked about SEL – how to acknowledge their feelings, how to calm down, how to pay attention. A classroom of 7th graders discussed what happens within the body when you are scared, or angry or upset. The school developed a “peace center,” where students recognized when they were upset, asked an adult to go to the center, and gave themselves the time to calm down.

New Education Program Offers Incarcerated Youth Future Career Options

Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex (KJCC) in Topeka recently launched the Environmental Water Technology program, preparing incarcerated youth the opportunity for future careers in water technology.
The program is a collaborative effort between the community college, Washburn University, the Department of Labor, and the correctional facility and are offered to all residents of KJCC who have completed a high school diploma or GED. Students have the opportunity to receive credentials in four different water technology programs:

  • Water Plant Operation
  • Water Distribution System Operation and Management
  • Waste Water Plant Operation
  • Waste Water Collection System Operation and Maintenance

The facility hosts instructors from Fort Scott Community College (FSCC) through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to train the next generation of water technicians.

“We are excited to serve students and provide opportunities for career readiness through this partnership with KJCC,” said Dr. Clayton Tatro, president of FSCC. “Water technology is very much an ‘in-demand’ field with high potential for employment. Working together through this partnership, we can assist in the placement of trained individuals into the industry and their respective communities.”