The Student With a Baby

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I recently had the following correspondence with the Superintendent of a small, rural district.

SC,

Considering my district and the community we serve, what would you do for the student who is a junior and now has a baby with no day care options, no family support and no job for a baby sitter?

SC Response I could make a snarky comment about the lack of a safety net for unprepared mothers and their children, but that is another post.  As is the case for almost every social issue, as school leaders we leave the rhetoric to those who would rather talk about social problems, instead of actually dealing with them.

I know creating a day care at your high school is not feasible, so let’s go straight to Plan B.

1. Get the student access to some on-line course work, immediately.  A+ or Khan Academy courses would be the first place I would look, though they are not the only options.  At this time, this student doesn’t need great instruction, this student now needs exposure to content.  If the student doesn’t have a computer and/or connectivity at home, take care of both issues.  Then as the student progresses thru the lessons at home have her come to the school at regular interval to take the content tests that will allow her to earn the credit in the course(s).

2. Get the student back on campus and in class as soon as baby-sitting is available. If quarter or half day attendance is the only option, then exercise it.

3. From an education standpoint, there are now only 3 priorities for this student:  A – Earn a required credit.  B – Earn a HS diploma.   C – Start earning some college credits towards a certificate or a degree as soon as possible.

In our state, it only takes 22 credits to graduate from high school, if they are the right credits.  As a junior, the student most likely has 16 credits earned and 4 credits currently in progress.  Which means that there is no reason why this student couldn’t graduate by July 2015 and be enrolled in a course at the local Junior College in the Fall of 2015.

Going forward, your job is to increase the opportunity set of your student and her child.  Each additional credit earned does that, a High School diploma does that, and enrolling in a college course does that.

As you know, the decisions you make in this matter will change lives.  Change them for the better.

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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