LOS ANGELES (August 14, 2019) – The end of summer means ‘Back to School,’ but what if it was all year long? The original school calendar was established due to urban density, oven-temperature schoolrooms and a lack of air conditioning. But centuries later and with improved learning conditions, that calendar doesn’t work for all. Many students have dropped out of school or don’t fit the traditional model because of obstacles that prevent them from attending five days a week, such as parenting, caring for ill family members, working full time, homelessness, hunger or anxiety. When these students – who represent more than 1.2 million of the nation’s population – are ready to reengage, they need a school that welcomes their determination and difficulties with open arms.
Learn4Life recognized that there needs to be a better way, so they adapted a model and school calendar to meet students’ needs. A year-round school allows students to re-engage when they are ready. Flexibility, one-on-one attention and a personalized learning model is what today’s teens who are struggling with trauma and stress need to succeed and graduate high school.
How does year-round and personalized learning work to benefit at-risk youth? The first step Learn4Life takes with students is to assess their skill level and learning style. A diagnostic assessment accurately gauges their reading and math levels, so that teachers can tailor a customized curriculum and academic action plan – no matter when they begin during the year. Students are given a team of teachers, then meet with a supervising teacher to review their personalized lessons, get help with assignments and complete tests. Tutors are available to students for additional help. And counselors provide mentorship and guidance to help students navigate issues inside and outside of the classroom.
Learn4Life has an 89-percent success rate, which means that students either graduate from Learn4Life or catch up on enough credits to return to their traditional school and graduate. From August 2018 to June 2019, Learn4Life graduated 2,791 students. Then, while other schools were on summer break, another 200 students graduated from Learn4Life with a high school diploma.
Learn4Life students at a glance:
- 60% are ineligible for enrollment in traditional school because they are 17 ½ or older.
- More than 3,000 are pregnant or teen parents.
- 87% of our students are minorities.
- More than 80% are socio-economically disadvantaged.
- Thousands are English Language Learners.
- 16% receive special education services.
- 10% are homeless, foster or migrant students.
- Hundreds are enrolled in a CTE Pathway, getting specialized job training so they can enter the workforce with a high-paying career immediately after graduating.
Learn4Life’s personalized learning model is built specifically to help at-risk students succeed through flexibility, one-on-one support, wrap-around services and job skills training – no matter the time of year they enroll.
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Learn4Life is a network of non-profit public schools that provides students personalized learning, career training and life skills. Each school is locally controlled, tuition free and gives students the flexibility and one-on-one attention they need to succeed. Serving more than 4,000 students across California, we help students prepare for a future beyond high school. For more information, please visit http://www.learn4lifecharleston.org/.