Foster youth face multiple obstacles that make it hard to succeed in high school. According to the National Foster Youth Institute, only about half of the nation’s youth raised in foster care end up finishing high school. As such, Learn4Life identified the challenges and solutions for this student population and set up a needs-based support team.
Over the past three years, Learn4Life has doubled its foster student graduation rate to 77 percent in the 2018-19 school year, exceeding the California state average of 59 percent. There are more than 14,000 high school-aged children in foster care in California.
Learn4Life is a nonprofit network of public schools that helps at-risk students earn a diploma and receive job skills training through personalized learning infused with trauma-informed practices. Learn4Life aligns its schools with community resources to produce curriculum and services that address and treat trauma-induced symptoms in its students. This one-on-one support is particularly effective with foster youth who must deal with the stress of not having stable, loving families to care for them.
“Every student who enrolls with us receives an individualized academic plan based on their needs inside and outside of the classroom. Then, on top of the team of teachers assigned to each student, they also meet one-on-one with their supervising teacher each week to review their plan progress and discuss any obstacles at home or school,” said Learn4Life Superintendent of Schools Caprice Young. “Our foster students succeed with this personalized approach in a consistent, safe place to learn, especially when they are dealing with such uncertainty at home.”
In addition to foster youth, Learn4Life’s student population includes those suffering from homelessness, food insecurity, teen parenting, learning disabilities, credit deficiencies or adult responsibilities. In spite of these obstacles, Learn4Life successfully graduated 2,791 students in the 2018-19 school year and a total of 19,162 students since opening. Eighty-nine percent of Learn4Life students are successful, by either continuing with Learn4Life, graduating or continuing with another school or technical/professional training. Forty-six percent go on to post-secondary education.
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 40,000 students across California, we help students prepare for a future beyond high school. For more information, please visit http://www.learn4lifecharleston.org/.
*High-res Photos Available
Ann Abajian, Learn4Life