Most educators run away from at-risk students, I run to them.
What are signs that a student is at-risk?
Since most students are at school, doing an evaluation of the child’s performance would be a quick indication of a problem. Look to see if the student has ever been expelled from a school or relocated due to bad behavior. If they have been suspended and their grades are failing, these are warning signs that a student is at-risk.
Have a conversation with the child. If he/she is verbally abusive or uses foul language without respect for adults then the child could be a teen at risk.
Most students have a certain expectation of how they are to act outside of the home and when a student doesn’t care about performing well or getting in trouble at school, this is a red flag that there is a lack of discipline at home.
Teachers can often sense a lack of motivation from the student early on in the school year. Another clue is to have a conversation with the parent, either one should be able to give you a rundown of their child. If the parent has no clue of what their child is doing academically, this is a good sign that there’s a disconnect between the parent and the teen.
Studies show that students that miss a handful of days in the first two weeks of the school year will be so far behind that they may never catch up, thus making them at-risk for dropping out of high school.
Parents and educators need to give students with these characteristics extra attention. Most students in this situation are here because someone in their life has not believed in them or their environment does not set them up for success.
It’s important for all schools in America to have student outreach programs that target at-risk teens. I was an at-risk student and I know what it takes to overcome wanting to give up. Sometimes a student just needs to hear that they are important and that they don’t have to have all the answers, just enough to get them through school.
High school students especially cannot see themselves past tenth grade. My job as a at-risk youth speaker is to communicate truth into the lives of students who want to quit. I challenge them to work not only for themselves but for generations to come. When they see the end result, they’ll go after it.