Do you know what the school to prison pipeline is? It’s a disturbing national trend wherein children are funneled out of public schools and instead wind up in juvenile detention centers and inside the criminal justice system. Many of these children have learning disabilities or histories of poverty, abuse or neglect, and would benefit from additional educational and counseling services. Instead, they are isolated, punished and pushed out. Prison rates in the US are the world’s highest, at 724 people per 100,000. This paints a gloomy picture for the future of some of our most marginalized children.
Know the facts: There is a direct connection between literacy rates, high school dropout rates, poverty and crime. A student who is not reading at his or her grade level by the end of third grade is four times less likely to graduate high school on time, if at all. That number jumps to six times less likely for students from low-income families. High school dropouts are 63 times more likely to be incarcerated than college graduates. A study found that out of 3,000 inmates in NC, 49% of those that did not receive support from an educational or career based program were reincarcerated. The bottom line? Poor reading skills are connected with unfavorable life outcomes.
Here is our sad reality: There are over 4000 homeless children in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and many live in extreme poverty. Many Charlotte Mecklenburg schools that have been identified as Title I. A school is designated as Title I when at least 75% of its student population is considered economically disadvantaged based on the established guidelines.
What can we do?? We can support the educational programs that work with our local school system and strive to overcome these challenges. Innovative Learning is on the frontline of this battle! Innovative Learning is committed to challenging the school to prison pipeline. Over the years it has grown into a thriving, full school year Community Learning Center. Currently, it’s serving the students at Northridge Middle School, with programming and plans in place to also begin serving the students from other schools in the near future. Innovative Learning is helping to turn things around by using a STEAM approach. Essentially, this is a Science, Technology Engineering & Math program that also incorporates the Arts using STEM processes. Students receive academic support by receiving tutoring in reading and math to support existing school based criteria in order to help improve test scores in Title 1 Schools. Our program also offers dance, cooking, coding classes, drama and more!
There is good news!! It’s working! Recently we have seen 58% growth in reading scores with our middle school students and 68% growth in math scores. Currently we are serving 60 students. We would like to serve more children and see them become successful as well. We endeavor to serve more than 150 children by starting programs in additional Title 1 schools in our area.
We need your support!! With all of our successes, we still have much more work to do! Innovative Learning needs your help in order to continue to operate in excellence. Children are in need of a great facility to learn and grow in, transportation, meals and clothing. Our technology is outdated and needs to be upgraded to help us train the next generation of engineers, scientists, tech professionals, chefs and artists. Will you consider donating to this worthy cause with a tax deductible donation? Every dollar goes toward helping a student right here in your area succeed, grow, learn and develop. Won’t you partner with us? The future of our community depends on it!