Preventing Student Drop-Out

Outreach to students and parents through the ACLU’s Stay in School workshops is now in its second year. To date, we have reached 186 students from 39 schools across New Castle County. The workshops were piloted in three Wilmington afterschool settings beginning in March of 2011. Since then, we have added seven more locations forthe workshops which are geared exclusively towards middle school and early high school aged students.

Students, parents and program staff agree that the Stay in School workshops are providing youth with valuable information to understand the impact of the excessive use of exclusionary discipline and the tools to appropriately advocate for themselves in school discipline matters.

The workshops generally function as a prevention and awareness program for students that are not yet in the school-to-prison pipeline. However, we have also had the opportunity to help students that are already heading down the pipeline through collaborations with Wraparound Delaware, a social services agency that serves juvenile offenders that have a Level 1 adjudication, and Parkway Academy North, a Wilmington-based alternative school.

Our primary interaction with students is in afterschool programs within YMCAs and community centers. In an attempt to provide the information necessary to advocate for students, we have done presentations on the school-to-prison pipeline and Delaware’s school discipline issues for parents and program staff of many of the organizations that we have collaborated with. Our Parent’s Guide has been distributed to organizations and agencies that serve Delaware youth and their families, including Delaware’s Family Court, Delaware Center for Justice’s School Diversion and Truancy Reduction Programs, and Wraparound Delaware.

Want to Get Involved?

The Stay in School workshops are in high demand and we are now focusing on bringing them to more afterschool locations and schools. We are currently recruiting volunteers to both help facilitate workshops and expand our reach. Want to get involved? If you are passionate about drop-out prevention and/or working with urban youth, we need you!

  • Volunteer to facilitate a workshop
  • Spread the word about the Stay in School Project
  • Request a workshop for your organization, school, or group
  • Attend the School Climate Forum on May 10th

For more information, contact Stay in School Coordinator Alexandria Nedd at stayinschool@aclu-de.org.

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