Investigate Education Options for My At-Risk Teen
If your teen is struggling in school or at risk of quitting altogether, a different school or educational option might keep him or her engaged and on course to graduation.
Here’s how to go about finding those options:
Make an appointment to talk to my teen's high school counselor.
The counselor should be aware of specific programs and options that might be a good fit for your teen. Bring a list of questions. Ask this person about:
Tech prep programs. These hands-on technical courses in trades like auto mechanics and print production may be offered at the high school, or at a nearby college. This is an excellent option for kids who learn by doing. It also gives a student a foundation in a marketable skill.
Career academy. These are small schools-within-a-school that are usually located in the high school and that train students in real-world skills.
Alternative school. Every district has these small, separate high schools for at-risk kids. They offer a high level of personal attention, and they focus on keeping kids engaged with their education.
Research local educational options online.
Research local educational options online. The Internet is a powerful tool to learn about educational options and even to uncover local resources. Here are some categories of online schools to research:
Magnet schools. Originally formed to support desegregation efforts, magnet schools still seek to attract a diverse student body, but they may also focus on a specific educational theme, such as the arts or the environment. (See EduGuide’s article about an exemplary magnet school in Detroit "Urban Magnet School Combines Technology with High School Academics")
Charter schools. Are often formed by parents or educators who may be seeking a different educational model. As such, they operate more independently and may have more flexibility than other types of schools. Many school districts list their charter schools on their websites, or you can search for schools anywhere in the country at the U.S. Department of Education’s school search Web site.
GED programs. The GED (General Educational Development) test is a series of five exams that test for the basic knowledge a high school graduate should have. A student who passes the GED tests is awarded the equivalent of a high school diploma. High school counselors should have information about test sites as well as classes or workshops to prepare for the test. Or visit the official site of the American Council on Education for information about the GED.
Search Tips: If you’re having trouble finding the information you want online, try “laddering,” or making your search either more general or more focused. Instead of entering “charter schools,” add your city to the search term. Or, click on the additional search terms that Google suggests at the bottom of its search results pages. Keep track of the best websites by bookmarking them or adding them to your favorites.
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