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Spotlight

NDTAC and the Department of Education would like to regularly highlight successful Title I, Part D programs and staff to serve as an inspirational model for the nation, and offer insight to be applied to all Title I, Part D programming.

Voices from the Field, Neglected Facilities

Title I, Part D provides federal funding to support programs for neglected, delinquent, and at-risk youth. In this brief, we spotlight two states with neglected facilities and programs – Oregon and Indiana. To learn more about their practices in identifying and funding their neglected programs, check out the spotlight here: Voices from the Field, Neglected Facilities

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice School System (DJJSS)

The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice School System in Decatur, Georgia has demonstrated its ability to adapt to the changing needs of facilities and students, to ensure that federal funds are being used in the most effective manner. To learn more about how they have supported a strong GED program and other innovative opportunities through TIPD, check out the spotlight here: Georgia DJJ School System: Responding to Continuously Changing Program Needs with Title I, Part D Funding

McCracken Regional School, Kentucky

McCracken Regional School, located within McCracken Regional Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) in Kentucky, faces many of the same learning challenges most schools within juvenile detention centers face, including below-average student reading proficiency. NDTAC recently spoke with Lucinda Mills, the school administrator for the JDC, about how she and the JDC staff decided to use their Title I, Part D subpart 2 funding to create a culture where reading is valued. Check out the spotlight here: McCracken Regional School: Creating a Culture of Reading.

Youth Encouragement Services (YES) Home, Indiana

The YES Home is a locally operated neglected facility located in Aurora, Indiana. Served through the Title I, Part A program, the YES Home is a residential group home for youth 12-20 years old, providing a structured, nurturing environment for children who are abused, neglected, and abandoned. NDTAC recently spoke with Executive Director Amy Philips about its strong tutoring program and how it has successfully served the local community for over 20 years. Check out the spotlight here: Youth Encouragement Services (YES) Home.

For more information about the Youth Encouragement Services Home, please visit: https://www.yeshome.org/

Mission High School, Clark County, Nevada

Since opening its doors in 2017, Mission High School in Clark County, NV has provided counseling services, daily groups, student-to-teacher class sizes, and an overall philosophy of healing to over 200 students recovering from substance abuse use and dependency. Funded by the Clark County School system, Mission High School was the first public high school of its kind, solely dedicated as a school that specializes in serving students with substance abuse issues. NDTAC recently spoke with the principal Angela Nickels and gained insight into the school's success and its unique and inspiring initiative. Check out the spotlight here: Mission High School, Clark County, Nevada.

For more information about Mission High School, please visit: http://missionhighschool.ccsd.net/

Albuquerque Public Schools, Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention and Youth Services Centers

Family and parent engagement can be a struggle in any education setting, let alone a setting as complex as a juvenile detention center (JDC). NDTAC recently spoke with one facility that found a successful way to connect with families of students in the JDC. Check out the spotlight here: Community and Game Night - Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention and Youth Services Centers.

Alabama Department of Youth Services

The Alabama Department of Youth Services (DYS) District, led by Dr. Tracy Smitherman, understands the importance of transition activities for their youth. In NDTAC’s latest spotlight, we focus on the Alabama (DYS) and highlight one program that has developed promising practices to prepare and transition students for life after they leave their program. Check out the spotlight here: Creating Successful Transitions for Youth in Alabama.

Bars to Bridges Program, Multnomah Education Service District, Multnomah, Oregon

NDTAC is highlighting the Bars to Bridges (B2B) program operated by Multnomah Education Service District (MESD) in Multnomah, Oregon. Established in 2016 and funded partially through TIPD, Bars to Bridges supports positive educational transitions and outcomes for Black/African American justice-involved youth and their families.

A key component to this program is the use of transition specialists who help to remove barriers for students transitioning back into public school. What makes this transition program so effective, is the long-term commitment the specialists have to the students. Transition specialists meet students upon intake and follow students until they either graduate from high school or have demonstrated strong indicators of other success factors. Even if a student transfers schools, attends a residential program, or ends up back in a juvenile detention center, the transition specialist stays with them. One student described the transition specialist role as follows, “[They’re] kind of like this angel on my shoulder that tells me to keep pushing. I remember [they’d] show up to my basketball games and how much that meant to have support. Or when I got in trouble at school, they didn’t just get mad at me. They told me I could do better. They push me to do something more.”

The program has shown multiple measures of success. Statistically, they have seen justice-involved Black youth’s graduation rates go from under 20% in the 2010’s to over 70% in recent pandemic years. Additionally, B2B youth exceeded the statewide average for regular attendance at 80% in the past year. The state of Oregon has taken notice of this success, committing additional funding to the program and starting a new program called East County Bridges. The Bars to Bridges program has been shared nationally at the National Partnership for Juvenile Services and at the National Youth Advocacy and Resilience Conference. The data speak to the program success, but perhaps most importantly are the testimonials from students in the program, like this one, “All kids could benefit, a lot of us need help and y’all show up ready to help. You should change the job description because y’all are more than education. You give kids hope, to do something bigger and better. Every kid needs that.”

For more information the Bars to Bridges program, please visit: Bars to Bridges - Multnomah Education Service District (multnomahesd.org).

Hank Richards, Lead Educator, Ted Lechner Youth Service Center in Billings, Montana

NDTAC is highlighting Hank Richards who serves as the lead educator at the Ted Lechner Youth Service Center in Billings, Montana. Hank has been recognized nationally for his programming, recently being awarded the 2022 Outstanding Educator Award by the Midwest Symposium for Leadership in Behavior Disorders. His passion and dedication to improving the lives of students in his facility have fostered positive youth outcomes and active engagement in his programs. 

The Billings Gazette has published an article about Hank and his accomplishments in the community, additionally highlighting his interagency networking and his positive behavior reinforcement programming model. The article was written by Tom Ackerman on March 11th, 2022, and can be accessed by clicking the link below:

Educator at Juvenile Detention Facility in Billings Receives National Award for Leadership- The Billings Gazette