Transitions occur in many different educational, societal, and familial situations. Among the more common situations where problems of adjustment might be encountered are changing from one school to another, a change in grades, the shift to regular participation in afterschool programs and childcare, and going from school (non- special education) into the workplace.
(Taylor & Adelman, 2003, p. 122) Various programs have been devised, and services provided, that meet each of these import transitional needs. Children with emotional or behavioral disorders may be as much in need of transition services and programs as those challenged by physical or cognitive disabilities. Children with such conditions are frequently moved from school to school, or form program to program, either through the actions of their own families, or in an attempt to find the right form of treatment for the difficulties they face. These constant changes may, in and of themselves, result in almost insurmountable problems and pressures on the developing youngsters. Heather M. Baltodano and Robert M. Gable et al. cite the importance of interventions in any one of a variety of settings, including within the family, the school, and the community. (Hester, Baltodano, Gable, Tonelson & Hendrickson, 2003) Treatment of children with emotional or behavioral problems, or both, necessitates an attentiveness to a virtually identical set of pre-existing characteristics, each of which goes into creating the social and familial background to the child's situation. In addition, patterns of interaction; how ideas and goals are communicated from authority figures to children, etc. play roles in either helping children toward developmental goals or keeping them from those goals:
Child characteristics, parent characteristics, the dynamics of the interaction between the parent and child, and how that relationship is influenced by economic, cultural, and social circumstances... all impinge on the development of children. The long-term efficacy of that intervention process is dependent largely on its continuity and consistency across persons, across settings, and over time. Various authorities assert it is the complex interplay between child and child-partner (parent/teacher/peer), along with variables within the context of the setting that shape the quality of behavior. (Hester, Baltodano, Gable, Tonelson & Hendrickson, 2003)
In terms of when to conduct interventions, the younger the child the better. Hanna Wasik reports that a program for children aged four months to eighteen months, called the Abecedarian Project, has seen phenomenal success in increasing IQ and language scores. Such programs are accompanied by transitions programs in order to ensure that these gains are carried over into actual school. (Fuligni & Brooks-Gunn, 2004, p. 119) the transition program or service represents a way of linking together the lessons of an earlier environment with that of a later, yet to be experienced, environment. In this way, transition programs and services assist individuals in a wide variety of circumstances and situations, helping them to move on with their lives in a productive fashion.
Transition programs, in the form of intensive counseling, have been used to assist students at inner city schools in making the leap from school to work. In the first instance, in a program described by Paul J. Hartung and David L. Blustein, young men and women are taught to locate their "true reasoning" within the context of their own lives. (Hartung & Blustein, 2002) Counselors conduct an intervention in the form of helping the student in need "locate a mentor." (Hartung & Blustein, 2002) Through such a program, young people are enabled to take charge of their own lives by being a course of introspection. By discovering how they view they world, and how they make decisions, these students can, in true transition fashion, work toward the goals of the future. They can see where their own ideas do or do not fit in the world of the workplace. They can take the attitudes of high school and modify them in such necessary ways as make it possible for them to emerge from the school experience as competent and goal-oriented adults. The program provides students with written assignments that cause them to come up with clear definitions of work, to focus on their own backgrounds and experiences by writing autobiographical essays, and to enhance basic skills that will enable them to achieve success in any future career. (Hartung & Blustein, 2002) Transition programs and services that are geared toward assisting minorities find the right job after school are especially important given the racial disparities that exist in employment levels between African-Americans and Whites. Deirdre a. Royster found that Black men were ten percent more likely to be unemployed than their White counterparts, and also earned only seventy-three percent of what White men earned. (Royster, 2003, p. 60-61) in many formerly heavily-industrialized inner city areas, jobs are difficult to find. The old, almost automatic transition from school to factory has become nearly impossible. At one time, young people could easily gain access to reasonably well-paid and secure positions simply with the help of a little training, and an introduction from a relative or family friend. With the departure of the factories, the situation has been changed dramatically for minorities graduating from the world of school to the world of work. (Royster, 2003, p. 40) These changes in the socio-economic picture have made the opportunities presented by transition services and programs all the more worthy of investigation and consideration. As these programs and services can assist young people in grappling with the new dynamic of the workplace, it is essential that they be explore din greater depth so as to develop the means to help these disadvantaged youngsters. No man or woman should be held back because he or she was born in the "wrong" place, in the "wrong" ethnic or racial group, or attended the "wrong" school. Through transition programs, and with the aid of transition services, minority men and women can learn to value themselves, to value their skills and talents, and learn to find their way in the workplace. They too can become successful, productive, and fulfilled adults.
Subjects of Study:
Two groups of high school freshmen - Groups a and B - at an inner city high school will be selected for participation. These students will be followed for the course of their entire high school careers. Group a and Group B. will each consist of 10 male students and 10 female students for a total of twenty students in each group. Group a will consist of students participating in a full year School-to-Work Transition program. Group B, the control group, will consist of students not participating in any sort of School-to-Work program. Students approved for participation in each group will be chosen so as to reflect the "typical" student at the study location. They will as nearly as possible resemble the typical demographic of the school, will come from similar socio-economic backgrounds, will come from similar family backgrounds i.e. If there are ten students in Group a that come from single-family households, there will also be ten students in Group B. who come from single-family households.
Students will have similar academic and disciplinary records so as to guarantee evenness in terms of employability criteria.
Location of Study:
Marshall Metro High School
3250 W. Adams St.
Duration of Study:
Beginning Date: September 2007
Completion Date: June 2011
Students will, from time to time, complete an evaluation form. These evaluation forms will measure students' success at meeting various employability criteria. Employability Criteria will consist of a combination of academic skills and achievements, social skills, and personal development markers. These will be gathered and tracked over the course of the study. In addition, after the completion of the study, students will be tracked for a period of one year to see if they have been able to obtain employment; what kind of employment they have obtained, what salary level, and how many different jobs or positions they have held. This employment data will then be compared against the final scores of the Employability Evaluations.
Scoring of Study Instruments:
Employability markers will be assigned values that can be calculated and weighted as necessary to determine the relative importance of each factor when compared to the Employment Data that is collected after the completion of the study period.
Validity and Reliability:
Issues a validity and reliability will be addressed, in part, by using instruments that conform to the goals of other, pre-existing Transition Programs and Services. In particular, the researcher will employ the criteria of Self-Determination as means of ensuring that students are progressing logically toward the goals of self-improvement and transition form school to work. As well, standard academic and behavior measurements will be used to evaluate student performance in those areas. Most differences between this program and more traditional versions of the Transition Concept will be measured by adapting existing tools to this situation. A major limitation of the study will be the necessity of guaranteeing that all participants sufficiently…