Sample Needs Statement
This KnowledgeBase archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.
All one has to do is pick up a newspaper, watch the news, or listen to the radio to catch a glimpse of the threats which children and youth face today. There is little doubt that our most promising asset is at risk. The battle, most intense for these "at risk" students, places them in the category of victims and dismisses their potential to be productive members of society.
Dr. Robert Blum's research in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (2001) demonstrates two of the strongest predictors of adolescent substance abuse and behavioral issues (dropout, suspension) are (1) academic difficulties in school and (2) unsupervised time after-school. This extensive study clearly supports the importance of youth having a safe, supervised learning environment during those critical hours after-school.
The local (urban city)-area school districts are fighting a plethora of negative societal factors, including:
• Increasing domestic violence and its over-riding effect on the children involved, with XX deaths from domestic disputes in the past year -almost twice the previous year's total (city newspaper, date);
• Rising juvenile crime ( XXXXXXX County juveniles account for XX% of the State's juvenile population, but for XX% of the State Department of Correction incarcerated juveniles); (city newspaper, date);
• The highest poverty rate in the state. (The State Department of Education Free Lunch Report, Dec. 2002, shows that only X schools in the XXXXXXXX district are below 50% poverty - with XX schools above the 90% poverty rate and XX more schools between 80-90% poverty, as defined by Federal guidelines);
• The highest homeless percentage in the state, with 4 out of 10 homeless adults having children with them. (XXXXXXX has on average X,000 homeless/night and XX,000/year out of XX,000 in the entire state.) (State Department of Education Homeless Project Report, Jan. 2003);
• The highest percentage of child abuse (physical and sexual) cases processed by the Department of Family and Social Services (X,XXX cases in 2001, with X verified deaths); (State Youth Institute 2002 Data Book);
• The highest percentage of drop-outs in the state;
• The highest percentage of suspensions and expulsions in the state (XX,XXX in 2001; State Youth Institute Data Book);
• The third fastest growing Hispanic community in the nation (Hispanic Radio Station); XXXXX school system has experienced a XXX% growth in less than 5 years;
• XXX% increase in methamphetamine labs raided and destroyed by authorities; (XXX in XXXXXX County in the last year compared to 6 in entire state 5 years ago);
• XXX% increase in homicides in XXXXX County (as opposed to the City of XXXXX, which was labeled the 'homicide capital [per capita] of the country' in 1989-99. In 2002, XX homicide victims in the greater (city) area were X or younger. (newspaper, date)
Additionally, the local public schools have lost money due to the start up and general fund funding for charter schools. (District schools lost $XX million from its general fund to pay for XXX charter school students from its boundary areas.) Also, the state does not make up sufficient funding for students qualifying for free textbooks, and, again, the are school districts were left short-funded, for example District lost another $XXX,XXX. (newspaper, date) A recent study conducted by the state teachers association (newspaper, date) found that the average cost to effectively educate students living in poverty is $XX,XXX and $XX,XXX for special education students. The area LEAs involved in this project receive an average of $X,XXX/student and $X,XXX/special education student, with District receiving a low of $X,XXX/student for its ADM rate and $X,XXX for its special education population, which makes up almost XX% of its enrollment.
"The need for quality programs far outpaces the current availability in XXXXXX County and (the lack of services) is having a definite impact on the academic achievement of unsupervised youth," stated Dr. XXXXXXX, the After-school Coordinator for the Mayor, City of XXXXXX.
Despite the "overwhelming" odds cited above, not all is lost. XXXXX area youth organizations and schools are responding by providing children and their families with opportunities to develop their academic, social, and emotional skills in many after school programs. These efforts move away from the identification of risks and toward the cultivation of protective factors (those traits that appear to alter-or even reverse- predictions of negative behaviors) through programs that enhance academic success and/or prevent high-risk behavior.
Adapted from an example provided by Dr. Wanda Riesz, Director, Grant Writing & Resource Development. Indianapolis Public Schools, Indianapolis, IN.
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