Education vs. incarceration for troubled teens

A thing remarkable is about to happen at Gateway Group College in Camarillo, which serves pupils who have confronted a rocky highway on their substantial faculty journey. Some have been expelled from their typical significant colleges, and others have experienced run-ins with the regulation. All of them have confronted important hurdles as they work towards earning their high faculty diplomas.

Usually, several of the students in Gateway’s senior class are unsuccessful to meet the needs for graduation. But this 12 months, virtually all 21 of them will obtain their diplomas and have options to enroll in faculty or enter the workforce. Issues could quickly have turned out otherwise for these pupils if they experienced been incarcerated for their offenses instead than provided the aid they essential to transform their life about.

Getting these students throughout the end line took the involvement of caring industry experts from the Ventura County Office of Education and learning, which operates Gateway, and our associates at Ventura County Behavioral Health and fitness and the Ventura County Probation Agency. They created the associations and built the connections with college students and people essential to get over the road blocks that can effortlessly derail the intention of graduating.

A lot of of the college students have to maintain down careers to assistance their family members and should juggle the needs of both equally university and perform. Some of them are parents who struggle to find childcare so they can attend class. When faculties ended up closed to in-human being learning because of to the pandemic, they missed out on essential guidance and advice that couldn’t be duplicated on-line.

When students returned to Gateway in particular person, the workers redoubled their initiatives to make up for misplaced time. They improved the possibilities for pupils to get well missed credits. They were in continuous communication with pupils and dad and mom to improve attendance and track progress. And they partnered with Oxnard College to tour the campus and enable college students with the admissions course of action. The pupils also stepped up to the plate by coming to course, maintaining appointments with counselors, and catching up with schoolwork on evenings and weekends.

Although we’re celebrating the enhance in Gateway’s graduation charge, we’re fired up to see a diverse statistic on the decline. The Ventura County Business office of Education and learning also operates Providence Faculty, which is found within the Ventura County Juvenile Justice Facility in El Rio. For decades, the number of learners at Providence has been dropping as teenagers are ever more diverted to destinations like Gateway alternatively of putting them behind bars. It’s a shift in priorities which is spending actual dividends, as we can see with this year’s Gateway graduating course.

In a few months, they will proudly wander throughout the stage in caps and gowns to get their hard-gained diplomas. Although superior faculty graduation is a supplied for many young ones, it’s fairly a bit additional for these college students. It’s proof that the blunders they’ve built in the past really do not have to define their potential. It’s a testomony to the superior that can occur when community organizations collaborate in the ideal interest of college students who have to have excess support. And it is a reminder that the will to improve, improve, and succeed is alive and nicely in all of us.

Dr. Cesar Morales

Dr. César Morales is the Ventura County Superintendent of Educational facilities.

This post at first appeared on Ventura County Star: Visitor column: Education vs. incarceration for troubled teens