All children are entitled to a free, high-quality education. Unfortunately, many of our most vulnerable young people—whether in traditional schools, residential treatment facilities, or juvenile justice placements—are not provided the education they need to become successful adults. Stoneleigh invests in efforts to ensure vulnerable youth complete their education with the skills they need to thrive.
- Keep youth in school
Students disengage from school when they feel unsafe or when their needs are not being met. We support efforts to ensure students with disabilities receive the individualized special education services to which they are entitled. We also invest in trauma-informed strategies to prevent students from being bullied, excluded, or disciplined because of their sexual orientation, gender expression, or disability status. In addition, we seek to address challenges that prevent youth from focusing on their education, such as housing instability or family issues.
- End the school-to-prison pipeline
Exclusionary, zero-tolerance discipline practices often serve as a pathway into the criminal justice system, particularly for youth of color and youth with disabilities. Rather than relying on suspensions, expulsions, and arrests, we believe in employing strategies that address the root causes of young peoples’ behavior. These may include restorative discipline practices or approaches that divert youth from school-based arrests and provide them with necessary services.
- Ensure equal access to quality education
Young people who are educated in non-traditional settings, such as disciplinary schools, child welfare placements, and residential treatment or juvenile justice facilities, are among our most vulnerable students. They often have disabilities that require personalized instruction and significant learning supports. We invest in collaborative efforts among the juvenile justice, child welfare, health, and education systems to ensure these youth get the instruction they need. We also support work to ensure young people returning from residential placements are able to transition seamlessly back into their home schools.
- Provide skills to successfully transition to adulthood
Many young people who have been involved in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems struggle to complete their educations and find stable employment. We invest in efforts to ensure these young people receive the assistance they need to become successful adults, including access to public benefits, vital documents, affordable housing, and higher education or employment training.