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Volume 19, Number 2
March/April 2003

Transition Programs for Retained Students

Segregation or Salvation?


Beyond the metal detector, it looks like hundreds of other schools you might find across the United States—a place where teachers, administrators, and staff have worked hard to create a welcoming learning environment. Brightly painted walls, cheerful bulletin boards that announce school events and programs, and room signs made lovingly by hand belie the building's environs in Back of the Yards, a tough neighborhood on Chicago's south side. The Samuel D. Proctor Academic Preparatory Center is in many ways a study in contrasts.

"In any large metropolitan environment like Chicago, there's so much going on every morning, every afternoon. First we've got to make sure the students get here," says Doris Brown, an administrative staff member in charge of student discipline and support. "Once we get them here, we give them their hug and send them off to class."

Morning hugs for students who are having a rough day are part of the culture at Proctor, but so are smaller classes, more individualized attention, and more counseling and support personnel per pupil than Chicago's regular public high schools. The reason for this disparity is the special population that Proctor serves: students who have not met the criteria for graduation to high school.

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For Further Information

For Further Information

A.B. Cholo. "Dropping Out in Grade School: Tough Promotion Policy Linked to Earlier Quitting." Chicago Tribune, August 11, 2002: C1-2.

C. Gewertz. "More Chicago Pupils Flunk Grade." Education Week, October 9, 2002.

S.R. Miller, E.M. Allensworth, and J.R. Kochanek. Student Performance: Course Taking, Test Scores, and Outcomes (The State of Chicago Public High Schools: 1993 to 2000). Chicago: Consortium on Chicago School Research, 2002.

D.R. Moore. New Data about Chicago's Grade Retention Program Provides Further Proof That Neither Retention nor Social Promotion Works. Chicago: Designs for Change, 2000.

M. Roderick, J. Nagaoka, J. Bacon, and J.Q. Easton. Update—Ending Social Promotion: Passing, Retention, and Achievement Trends among Promoted and Retained Students, 1995-1999. Chicago: Consortium on Chicago School Re search, 2000.

J. Temkin. "Transition Students: Most Go to High School, but Then Drop Out." Catalyst 12, no. 9 (June 2001).