Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2004, $247,369)
This project is based on extensive research with children from low-income families that indicates that these children are at high risk for school failure, early dropout, and delinquency. This pattern of school failure accelerates in the middle school years and often is associated with students disengaging from the new learning opportunities they are provided. To counter this pattern and improve school attachment among middle school children at all income levels, the grantee will introduce a Career Start model with new curriculum modules that will provide career-related content in all 6th grade classes. The grantee will test the effects of this expanded curriculum on indicators of student school performance, behavior related problems, emerging career and self awareness, and school attachment. For teachers, the grantee will assess career awareness and curriculum satisfaction. A mix of qualitative and quantitative measures will be used.
CareerStart implementation will require two years of effort. The first year will involve teachers and administrators in developing the curriculum modules. These modules will be introduced and tested in the second year. The Winston-Salem Forsyth County school system will be an active partner in the development and implementation of CareerStart. The grantee plans to seek additional funding to extend this project to later school grades and other schools. NCA/NCF