For more than a decade, we’ve been funding the teen parent program at Crossroads High School, a small alternative high school for pregnant and parenting teens in Concord. In addition to academics, Crossroads provides onsite child care, parent education, and counseling services to help young mothers complete their education and improve parenting skills.
With First 5 funding around $79,000 each year, the teens receive intensive counseling services to help them navigate through some very grown up issues, including homelessness, domestic violence, and the effects of poverty.
Despite these issues, many Crossroads students graduate and go on to college or trade schools – pretty remarkable given that teen parenthood is the leading reason girls drop out of high school and can result in many other life-long hardships. Last year, Crossroads served 77 teens and 20 graduated. Crossroads even posted the highest API test score gain of any school in Mt. Diablo.
What are some lessons learned for effectively serving teen parents? Crossroads staff share their insights:
- If we can get the girls to come to school and remove some of the obstacles in their lives, we know we will be successful.
- We can’t win against a boyfriend when he doesn’t want our student to come to school.
- We never cut ties, even after graduation.
- Some girls are afraid to graduate and leave us so they sabotage themselves to delay their graduation date.
- Many of our students are parenting their own parents.
- The financial state of our economy is magnified in our teen population.
- We always need to remind ourselves that our students are still “kids” making adult decisions.
- We don’t get to choose the students who come through our door, but it is our duty to education and serve all who do.