There is a major education crisis in America. We are in jeopardy of losing the next generation due to a horrific dropout epidemic.
Our country’s education statistics are staggering:
- 7,000 adolescents per day drop out or are expelled from our nation’s high schools, according to America’s Promise Alliance” (America’s Promise Alliance, 2020).
- “Black and Hispanic/Latino students are still graduating about eight and five percentage points behind the national average, respectively” (America’s Promise Alliance, 2020).
- “In 2017, the average high school “event” dropout rate was 4.7%, contrasting with 3.5% in 2007.
- This rate includes students between the age of 15 and 24 in grades 10-12 who left high school between the beginning of one school year and the beginning of the next without earning a diploma or alternate credential
- Recipients of GED or other alternative credential don’t factor into the dropout rate.
- In 2017, the average high school “status” dropout rate was 5.4%.
- This rate includes students between the age of 16 and 24 not enrolled in school and do nothave a diploma or alternative credential.
- 36% of students who have a disability (physical or learning) drop out of high school.
- 73% of high school dropouts indicated their parents tried to talk them into staying compared to 37% indicating their school tried to talk them into staying.
- 53% of dropouts said their parents offered to help them with personal problems vs. 24% indicating their school offered to help.
- 75% of high school dropouts never participated in an alternative program or school” (EducationData.org, 2020).
Without a high school diploma, young people:
- Are more likely to be incarcerated or involved in the juvenille or adult justice systems (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2018).
- Will earn an average of $12,000+ less than their peers with high school diplomas (Statistica, 2020).
- Have a shorter life expectancy and more health issues (CDC, 2010).
- Less likely to vote and/or be an active participant in the democratic process of America (CIRCLE, 2012).
We believe that every student in America matters, regardless of their background or circumstances. Therefore, StreetSchool Network™ seeks to plant and equip faith-based schools in our nation’s urban cores to ensure that our most at-risk students have equitable access to high-quality education, as well as the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Street Schools have long been an oasis of hope in deserts of darkness and despair.
– gang members, the addicted, teen moms, and those with other issues which caused the teen to drop out or be expelled from school.
Within just a few years of the formation of the Denver Street School in 1985, Mr. Tom Tillapaugh, DSS founder, and administrator, began to receive calls from educators in other cities requesting help in starting like schools for troubled youth in their own metropolitan areas.
In an effort to have an organized response to an increasing nationwide need, Mr. Tillapaugh founded the National Association of Street Schools, now StreetSchool Network (SSN), in 1996. SSN provides a clearinghouse of information and support for educators across the nation that wish to start schools for at-risk young people or desire help for their already existing interventionist model school.
The StreetSchool Network™ exists for these very students, working nationwide to meet the challenges of youth living in at-risk environments by developing a network of schools that provide a personalized education, a moral code, and tools for self-sufficiency. Our purpose is to facilitate the development and accreditation of schools based on the StreetSchool Essentials for reaching and supporting high-need students. In this way, network schools serve as educational “intensive care units” for those students being left behind.
The StreetSchool Network™ has had a dramatic impact on the lives of those in the at-risk population. Member schools have achieved impressive benchmarks including boosting GPAs by more than 67% (over a student’s previous school experience) and demonstrating a college enrollment rate of 73%. What’s more, schools collectively provide students with more than 80,000 hours of literacy intervention annually to improve their reading and writing skills. Plus, StreetSchool Network™ is helping schools achieve accreditation through Advanced Ed and the regional accrediting agencies. Perhaps most encouraging of all, 85% of StreetSchool Network™ alumni are either attending a college or trade school, are gainfully employed, in the military, or own their own businesses and are successfully contributing to their communities.
Street Schools…the road to hope for at-risk kids!
During the summer of 1979, Tom Tillapaugh, founder of the Denver Street School and president of the StreetSchool Network™, visited a group home for young people experiencing homelessness in downtown Denver. As members of this home were working hard towards rehabilitation and more meaningful productive lives, there was one component missing…
Tom saw that the lack of non-traditional educational opportunities were a barrier to their success. As an educator himself, Tom saw the critical need for an educational outreach to these young people, which would not only instill a sense of self-esteem, but also provide the tools for self-sufficiency.
In 1985, with five students around his dining room table, Tom opened a school for high school dropouts off of Colfax Avenue in Denver, CO. Tom found that he had to adjust techniques and procedures from the traditional classroom to meet the special needs of his unique student body. As the school began to flourish, it wasn’t long before word spread about the work being done. People began calling from around the country to ask how they could replicate the Street School Model in their city.
In response to those requests, Wendy Piersee joined Tillapaugh in 1996 and together they co-founded the National Association of Street Schools (later rebranded to StreetSchool Network™) to develop services and provide accountability and resources to Street Schools around the country. In 2003, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation selected the StreetSchool Network™ as one of eight educational intermediaries whose model was chosen for replication through the Alternative High School Initiative.
In 2005 through the leadership of Todd Goble, the StreetSchool Network™ was approved as an sponsoring corporation with the Commission for International and Trans-regional Accreditation (now AdvancED Cognia), allowing StreetSchool Network™ to help its network schools prepare to be a candidate for accreditation, select schools to be candidates, provide annual reviews, and resource and support their ongoing School Continuous Improvement Plans.
Today, there are 37 schools operating in 29 cities serving nearly 4,000 students with amazing results. Many of the cities where you will find network schools are places like Philadelphia and Cleveland where high school graduation rates hover between 30-40%. Network schools have made significant progress in the past few years in incorporating digital tools to support data collection on student outcomes, and standardized testing to allow for data-driven decision making on adjusting instruction to support student achievement.
The StreetSchool Network™ is recognized nationally for its efforts to stem the drop-out crisis by working nationwide to develop a network of schools that specifically reach out to students who have not succeeded educationally and have numerous risk factors that contribute to educational failure.
Network schools educate the “whole student” through programs that contain academic rigor, personal/social development, career preparation, economic literacy and spiritual/character development.