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Nearly 50% of all Philadelphia public school students are on a path to falling off the on-time graduation track by the time they reach the end of middle school—that is, they will not graduate high school within four years. A 2006 study states, “as early as sixth grade, we can identify a significant percentage of students who will ultimately leave the School District without graduating. Before they drop out, these students will have multiple years of low test scores, poor behavior, and weak attendance. This will impact not only on the students themselves but the schools they attend” (Ruth Curran Neild, Ph.D., Robert Balfanz, Ph.D, Unfulfilled Promise: The Dimensions and Characteristics of Philadelphia’s Dropout Crisis, 2000–2005 (2006, The Johns Hopkins University et al.). Among the study’s findings:
The current crisis is illustrated by 724 youth gunshot victims in Philadelphia in 2011 (down from 1,030 in 2006), costing $46,000 per treatment in local hospital trauma centers.
CADEkids Program Participant Demographics
During a typical school year, CADEkids' demographics are up to 65% African-American and up to 44% Latino. Approximately 90% of participants qualify for the free or reduced-price lunch program.
The public elementary and middle schools these children attend have a high incidence of drug-related problems, poor academic performance, and dangerous incidents—defined as weapons offenses (guns, knives, or other weapons) and violent incidents (homicide, kidnapping, robbery, sexual offenses, and aggravated assaults)―in their neighborhoods.
CADEkids focuses on these schools because they are the ones that feed into Philadelphia's persistently dangerous schools (PDS). Over the last five years, nearly 100 feeder schools have been identified for Philadelphia's PDS schools. Our goal is to scale up and replicate the program to provide risk reduction skills sets to the vulnerable populations in these schools. We were in 24 schools in 2011-12, and are in 21 in 2012-13.