Perspectives Charter School Named Runaway Prevention Curriculum Program of the Month March 2014

The Let’s Talk: Runaway Prevention Curriculum is…

Perspectives Charter School Named Runaway Prevention Curriculum Program of the Month March 2014

PerspectivesThe Let’s Talk: Runaway Prevention Curriculum is an evidence-based, interactive, 14-module life skills curriculum. In March 2014, based off data received nearly 700 youth from 9 organizations took advantage of the curriculum (download it for free). Each month we profile one organization that has done remarkable work using Let’s Talk: Runaway Prevention Curriculum. Today, we are honored to introduce Ricardo Aguinaga Jr. , School Social Worker and intern, Alana Duca from Perspectives Charter School in Chicago, IL. Perspectives Charter School operates five open-enrollment public schools serving 2,300 students in grades 6-12 in the communities of Auburn Gresham, Bronzeville, and the South Loop. 

Perspectives ran a 10 week program with the Let’s Talk: Runaway Prevention Curriculum by identifying 8 module topics that pertained to the 7th grades at their school.  Each week, 85-90 students were exposed and participated in the sessions.  Overall, students established a 20% increase in their rate of learning by the end of the program as evidenced by pre and post tests conducted at each session.

“As the school social worker, I support the Let’s Talk curriculum as it opens up a forum for our youth to discuss various psycho educational topics that are real and not always integrated into a general education setting.” Ricardo Aguinaga Jr. explains. “Let’s Talk sets a tone for students to share common experiences, questions, and concerns while also identifying stressors that may lead to high risk behavior.” image032

Many of the youth participants agreed, as one noted: “I liked that we talked about life situations and what we could be facing as we grow up.”

Another added, “[I] learned how to take care of myself better and make different choices.”

Let’s Talk was identified as a fit for Perspectives’ 7th grade students. “They were not recognizing that their emotional state was directly impacting their behavior and ultimately causing a negative classroom environment.” Aguinaga Jr. elaborates.

The curriculum was expanded to the whole 7th grade class. Perspectives noted that it was beneficial for all students to receive supports around the following modules: Communication & Listening, Adolescent Development, Personal Influences , Peers, Anger ManagementStress Reduction, Drugs & Alcohol, and Internet Safety.

 “The students learned different life skills.  They were introduced to subject matters that they may have never talked about before.” Intern Alana Duca explains. “All middle schools could benefit from it. The topic areas are crucial and relevant to all students. What I liked the most about the curriculum was the incorporation of various activities into each topic.  This helped break up time between lecture and activities.  Students liked any “games” that were played.”

Others highlighted the interactive and engaging format as well.

Perspectives Charter School operates five open-enrollment public schools serving 2,300 students in grades 6-12 in the communities of Auburn Gresham, Bronzeville, and the South Loop. Committed to providing access to top quality public school education throughout Chicago, Perspectives seeks to ensure that all students graduate prepared to succeed in college and in life.

The Let’s Talk: Runaway Prevention Curriculum is an evidence-based, interactive, 14-module life skills curriculum created by the National Runaway Safeline. If you are a social worker, teacher, educator or counselor working with youth grades 5 through 12 and interested in runaway prevention you can download the curriculum for free here. NRS also offers training and technical assistance as you use Let’s Talk.  Melanie Santarelli, NRS’ Prevention Specialist, can be reached at (773) 289-1723 or prevention@1800RUNAWAY.org. Also, please contact us if you are interested in nominating your organization or school as an RPC Program of the Month.