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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78115 Find in a Library
Title: Bellingham Street Academy Number 1480 - An Evaluation
Author(s): S Readio
Corporate Author: Northwest Regional Council
United States of America
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 29
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Northwest Regional Council
Bellingham, WA 98225
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This evaluation tested the impact of an alternative school, the Bellingham Street Academy in Washington State, by comparing recidivism rates of its students with those of a matched group of out-of-school juveniles from a neighboring jurisdiction.
Abstract: Between 1973 and 1976 the Bellingham Street Academy operated an academic and crafts program which was recognized by the Juvenile Court as a substitute for traditional schools. This report first describes the Academy's referral procedures, educational program, administration, and personnel. As the project evolved, most students were referred informally by other peers or parents rather than the courts. Students and staff worked out individualized programs of study, and the administrative structure was democratic, relying on regular student input. Attendance was monitored, but turnover rates for students as well as staff were high. A comparison group for the evaluation was selected from probation records in Skagit County using key characteristics such as race, school status, sex, and prior referrals for delinquency, alcohol, and drugs. A profile of the 151 juveniles who entered the Academy during its 3 years covers family backgrounds, referral sources, grade level, and type of program selected. In the original plan, each student was to complete a standardized achievement test upon admission, but little testing was actually done. Most students chose a general study program with noncredit courses and made little progress toward completing their high school education. An examination of the comparison group demonstrates that it was more delinquent than the Academy population. However, a final assessment based on recidivism rates found no significant differences in the proportions of juveniles from both groups who committed new juvenile and adult offenses. Further analysis showed that the Academy juveniles committed offenses more frequently than the comparison group. This particular model of alternative education was singularly ineffective, probably because of its very informal atmosphere, constant turnover of staff and students, and poor relations with schools and traditional social agencies. Statistical tables, a partial list of courses offered by the Academy, and 9 references are included.
Index Term(s): Alternative schools; Evaluation; Juvenile delinquency prevention; Juvenile Recidivism; Washington
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