Friday, October 5, 2012

Juanita Story-Jones completes dissertation in the School of Educational Leadership and Change

The Non-Inclusive Educational Practices that Influence African American Teens in America’s Public Urban School System, Juanita Story-Jones

This research was based on the perspectives of African American teen experiences in urban school settings concerning the non-inclusive educational practices in the areas of racism, cultural stigmatization, and inadequate learning and teaching practices that resulted in poor academic performance and graduation achievement outcomes. Important to this research were the voices of African American teens in urban public school settings. Data were collected from 20 male and female African American teens identified as at risk of failing school and 10 former urban school students participating in a GED program after dropping out of school. One-on-one interviews and a round table discussion group constituted the qualitative data source. Three themes developed from the two groups of African American teen participants. First, African American teens expressed the need for improvement of the unsafe, violent, and dilapidated school environments. Second, African American teens expressed the need to voice their opinions, and have equal access to quality learning and teaching practices. Third, the African American teens expressed the need for urban schools and teachers to become more culturally sensitive and centered on positive self-imagery while providing resources and supports to meet individual academic needs. Recommendations made by the participants will be implemented, adding to the ongoing action oriented approach to future research.

African American teens, urban school settings, non-inclusive educational practices, racism, cultural stigmatization, inadequate learning and teaching practices, voice of opinions, equal educational opportunities, action research, case study.

For 12 years, Juanita Story-Jones has supported the idea of improving the quality of educational learning and teaching experiences and self-efficacy development growth for African American teens that were failing and/or dropout from the urban public school system in Philadelphia, PA. During that time, and continuing today, Juanita has been inspired to teach, counsel, and redirect these struggling African American teens towards innovative ways of learning and engagement that encourages them to become motivated towards learning, to become self reliant and caring individuals. The Byron Story Foundation (BSF) was established by her in memory of her son, a promising high school graduate from Philadelphia who was killed in 2002 as the result of handgun violence. BSF provided alternative education, GED preparation, and social development skills to guide and inspire at-risk truant and drop-out students from Philadelphia’s public high schools. Juanita had little time for self-pity. So little, in fact, that just two months after Byron's murder, she launched a nonprofit North Philly alternative education center aimed at steering kids who have been in trouble, as Byron had, toward more successful paths.

Juanita has served the multi-cultural populations in education and counseling with case expertise involving violence, school dropout and truancy, mental health and child abuse, drugs and alcohol abuse, family dysfunction, homelessness, sexual abuse, social/cultural adjustment, and crisis intervention. As a business professional, her goal is to develop skills and validate her experiences and abilities in the human service profession. Juanita completed her Master of Human Service Studies at Lincoln University, with an emphasis in Counseling. She has learned Human Service integration of concepts and practice namely, the role of values/ethics, psychological theory, systems theories, counseling, and other social science models, as well as demonstrated master’s level skills in professional writing, direct clinical service provision, and program management.

She have been instrumental in involving parents and community city leaders in both the public and private sectors in examining and providing intervention strategies to combat the negative impact of youth violence and dropout in urban neighboring schools, homes and communities. She is a member of the Francisville Neighborhood Development Corp., District Attorney Violence Prevention Coalition Groups, and Home and School Association.

In 2002-2009 she served as the Director for the Byron Story Foundation, Alternative Education, Violence Prevention and Support Services for Dropout Youth Program in North Philadelphia, PA. In 2009, she became the Clinical Supervisor of Co-occurring Services at Gaudenzia in West Chester, PA, an institution responsible for helping a growing number of people suffering from addictions. She is highly trained in budgeting, human resource development, client assessment and therapy program implementation, staff supervision, individual/group counseling, family advocacy, and training program development in these areas.

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