Here at CEEAS, we believe that great teachers and school leaders are the cornerstones of successful schools. This year, we are honored to launch our first annual Lighting the Fire Teacher and School Leader Awards. These awards give us a chance to highlight some of the incredible work going on in schools in youth detention and correctional facilities around the country and to thank the people who challenge and inspire their students every day.
We support state agencies in providing youth with college-level courses, career readiness, job training, and placement. Older teens who are locked up and have earned a diploma or GED need opportunities to advance their skills and training; we don’t want them learning out-of-date skills or missing the chance to address their academic and behavioral deficits.
A key area of our work involves increasing the capacity of principals and teachers to become change agents inside secure facilities. The young people in these facilities are among our nation’s most vulnerable teens. They are overwhelmingly poor and disproportionately youth of color; more than 50% have special needs, and the majority have either dropped out or been kicked out of school at least once.