Saturday, September 14, 2013

Madison High counselor helps keep African American, Latino boys on track

Meet Roana Clark, Madison’s Dropout Prevention Program Mentor.

Miss Penny Known as "Ms. Penny," a nickname given to her by her oldest brother, Clark works with students and families as part of Madison’s Safe and Supportive Schools initiative. Now in its third school year and supported by a grant from the California Department of Education, Clark works with young African American and Latino men, and their families.

The men are struggling in school; she provides guidance, intervention and support when needed. She monitors student attendance, conferences with students and often their parents, conducts home visits and provides tutoring and homework help after school.

Her goal is to get young men thinking about their future and taking responsibility for their achievement. African American and Latino males are consistently clustered at the bottom of the achievement scale and are more likely than any other group to be suspended or expelled from school, according to several studies. Getting involved with these students early, before larger problems develop, is an effective ways to prevent some of the challenges that these young men face as they become young adults and enter adulthood.

"Ms. Penny has a talent for encouraging young men to take an interest in their academic progress and responsibility for their actions," said Richard Nash, Madison principal. "She is also an advocate for parents when they have a concern about their student’s progress or behavior at school. She is one of the staff members to whom teachers turn to when they think a young man can benefit from extra guidance and support."

Ms. Penny has a Master’s degree in counseling, education and guidance and has worked with students and families in San Diego Unified from elementary through middle school, and now in high school. Many Madison students know her from Lindbergh/Schweitzer Elementary School, where she worked from 2005-09.

Ms. Penney is based in Madison’s Family Resource Center (Bungalow B6). For more information, contact Clark at or 858-496-8410 ext. 4056.