Alternative Education League (AEL)

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Greetings, I am Dr. Sharia Shanklin founder and CEO of Sustained Learning Solutions, which is a result driven educational, organizational, social and scientific consultancy. I earned my B.A. from UCLA, M.Ed. from Howard University, M.A. from George Mason and Ed.D. from University of Pennsylvania. I enthusiastically served thirty-one years as a teacher, school psychologist, assistant principal and instructional facilitator in urban public schools and six years as a community services program officer and interim director for a Washington, D.C. government agency. These experiences illuminated the importance of engaging and supporting Humans to recognize and commit to internal locus of control, intrinsic motivation and emotional intelligence competencies as the driver for achievement in all endeavors. My passion and purpose is supporting Humans recognize that personal transformation is born from adopting beneficial habits of mind and behavior. Becoming one’s authentic self is a deliberate process that actualizes an abundant quality of life and wellbeing.

Joining the SET Lab delegation, provides a platform to produce strategic work in the context of the following quote by Margret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” Our delegation is a group of nine innovative education scientist who seek to exceed expectations in their practice in service to others.

I sought this opportunity as the Board of Director Chair of The DeLoren Foundation, the mission is to promote and support the holistic growth, development, health, and wellness of at-risk youth ages 16–24. The DeLoren Foundation was founded in 2009 by a D.C. native Washingtonian, Lloyd Cornish, whose childhood friend was senselessly killed when he was home on break from college. DeLoren excelled in sports and used it as a platform to transcend societal norms and expectations. In 2012, the DeLoren Foundation established its programmatic division — The Alternative Education League (AEL). The AEL provides a structured, competitive sports league along with personal growth engagements for youth enrolled in alternative education schools, workforce development programs, community-based organizations, juvenile justice education programs and detention center. This opportunity is unique for youth taking a non-traditional route to obtain a high school credential. It is within this context of the mission my research questions were developed.

Does the Alternative Education League (AEL) holistic approach model used to support youth and young adults in Alternative Education settings produce desired outcomes such as increased academic achievement, attendance, retention and enhanced social and emotional development?

Is the AEL model and approaches consistent with a desired researched based element for Alternative Education settings identified as, “Enhance Student Support Services”, which would classify the program essential for replicating nationally?

Given extracurricular activities are not standard practice in Alternative Education, highlighting the need for policy changes to secure programs like the AEL nationally is an imperative, especially given the population of youth and young adults served. I hypothesize that Alternative Education settings that partner with the AEL program as an extra-curricular offering will observe increased academic achievement, attendance, retention, and enhanced social and emotional development given the holistic personal growth and development model. I further posit, these qualities will heighten intrinsic motivation to commit to beneficial habits of mind and behavior that will secure enduring desired results across all life dimensions.

I will be posting my progress here on Medium as well as on Twitter. To follow my progress as well as the other SET Lab delegates in their research, follow the hashtags #educationscientist and #SETlab.

Sharia Shanklin, Ed. D

Education Scientist in SET Lab

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