When teenagers become pregnant, their odds of making it to graduation drop nearly 40 percentage points below that of their non-parenting peers, according to data cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One charter school system in New Orleans is working to address that disparity.
Approximately 20 percent of students at NET Charter Schools are pregnant or parenting. The school system saw a need to provide a safe space for those children while their parents are in class.
In 2019, the charter network opened the NEST, an in-school child-care program where students working toward a diploma can drop off their children while they’re in class, and still visit them throughout the day. Since opening, the school has seen improved attendance and graduation rates for parenting students.
“Ever since I started bringing my child to the NEST, I started smiling more,” said sophomore Nariya Wright. Wright gave birth to her son, Zion, when she was 15. She’s currently attending classes and plans to graduate on time.
Education Week spent the fall following Wright and two other NET students to see how the in-school child-care program has enabled them to continue their education while parenting.