North Charleston, SC (May 13, 2021) – North Charleston has many residents who are considered Opportunity Youth, young people between the ages of 16 and 24, who are not in school or participating in the workforce. Learn4Life, a network of nonprofit high schools for at-risk students, is opening in North Charleston in August to help reengage students who might otherwise lack the motivation or resources to stay in school. The school will be located at 6209 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston and students up to 22 years old can enroll anytime at Learn4Life.org/southcarolina.

High school dropouts are more likely to live in poverty, burden public resources, be incarcerated or parent a child as a teenager. The children of dropouts are more likely to drop out themselves, perpetuating a generational chain of poverty. Learn4Life is helping change this trajectory in North Charleston.

Click to tweet: Opportunity Youth in #NorthCharleston will soon have a new option for a flexible and personalized high school education. Learn4Life opening next summer! #SchoolChoice #Learn4LifeSchools #TraumaInformedCare

For 20 years, Learn4Life has committed to breaking the dropout cycle by creating classrooms of one for at-risk students who have struggled in traditional schools or are so far behind, they won’t be able to graduate with their class. Through a personalized learning model, students receive one-on-one support, a flexible schedule, wrap-around services and job skills training – all with trauma-informed practices that recognize that behavioral or academic issues may be symptoms of a traumatic experience.

“Notably, their rate of suspension is 1 out of 1,000 compared to 21 percent among high schools in North Charleston County,” said Dan Luginbill, board chairman of Learn4Life – North Charleston. “Learn4Life looks at perceived behavior issues with the understanding that many of their students have endured traumas such as foster care, homelessness, hunger, abuse, bullying, illness, pregnancy/parenting and even human trafficking.”

Seventy-four percent of Learn4Life students are from low-income households, many are pregnant or parenting, most enroll after dropping out, and more than a year behind in credits. Learn4Life’s trauma-informed approach helps teens develop resilience so they can manage life’s ups and downs even after high school.

Learn4Life is successful with 90 percent of its students – reengaging them in their education, helping them graduate, and preparing them for a life beyond high school with job training and placement. Nearly half enroll in post-secondary education after graduating from Learn4Life.

Putting students back into schools means putting money back into the state. Instead of creating a lifelong drain on public resources, schools like Learn4Life help save thousands of dropouts who go on to become productive, contributing members of society. Every dropout who earns their diploma is six times more likely to vote[1]; 67 percent less likely to be unemployed[2] and six times less likely to be incarcerated[3]. Watch this video to learn more about Learn4Life’s model to change students’ stories.

[1] CIRCLE. Young Voters in the 2012 Presidential Election: The Educational Gap Remains, 2012.

[2] Cassidy, Mike. No One is 5.8 Percent Unemployed. U.S. News & World Report, December 10, 2014.

[3] Keeping Kids in School — Dropout Prevention & School Discipline. Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California. February 2015.

Written By:
Ann Abajian
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