"No School Alone: How community risks and assets contribute to school and youth success" by Christopher Blodgett, Ph.D., Washington State University (March, 2015).
The full report may be found here: "No School Alone"
Key findings in this report include:
1. Adult ACEs are common in every Washington community, but they are not equally distributed. One of every four adults reports experiencing three or more ACEs. These adults with high ACEs are shown in the research to have increased risk of health and social problems.
2. ACEs are not distributed equally across Washington communities. Across school districts, adults reporting high ACEs range from an estimated 11–51 percent of community residents.
3. Poverty and ACEs are only modestly related. In high ACEs communities, high-poverty schools are more common but this co-occurrence is modest. Poverty is a powerful independent influence on academic, youth and community success distinct from the impact of ACEs which occur across all income levels.
4. More than 300,000 students in Washington live in communities where more than 35 percent of adults report high ACEs. As the average number of high ACEs in the community increases, the academic success and well-being of the children are put at risk.
5. As the percentage of high ACEs in a community increases, fewer students pass Washington’s standardized academic assessments. Schools in higher ACEs communities report mean percentage of students passing the assessments 2–6 percentage points lower than in communities with lower ACEs. This translates to thousands of students living in a high ACEs community failing on these critical assessments each year.
6. The effect of ACEs is demonstrated beginning in elementary school-aged children and continues across grade levels and content areas.
7. Rates of suspensions increase in high ACEs communities.
8. Poverty, but not ACEs, is highly predictive of rates of unexcused absences, graduation from high school and progression to postsecondary education.
9. Using youth self-report from the Healthy Youth Survey, community ACEs are highly associated with greater reported risks for attitudes, beliefs and behaviors, reflecting greater risk for immediate problem behaviors and continuation of these risks as youth transition into adulthood. Higher community ACEs are associated with low neighborhood attachment, more positive attitudes toward drug use and lower levels of the social skills needed to succeed in schools and adulthood.
10. The Healthy Youth Survey includes questions that allow youth to report on their own experience of adversity. As these ‘youth ACE’ scores increase in schools, we find that standardized test results in 10th grade are significantly lower, reported risk behaviors are significantly higher and access to social supports and positive peer and community influences are reduced. While poverty continues to be an influence on youth well-being, community and youth ACEs are more consistent predictors of youth well-being.
Addressing community and youth ACEs offers significant opportunities for investing in current strategies and exploring new opportunities.