Effective Juvenile Justice Reforms in the Era of ESSA

Effective Juvenile Justice Reforms in the Era of ESSA
Effective Juvenile Justice Reforms in the Era of ESSA

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This webinar is part three of a three-part series. Click here to view part one, and click here to view part two.

Webinar Materials


This webinar provided a brief overview of ESSA requirements for serving students in the juvenile justice system and highlighted models from around the country that are effectively implementing these mandates. Topics addressed included: utilizing evidence-based educational assessments; improving educational attainment and access to a traditional high school diploma; credit transfer; timely and appropriate re-enrollment and re-entry planning. The webinar also highlighted the Blueprint for Change: Education Success for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System, an interactive online tool that includes 10 comprehensive goals and corresponding benchmarks to improve educational outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system.


Presenter Biographies

Maura McInerney
Legal Director
Education Law Center – PA
Twitter: @maura_edjustice@edlawcenterpa

Maura McInerney is Legal Director at the Education Law Center – PA, a non-profit legal advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all children have access to a quality public education.  Through individual representation, impact litigation, and policy advocacy, ELC advocates for vulnerable students, including youth in the juvenile justice system. A litigator for 30 years in the private and public sectors, Maura leads ELC’s litigation efforts and engages in policy work at the national, state and local levels to advance the educational rights of youth in the dependency and delinquency systems.

Murray Meszaros
Title 1/D Education Specialist
Utah State Board of Education
Twitter: @meszmurrized

Murray Meszaros is the Title 1/D education specialist with the Utah State Board of Education and is heavily engaged in civil rights related matters for the state.  He has worked for the state for 28 years and in his career has worked as a elementary school administrator, college administrator, CEO of a YM/YWCA, and has owned his consulting firm.

Nic Shellabarger
Youth in Care Specialist
Utah State Board of Education

Nic Shellabarger is an old guy who likes to pretend he’s young by snowboarding, BMXing, and playing soccer. About 15 years ago, he made the mistake of graduating with a degree in poetry from Weber State, but quickly rectified that mistake with a master’s degree in secondary education. Nic has worked in traditional and alternative classrooms for the last 12 years. He recently left the classroom to work as the Youth in Care Specialist for the Utah State Board of Education. He hopes to return to the classroom before he retires, because students are the best. DFTBA!

Pat Frost
Title I Part D State Coordinator and ESSA Reviewer
School and Student Support Services
Nebraska Department of Education
Twitter: @NDETitleIPartD

Pat Frost is currently the Title I Part D State Coordinator and ESSA Reviewer, School and Student Support Services, NE. Ms. Frost has been in this position since 2001. Previous to being with the NE Dept. of Education, Ms. Frost was the Student Team Coordinator, Lahore American School, Pakistan for 4 years. Previous teaching experiences include regular and alternative education (total of 24 years) in the states of Iowa, NE and Texas. Ms. Frost is a member of the Education for System Involved Students, NE, and the Commissioner’s School Practitioner’s School Advisory Group. She also is a Title I technical assistance representative on the NE Early Childhood Interagency Coordinating Council. Ms. Frost is a member of the NE Strengthening Families Act Committee and the Juvenile Justice Brain Injury and Cognitive Disability Task Force. She is a past member of the Operation Youth Success Re-entry Group, Douglas County.

Randall Farmer, M.Ed.
Educational Director
Lincoln Public Schools Pathfinder Education Program
Lancaster County Youth Services Center
Twitter: @PathfinderLPS

Randall Farmer M.Ed. is the Educational Director of the Lincoln Public Schools Pathfinder Education Program located in the Lancaster County Youth Services Center in Lincoln, NE. He has worked with youth at-risk for 28 years. He has worked in a variety of settings; an adolescent secure mental health facility, an alternative middle school, a residential school and public schools. The last 16 years have been at the Lancaster county juvenile detention center, teaching 4 years, then as the administrator for the last twelve years.

Randall currently serves on the executive board of the National Partnership for Juvenile Services (NPJS.org ). He also served as president of the NPJS education council for 5 years. He has for 10 years, worked with the Nebraska Department of Education on committees for improving educational services for youth in out-of-home placements. Randall is a regular speaker to various groups and organizations in the state, and nationally, about the need for quality educational services for youth at-risk. He has consulted with numerous juvenile justice based education programs across the country. Randall and his wife Dr. Staples-Farmer also provide professional development trainings for Lincoln Public Schools on system involved youth. Randall is continually learning, and engaging others in the pursuit of the best practices for educating system involved youth, and believes strongly in the motto: “The kids always come first.”

Christine Jones
Wyoming Girls School
Twitter: @Wygirlsschool

Christine Jones holds a Bachelor and a Masters Degrees in Education from the University of New Mexico. Ms Jones also holds professional educator certifications in Educational Leadership (all levels) and Special Education (K-12). Chris’ professional career has included teaching K-12 Special Education in New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming. Her career solidified, however, when she began teaching at the Wyoming Girls School in 1999. She is now the Superintendent after teaching and serving as the principal. Chris is an ardent advocate for women and girls.

Dixie Cooper
Wyoming Girls School
Twitter: @Wygirlsschool

Dixie Cooper is a veteran educator. Her teaching career began in Lake Havasu City, AZ as a kindergarten and 2nd grade teacher. Her family returned home her home state of Wyoming and her professional path took a new turn teaching mathematics to middle school students. Dixie reluctantly agreed to teach math to delinquent females during summer school at the Wyoming Girls School. That summer solidified her calling to work with traumatized youth. She has been at the Girls School for 20 years in the capacity of math/ceramics teacher and currently as the principal.


The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.