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Guidelines of Quality for Building, Assessing or Certifying At-Risk Programs

The NAREN schema, called the NAREN Nine, for building, evaluating or rebuilding an alternative at-risk education program is a succinct attempt to provide guidance and leadership in establishing a foundation for effective design and implementation of a quality program for at-risk students — students who deserve an equal opportunity of attainment to improve their preparation for success both in school and in life.

The NAREN Nine has four basic purposes. The first potential function of the NAREN Nine is:

  1. Assessing an Existing Program: How well IS your at-risk program doing? Assess your program against nine research-based criteria, and substantiate your estimation of its success. An Ohio community school (synonym for “charter school” in Ohio) utilized the NAREN Nine to verify and prove their progress rather than the standardized achievement test scores utilized in mainstream schools. The NAREN Nine provides a quality schema to determine if you are aligned with what the research shows is effective practice for the different learning styles and modalities of at-risk youth.


The second potential function of the NAREN Nine is:

  1. Building a New Program: If you are building a program for at-risk youth, the work of “WHAT should be provided to these students” has been done! The NAREN Nine is a researched set of facets for construction of a quality program, providing flexibility in order to tailor it to the needs of community, staff, and — most importantly — the students. Once a school has made the decision to utilize the NAREN Nine for guiding program construction, they have answered the “WHAT is to be done?” question. Now all energy can then be aimed at the HOW of implementation. The foundation and scaffolding are in place once accepting the NAREN Nine as guidelines, then specific curriculum design is much easier and can be tailored to fit current needs and resources.


The third potential function of the NAREN Nine is:

  1. Program Improvement: Perhaps you already have an at-risk program but it is not working well. You may not know why the program is failing, or even exactly where things are going wrong. Nevertheless, it is not going well. Utilizing the NAREN Nine Self-Study Kit allows a pinpointing of exactly where things need adjusting and, more importantly, what to do in repairing it. The NAREN Nine Self-Study Kit is inherently a powerful program assessment instrument, and because it is research-based and field-tested you can rely on the findings it produces.


The fourth potential function of the NAREN Nine is:

  1. Program Certification: The NAREN Nine certification process is explained below with step-by-step guidelines and costs. NAREN stresses that by utilizing the NAREN Nine two very important things are gained: clarity and unity. Accepting the NAREN Nine immediately provides guidelines on what should be done and, secondly, it brings the staff involved in the program to an arena where programmatic issues can be discussed, allowing all to be on the same page. Staff will not only know what they are doing, they will know why as well. It is hoped that by utilizing the NAREN Nine for a certification process, healthy academic discussions will ensue and agreements will be reached such that the staff can be united in their approach to quality programming. Importantly, this will also bring clarity to the students in the program. “This is WHAT we are doing and WHY we are doing it.” The NAREN Nine provides program guidelines and assessment at the same time in a near perfect 1:1 correlation!

Authenticate and improve your at-risk program through the certification process, and then show it off to everyone!

Order the NAREN Nine Self-Study Kit!


The NAREN Nine are referenced with 4 pages of bibliography and suggested readings in the NAREN Self-Study Kit’s Guide Book and 5 pages in the Workbook.