Message from the Dean

Penelope PetersonDear Friends,

Adolescence is a time of transition as kids move from childhood to young adulthood. During this time, educators and parents face particular opportunities and challenges in working with youth.

One of my favorite writers, Anne Lamott, eloquently expresses the frustration that parents often feel when their children become teenagers. One enlightening anecdote is in Chapter 7 of her book Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. When Lamott's son, Sam, turned 13, she found that her normally mellow and funny child suddenly developed an alter ego who was tense, sullen and contemptuous. In desperation, Lamott sought help from others and then wrote their suggestions on cards that she taped to the wall. One card said that you should "either practice being kind or practice being right." One day when these strategies failed to work with Sam, Anne Lamott turned for advice to her friend Mark, who works with youth groups, who suggested that Lamott should "listen" and "be clear, fair and parental"-sage advice for any situation!

Here we explore additional avenues into the lives of adolescents. In our cover story, Eva Lam reveals how the world of adolescent communication and peer groups and communication has evolved with the advent of new technologies. In "Beyond Urban Classrooms," we learn about the important roles that parents and "after-school programs" can play in the lives of urban adolescent youth. While back in school, we find that in "Raising the Bar for Middle-School Science," educators motivate adolescents effectively by providing them with opportunities to engage "hands-on" with scientific mysteries. Finally, doctoral student Katie Weitz White and alum El Da' Sheon Nix offer real-world examples of their ongoing work with adolescents.

As we begin a new school year, we invite the parents and educators among you to send us your own stories of challenges you have faced in working with adolescents. We look forward to hearing from you!

Best wishes,

Penelope Peterson
Penelope L. Peterson, Dean
By Penelope Peterson