According to the most recent state report card, our school district serves a student population in which 50% of our students are economically disadvantaged. Very often students who come from economically disadvantaged homes struggle academically for a variety of reasons directly related to poverty, such as poor physical health, poor motor skills, inattentiveness, reduced curiosity, lack of motivation, and a lack of early learning resources and experiences. The academic impact of poverty is evident in the performance rating of the most recent state report card (our district was given a letter grade of C).
In the book Turning High-Poverty Schools Into High-Performing Schools authors William H. Parrot and Kathleen M. Budge provide a framework for improving the overall effectiveness of schools. The framework consists of the following (p. 11):
- Taking action, such as focusing on learning (both student and teacher learning), building overall capacity for learning and leading, and fostering healthy, safe, and supportive learning environments.
- Building school culture by articulating high expectations, committing to equity, creating a sense of urgency, developing professional accountability for learning, demonstrating courage and a will to act, and developing caring relationships.
- Holding all students to high academic, social, and emotional learning standards.
- Maximizing the classroom, school, family, community, and district spheres of influence.
Over the next few weeks we will be further unpacking what all of this means and examining ways to implement the practices we are learning. With your help, our students can continue to grow and exceed all expectations!