Every school has a group of kids who are living near the poverty level. Some schools have more than others. Our schools have about 38% of our students living near the poverty line. We do not label these students, we don't treat them poorly because of it. But we do want them to succeed and we do go out of our way to support these students, regardless of how well resourced their homes are.
There is no silver bullet to helping students who live in poverty learn more. We call it closing the achievement gap, and there is no easy way to do this. But in the next couple of posts, I want to highlight the work we do at Milne grove and Kelvin Grove to make sure the gap doesn't get any wider. To make sure students from poverty learn just as much as students from homes where there are more resources.
Before I highlight this weeks strategy, I want to point out that students who live in poverty are infinity diverse, and by no means do we believe their homes are similar or can be generalized by blanket statements. We do believe that parents know what is best for their children, are doing their best, and we continually partner with all parents to ensure we are also doing what is best for children. We believe all our children are very capable and so are their parents!
Our strongest strategy for closing the learning gap is making sure we have high expectations for all our students, and especially for our students who need to close that gap faster. We believe that high expectations are best expressed through high-order learning activities that give students high level skills. We know that the research shows students who have access to higher level learning are surprisingly less likely to drop out than their peers. It just shows that children elevate themselves to our expectations. If our expectations are low, so will their growth be. If our expectations are high, out growth will be too!
Erin Rae is the Curriculum Coordinator at Lockport 91.