Focusing on Factors that Affect Children in School

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There are many factors that impact children and their performance in school, but there are not any factors more devastating to a child than poverty and family life.  According to the the article by Anderson,  these factors are the primary reasons for students to not succeed in school.

According to the article, poverty can form a cycle from which the child cannot escape.  Many children who grow up impoverished usually live in concentrated low income areas where they are surrounded by others who are living in poverty also.  These children then go to neighborhood schools in these areas which are underfunded and not supported by  government programs thus perpetuating the cycle. It is this reason, that poverty can be cyclical and difficult to escape.

This article then went on to discuss specific solutions that they felt would be beneficial. The solutions that they discussed were that with direction from teachers parents could be taught how to be more involved and learn about what their students are working on in schools.  Also,  the article discussed how schools could also reform their policies to help students progress and overcome their obstacles.

In conclusion, this was a very informative article about poverty and students. If you are interestied in learning more about this topic you can read the article to find out more about these issues the discussed and how we can help our students succeed.

Anderson, R. R. (2015). Focusing on Family: Parent–Child Relationships and School Readiness among Economically Impoverished Black Children. Journal Of Negro Education, 84(3), 442-456.

Published Reports, Articles & Chapters

Get a Scholarship as a Foster Child With These Awards

Of those living in foster care in the US, 42% are white, 24% are black, and 22% are Hispanic…. but 100% of those in foster care are under the age of 18.

For those in foster care, what happens after they reach the age of majority? or as they say in the social services sector, what happens once these foster children age-out of the system?

For many, college is not a possibility because they do not have family to support them.  For many, their standard of living declines drastically because they no longer have social services supporting them.

If you or someone you know is in the foster care system, take a look at this website – College Scholarships.org.  You’ll find several resources for grants and scholarships to help fund college education for foster kids.

CollegeScholarships.org is a great resource for college bound students who need support.  Check out the other resources they offer low income students.

 

Source: Get a Scholarship as a Foster Child With These Awards

How One School is Fighting Poverty

In this article, you’ll learn about the Greene County Middle School, a school in North Carolina with a big heart.  The staff believes that, in order to help students improve and succeed, the community needs to be an extension of school life.  The school participates in many organized events to help the less fortunate and encourages everyone (educators, students, parents, community members) to participate.  The school nurse and social workers also visit the homes of those in poverty around the community.  Greene County Middle School also has one-to-one laptops so every student can participate in computer-assisted learning.  Check out this article to learn about more great practices from Green County Middle School.

Thompson, J. (2016). How one school is fighting poverty.  Teaching Community: Where Teachers Meet and Learn. Retrieved from http://teaching.monster.com/benefits/articles/3049

DoSomething

DoSomething.org is an organization that encourages young people (students!) to foster social change.  On this page they present 11 somewhat startling facts about poverty and how it affects students in America.  They also encourage viewers to sign up for any number of their numerous campaigns to “make the world suck less.”

An interesting campaign is called Stacks on Stacks.  This campaign aims to improve literacy of students in impoverished schools by providing books.  To  get the books, schools, grades, or communities can hold a book drive.  To encourage participation, it can be a competition between grades or schools to see who can collect the most books.

Check out DoSomething.org for more info!

Manufacturing the Connection

 

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Straight from the core, or heart of the library media center is the constant back and forth movement of personal connections.  The teacher-librarian is responsible for maintaining harmony of those connections, to where the primary mission is to reach every student, faculty, administrative and community member.  Those young citizens from a household that is poverty-stricken are being denied the opportunity to forge connections from the library experience.  Financial hardships in Philadelphia are causing libraries to cease to exist.  Not only is physical space eliminated but the elimination of cognitive relationships is more detrimental to the development of students than any other educational program.

Lea Elementary School is a Pre K-8th grade building in West Philadelphia, a section of the city where 92 percent of its students qualify for a free lunch.  The west side is known for its high rates of violent crime.  According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, West Philadelphia rated 7th worst out of all the neighborhoods in the entire city of incidents of violent crime so far in 2016 (51 cases).  Positivity is sorely needed in this community.  The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) has partnered over the last 50 years with schools in West Philly to build relationships through funding and educational guidance.  Since the Lea library closed in 2012, the partnership called WePAC (West Philadelphia Children’s Alliance) has filled the library on a temporary basis with volunteers to provide the students in Pre K-3 with a library activity twice a week.  Unfortunately, those in 4th-8th are not receiving instruction in library skills.  Those in 7th and 8th are not gaining any information retrieval method skills (research).  Lea Elementary-UPenn Partnership.

There are numerous studies attributing student success to a fully functioning library center.  For example, Gavigan and Lance discovered that in South Carolina, there were convincing factors that translated into student success as a result of the proactive library program.  A presence of a certified librarian and staff, increased expenditures, a substantial print collection of diverse material, a high level of librarian-faculty collaboration, wide access to computers and other instruments of technology, and full, flexible schedules with a revolving door of activity, all increase student success on state assessment exams, compared to those schools who lack in those areas.

Christopher Harris writes in School Library Journal that partnerships for the good of cultural competency must include literature and discussion forums on the subject of cultural competency.  “Consider urban schools where teacher shortages are solved by using uncertified, untrained teachers” (Harris, 2014).  Teachers who come into an unfamiliar territory of poverty are hit with a cultural shock and are unable to adapt.  The librarian needs to step up and lead that assistance to aid in that teacher adapting to the surroundings.

What UPenn is providing is an opportunity for communal relationships.  Students at UPenn are sharing the love of reading with those who have been denied access.  Library professionals in schools MUST manufacture the connection.  Use the community and reach out, in order to foster relationships.  The link at the bottom is a short clip with Dr. Joyce Valenza (@joycevalenza) from Rutgers University.  She is the Director of the Masters of Information Science program.  She was a K-12 librarian for 40 years.  She instills on the importance of teacher-librarians building relationships as professionals, by harnessing in on taking literacy and technology, for objectives centered around meaningful learning experiences.

Works Cited

Gavigan, K., & Lance, K.C. (2016). SC study shows link between school librarians and higher test scores. Retrieved from  http://www.slj.com/2016/03/literacy/sc-study-shows-link-between-school-librarians-and-higher-test-scores/#_

Harris, C. (2014). Diversify Your Worldview. School Library Journal, 60(2), 14

Leading Learning for Children From Poverty

Educators play a huge role in determining the success of children who come from households in poverty. Johnson (2013) claims that effective educators need to “understand the important role of connecting, validating, educating, responding, leading, and succeeding with children who live in these environments.” The author was a child who came from a low socioeconomic status, and she wants to debunk the myth that a low status equals low results. This article also provides many strategies for incorporating these six practices that can help students.

Johnson, C. (2013). Leading learning for children from poverty: Six effective practices can help teachers help students. AMLE. Retrieved from https://www.amle.org/BrowsebyTopic/WhatsNew/WNDet/TabId/270/ArtMID/888/ArticleID/351/Leading-Learning-for-Children-From-Poverty.aspx

Add “Mentor” to the List

Researcher of library program inner-workings and professor at San Jose State University, David Loertscher, published a book in 1988 titled, Taxonomies of the School Library Media Program.  The book reads more like a manual, identifying the key players that encompass the success of a well functioning school library, along with methods and evaluative additives to legitimize the many purposes of the facility.  Loertscher takes the third chapter and elaborates on the role of the media specialist.  He lists in bullet form, an array of “human qualities that characterize successful library media specialists” (p. 16).  The point labeled, “views self as leader in curriculum development” is applicable for this post.

Education in itself is a mechanism to build leaders, learning how to  solve problems in a nutshell.  In the 21st Century world of learning problem solving, the library is the main arena for problem solving.  A library curricula is not about a playbook of facts and figures, but a non-linear field of conflict and multiple solutions.  The use of the library is the answer to those solutions.  Critical thinking is the pulse, a universal skill set to proactive, real world thinking and communication.  The librarian is a mentor for not only students but teachers and administrators.  We as librarians, push the envelope for conversation starters.  A library curricula is meant to be a document of doing and independence.  Standard #2 of the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner states:  Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge.  That statement is a representation of what teachers expect of their students, from K-12.  The library is, can, and will always be THE place to where this standard is rooted and nourished.

No more useful can this assist in the library becoming culturally competent facility, and where the mentor librarian can mold new mentors is school library in an environment with a majority of poverty stricken citizens.  The adolescent age is heavily influenced from environmental factors.  Drugs, prostitution, violent crime, financial woes can negatively influence a child’s positive well-being.  He or she is more likely to follow the path of those influences more regularly than a child that does not consistently experience poverty.  Erik Erikson says that adolescents experience an “identity vs. role confusion” phase.  This is a major stage in development where the child has to learn the roles of an adult. It is during this stage that the adolescent will re-examine identity and try to find out exactly who he or she is.  Students yearn for a purpose in the world.  With all the ills surrounding a child in such a neighborhood, school is the last motivator.  However, the library can provide that purpose.

One way the library can build leaders is through makerspaces.  The ideology is built from the 21st learning model.  Project-based educator Chris O’Brien writes about the effectiveness that a makerspace can have on the makeup of today’s student learner, and as an uplifting factor towards the collective emotional desire to learn on an entire school.  This program can bring back the fun in learning.  “By helping bring the maker movement into their school, educators can help usher in the future of education. Through planning curricula-aligned projects, school and community makerspaces can help once again to democratize education and build learning communities where all students have a chance to grow into thoughtful, confident leaders of tomorrow,” says O’Brien in his online article in Edutopia.

Works Cited

Loertscher, D. V. (1988). Taxonomies of the school library media program. Englewood, CO:      Libraries Unlimited Inc.

O’Brien, C. (2016). Makerspaces lead to school and community successes. Retrieved from       http://www.edutopia.org/blog/makerspaces-school-and-community-successes-chris-obrien