Tag: #Poverty

Compliance Mode, On or off?

If you are a Superintendent, Business Director, Human Resource Director, work in grants, or any area using data, complying is a crucial issue when officials come to check on your records. Is it enough to be compliant to have materials in order, student records in order, lesson plans ready, when is being compliant just not enough?

One of the Superintendents I worked for looked forward to our yearly opening meeting when the Regional Superintendent could proudly announce our district was compliant in all areas. He never wanted to have anything out of place; he had high standards for us to live up to each day. We would not be on a list showing we did not complete something.

In a previous blog, I mentioned a poem called “Pretty Good,” which reminds us that it is not always good to be okay. “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is a recipe for failure. Your school will get results only when you and your staff shift your collective mindset from “those poor kids” to “our gifted kids.” Stop thinking remediation and start thinking enrichment.”-Eric Jensen, Teaching with Poverty in Mind p.g. 94.

We think about what our staff, families, and students have all went through during this global pandemic with variations in instruction delivery to students. These times have created what many are reporting as large gaps in learning and development for students. Many are worried about how to approach learning loss.

The approach always in education should be when our students have less, we provide more in whatever we do. In these terms, we look at all areas, including food, curriculum, activities, and all areas of need. When we keep our vision and mission statements at the center of our focus, we work to accomplish them.

Time is an element we can not get back or waste. Our students cannot afford to take a remediation approach. I understand there are foundational skills needed to master areas. It is essential to meet children where they are but let’s not start them where they are not. Enhancing the environment for all establishes high standards but not unattainable.

I want to ask you not to measure only the test scores you get as a success. Please include other areas to celebrate that will help impact each other. Examples are Attendance, Discipline, Teacher-Student interactions, Peer-Peer interactions, Volunteer projects, and others.

As we finish our SHARE school approach for Teaching with Poverty in Mind, we end with Enrichment Mindset. Establishing this for staff and students is the best approach to take. Various ways help support this mindset. Let me provide a few examples of a few things my team did to support enrichment.

Held an all-school reading day. Each student received a copy of the book that they could take home to add to their home library.

We completed 12 days of giving as a countdown to Christmas. Students met acts of kindness each day as we worked together. (Cards for Veterans, Kindness tags for grocery bags, Positive Placemats for Nursing homes, Bookmarks with compassion for libraries, and so much more)

College and Career days when staff shared their college information, relatives came in to talk about their careers (plumbers, construction, nursing, hairdresser, landscaping, many others)

They were encouraging staff to think outside the box to try different approaches like Flipped classrooms, changing grade levels, making classrooms operating rooms to teach “Order of Operations” as students dressed in scrubs, Having students create their classroom as a giant cell to give tours, Engaging students in hands-on projects and designs and much more.

After school programs, chess, music, drama, and many other activities. The staff and community help to keep enrichment alive in our school. We outperformed the other middle school with the drive we had to maintain this mindset. School Enrichment Mindset (SEM) sets the expectations, climate, and culture for success. Children need all of us to be at the top of our performance to help them reach theirs,

ACTION STEPS

Begin to look at how your school will approach learning.

What programs do you have or can add to support enrichment? Do not lower expectations in programs or remove them. Change practices, instruction, and curriculum to meet the needs of all.

Review SHARE and begin your plan.

Thank you for being part of the solution daily!

#Bethesolutiondaily

Through the cracks, Don’t let them go!

As a teacher, have you ever been moved or gotten a new principal? Me too! It is a little scary because you don’t know them and they don’t know you. What do you do? Well, teach, like you always have!

Making his rounds, the principal makes his way to my classroom. He pauses in the doorway, looking around and not sure what was going on. Some students were at the computer station (3 Apple IIGS showing my age here), some at the reading station, others working at desks, some with me. Students moved to deliver completed work to the designated bins for completion, and everyone was on task, but it was a little noisy.

The principal asked if he could speak with me. “What is going on in here?”

I explained, learning. I do things a little differently. You will not find my desks in rows; they will be doing something different all of the time, but they are learning. I wanted to let you know we will turn our history book into a recorded video of a radio station called “History Rocks at Ridge Farm Elementary.” The students are dividing the chapters, writing the scripts, designing assessments, and creating game show trivia for the radio—lots of fun and learning.

The principal did not know what to think but looked around and saw for himself learning in action. Kids need to be actively involved in the learning process, have help in the design, and most importantly, everyone should be having fun!

Published in 1994 The authors of the book are Barbara Emmons, Carolyn Sollman and Judith Paolini

Through the Cracks is one of my favorite books I have used in the past for professional development. This book reminds all of us about the teaching and learning process. Children become frustrated and disengaged in school settings that do not always meet their needs. The book’s pages walk you through a glimpse of classrooms as elements promote the shrinking of students from learning to then grow. What is the secret?

Accountability is our next step in our SHARE process for the school level, according to Eric Jensen. When the principal made his way to visit my classroom, he was making sure I was teaching. He is accountable for all of the students in the school. As a teacher, I am responsible for the students I am teaching. However, as a team, we are accountable for all together!

“Passion comes from feeling responsible and accountable for results, which means it’s the rigor, intensity, and duration of enriching education you provide that matters.”-Eric Jensen, Teaching with Poverty in Mind pg.82. Every day, hour, and minute counts we have with our students to help them grow. I had a student when I became principal who could imitate me perfectly.

“This is the level of my expectations for all of us, not down here. We are here. I will not lower it for anyone. We are all here.”

Expect the best from everyone, including yourself. “If you are serious about helping students from poverty to succeed, keep this in mind: your 1,260 hours, you have to be so spectacular that they can over-come the other 7,500 hours in your students’ lives.”-Eric Jensen, Teaching with Poverty in Mind pg 83 Now, can you do it?

“Children who grow up in poverty often live in environments that offer less support and stability. (Evans, 2004). Research shows that home and community environments that increase stress lower the development of cognitive flexibility, and the early formation of cognitive flexibility is critical for the long-term prognosis of the skill.”-Horacio Sanchez, The Poverty Problem, pg. 40. Children need cognitive flexibility as it supports problem-solving and allows them to look at issues from different perspectives.

We have lots to unwrap, learn and understand as we serve our children, families, and communities. It is essential to comprehend our accountability level. Take time to reflect on yourself today. Where do you stand with yourself? Always be true to yourself and what you stand for. The world today is making things very difficult as the division line becomes more vital with this “cancel culture.” Please do not find yourself falling through the cracks but crawling to the light to stand up bright for those who need you! People only have power if we give it to them.

ACTION STEPS

Reflect, Review and Renew yourself!

Celebrate Staff! A great book I just read was Love’em or Lose’em by Bev Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans great to add to your list! I want to let you know to make it authentic! I loved to celebrate individuals! Not everyone wants a public celebration; they may want something more private.

School-wide Decision making if you are not already doing this as a practice. If you are review and who are on your teams? Make sure it is reflective of all voices.

Common Planning times-What do your planning times look like?

There are many things to check, but this is a great start! It is critical to self-reflect first. Think about where you are right now. Watching news media, it seems they are saying many have fallen through the cracks. What do we do about it? We have solutions! Painting pictures in a negative light makes us use a bigger brush!

Thank you for being the solution daily! http://www.bethesolutiondaily.com #Bethesolutiondaily

SHARE it is a great way to begin!

Eric Jensen is one of my favorite authors in regard to the topic of addressing poverty. His approach made a great deal of sense to me. Brain based approach to the problem seemed to be the solution! It made sense to me and still does! There are many more layers to resolve and address, but from the educational lens brain-based is the best!

“Poverty is transforming the brains of children and adults at an alarming rate and with devastating results.” -Horacio Sanchez, The Poverty Problem I just began reading this book, and I will share more from it as we continue to work. Poverty is a problem that has been with us for decades. Our country went through the Great Depression, we have had recessions, and now a global pandemic. I believe solutions have been tried to “fix” the idea that this problem was temporary and was never to be a way of life. Instead we have some “fixed” mindsets we need to address.

Policymakers will have to make some changes as well as some others, but education is the one holding the biggest key to the door to solutions. “The solution to the problem will require creative new strategies firmly rooted in neuroscience research. Education has to have a sound strategy to address poverty that include modifying school climate, instruction, curriculums, social and emotional training and support services.” -Sanchez, The Poverty Problem

Let’s start with a school focus first and Jensen’s SHARE factors for school-based. I will remind you they are Support for the Whole Child, Hard Data, Accountability, Relationship Building and Enrichment Mind-Set. As a former principal of a high poverty middle school, we did this book as a staff book study. We did several things to prepare as we went along. I will provide you with all of those materials and updated ones as well. The first step before you begin is to allow your staff time to understand what poverty is, remember the why they became a teacher, how they see students, families and each other. I have activities we will do together and you can do with staff.

Support the whole child. What does that mean or look like? Children right now are experiencing trauma. The world for them has changed, is changing, and will continue to change. They could have stressors from different things; we are never sure. Why don’t we ask them? Students are almost always left out of these conversations! It is my biggest plea to everyone, please stop! Education is something we do with children not to them. Survey the children, interview them or whatever you feel is the best way to get the answers. Meet their needs! Let me tell you what I did with the help of my teams.

Our social worker, psychologist, teachers all did some questioning with kids they had relationships with. I spoke to kids and families as well. Then I began to make phone calls to organizations and friends I had within those places. We made space available in our school, created a working schedule and two outside agencies came in to help children. We had a drug and alcohol counselor and a mental health provider. We were beginning to do some solution meetings with the county truancy officer, along with agency help to work with families to get what was needed.

ACTION

Survey or interview students on what their needs are

Connect with outside agencies to see how they can support your school

Establish a family council if you do not have one to find their needs. Check my resource page on my website for materials to help. I will continue to add to the resources on the website.

Thank you for being the solution daily!

This is for you! #Bethesolutiondaily

Finding Facts, Adding Value to what you need as you read!

Books always surround me! They are everywhere! I have highlighted, tagged and read some of my books so much they are falling apart! My signed copy of Teaching with Poverty in Mind by Eric Jensen has pages falling out.

I consult often with others for feedback. Let’s face it don’t we all need it! I don’t care what kind I get right now just anything to help me know if what I am doing is helping someone.

So I sent an email to Daniel Bauer. He does not know me. Yes, I send things to people I don’t know; how else will you grow if you don’t ask. He answered with a blog post. Who knew that is what he would do? He helped me, and I am sure others who may be afraid to ask, don’t be! Here is the blog link. https://t.co/Xie8xgOCnI

I have asked a few others, and they confirm the same things from his blog. Be real, Focus on service, Be consistent, write for yourself first, and then that one person! Most importantly, never take yourself too seriously!

You are the reason I write! I have nothing I am selling but giving. My hope someday is to publish my book but not to gain profits or fame. It is to help you! My career ended before I wanted because of one day, one choice, and one crash, leaving injuries to last a lifetime. I miss children, teachers, leaders, parents, and community members. I loved being a principal and part of education!

Now I will organize a time daily the blog post will come out to know when to expect it. The blog post will be posted daily at 9:30 a.m. Central Time. We will see if that time works for everyone. I will provide you with current information on topics to help leaders and teachers support each other and the children they serve. We will address Poverty, Social-Emotional Learning, Mental Health, Equity, and how to move forward in this sea of confusion from the global pandemic. Let’s get started!

In Federal Poverty Threshold, Who really is poor in America by Kimberly Amadeo https://www.thebalance.com/federal-poverty-threshold-3305793

I found some things to help us on our journey of learning, reflection, review and action. In order to be the solution, you have to identify the problem, reflect on what has been done, what is working, and create an action plan. Then face the problem and take action. Do it!

Key Takeaways from Who really is poor in America

  • The federal poverty threshold is the measurement of poverty in America, based on several economic factors having to do with total family income.
  • According to the U.S. Census, the official poverty rate in 2019 was 10.5%.
  • Over 41% of those living in poverty were white, while about 28% were Hispanic, 24% were Black, and 4% were Asian.
  • Research shows there is a high correlation between education and income.

The effects of the global pandemic have caused many changes in our families across our nation. In your school, district or community, have you seen an increase in the number of people without jobs? Business closings? Do you have a reduction in student enrollment? Why? Do you have an increased number of homelessness?

As you reflect on the changes in your area, what are steps that have been taken to help locally? “Common issues in low-income families include: depression, chemical dependence, and hectic work schedules-all factors that interfere with the healthy attachments that foster children’s self-esteem, sense of mastery of their environment, and optimistic attitudes.”-Eric Jenson

Poor children often feel isolated; they drop out of school and do not perform well academically because of their stressors. Our children are all facing that during this pandemic as they have been isolated at various lengths of times, lacked excitement in learning with issues in technology, feeling stress from family work or no work, and uncertainty in safety as health and violence are in question.

Unemployment Surge 

In April 2020, the U.S. economy lost an astonishing 20.8 million jobs.11 Many states required non-essential businesses to shut down. Bars, restaurants, and hotels suffered the most, as people stopped traveling and restaurants could only offer take-out and delivery. Hospitals lost jobs as they stopped elective procedures to make way for COVID-19 patients. Retail also suffered as shoppers moved online.

Prior to the shutdown, the economy was adding around 200,000 jobs a month. It needs about 150,000 new jobs each month to keep expanding.

Job losses sent the April unemployment rate skyrocketing to 14.7%. It remained in the double digits until August, ending the year at. 6.7%12

The Fed projects that unemployment will fall to a healthy 5.0% in 2021.9

Reference for additional information: https://www.thebalance.com/recession-2020-4846657#:~:text=The%202020%20recession%20is%20the,added%20back%20into%20the%20economy.

ACTION

In order to change, we must change- Identity your problems and let’s face them

Brains can change! I suffer from a Traumatic Brain Injury and was expected to not…. let’s not go there because I can so can they! Begin a plan not on remediation for children but for discovery! Discover where they are and keep going!

Implementation of SHARE! This comes from Eric Jensen in his book Teaching with Poverty in Mind.

Support the Whole Child

Hard Data

Accountability

Relationship Building

Enrichment Mind-Set

We will continue with more facts, tools and resources as we continue! Thank you for being the solution daily!