I often talk about the great need in high poverty school situations to deal with issues that are not directly related to academics. More and more school systems are coming to understand this. Here is a great article about what is happening in the Woodlawn section of Birmingham in this regard.
Most of the schools I visit are high poverty. I could re-tell endless stories that teachers and principals have shared about the situations too many students come from. For instance, probably 75 percent of all high poverty elementary schools I have visited have washing machines and dryers they use regularly in an effort to keep some students in decent clothes. One principal told me about a first-grader she took in the bathroom each morning and bathed and changed her clothes. Another told me about dumping out a back bank and watching roaches scurry away.
And I’ve referred to the fact that of the 8,760 hours in a year, a child only spends 12 percent of them going to school. Probably now more than ever in the last 40-50 years, it truly does take a village to raise a child. A tip of the hat to the many folks in Birmingham and the Woodlawn area who have come to understand this.
Cincinnati has the best such program I’ve yet seen. They do remarkable things and get remarkable results. To learn more about them, go here.