I thought I’d let you know about an article I just wrote for Columbus and the Valley magazine that shows how the Muscogee County School District is combatting the school poverty crisis. It’s called “The Columbus School Poverty Challenge.” The challenge is very real and very large. When 65 percent of students receive free or reduced price lunches, and 61 percent of the schools have poverty rates of 50 percent or more, the school system faces an enormous challenge in improving student achievement. Studies show that, overall, poverty-class students do not perform as well in school as middle-class students.
The system does have a plan in operation, and it relies heavily on the aHa! Process Inc. approach. That program is run by its founder Ruby Payne, who wrote the million-seller book A Framework for Understanding Poverty. That book was supplied to MCSD teachers and administrators.
In the article retired high school teacher and media specialist Connie Ussery gives us a first-hand look at what it is like for a middle-class teacher to connect with poverty-class children. And she realized very quickly that if she didn’t connect with them she would get nowhere.
I hope you’ll get hold of a copy of the magazine and check this out, because it deals with a very basic crisis that our city, state, and country is facing, and how some educators are coping with this challenge.