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Critical question: What types of barriers and bridges exist

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Lisa Erickson

on 2 November 2013

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Transcript of Critical question: What types of barriers and bridges exist

Critical question:
What types of barriers and bridges
exist in the Westbrook community and school system
to help students cope with the struggles of poverty?
".....almost 20 percent of K-12 students in Westbrook are struggling with the issues of poverty - hunger, fatigue, health problems, the threat of homelessness, inadequate income, stress and a generally compromised family situation - while at the same time trying to learn." http://www.pressherald.com/news/in-some-maine-schools-one-fifth-of-students-poor 2012-12-13.html
Westbrook Employment & Economy
What students living in poverty learn:
Students and their families living in the crisis of poverty receive messages from our culture that they do not belong and something is wrong with them. Here are some of the messages taught to students and their
families experiencing generational, working-class poverty, and immigrant poverty:
• No one cares.
• Everyone seems smarter.
• People who are making it must be better than me.
• We don’t belong anywhere.
• People like us do not get educated.
• We don’t have what we need to break out of poverty.
• There is no one to help.
My Place Teen Center (MPTC) is an after-school, year round, free program for youth ages 10-18. Specializing in at-risk youth including homeless, food insecure, cognitively-delayed, low-income, immigrant, and refugee teens, MPTC offers a multi-purpose, academically enriching, life-skills enhancing, hunger relief, youth development program that has been the focal point of greater Portland’s teen activities since its inception in 1998.
Bridges & Support Services
Economy & Socioeconomics of Westbrook
"Students who struggle with poverty have less academic support at home. They also have increased responsibility to care for their siblings at the expense of schoolwork. This is because their parent(s) are in survival mode and working any time they can (evenings) to make ends meet."
Matt Fortin Grade 5 teacher
“Numerous studies confirm what parents and community leaders already know – after- school programs keep children safe, reduce crime and drug use, and improve academic performance. In fact…every $1 invested in after-school programs saves taxpayers $3 in increased performance and compensation and reduced school costs and crime.” Susan Collins, U.S. Senate.
Westbrook is a city in Cumberland County, Maine and a suburb of Portland. The population is 17,540. It has an area of 17.33 square miles.
Westbrook Community Center
The community center provides services for families in Westbrook for minimal, or no fees. They have adult education including GED classes, ELL classes and vocational classes, along with recreation art and exercise classes. The building also houses the food pantry, Meals on Wheels, a town thrift store, the community pool, after-school program, and Head Start preschool.
Ready Kids provides affordable child-care after-school, and supports education through activities in literacy, health, and recreation. Cost right now is $10/day.
Westbrook After-School Program
"The best-ed-est-ed-est room in the WHOLE
building!" -Brian, Saccarappa second grader
Congin Cougars Care!
After redistricting in 2011, Congin became a K-4 elementary school. Only about 5 original faculty members remained. Teachers are still building a community of trust and mutual respect, and establishing norms and routines. The school uses set curricula such as Everyday Mathematics, The Daily 5, Lucy Calkins Writing and Second Step. There is a schoolwide behavior plan called PBIS.
Education is the bridge, providing resources, community support and a path to the future.
As teachers, we have realized that building
relationships and getting to know our students
is key to providing a caring and safe environment that they may not experience at home. All students, no matter what their background, deserve to be treated respectfully and fairly. They all deserve an equitable, high quality education.
Healthy snacks, warm & dry clothing, opportunities to rest or stretch, freedom to be themselves and explore new ideas, and the best possible educational experiences available.
Full transcript