Sunday, August 15, 2010

Economy's Impact on Schools

Families are dealing with the impact of job loss, increased poverty and hunger, reduced access to health care and other social services and greater instability in the family unit. The long-term impact on schools is uncertain but it is clear that schools play a vital role in supporting students and their families during these challenging times.

One of my graduate students recently shared a link that tells an absolutely compelling story about the impact of the the recession---

As you prepare for the coming school year I encourage each of you to work with your staff to develop a plan for supporting your students and their families. The evidence is clear about the link between regular meals and schooling, between access to health and dental care and school success.

In North Carolina I met an elementary principal who worked with her food service staff to provide larger portions of food on Fridays and Mondays knowing that many of her students had little to eat on week-ends. A Michigan principal made a list of free medical and dental clinics available for parents. In Oregon a community organized its churches so that a free meal was available every night of the week. Another North Carolina principal got towels and small bars of soap from local hotels so that students could take showers. A third principal kept a supply of t-shirts donated by local businesses available for student use.

Click on the link and watch the impact of the recession on our country. Then work with your school community to provide help in whatever way you can. I'd enjoy hearing from you about the ways your school supports your students and their families.

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