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One American Classroom

One American Classroom

by Jacob Martin

I took national statistics about all students in America, and shrank them down to represent an average-sized classroom. If you have a child in school, these could be their classmates. If you had the chance to spend time with these students, each one a stand-in for millions of kids like them, imagine what they could teach you.

If all kids in America could be represented in a single, 25-student classroom, 16 put together a puzzle or played a boardgame with a parent this week; 12 went to the library with a parent this month; 8 are having some difficulty reading; 8 are going to have an anxiety disorder by the time they’re 18; 5 are going to be bullied this year; 1 will be pushed, shoved, or spat on; 3 will be robbed, assaulted, or raped, 1 while at school; 5 live below the poverty line; 2 aren’t sure that they’ll get their next meal; 1 may lose their home; 2 will never graduate. Get involved in your community. There’s a classroom that needs you.

Details and Resources

Parental Involvement
In a 2012 survey, 64% of parents or guardians of kindergartners through fifth-graders reported playing board games or doing puzzles with their children in the previous week.
Table 207.20
In a 2012 survey, 44.8% of parents or guardians of kindergartners through fifth-graders reported visiting a library with their children in the previous month.
Table 207.30
http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_sga.asp

Education
68% of all 4th grade students were tested to be at or above the Basic level, denoting “partial mastery of the knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work at a given grade.”
Table 221.20
http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=147

Mental Health
A 2010 study found 31.9% of adolescents, aged 13-18, met criteria for at least one anxiety disorder
Table 2
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2946114/

Bullying
In a 2013 survey, 21.5% of students, ages 12-18, reported being bullied at school during the school year. This does not include cyber-bullying which affected 6.9% of students surveyed.
Table 230.40
In a 2013 survey, 6% of students, ages 12-18, reported being pushed, shoved, tripped, or spat on at school during the school year, of which 20.8% reported a resulting injury.
Table 230.40
https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=719

Violent Crime
In a 2013 survey, 10.7% of students reported experiencing “serious violent victimization,” which includes the crimes of rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault. Note that robbery entails the use of force.
In the same 2013 survey as above, 4.9% of students reported serious violent victimization while at school, which includes inside the school building, on school property, and on the way to or from school.
Table 228.20
https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=49

Poverty
In the 2013 Current Population Survey, 21.5% of children and youth under the age of 18 were identified as living below the federal poverty line.
Table 3
http://www.census.gov/library/publications/2015/demo/p60-252.html

Hunger
A 2014 survey found that in households with children under age 18, 9.4% of children were food insecure, 1.1% of children were categorized as having very low food security. Food security indicates that people have consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life through the year.
Page 16, Figure 2
http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err-economic-research-report/err194.aspx

Housing
In HUD’s 2015 report to congress, 2,830,000 million families with children were in worst case renting scenarios (renters with very low incomes [below half the median in their area] who do not receive government housing assistance and who either paid more than half their monthly incomes for rent, lived in severely substandard conditions, or both). The report found an average of 2.09 children per household in severe housing situations. There were 116,030,000 total households in 2013. Therefore, 2.439% of households with children were in worst case renting scenarios and could be projected to have 2.09 children per household, meaning a projected 5.098% of children live in worst case renting scenarios.
https://www.huduser.gov/portal/publications/affhsg/wc_HsgNeeds15.html

Homelessness
A Fall 2013–Spring 2014 school year survey found 1,301,239 public school students (pre-k through 12th grade) experienced homelessness as defined by the McKinney-Vento Act.
Page 8, Table 2
https://www2.ed.gov/programs/homeless/data-comp-sy13-14.pdf
In Fall 2013, 50,045,000 students were enrolled in public school (pre-k through 12th grade).
Table 203.10
http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d15/tables/dt15_105.30.asp
The 1,301,239 students experiencing homelessness would account for 2.6% of all enrolled students, or .65 of 1 student in a hypothetical 25-student representation of all American public school students.

Attainment
In a 2015 survey, 6.8% of the population were “Status” dropouts, meaning they were civilians age 16–24, not enrolled in school, and have not completed a high school program or equivalent certification such as GED.
Table 219.70
https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=16

Classroom Size
A class size of 25 was chosen as a rounded average (from 25.30) using a 2011-2012 school and staffing survey of class sizes in public primary, middle, and high schools implementing departmentalized instruction. Departmentalized is defined as instruction to several classes of different students most or all of the day in one or more subjects. Departmentalized instruction classrooms were chosen as they are the most common type of classroom. All classroom types, including self-contained, combined-grade, and specialist classes, would average out to 20.84.
Table 7
https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/sass/tables/sass1112_2013314_t1s_007.asp

Libraries are still relevant

Libraries are still relevant

library_2by Kristen Martin

I push against the tall doors, almost too heavy for me, when I see rows of shelves teeming with books! Books of every color and size with bright pictures or noble bindings. Then I am told I can pick out five to take home with me. I can barely believe the world I’ve just walked into.

library_1 I received my very first library card and felt like a grownup with a credit card. I had the power to choose which worlds I wanted to explore. It started simply with some Dr. Suess. Then, I read the Little House series; I read Jane Eyre, The Giver, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and Charlotte’s Web. I didn’t realize until much later in life that those trips to the library gave me so much more than a love of reading—it gave me the chance to explore new ideas and the courage to become who I wanted to be.

Today’s libraries offer so much more than books.

  • Audiobooks, some are available to download to your smartphone through apps like Overdrive
  • Movies and TV Shows in DVD and BluRay
  • Magazines and newspapers dating back centuries
  • Computers with internet and printing
  • Experts to help with research—including genealogy
  • Some have tools and sporting equipment you can borrow
  • Many sell used books and movies for an exceptional price ($.25 – $5.00 for hardback books!)

More than all of this they include activities for the whole family to enjoy.

  • Story-time readings of children’s books
  • Favorite characters parties with guest like Winnie the Pooh or Mickey
  • Events for teens/pre-teens such as dances and lock-ins
  • Movie screenings of popular movies and art films
  • Author readings and signings
  • Special speakers with all different kinds of expertise
  • Book clubs
  • Classes for everything from computer skills to learning a new language.

According to ILoveLibraries.org, “libraries are community hubs. In addition to connecting people to information, libraries connect people to people. They are safe havens for kids when school is not in session, offering after-school homework help, games, and book clubs. Libraries offer computer classes, enabling older adults to stay engaged in a digital world. Bookmobiles and community outreach programs keep those living in remote areas or those who are housebound connected to the larger community.”

library_3

Seeing this video made by high school students and librarians reminded me how great a trip to the library can be. Visit your local library today and talk to a librarian—they are a wealth of knowledge just waiting to explore with you.

How Hunger Is an Educational Barrier

How Hunger Is an Educational Barrier

 

“You can’t teach a hungry child!”

How Hunger Is an Educational Barrier

Jamie* seems like a typical eight grade student, but carries around an unseen barrier. It starts in her Monday morning algebra class, when her stomach tightens with pangs to remind her she hasn’t eaten since the previous Friday. Fighting a slow burning sensation, she tries to focus on linear equations before heading to biology, where her stomach pangs become nauseating cramps.

Jamie’s barrier to education—hunger—is something millions of kids struggle with, and what educators battle daily.  If a child is hungry, focusing on anything becomes an uphill battle both for the child and teacher. How can a child engage in classroom discussion, focus on homework or recall information without nutritional support?

The Clarksville-Montgomery County Education Foundation, a non-profit organization established to support the needs of the Clarksville Montgomery County School system, is a firm believer in the saying “You can’t teach a hungry child!”

Clarksville-Montgomery County Education Foundation exists to support the improvement of public education by providing the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System additional funding for the support of programs and initiatives that contribute to student achievement.

The organization plans to support their district’s 100% Graduation Program with the donation of snacks received through the Champions for Kids and the Walmart partnership. Many districts, including theirs, has a backpack program that helps send home snacks with students who may not have food over the weekend.

In addition to providing snacks for elementary and middle schools, the program also provides meals for high school students attending the organization’s Virtual High School program. Unlike a traditional school, the Virtual High School has no cafeteria.

“Some life circumstance out of their control may have brought them to the Virtual high,” says Candy Johnson, who works with the Clarksville Montgomery County schools. “But as a community we can still ensure that while they are in our care, they can have a snack to help them fully focus and achieve 100% Graduation in our district!”

What are your thoughts on hunger barriers in education? Share your own story, spread the word or find out how you can get involved in your community!

*Name changed