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    How Your School Can Help Bridge the Achievement Gap

    March 15, 2018
    by Alex McNair |

    Pupils raising hand in classroom at the elementary school.jpeg

    Levels of academic achievement report missed opportunities, despite the teachers’ passion to inspire our youth. Obstacles such as instability at home, learning disabilities, and language barriers impact a child’s opportunity for success, despite equal access to education. Developing self-esteem and identity is crucial in these fragile years, yet feeling lost and unsupported can result in withdrawal, misbehavior, and underperformance. Scaffolding instruction to provide equity and inclusion helps children achieve and bridges the gap. Here are ways schools can help:

    Involve families: Children from educated families tend to have a higher value on education, therefore achieving more academically. How do schools meet the needs of families who may not have had the opportunity to pursue education?

    • Encourage a safe and welcoming environment to make your school a place that parents enjoy visiting.
    • Create a family-friendly office so that meetings are accessible and don’t require parents to plan and pay for childcare.
    • Host adult education programs on campus after hours. There’s no better opportunity to help parents feel comfortable at school than allowing them to be students themselves.
    • Communicate often with families in modalities they can access.

    *Peachjar ProTip: Digital flyers are a great way to keep parents involved in their school on the go!

    Engage staff in cultural competence: The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) states that, as of 2018, “racial/ethnic groups… in the minority are projected to become a majority of people under 18.” How do schools respond to diversity?

    • Get to know the families of your students by asking thoughtful questions. By understanding students’ backgrounds, teachers can expand their knowledge, create connections, and meet the needs of their students.
    • Provide resources for teachers and a culture of inclusion on campus. Share articles and experiences.
    • Increase accessibility to non-English speakers and the visually impaired.

    *Peachjar ProTip: Our flyers comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) so information is accessible to more parents than ever!

    Expand after school programs: According to Afterschool Alliance, kids involved in afterschool programs earn higher grades, attend school more often, and graduate at a higher rate. How do we get kids involved?

    • Provide full-day kindergarten and before and after-school programs and clubs on campus.
    • Notify parents of enrichment opportunities outside of school. Parents may not know how to get their kids started if they are unaware of what is available to them.

    *Peachjar ProTip: Community organizations from little leagues to libraries can use Peachjar to post about their programs and events!

    Tailor instruction: When there’s pressure to prepare students for standardized tests and cover a high volume of material, it’s easy to default to our most comfortable teaching methods, but kids with varying learning styles and challenges can get left behind. How do we ensure instruction is as effective as possible?

    • Use assessment as a tool to guide future lesson plans rather than to penalize the student. Encourage a growth mindset by discussing results constructively.
    • Try different delivery methods and observe how students respond. Does classroom discussion engage the class, or does it ostracize students whose first language isn’t English? Would your visual learners follow a lecture better with an outline in front of them?

    Want your students get the best possible academic experience? Apply our tips to your school and feel confident that your children are getting the best opportunities out there!

    Categories: School Districts