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Solutions to Support Students in Poverty

Effects of Poverty on Students’ Education

Students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds have a harder time succeeding in school. Their lives are different from their higher-income peers. For example, most low-income parents are essential workers. They might work multiple jobs to support their family and do not have enough time, resources, or money to support their children’s learning. Lack of parental engagement can lead to feelings of frustration and lack of motivation, which can hinder students from achieving their academic goals.

Furthermore, poverty negatively impacts students in various concrete ways. This can be due to multiple factors, such as health problems stemming from a poor diet, homelessness, trauma, or the inability to receive medical treatment for illness. These factors also cause stress, which can negatively impact a student’s ability to learn. 

The recent pandemic school closures disproportionately affected low-income students of color,  widening existing achievement gaps and causing many of these students to fail and/or drop out of school. It is essential that we create proper solutions to support students in poverty because they, too, deserve the opportunity to learn, succeed, and achieve their goals

We at E.R.E., understand how poverty negatively affects students’ capacities to learn, and we empathize with the difficulties these students face. So we supply our students with access to technology and outside support as needed, as well as tutors who are trained to approach them with specialized teaching methodologies that view the students holistically from a culturally responsive and trauma-informed lens. Data shows that our technique has helped to bridge the opportunity gap plaguing low-income communities of color.  

Ways to Support Students in Poverty

You can help students who live in poverty by implementing some of these suggestions.

Get books donated

Reading is everything. No matter what the subject matter is, kids need to know how to read. However, according to Forbes, “The ratio of age-appropriate books per child in low-income neighborhoods is 1 book per 300 children, compared to middle-income neighborhoods where the ratio is 13 books per child.” Indeed, poverty strongly affects students’ interest in reading and reduces their ability to own books. To support those in need at school, you and school administrators can work together to run book donation events to collect books. You can contact local libraries, bookstores, or alumni of the school to ask for book donations. Then you can even help the school set up a book club since peer reading groups have been shown as effective at improving student literacy in a fun way.

Facilitate field trip learning

Students who live in poverty may not be able to experience outings like trips to museums, amusement parks, or aquariums. You may observe that low-income students are often excluded from extracurricular activities for financial reasons. So giving them opportunities for these types of experiences will expand their learning beyond the classroom and into the real world. 

To start, consider first surveying all students about the types of activities they would like to experience. Then contact those venues to discuss pricing for low-income students. You can even apply for funding via a classroom grant or a platform like DonorsChoose, making a case for why this experience will have lasting positive effects on the students involved. Making opportunities like this more inclusive will aid in bridging the achievement gap.   

Support school materials 

Students are provided with lists of required and recommended school supplies every year. Many families do not have the extra money to purchase these items, which can create a massive barrier for lower-income students. So encourage schools to be more mindful of listing only the necessary items at the lowest cost, as well as utilizing accessible online resources as much as possible. 

It would also help to have extra materials on hand. There are a variety of organizations that allow school administrators to fund supply purchases, such as ClassWish, and Digital Wish. You could also look or post online for donated school supplies. It is important to keep in mind that students living in poverty are like other children, but they encounter limitations and barriers that make learning harder for them. It is up to us to help reduce those barriers to their learning.

E.R.E. Supports Children in Poverty

Educate. Radiate. Elevate. is dedicated to providing tutoring and support to low-income BIPOC students. We believe in focusing on improving their quality of life, not just through their academic needs, but by addressing their emotional, social, and mental needs as well. E.R.E. employs a diverse group of highly qualified tutors who utilize a holistic approach, empathy, educational equity, and cultural responsiveness. If you know a student who is ambitious and hardworking, you can nominate him/her for our free tutoring program.

If our mission of educational equity is important to you, let’s work together to make a difference! You can help by donating funds via our website or school supplies via our AmazonWishlist. We can all do our part to make sure each child knows that there are people who believe in them.

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"Hi, I'm Lindsey.
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Lindsey Wander
Founder and President