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2 Kimberly Pickles, Principal WJCC Public Schools Doctoral Candidate: The College of William and Mary Stephanie Leek, School Social Worker WJCC Public Schools Presenters

3 Participants will be exposed to the perspectives of classroom teachers regarding the challenges they face educating students experiencing homelessness Participants will be able to identify and describe four areas related to supporting homeless students in the classroom Objectives/Goals

4 Participants will identify ways that teachers can change their instructional process to meet the learning and emotional needs of students who are homeless Participants will be provided with district-level strategies utilized to support school-based staff Objectives/Goals Continued

5 Qualitative Research Field Study College of William & Mary, Williamsburg,VA Purpose: To examine the pedagogical practices of teachers who have instructed homeless students. To explore the needs and strategies that teachers can use to differentiate and accommodate their instruction to maximize achievement for these students. Pedagogical Practices of Teachers of Homeless Students

6 What are the pedagogical practices of teachers who have had students who are homeless? Specifically, once a teacher learns that s/he has a student who has been identified as a student who is currently homeless, what ways does s/he change their instructional process to meet the learning and emotional needs of the student? Research Question

7 Research According to state education agencies, the most frequently reported educational needs of homeless children are as follows: remediation/tutoring; school materials and clothes; support services such as counselors; after school/extended day/summer programs to provide basic needs for food and shelter and recreation; transportation; educational program continuity and stability; and sensitivity and awareness training for school personnel and students (Rafferty, 1998, p.50)

8 Research Teachers of highly mobile students must develop the skills to make them feel welcome while quickly weaving them into classroom routines (Holgersson-Shorter, 2010, p.33)

9 4 Steps to Support Students 1.Heightening their awareness for the dynamics of the lives of children and families who are homeless (Swick, 2000; Powers-Costello and Swick, 2011) 2.Engaging in experiences that deepen their sensitivity to the contextual elements that are pervasive in being homeless (Powers-Costello and Swick, 2008; Sleeter, 1993; Swick, 1996; Powers-Costellow and Swick, 2011) 3.Developing an action plan that provides some cohesive direction to their work (Powers-Costello and swick, 2011). 4.Helping teachers become active in building relations with students, parents, colleagues, and community that promote school success (Swick, 2000; Powers-Costello and Swick, 2011).

10 Method Collective ethnographic case studies Research Design of advocacy/participatory research Group of individuals that are faced with the social issues of the day and in which an action agenda for reform within the schools would change the lives of the homeless children in the classroom. Critical Theory Examines the changes and interactions related to the improvement of the educational impact of students who experience homelessness

11 Participants in Study #1 Three Elementary School Teachers 5 th grade reading teacher Jane 25+ years teaching experience 5 th grade math teacher Mary 10 years teaching experience 1 st grade teacher (all subjects) Helen 8 years teaching experience Suburban School District

12 Participants Participants have worked with a student or students that have experienced homelessness while in their classrooms Living in a womens shelter with mother and within the zone of the shelter Doubled up with friends and then moved to hotel (in zone and then out of zone) Started in a home, doubled up out of city and stayed school of origin

13 Interviews Structured Interview Questions; Open Ended Face to face Focused on identifying the pedagogical practices of teachers who instruct homeless students Focused on how they adjusted their instruction for students experiencing homelessness Recommendations to improved academic success

14 Findings Four categories/themes Choices made by the parent to be able to provide for their child(ren) or the lack of the choices that they have available Perceptions of the classroom teacher Relationship development between the teacher and the child and the teacher and the parent for positive learning experience Available/recommended supports within the school and classroom

15 Findings Cont Choices Lack of ability to make choices Parents dont normally come and that is just either because they are working during the day and they dont have a means to get to the school or they are at home taking care of the other kids. I do make sure that I am sending home weekly communication and would say that some are good about communicating back and some are not. I would like to think sometimes they have bigger things to worry about. -Mary

16 Findings Cont Choices Home support is key I think that home support is a key thing and that you see that the parents are just struggling to get by. It could be the parents had no choice or the parents just arent giving the kids the attention. – Jane Dont hold parents choices against the child Parents of homeless kids seem to focus more on their own problems which is probably understandable and the kids seem to fall to the wayside because schools important, but not that important – Jane

17 Findings Cont Choices Be aware many parents have made difficult choices and are doing the best they can so their children have a good educational opportunity I dont necessarily think that the parents intend to not be supportive, its just that they are so busy with everything else they have, whether it is just trying to find a job or trying to find a home or trying to be the parent, that sometimes school just comes last. – Helen

18 Findings Cont Perceptions Preconceived ideas may present the opposite He was very bright, which surprised me, because I thought, you know, a lot of times you want to think that they are not academically there. But he was also very bright. His big thing for me was that he was very worldly. –Mary Keep in mind the child may be embarrassed by their situation and may not have an opportunity to act like a kid. Be open minded and not let stereotypes guide their idea of a homeless child.

19 Findings Cont Relationship Development Promote a positive learning experience for the child Put in the time necessary to develop a relationship Take the time, build the relationship, develop the trust and understanding for the student and family

20 Findings Cont Relationship Development I like it to be a trusting place where kids can come to feel safe… kids come in and other children need to accept children for who they are and where they are as far as learning. You know a lot of these kids come from situations where this is their only safe place to be and you dont know what they are going home to, so I want them to feel secure and safe. – Jane

21 Findings Cont Supports Extra instructional materials Services for remediation/extra hour or two of consistency Free Breakfast and Lunch programs Field trips to support learning culturally Outreach programs invited into the school Human need items (clothes, coats, food) Counseling and health supports In-services for educators

22 Participants in Study #2 Three Elementary School Teachers 4 th grade reading teacher Laura 17 years teaching experience 5 th grade math teacher Ann 10 years teaching experience 3rd grade teacher (all subjects) Vicky 6 years teaching experience Suburban School District

23 Participants Participants have worked with a student or students that have experienced homelessness while in their classrooms Living in a hotel and at school of origin out of attendance zone Doubled up with grandparent but is at a different friend house each night Transitional housing with hopes of moving into permanent housing

24 Interviews Structured Interview Questions; Open Ended Face to face Focused on identifying the pedagogical practices of teachers who instruct homeless students Focused on how they adjusted their instruction for students experiencing homelessness Recommendations to improved academic success

25 Observations Differentiated Classroom Observation Scale (DCOS) Recorded instructional strategies/activities Levels of student engagement Levels of cognitive demand Director of learning (teacher driven or student driven)

26 Findings Challenges homeless students deal with daily Instruction of homeless students in the classroom Social supports available or recommended Strategies recommended by teachers

27 Findings Cont Challenges …shes lacking. Not that she is lacking for love, but everybody else, they know where they are going tonight. They know when they get on that bus, they are going home. She will tell me I dont know where Im going. Like yesterday, I dont know where Im going. I gotta go see my mama so she can tell me where Im going. - Laura

28 Findings Cont Challenges Do you have everything? Let me give you stuff. I gave her the printouts. I have her books. I gave her resources she needed so she wouldnt be different from everybody else. I gave her materials to help her with her book because I wanted her to feel just as important as everybody else. – Laura

29 Findings Cont Challenges Just something as simple as tasting foods… I talked about a mango last week and he was the only student in my class who hadnt had a mango. So I brought mangoes in and lets eat them, lets talk about what they taste like. So just being mindful that if I am going to talk about an experience, I want you to be a part of it. - Vicky

30 Findings Cont Instruction It is collectively a team effort that even if parents cant give all that I would like them to give, they at least give their love and support so that when I need them to give a hug to their child, they are there to do it, or to celebrate with me about their child doing well on a benchmark or even if its just being able to get to class on time, that its a celebration that they hear from home as well as at school. - Ann

31 Findings Cont Instruction Youre going to get the most bang for your buck when you are sitting and working with a child on a specific skill one on one, or two on one, or three on one. Because is it specific to that child and that child knows that this is something that is still giving me trouble, they feel comfortable asking questions whereas in a large group, they may not. So a lot of my time is spent meeting with students, going over goals, going over data. - Ann

32 Findings Cont Instruction I plan to the point where Im reaching every student, your higher level thinking all the way down. So I mix different things in the lesson where people can get it… and then others will have to think about it and they have to go above where we started. So when I do my lessons…I think about ok, lets see who is going to get this, what are we going to do here? Bring them back to prior knowledge. - Laura

33 Findings Cont Social Supports The emotional aspect of you know I dont have what he has or you know, feeling ashamed of where they come from. If youre not confident, then you cant do anything well. Especially learn because youre always thinking about… you know they may be hungry, they may be tired, they may be concerned about where they are going when they get home from school. They may be concerned about going home from school alone because mom is working to maintain the place that they are in. So I think that probably the emotional battles are probably the most difficult. - Vicky

34 Findings Cont Social Supports You have to have that open communication and that background and I think seventeen years of experience now I see something is going on with the poor little baby who had clothes in a bag. She would have bags of clothes in her hand and stuff because shes going to stay with somebody. Like the day when she had a fish. A live goldfish. Well, she won that goldfish from church. She stayed with somebody and she had to get that gold fish home. So I didnt fuss, didnt punish her or anything. Cant carry it home on the bus, but well let mama take it home. You know these things right here, the people think, Well why didnt you take it home? Well, where am I gonna take it? Well, I didnt stay at my house last night. - Laura

35 Findings Cont Social Supports Where am I going to do my work at? You know… I dont even know where Im going tonight… Where… Where am I going to do my homework if Im going here with mama, Im going here with my aunt, Im going here with my grandma. I cant do it all. Or if Im going to go stay with somebody else, theyre going out and stuff, I gotta go with them. I cannot sit down here. I gotta study, I dont have a place to study, I cant study. Theres a lot of people there in that house so when can I study? - Ann

36 Findings Cont Strategies Boost them and find ways they can excel Boost them up as much as they can. Give them things to shine. Just the little things you would be surprised, just the little things that you do or say. Just the small things mean a lot. Dont set them apart… See what you can do or say How can I help you? or Do you want me to give you a few minutes during class time or the end of the day? You could have your time to do your homework. Do you want to come in and have lunch? That would be your own private time you can do work. I do allow her to come into the class. They have a lunch bunch too and they come in and they work and the three of them, theyll talk and play and stuff together away from everybody else.

37 Findings Cont Strategies Anne recommends keeping mindful of where they come from and where they go home to each day. She recommends knowing what they deal with when they go home each day. If it is possible, go out to where they live, sit in the car, and watch. She has often made this recommendation to new teachers that she has mentored to help them to develop a better understanding of what the children face when they leave the classroom at the end of the day. It helps to have that understanding so that you know the best way to help the child.

38 Findings Cont Strategies Vicki makes the recommendation of teaching all of the students in the class as individuals and not as groups. By looking at a child as an individual, you can reach more of your students appropriately. You have to know the child and their individual situations to know how best to work with them and to lead them to success. Because of the rapid maturity level of an elementary student, you really need to be aware of the individual child and their needs.

39 Findings Cont Strategies Make sure that supplies are on hand in the classroom. Adjust the project so that most of it can be completed at school and be willing to provide time for the child to work on it in the classroom. Utilize resources within the school that are available. Through open communication with the parent, encourage them to seek assistance from the school social worker.

40 Findings Cont Strategies Some schools have access to a local program that provides food to families on the weekends. Ann points out that it is important to plan with a target in mind. This target allows her to be able to deliver quality instruction and knowing the target also sets them up for what it is that I need to be able to do before I leave the classroom.

41 Findings Cont Strategies Differentiation is a strategy used so that when students know where they are, they can get themselves to a specific point and then you can come through and guide them to the next step. So its more about student centered learning then it is teacher directed. Research based strategies that involve instructional strategies that use non-verbal pictures can assist in breaking down a concept to the very basic and then build it back up.

42 Findings Cont Strategies A scaffolding approach and allowing a student to draw a concept out and explain it to a partner. Vocabulary building is absolutely key. Vicki supports direct vocabulary as being one of the best instructional strategies in working with homeless students as well as having a lot of group work so that a student is more comfortable with participating.

43 Findings Cont Strategies Provide students with choices so that they can do things they enjoy but can also take on a challenge. Keep the classroom library up-to- date with items that are on the student interest levels. Mix fiction and non-fiction and encourage them to chose topics they enjoy and feel comfortable talking about. Using lecture, auditory, kinesthetic, partner and group activities tap onto all of the learning styles in the classroom and then incorporate technology into the lesson.

44 These children have many needs beyond a typical student Teachers need to be aware of background circumstances and knowledge of the difficulties and choices the family is facing Need to be aware of their preconceived perceptions; Have an open mind Treat each situation individually Conclusions

45 Develop relationships, build trust, safety, and security within the classroom Additional supports are always needed Conclusions

46 Williamsburg – James City County Demographics Population: 15, % living below the poverty level 11.3 % unemployment Population: 68, % living below the poverty level 4.6 % unemployment City of WilliamsburgJames City County

47 Available Resources Avalon Shelter Transitional housing program Hands Together Historic Triangle Faith Based Community Supports the United Way Community Resource Center GWOM – Friend in Need program Shelter program – Community of Faith

48 WJCC Public Schools Population: 11,265 (as of September 2013) 15 schools – 9 Elementary, 3 middle, 3 High 4 Preschool sites Homeless identification trends 2005/2006 – /2007 – /2008 – /2009 – /2010 – /2011 – /2012 – /2013 – 425

49 Available Resources Project HOPE School Social Work staff Erase the Need Center School Based Resources

50 Division Wide Interventions Awareness and Education program Training program for all school staff/employees Strategies appropriate to the group, i.e. teachers, administrators, registrars, bus drivers, custodians Resource and Guidance manual – Connecting the Pieces: Access, Stability, Success Outreach materials specific to school division Needs assessment completed in spring 2013 – will guide continued interventions

51 Division Wide Interventions, Cont Homeless Education Coordinator Case management services for high risk preschool students and families Parent programming – both at school and in home Coordinates and facilitates a group compromised of community service providers Needs assessment of preschool staff - results provided to staff and used to guide activities Available for onsite consultation for staff and administration Provide continued training on M-V and strategies for classrooms and interacting with families Link with school age programs

52 Stonehouse Elementary School Located in James City County Population: % free or reduced lunch 19.30% free 7.78 % reduced

53 Stonehouse Interventions School Social Worker providing trainings and sharing with teachers Transportation vouchers provided by the PTA SCA members volunteering in the community Community Engagement Sea Star Power Pack program Interactions with different community groups and individuals Raising awareness with local churches, organizations, Boy/Girl Scouts, and within the school A meaningful way for students to help Power Boosts

54 Sea Star Power Pack


56 Thank You Kim Pickles Principal, Stonehouse Elementary School WJCC Public Schools Stephanie Leek School Social Worker WJCC Public Schools


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