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Opening Doors for All Children: What it Takes to Leave No Student Behind! Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach Virginia Beach City Public Schools Adjunct.

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Presentation on theme: "Opening Doors for All Children: What it Takes to Leave No Student Behind! Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach Virginia Beach City Public Schools Adjunct."— Presentation transcript:

1 Opening Doors for All Children: What it Takes to Leave No Student Behind! Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach Virginia Beach City Public Schools Adjunct Professor College of William and Mary

2 An Experiment List 10 things you value the most Now cross off 5 Now 3 In a small way you have experienced what the at-risk and homeless youth you work with experience. What would you do if circumstance conspired against you?

3 Stereotypes of Homelessness

4 Bias Against Homeless So many misconceptions Lazy Lots of free time Get a job if they wanted one Never got asked to spend the night Shelter Rat Make it a crime to be homeless Camping Congregating Sleeping beach

5 .

6 Could you -- or someone you know -- experience … a natural disaster a job cut-back or layoff loss of sole wage-earner’s income a negative change to current lifestyle inadequate health-care benefits for a family member needing long term care

7 Could you -- or someone you know -- experience … loss of health coverage and other benefits being routinely behind on paying bills high balances on credit cards a family member’s addiction

8 Life is Difficult for our Impoverished Youth

9 Sandra Dowling, Maricopa County School Superintendent “When a new teacher comes to the school, I tell them, “If you went into teaching to make a difference, I want to welcome you. But with these kids, you wont make a difference: you will be the difference. “

10 Can All Students Learn? For a long time we didn’t expect all kids to learn. NCLB challenged that premise Critic of the law- Champion of the goal “Leave no child behind” doesn’t mean we test them at every turn. Do not normalize failure!

11 A wise man once said…. That what you are in life has not so much to do with what you have accomplished, but the obstacles you overcame in doing so.

12 What I wish my Teachers had known… Ashley O. – 18 year old senior Honor student at a math and science magnet Recipient of Richard Maddox Scholarship of $40K Will attend Longwood and become a teacher Homeless now and most of life

13 What do teachers need to know about students experiencing homelessness? Understand the life circumstance and needs of homeless, highly mobile, and poor students. How to seamlessly integrate life skills into curriculum How to work with the wiggle (learning styles and engaged learning) Understand that we respond to highly charged, drama-based motivation

14 What do teachers need to know about students experiencing homelessness? We want you to be someone we can trust and share what’s going on with you— remember we have been trained to not tell. We have a very poor ability to conceptualize We have poor organizational skills We need loose structure with stability We need a personal space and are possessive of our belongings

15 What do teachers need to know about students experiencing homelessness? Our parents and us do not want to describe ourselves as homeless (would you)—We see this state as very temporary. We can be both an over-achiever or an under- achiever We seem very mature in a hip-worldly way. Our parents are afraid of “big brother” If I am the oldest homeless child I spend a great deal of my time providing child-care. Help me have a childhood. When you help our parent(s) you are helping us.

16 Hidden Homeless Ashley hid her homelessness because she didn’t want to be different I hid mine because of fear of what my Mom would do if I told. Students in temporary situations with various environmental factors are hard to detect and therefore hard to reach.

17 Environmental Factors Impacting Teaching and Student Learning

18 What do you see? 1. View clip- Breakfast Club 2. Gather around a chart in groups of Brainstorm what possible environmental factors exists in each of these characters. What possible behaviors might these students exhibit as a result of their environment?

19 Environmental Factors Impacting Unaccompanied Youth Living in runaway shelters Living in abandoned buildings, on the street, or in other inadequate accommodations. Couch surfing with friends Denied housing by parents School age Unwed Mothers

20 NCH- Website “It is estimated that a fifth of year olds will experience homelessness at some point in their lives.”

21 Possible Things to look for… Persistent fatigue- (Jimmy’s story) Frequent absences Dirty or repeated clothing Inability to complete homework Hoarding food Sudden changes in behavior Tell too much

22 Highly Transient Teachers need to hit the ground running. Often mobility means no significant relationship with an adult. Build relationships – yours may be the only significant, stable relationship with an adult that student ever has.

23 Self-Fulfilling Prophecy You are the voice framing at-risk teens abilities. You are the expert. We are often teaching these teens less than they are capable of learning. Rules are more important than breakthroughs (since circumstance often prevents being able to comply with rules– reinforces negative self-image) Back to basics… have to master this before you can move forward…but they need to be in an accelerated program to catch up… not slowed down. Teachers give up– if you approach a problem as unsolvable 9 out of 10 times it will be.

24 Teaching Strategies Planning and Preparation are Key Constructivist- Problem-Based Learning Active and Imaginative Problem Solvers High Standards and High Expectations View them as at-promise - rather than at- risk Teacher’s job is to break the cycle of poverty

25 Teaching Strategies that Work Best for Homeless Kids Ownership in the rules and their learning Motivate them Motivation is important because it helps determine achievement. Motivation will allow achievement regardless of life circumstance or intellect. Set high standards

26 Teaching Strategies that Work Best for Homeless Kids You are a living textbook Do like Dewey When you have kids of high poverty in your classroom you are not just teaching content anymore– accept it. Marva Collins says… “Teacher inabilities are as prevalent as learning disabilities.” Sheryl adds “… and sometimes in direct proportion.”

27 Teaching Strategies that Work Best for Homeless Kids Build self-confidence and positive self- concept Self-esteem and Self-control are closely related Establish relationships Prepare for the next transition- teacher proof them. Teaching methods that work best with homeless kids work for all impoverished or at-risk kids and their parents.

28 Water Downed Expectations “What hurts us more, is you teach us less.” Haycock (2001) says… “…we take the students who have less to begin with and then systematically give them less in school.” And then we call it best practice…or differentiation.

29 Student Motivation to Learn Emotional Trauma = Low Self-Esteem Crave attention and the need to belong Desperate for “good girl/boy” and approval Give them a reason to work hard for intrinsic rewards. If they came to you from the desert—needing water– would you withhold it from them to help them learn?

30 Motivation to Learn Severely damaged self-image causes shut down at criticism. Can’t deal with criticism as a way to self- improvement. Learn to isolate the behavior from the person and look for opportunities to give specific praise. Government story

31 What I do with At-risk Students To build meaningful relationships, establish trust, and try to give this kid the missing tools in his/her toolbox To move them from extrinsic motivation to intrinsic motivation To teach them self-government and other- mindedness Choose friends carefully Hard work gets noticed

32 How to Blossom Someone with Expectation – Building Self-Esteem 1. Examine (pay close attention) 2. Expose (what they did specifically) 3. Emotion (describe how it makes you feel) 4. Expect (blossom them by telling them what this makes you expect in the future) 5. Endear (through appropriate touch)

33 Practicing Blossoming Gather in small groups 4-5 Mention something you noticed lately about a group member. Describe how it makes you feel. Tell them the expectation you have because of this. Endear through appropriate touch.

34 The Cycle Parents trapped by poverty usually raise children who also become trapped by poverty.

35 Involving homeless parents or at-risk adults: Teacher attitudes Welcoming school—have a plan Meaningful involvement So how do we overcome the barriers?

36 Needs of the At-risk Parent Ruby Payne- Hidden Rules Like vs. Learn In your face vs. policy and issues Food Did you get enough? Did you like it? Beautiful presentation

37 Here are some of the things at-risk parents need you to help them understand… Help me understand “dress for success” Help me with interpersonal skills Give me some marriage/parenting tips- to break the cycle… modeling Family-focused programs with a possible two generation approach to education Horizon Plus

38 Here are some things at-risk parents need for you to understand That our family roles are lost and distorted due to my circumstances and often family traditions you take for granted are nonexistent. Need someone to not misunderstand our survival decisions… someone who could detach from judgments. Need someone to understand… I love my kids. I want them to succeed.

39 Recommendations Acknowledge students’ growth wherever they start. Ask if it is a poverty issue that is holding them back. Praise success. Reflect on your own bias. Recognize poverty as a diversity issue and not a defect. State the obvious. Even if you think everyone knows. Be approachable. Don’t assume students will come to you for help. Call them by their first name.

40 Recommendations Diversify your curriculum and make it relevant to more than just your middle class students. Include experiences of the poor in your examples. Use concrete more than abstract. If your students can’t learn your subject– it is your problem and your responsibility.

41 Recommendations Know that not everyone shares middle class expectations. Help connect teens with services– recommend them for scholarships—get them in AP classes. Use policies to serve people and not to punish and exclude them. Rethink rules. Encourage further education more than low-wage jobs. Help at-risk teens to see possibilities. Understand that the poor may be intimidated by school. Change their perceptions. Uncover secret codes– teach them how to dress, talk, and speak in middle class environments.

42 Recommendations Change Some Rules Make the rules less based on middle class values and priorities. Understand poverty. Be Passionate Be wildly passionate as an advocate for these kids.

43 Man is so made that whenever anything fires his soul, impossibilities vanish. -- Jean de la Fontaine


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