December 6, 2017
Discussing how poverty affects learning with Superintendent Keith Kline
Host Carole Dorn-Bell speaks with Superintendent Keith Kline of West Clermont Local Schools about how poverty affects learning. The two discuss the steps that West Clermont School District is taking to fight the impact of poverty on learning.
Keith and Carole discuss how once West Clermont eclipsed 40 percent of students with free or reduced cost lunches, they knew it was time to address the barriers created by poverty.
“We see poverty play itself out in a variety of different ways in our schools,” Keith says. “When they come to us hungry or they come to us without basic needs being met, it’s tough to work through those issues so that they can be as successful in the classroom as is possible.”
Keith says the district has adopted an approach throughout the entire school district to remove the barriers created by poverty to help students reach their full potential.
“If we don’t have kids ready to learn when they get into class, they don’t stand as good of chance as their peers at being successful,” Keith says.
He says they’re working hard to understand how poverty affects learning and then to address that throughout the district.
He says they first went through an awareness phase to gain a better understanding of the barriers that poverty creates. Then every employee went through a poverty simulation to improve the understanding of how poverty affects learning.
“A big ‘Ah-ha!’ was that transportation is probably the biggest issue that a lot of families have to deal with,” Keith says.
He said now they’re partnering with Health Source of Ohio to create a school-based health center to provide students with dental, vision and general healthcare.
“For us that is a major opportunity to change the child’s trajectory as they move forward through our system and then become contributing and successful adults,” Keith says.
He says the process has helped the district focus on the role that teachers and staff can play in changing the life of a child, which was really driven home by having Manny Scott speak to the students and staff.
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