In Texas, almost two-thirds of the students in public schools qualify for free or reduced priced meals—a tale-tell sign of just how prevalent poverty is for many families across the state. Many of these economically disadvantaged students attend impoverished schools, aren't used to going to class each day, and don't speak or are learning to speak English, making the odds of their success seemingly insurmountable. But for one school in Houston, they aren't letting the tired old trope of 'poor school means poor performance' hold themselves—or their students—back.
Knowing many of the students had a lot of academic catching up to do once they arrived at Ed White Elementary, the staff came up with a variety of creative solutions to ensure the school was on track to becoming a high-performing institution. Hiring retired teachers as tutors and keeping a social worker on staff proved to be helpful for students, but perhaps the most successful initiative the school implemented has been an after-school homework club that helps students finish their school work before they go home to help take care of the family—often while their parents are working two or more jobs. And although Ed White Elementary is working with a younger audience, the tactics they've implemented to increase their performance can be easily implemented at any school, at any grade—and we totally think that deserves an 'A.'