HELPING STUDENTS OVERCOME OBSTACLES
The “achievement gap” refers to the gap in academic performance between students of color and white students, between lower and higher income students, and between students who are learning English and those who speak it as a first language.
Because Community Schools Collaboration serves primarily low-income students of color, many of whom are English Language Learners, overcoming the achievement gap is a critical issue for us.
Strategies for success
The “achievement gap” is something of a misnomer. In truth, many students experience an “opportunity gap,” in which they lack access to the resources that lead to academic success. The ERIC Clearing House on Urban Education has identified a number of resources and practices that have proven effective in closing the achievement gap. CSC offers several of them:
- Homework help and tutoring for struggling students.
- Summer learning for students at high risk, including newly arrived refugee students (in partnership with the International Rescue Committee) and under-achieving students entering middle school (in partnership with the Highline School District).
- Mentors and role models who inspire students to have high aspirations.
- Youth development and enrichment activities that enhance students’ personal development, improve their motivation, and open up their worlds to new opportunities.
- Support for parent involvement in their children’s education.
- Coordinated health and social services for students and parents to address issues that interfere with student learning.
Many other effective strategies – such as ensuring small class sizes or high-quality teacher training – are outside the scope of our work. However, by employing the above practices and working closely with school faculty, CSC is an important partner in providing students with opportunities to achieve success.