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2017-2018 Features

Early Release in Action: Southridge High School Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind: Practical Strategies for Raising Achievement by Eric Jensen​

Two male and one female teachers collaborating at a table 

Southridge High School Principal David Nieslanik is using his monthly administrator-directed early release day to help his staff better understand students of poverty.

Since November, staff have been reading "Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind: Practical Strategies for Raising Achievement" by Eric Jensen. "We chose to read Jensen's work because we want to ensure that we are continually working to meet the needs of our students. As our demographics are shifting, it is important to better understand our students, their families, their narratives and to build stronger strategies to meet their needs," says Nieslanik.

During January's administrator-directed early release time, staff discussed how they engage students, discussing sections of the book on how poverty affects behavior and academics. This can range from emotional and social challenges, acute and chronic stressors, cognitive lags and health and safety issues. Next month, staff will talk about how to tackle each of these challenges.