Community schools, wrap around schools, and full service community schools are all names used to describe a growing trend that sees school –community partnerships as a means to address the issues of poverty- homelessness-hunger-lack of health care-that must be attended to before students can be expected to focus on learning. The connection between poverty and poor school performance is real and well documented. While the neo-liberal discourse dismisses the impact of poverty on student learning and even suggests, in the twisted manipulations of language that mark its narrative, that to attend to a child’s poverty is to somehow diminish the student’s potential, going to school hungry, living with insecurity about shelter, and struggling to meet basic needs like heating, health care, vision and dental care severely impact children as they begin the school day.
For this week's program, Education Radio went to William Peck Full Service Community School in Holyoke Massachusetts to find out how they understand, and practice, what it means to be a full service community school. At Peck, located in Holyoke, one of the poorest communities in Massachusetts, we discovered a school community where discourses of caring, of relationship, and of humanness dominate - and are seen as essential to student achievement. At Peck family engagement equates to voice, decision making, and active participation in the day to day life of the school.
This program features several different voices and perspectives at Peck - we hear from Principal Paul Hyry-Demith, Project Director Megan Harding, Family Engagement Coordinator Maria Luisa Arroyo and teacher Justin Cotton. We also hear from Peck parents and Family Leaders Gloria Aquino and Raphael Torres as well as a Peck student.
This program is the first part of a two-part series.
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