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For Too Many Students, School Is the Only Place They Receive Love

This resource is provided by ACSA Partner4Purpose Capturing Kids’ Hearts. 

“Students who are loved at home come to school to learn. Students who aren’t…come to school to be loved.” This quote by Nicholas A. Ferroni is all too descriptive of many schools. It underscores perhaps the primary issue facing educators today AND reveals the elusive explanation for why struggling schools often find it nearly impossible to turn their academic ratings around.

How can we hope to develop children’s minds when their most basic emotional needs are going unmet every day?

One school in Michigan recently set out to quantify the problems in their students’ home lives.

They discovered that nearly 25% of the students had missed more than 15 days of school, and almost 45% had missed over 10 days. 21 students had parents who were in jail. 13 had one or more parent deceased. 28 children had been physically and/or sexually abused, or had been exposed to drugs or alcohol abuse. Many had been foster children, raised in a single home or by someone other than their parents, or were even homeless.

For students who can’t go home to a stable support system, school is the most consistent part of their lives. And establishing emotional safety is foundational for educators attempting to reach them academically. These Michigan administrators also recognized the importance of providing consistency across all classrooms during the day, ensuring that school would be the one place these children would know what to expect and what was expected of them. No more (unpleasant) surprises. They would instead be offered respect…listening…nurture…love.

To this end, district leaders are sending all employees (teachers, staff, and custodians) – everyone who comes into contact with children on campus – to Capturing Kids’ Hearts professional development. These processes help teachers communicate safety and caring for their students. When consistently modeled, they also improve student to student relationships, as well.

Each child that walks through your doors is an opportunity to demonstrate love. Sometimes this means reaching into very dark places and pulling kids out of nearly impossible situations.

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