Monday, December 5, 2016

Education Week: A Community Unites to Send Low-Income Kids to College

Education Week: A Community Unites to Send Low-Income Kids to College Full Article
                             Matthew Lynch | November 4, 2016

Key Issue:  In the heart of Portland's Rockwood neighborhood sits Alder Elementary, where approximately 20% of students are homeless, 100% of students are on free or reduced lunch, and more than 60% are English language learners. This school has consistently ranked in the bottom 15% in the state. Even in the face of such challenging poverty and language-related barriers, Alder students and staff continue to amaze our community and beat the odds by holding the title of fastest improving school in the Reynolds School District. 

"I Have a Dream" Oregon has taken on the challenge of addressing poverty-related systemic challenges by giving hundreds of students what they need to graduate high school, attend college, and become successful citizens. In 2010, Alder Elementary became the first-in-the-nation Dreamer school where every student is a Dreamer and provided with whatever it takes to succeed: mentors, tutoring, after-school programs, college and workplace visits, and more. The goal is for 100 percent of its students to earn a diploma, and for at least 80 percent to earn a post-secondary degree or certificate.

Relevance:  This is an issue throughout our schools where children are faced with barriers to learning and achievement due to poverty.  It is amazing to see the success in these students when they are given the tools, resources and basic necessities.  Our goal is teachers is to do what we can to improve classroom outcomes and decrease educational barriers, with the support of our community, the outcomes can be even greater.  Programs like these need to be given more praise and attention with hopes that more action will be taken.   


  1. Poverty is a very powerful barrier to many of our students. I like how this article shows students can succeed when they are given the right resources and tools. You made a great point stating it is our jobs as teachers to improve student outcomes, but with help from the community, we can make the successful outcomes even greater. It is important to recognize some of our students are living in poverty and this will make their acquisition of content more difficult due to hunger or sleep deprivation. I feel as long as we are recognizing it, this will help us to put the right resources in the hands of students and parents to help them learn.

  2. Thank you for sharing this Kate. I did not know about this school and how well it has been doing. Like you said this school needs more praise and attention. The more attention that is given will allow other struggling schools to see what they are doing to be successful and try to implement it within their school. The more teachers know about their students background the better they are able to empathize with them and give them the support they need.