Helping Economically Disadvantaged Students Succeed

What’s the key to having economically disadvantaged students perform well? The same as having students in any other group perform well.

“Our practices overall are for all students, not just those in a particular demographic,” said C.R. Weeks principal Kristin Beriman. 

C.R. Weeks and A.F. Palmer Elementary Schools recently earned recognition from an education consulting company as being in the top 20 percent of New York schools that help economically disadvantaged students achieve success.

Better Outcomes, LLC studied 1,156 public schools in the state who met the following criteria: had 40% or more of the student body identified as economically disadvantaged, and had at least 30 state test takers.

Weeks and Palmer were among the top 20 percent of that group by having 25 percent or more of their economically-disadvantaged students score a 3 (proficient) or 4 (above proficient) on the 2016 ELA state test, as well as have 65 percent or more economically-disadvantaged students score a 2 (below proficient), 3 or 4 on the 2016 ELA state test.

“It’s the Windsor District, not this building or that building,” said Palmer Elementary principal Jamie Bernard. “This doesn’t happen in isolation. This (success) doesn’t happen without the foundation.”

Over half of the students at Weeks and Palmer qualify for reduced-price or free lunch, a measure of being economically disadvantaged. Beriman says engaging students is key, including finding ways to get every student involved in co-curricular activities. 

“You don’t make (economic status) an issue. You try to do everything to not make it an issue,” said Beriman. “The biggest thing that stood out is what we do every day for every student has led to success.” 

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