In this project I began by wanting to map out my local elementary schools, mostly because I have friends who work in these schools and so I know first hand the challenges both the kids and the teachers face. I am also interested in poverty and the effects that poverty has on students and in turn their lives as they go from student to adult. While I included all the statistics on the CRCTs that were available when it came to the projection of how poverty was impacting our students I focused on Reading and Language Arts.
Also in this project I added public housing into the equation as they tend to be located close to certain schools. I have a friend who works at Southeast as a Kindergarten teacher and close are the "South Rome Projects" as we all refer to them as, or John Graham Housing as they are properly named. This school is consistently the worst performing elementary school in the city school system and honestly I wanted to know why. So by tracing where the other housing authority and Section 8 housing students were attending school and by comparing them against one another it looks as though those particular housing units are not the direct cause of lower testing scores, however it does look as though there is a difference between the Section 8 housing and the Housing Authority in that the later's schools had lower testing scores.
When looking at the 3rd-6th Grade Comparison charts I created you can see that Southeast Elementary School performs consistently poorer than all the other schools in most every grade and subject matter. The demographics of that school are that 99% of all their kids are qualified for free or reduced lunch. The second worst performing school, Main Elementary, has 98% of its students on free or reduced lunch. Elm Street Elementary performs in the middle, but leans more towards being one of the worst schools and though it has a lower number of free and reduced lunch students at 89%, it does has the highest instance of ESOL students at 47% of its student population.
So gathering all the data I see that poverty plays a large roll in the academic achievement of the schools as do students that have a limited English proficiency. Unfortunately for myself I still don't feel I truly found the "reason" why these schools are performing worse than other schools. If you ask teachers parental involvement plays a huge role in how their student will perform and learn. Learning has to be a priority for both the parents and the child. In all honesty the South Rome Projects where the students attend Southeast have always been the worst of all the housing, followed by the Green and Gold, where students attend Main. So it seems the correlation between the two may not simply be just what "people say", but it may have some truth to it as well. The question then turns to how to do we fix it....