My students are incredibly critical thinkers. The culture of our school teaches them to ask questions and solve problems using the "power of the pen." They are so wonderfully curious, and ask the best questions in class that always leave me stumped. When I was their age, I only cared about my grades, but they genuinely love learning and just want to know how the world works!
However, due to many of my student's socioeconomic statuses, many of them are unable to partake in thought provoking experiences that notably stir interest in science and general learning.
I work at a small title 1 charter school in Denver. We serve a population of mostly latinx students(93%) and 93% of our students are on free and reduced lunch. Many students do not have the ability to go to the science museum, zoo, or even go experience the great outdoor activities that this geographic area offers. Their curiosity and critical thinking should not only be celebrated, but as educators, we must cultivate it as well.
Often, my students come in hungry. I understand they are not too focused on learning if their stomachs are growling. They will ask if I have anything and I usually have to dig through my own lunch to find something for them.
Providing equal access to an excellent education does not stop at providing talented educators and an excellent curriculum, but it means also understanding our children have a set of basic needs that need to be met in order to be physically, mentally, and emotionally ready to learn.
Those needs might or might not be met outside of school walls. 89% of our kids are on free or reduced lunch. In years past, our kids were provided with snack in their homeroom. However, we were not able to secure the grant this year to fund this.
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