Theory of Change Model
A significant number of children emanating from economically challenged environments, struggle to connect a quality education to their future financial well-being. The inability to make that critical connection often leads to high levels of tune-out, tardiness, absenteeism, disengagement, and dropout.
Districts must put-forth an effort to identify the students who suffer from said challenge and supply them with specialized training and curriculum that assists in making the connection.
When we strengthen the critical thinking/problem solving skills requisite to connecting a quality education to future financial independence, we, in-turn, tap into an instinctual and primal motivator, inherent in children who emanate from impoverished communities ... "Survival." Listen closely to a significant number of students who come from impoverished communities and you will hear them speak of playing in the NBA, becoming rappers, or street hustlers, as a means to gain future financial security. They simply do not see education as a means to that end.
Our 8-year research project included working directly in the classroom, side-by-side, with certified teachers. We were given our own classroom with 25 students. Our successes convinced a high school to upgrade our pilot program into a credit-awarded elective course. Our processes gained such popularity that teachers throughout the district asked to be trained on our techniques (to-which, the districts obliged).
It is our belief that we have identified a "Flawed Assumption," that permeates the educational environment that actually contributes to the achievement gap. If two children enter the classroom, one understanding how education lends itself to upward mobility and other does not - and, if pedagogy is disseminated to both equally (without helping the disproportionately affected student make the connection) an achievement gap is imminent.
It is our opinion (supported by data), that teachers must be provided information and processes that help them understand the enormous need to help challenged students make the connection between education and their future well-being. By helping students connect-the-dots between education and their future well-being, we tap into an intrinsic motivator and natural source of inspiration that in-turn increases the probability of those deemed, "at-risk students" vigorously participating in their own educational experience.