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Students live and learn


Below is the research for each of the indicators for the result: Students Live and Learn in Safe, Supportive, and Stable Environments

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% families whose basic needs are being met

When families can not afford to feed, clothe or house themselves, students suffer.  Without these basic needs taken care of, children can not live comfortably and are therefore unready to learn.

Hunger and insufficient nutrition have been linked to low test scores, for example. One study found a significant association between achievement test scores of inner-city kindergarteners and the deviation of these children’s weight from the normal weight for children of that age and gender1. In addition, iron-deficiency anemia, which is twice as common in poor children as in wealthier children, has been shown to affect cognitive ability. When dietary deficiencies were addressed in some experimental studies, children given vitamin and mineral supplements showed significantly improved test scores.2  

The poor academic performance that has been linked to nutritional deficiencies has also been tied to unstable or unsuitable housing.  One study found that children whose families received housing subsidies were less likely to have abnormally low weights than were children whose families were on waiting lists to receive such subsidies. Authors of this study noted that Bureau of Labor Statistics show that families who receive housing subsides spend a higher proportion of their incomes on food than do eligible families who do not receive housing subsidies. Thus, housing subsidies, allowed needy families to redirect more of their incomes to nutrition, sparing their children the damaging effects of nutritional deficiencies.3  

Stabilized housing arrangements may also impact students’ academic achievement.  When housing is affordable in low-income communities-- through housing subsidies, for example—families may be able to afford apartments with more adequate space for children to study or do homework. With affordable, adequate housing, families should need to move less often, thereby also reducing the rate of student mobility, another important indicator of academic success.4    

Through their community partnerships and public services, community schools can address the needs of their families in ways that traditional schools can not, to ensure that students are prepared to perform to their full potential.5 

Student mobility rates

Information provided by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL) has determined that "student mobility has a negative impact on educational achievement for students and schools, creating an achievement gap between mobile and non-mobile students. Frequent relocation interrupts regular attendance, continuity of lesson content, and the development of relationships with teachers and peers. In addition, high student mobility has a slowing effect on basic skills acquisition, creating a long-term risk of school failure and dropout."6

Quantitative data support this analysis. "Forty-one percent of highly mobile students are low achievers, compared with twenty-six percent of stable students. The more frequently a child changes his/her school, the greater the threat to academic achievement. Furthermore, according to the U.S. Government Accounting Office (1994), children who change schools more than three times before eighth grade are at least four times more likely to drop out of school. Another study found that successive school changes result in a cumulative academic lag—students who move more than three times in a six year period can fall one full academic year behind stable students."7

% students reporting stable relationships with supportive adults

Stable relationships with caring adults protect youth from negative influences. In schools, supportive relationships with teachers and other adults have been proven to foster student success. "Meaningful interaction between adults and youth builds mutual respect and provides young people with mentors and positive role models."8  In addition, "school programs with positive teacher-student relationships – particularly ones that help the students feel connected to a learning community have successfully reduced the dropout rate."9

Studies have shown that mentoring enhances students’emotional and social development. Youth who participate in mentoring programs have shown significantly more positive attitudes toward school, the future, the elderly, and helping behaviors in general, than students who are not mentored. Participants in programs such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters reported feeling more trust in their parents and communicating better with them-- as well as feelings of better emotional support from friends-- than other non-mentored students reported.10     

Research has shown that adult mentoring in work-based learning programs, for example, has boosted students’ academic achievement.  Students who spent more time with adult mentors at the workplace had higher grade point averages and better attendance than students who spent less time with adult mentors.11

Incidents of bullying

Studies have found that "well-implemented efforts to engage the school community in conflict resolution, peer mediation, and direct teaching of social skills and self-management strategies have had positive effects on students’ social skills and behavior."12

Incidents of school vandalism

A 2002 article in the American School Board Journal linked school vandalism to estrangement between students and their schools. "In a 1998 NIJ (National Institute of Justice) report examining crimes and crime prevention, the University of Maryland's Denise Gottfredson focused on school-based crimes and concluded that "disorderly" schools -- those with disorganized leadership, poor school climate, and few resources dedicated to school improvement -- contribute to student vandalism and other crimes.

But Gottfredson also found that schools in the most disadvantaged communities can "influence their own rates of disorder" and create well-run schools with little crime. "The way schools are run," she wrote, "predicts the level of disorder they experience." Schools where administration and faculty work together to solve problems and plan for change "presumably absorb change" better and have less disorder. Schools with clear expectations for students "signal appropriate behavior" and control students' behaviors informally, without resorting to thick rule books. Perhaps most important, Gottfredson found that schools in which students "feel as though they belong and that people in the school care about them" experience less disorder and less crime."13

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1 Karp, Martin, Sewell, Manni, and Heller, 1992, in "Out of Balance: Our Understanding of How Schools Affect Society and How Society Affects Schools," Richard Rothstein
2 Neisser et al., 1996, in Rothstein
3 Meyers, et. al, 1995, in Rothstein
4 Rothstein
5 Inside Community Schools, Dryfoos, Joy and Maguire, Sue
6 Biernat & Jax, 2000,
7 Kerbow, 1996,
8 Bernard, 1996; in Making the Difference
9 Fine, 1986; Whelage and Rutter, 1986;in Making the Difference
10 "Mentoring a Promising Strategy for Youth Development," Susan M. Jekielek, M.A., Kristin A. Moore, Ph.D., Elizabeth C. Hair, Ph.D., and Harriet J. Scarupa, M.S., Child Trends Research Brief, Feb. 2002,
11 "Schools-to-Work," Hughes, in Community-Based Learning
12 Derzon and Wilson, 1999; Dwyer and Osher, 2000;in, Making the Difference
13 "The Roots of Vandalism," Susan Black, The American School Board Journal, July 2002,

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