In Jennings, Missouri, poverty is a way of life. And, though many people would like to say that the poor LIKE living “off of the government,” that just simply isn’t the case. Most poor people are desperate to find a way out OR have been knocked down so many times that they have all but given up. They have accepted what they see to be their fates.
But, Tiffany Anderson, the school superintendent in Jennings, has decided to change that way of life. She has given her students, and families, hope. Her new way of running a school system allows the schools to actual;y work for the kids who need it the most.
The kids who haven’t eaten in a week are also the kids who need more than anything to be in school. But, when food is scarce, an education quickly hits the back-burner.
So, what this amazing school district has done is to open a homeless shelter, provide food at a food bank (a bank run by students!) and even pay for college credits. They are giving high school graduates the opportunity to leave school, not just with a diploma but an Associate’s degree should they choose to work the college prep track.
And, for the kids who don’t leave Jennings but who want to improve their lives right there in the community? The school district hires former students and the kids in this community finally feel that, if they work hard, they can be successful. These are not “hand outs” and the kids are not being weakened, but strengthened. They have been given hope. And, for the record, that’s just about all most kids need.
The importance of education can never be overstated and the need for quality teachers and school faculty is ever worsening. More and more, educators feel lost in a bureaucracy that doesn’t work in favor of their students. This is particularly true in poorer schools.
Kids with hope can dream the biggest dreams- the kinds that most adults could never even fathom. Their imaginations are beautiful and can run in any and every direction. Children can believe almost anything, if only people believe in them.
Source: Washington Post