Low income and urban schools face many challenges including high teacher turnover rates, high student transfer rates and budget cuts. With diverse populations, it can be difficult to meet the needs of every student. In urban populations there are English language learners, students with disabilities, students who are disadvantaged and students who are gifted. If these students’ abilities are not nurtured and their needs are not met, they have a lesser chance of attaining success. So the most important factor to ensuring success working with a predominantly low income, urban population is to provide for students the services they need: be it free lunch, English language courses, special education, counseling or academic enrichment.
It is important to have high expectations of student achievements and to teach students how to set and attain goals. Going to college needs to be a realistic aspiration in their lives. Students need to know success is attainable and they need to be taught the skills necessary for attaining success. They need to be taught skills, like study skills, how to read a nonfiction text and how to solve word problems, in addition to learning the content outlined in state and national standards. Differentiated instruction can help teachers ensure success within a classroom of diverse learners.
A school that is welcoming to all cultures helps students feel accepted. Schools and teachers should make an effort to develop a sound school-home connection so that the lessons and character building that takes place in school can also be supported at home. If possible, letters home and correspondence should be translated to the language spoken at home, and phone calls and parent-teacher conferencing should happen often for students who are not excelling and for those who are.
Developing a classroom community that focuses on support and praises, with clear consequences can also
ensure success. Students want to be valued. Too often the students that attend low-income and urban school feel marginalized or worthless, due to situations outside their control. Teachers and schools need to make a commitment to supporting the individual needs of each student, so that each of them feels adequate and able to attain success.