Last year, administrators at the A.L. Holmes Academy of Blended Learning struggled to get children to come to school every day. More than half the schools’ students — 60 percent — were chronically absent, missing more than 15 school days, and 160 students were suspended the first half of the school year.
This school year has been different. Absences are down at least 10 percent, and suspensions — which contribute to absences and may be exacerbated by children falling behind — have dropped to 60, school officials reported.
What changed? The school added a washing machine.
Across the country, there has been a growing awareness that making simple adjustments at schools to address students’ basic needs can affect students’ ability to succeed. Having clean clothes, deodorant, feminine products and extra uniforms, clothes, coats and gloves can remove some of the barriers that prevent children — particularly poor children — from fully participating in the classroom.
Most directly, educators have found that providing life essentials encourages attendance, one of the most surefire ways to promote learning and students’ engagement.
Read the full article about how clean clothes can improve students’ performance by Kimberly Hayes Taylor at Chalkbeat.
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