“People often assume that children who live in poverty don't learn, but we know that's not true. As community school coordinator for Marshall Elementary in the Tulsa school system, I ensure that our students, 100% of whom live in poverty, are ready to learn.
“Many of our 450 students live on food stamps and in subsidized housing so they have tremendous needs outside the classroom. Despite the challenges they face everyday—living in poverty, going to school hungry, not having a coat to wear or shoes that fit—our children are thriving. Our students have excelled, not just in the classroom but in state exams.
“For the past three years, our school has outperformed the district's expectations and that is a direct impact of the Foundation's support, which allows us to provide vital services to our students. We have a backpack program that sends nonperishable food home with kids over the weekend because many of our students only eat when they are in school.
“The Foundation has also supported the Partnership for the Availability of School Supplies (PASS), which provides school supplies to low-income students throughout Tulsa. School supplies can easily run upwards of $100 per child, but we are able to provide our students with folders, glue, scissors, pencils, paper and everything else they need, every year, at no cost to the families.
“It's a tremendous relief for our parents, many of whom would have otherwise needed to decide between buying food and getting their children ready for school. Every year, on the first day of school, the children come to the school gym filled with excitement and when they get their sack of supplies, it's a wonderful experience. For many of our children, it's the only thing that is truly theirs.
“My position didn't exist until the Schusterman Foundation helped create it through the Tulsa Area Community Schools Initiative and that has enabled our principal to focus on instructional leadership, teacher training and ensuring that our children are getting the education they deserve. It has allowed us to make real impact in the most academic, data-driven way.”
Read more about our work in Tulsa