Meeting the Needs of Students and Families from Poverty – Thomas-Presswood & Presswood

meeting the needsI skimmed this book as part of my research for a paper and presentation about teaching “at-risk” students in secondary schools. This book is a winner because it covers a vast array of topics regarding the effects of poverty and what various school professionals can do. What I didn’t like was the lack of specific suggestions for teachers. Instead, most of the content was researched-based summaries of problems and rather vague solutions but without clear instructions on how to reach those solutions. But the book was written for a wide audience, and it’s a good starting place for someone researching poverty’s effect on students.

A paraphrased summary of particularly good points:

  • teachers can have huge impacts on the success or failure of at-risk students
  • societal racism plays into the huge proportions of minorities that live in poverty
  • teachers not understanding their students (or students’ families) accounts for minorities being over-represented in special education
  • allow students to work in groups, teach one another, and use technology
  • teach multicultural topics
  • students benefit from peer or adult tutors, but those tutors must be trained and guided
  • schools and teachers can cultivate resiliency in students (allowing them to transcend their unfavorable conditions of living in poverty, an abusive home, or a crime-ridden neighborhood) by providing a safe, welcoming, and responsive environment
  • challenge students – always! Watered-down curriculum isn’t the solution.
  • demonstrate to parents that schools and classrooms are welcoming places

Thomas-Presswood, T. N., & Presswood, D. (2008). Meeting the needs of students and families from poverty: A handbook for school and mental health professionals. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.


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