Time to use those Glr skills and think back to grad school or even your undergrad… to a psychologist named Maslow. His theory revolved around motivation and the different circumstances that motivate people- from basic needs such as food and water to higher order needs like security, relationships and creativity.
One thing I like to keep in mind whenever I review a referral or when in a staffing are Maslow’s Hierarchy of School Needs, see below.
Sometimes campus staff have concerns about a student who is having more than just academic difficulties. Either the student reports concerns like not having enough food to eat when they get home, not knowing where they will be sleeping that night, or who will be at home to take care of them.
In cases such as this, it is always beneficial to involve a district Social Worker or Communities in Schools representative (whichever is available in your district or on your campus) to help bridge the gap between a student’s home life and school life. I’ve found these individuals to be a plethora of knowledge who have connections with various local agencies such as the San Antonio Food Bank or VIA (for bus vouchers), for example.
Ultimately, a student has to feel safe, warm, and fed before they are able to process anything we want them to learn in the classroom. Unfortunately, a campus is not always able to address concerns outside of the campus; however, this only makes our job more important. We- as campus staff- are tasked with being positive and constant figures in a student’s life. This is all to say, there may be other reasons as to why a student is struggling that need to be taken into consideration– and ultimately ruled out– as directly contributing to their academic struggles.
Written by: Stephanie Villarreal