The Ginormous Benefits of ‘Integrated Student Support’ for Latino Kids

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Many U.S. Latino families lack of access to quality education, making it harder for Latino kids to achieve academically, socially, and physically.

Fortunately, schools can make a big change to support Latino kids and families.

By creating integrated student support initiatives, schools can better serve both their students and their communities, according to a new report, Making the Grade: A Progress Report and Next Steps for Integrated Student Supports from the nonprofit Child Trends.

What are Integrated Student Supports?

Integrated student support initiatives add specific services—academic support, housing assistance, food supplies, medical care, mental health services, etc.—in schools to help kids and families ensure their overall health and academic success.

This effort is also known as “community schools.”

For Latinos, research shows that creating “community schools” in low-income areas can maximize academic achievement of Latino children and improve all-around measures of health for individuals and whole families.

The new Child Trends report confirms this reasoning.

“[Integrated student support] initiatives, referred to as community schools and wraparound supports as well as integrated student supports models, help schools connect struggling children with secure housing, medical care, food assistance, tutoring, and other critical supports,” according to the report.

How Are Schools Creating Integrated Student Supports?

Integrated student support can take many different forms.

In 2014, Child Trends evaluated such initiatives across the country. There found models in schools in every state. Many models went beyond student needs to provide critical services to parents and families.

Strong models include City Connects, Communities in Schools in Chicago, the Harlem Children’s Zone’s Promise Academy, and Diplomas Now.

Communities in Schools in Chicago prevents dropouts by providing specific support to students, teachers, and whole schools. For example, they provide student support managers to help students, and link schools to prevention and enrichment programs.

“With [integrated student support] now codified in federal law and expanding across the country, school districts and principals are in need of a more current review of the evidence to guide school implementation,” the report said.

Based on the report’s findings, there are five essential components of “successful” integrated student support models:

  • Needs Assessment
  • Coordinated Student Support
  • Community Partnerships
  • Integration within Schools
  • Data Tracking

“Identification of the specific, concrete elements that comprise successful implementation of each [integrated student support] component—and how they are implemented—is evolving slowly among researchers and educators,” according to the report. “This work represents the critical frontier for research and practice.”

Learn more about the importance of Family Support and Latinos here:

By The Numbers By The Numbers

60

Percent

of Latinos earn less than $15/hour (vs. 39% of full-time workers overall).

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