Advancing Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Leadership
Feature article
Poverty and Our Kids:
Putnam's Book, Virginia's Challenge, Newport News' Response
by Betsy Poulsen and Phyllis Milne

Get a good education, work hard, buy a house, and achieve prosperity and success.  In America, the nation of opportunity, success is limited only by ability and effort.  In Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis (2015), Robert Putnam states, however, that succeeding at the "American Dream" by taking advantage of opportunities and by working hard is becoming alarmingly less probable for children who grow up in poverty.  


The 2014-2015 Virginia School Report card reveals that 512,484 students (40%) in Virginia's public schools were considered Economically Disadvantaged, and more than 8,600 Virginia students were homeless.  Although Virginia was designated by Wall Street 24/7 as the eighth richest state in the US, the percentage of students in poverty increased from 29.2% of students identified as Economically Disadvantaged in the 2004-2005 school year. Will Virginia's students realize the American Dream?


Putnam shares case studies as well as an abundance of research contrasting the diminishing prospects of children born into disadvantaged families compared to a variety of opportunities provided to children born into wealth.  Students who live in poverty are more likely to live in neighborhoods with high crime, addiction, and gangs as well as less productive role models. Putnam describes this as the "opportunity gap."


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Annual Conference

Dec 2-4, Williamsburg

Preconference with Robyn Jackson

Featured Keynoters
Marc Chun
Pedro Noguera
Jeff Charbonneau
Angela Maiers

50 concurrent sessions by Virginia educators

Exhibitors with exciting resources to share

opportunities to network hosted by our terrific Conference Catalyst!


Teaching, Learning and Poverty:

 Meeting the Needs of a 

New Demographic

A VASCD Institute for Educators

Sept. 22 
Shenandoah University


Oct. 28
Longwood University

Gain insights, learn research-proven steps, and gather resources to foster equality in learning opportunities for all students.


 Lino Rodriguez,

   Grand Avenue Primary Learning Center

 Veronica McDermott,

   National Urban Alliance for Effective Education

Paul Gorski

 George Mason University

Peter Brunn

Center for the Collaborative Classroom



 Lorena Kelly 

Assistant Principal, Virginia Beach Public Schools

 Scott Kizner

Superintendent, Harrisonburg City Public Schools

 Mark Lineburg

Superintendent, Winchester City Public Schools

 Marcus Newsome 

Superintendent, Chesterfield County Public Schools

Billy Cannaday, Moderator

President, Virginia Board of Education


Space is limited!