The trauma of living in poverty too often causes children to struggle academically. Without having their social, emotional and educational needs met, many students disengage from learning, drop out or graduate from high school unprepared for college and careers. Schools and nonprofits strive to address students’ complex needs; however, information gaps and limited resources hinder their efforts. The Budd Center addresses these challenges by equipping schools and nonprofits to work together and meet the extraordinary needs of children in poverty.
Partnering with West Dallas
In 2007, The Budd Center, then the Dallas Faith Communities Coalition, began working in West Dallas to address critical issues like affordable housing and community safety. The work of the coalition led to the creation of The School Zone (TSZ), a collective impact partnership that provides children the educational, social and emotional tools they need to break the cycle of poverty. The Budd Center leads this partnership, currently comprised of 32 nonprofits, 16 public, private and charter schools, the Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) and SMU.
TSZ’s initial focus is the Pinkston High School feeder pattern in West Dallas, where 62 percent of seniors graduated in 2014. While the graduation rate has almost doubled since 2010, a majority of students are not graduating college-ready. This problem begins before high school and often well before a child enters a classroom for the first time.
As a unified network of schools and nonprofits, TSZ is increasing its capacity to identify the needs of students - especially during the early years, respond with targeted interventions that keep each student on track, and monitor their progress and potential every six weeks.