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Community gets lesson on poverty in schools

<p>CHAMPAIGN -- Teachers are finding out what some of their students go through just to get to school. </p>
CHAMPAIGN -- Teachers are finding out what some of their students go through just to get to school.

"Some of us are more privileged with access than others," says Champaign Schools Assistant Superintendent Laura Taylor.

Over half of the school district's students are living in poverty. Thursday, the district's Social Justice Committee held a forum, partnering with the United Way in hopes of helping low income families.

For some students, finding a ride to school or even parents getting to PTA meetings is hard. All because they have limited access. The point of Thursday's meeting was to figure out how to change that.

That's why teachers were split into different groups of families with different economic statuses. They went to different stations set up as community resources and practiced what it was like to take advantage of those programs.

"I think our goal is to understand how our families have to navigate the services offered to them, but how it's difficult to do so. Things like transportation, getting to the bank, to school, getting childcare, getting food and really how it can become quite stressful and hard. As educators we need to be aware of that," says Taylor.

This isn't the first time Unit 4 has held a forum like this. In the summer, principals and administrators did the same thing. This year's goal is to create a framework of support for families.

The Social Justice Committee meets every month and all are welcome to attend.

Social Justice Committee Meetings
Mellon Building
Tuesday, February 19
5 - 6:30 pm
March 26
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