Supporting Marginalized Students - Challenge Map

Supporting Marginalized Students

Supporting Marginalized Students

The Challenge

This challenge ranked as practitioners’ #7 priority in spring 2020.

Explore Visualization

As student populations become increasingly diverse, schools and districts aspire to meet the needs of learners from numerous racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Black and Latinx students, and students experiencing poverty, often have achievement scores, attendance rates, and graduation rates well below other students. Schools must identify which social services are within their scope of work, and provide referrals for those services that aren't; this role requires that schools establish cohesive relationships with other agencies serving their students. Finally, districts serving students from ethnic minorities and low-income communities often struggle to find evidence of impactful innovative programming in schools with similar demographics, in part because research in this area is deficient.

Challenge Stats


Respondents reported their schools or districts have made progress on this challenge


Staff from suburban districts responded this challenge is urgent


Staff from urban districts responded this challenge is urgent

Ideas from the Field

  • Understanding not only student needs and challenges but also taking a close look at resource allocation is one approach is supporting marginalized students. Through a new weighted resource allocation model, one district is able to better provide high priority resources to its most marginalized children.
  • Close examination of data is another way to not only identify gaps in supporting these students, but also to ensure that programs designed for marginalized students are having the intended impact. One example is analyzing how students are assigned to classes, taking into consideration race, gender, socioeconomic status, and other demographic characteristics, and also how those students are performing in those classes.

In the Words of District Staff

In the classroom face to face, it is easier to notice students who may need additional support. In a virtual classroom, it is harder to do so and easier for these students to "fall through the cracks."
Elementary school teacher
Spring 2020

“I think if anything, our poverty has gotten worse. In terms of extreme poverty, you know, kids are living way below the federal standards for poverty. The social services aspect of that work has become much more challenging than ever.”

“We've been really trying to look at partnerships because we don't have budget capacity to do the things that we really need to do. I mean, counseling services, nursing and healthcare services, we've tried to leverage a community schools model so that the hub and community can be the school for those types of social services, but it's been a very heavy lift. Right now, because we have had a lot of cuts in those areas in our state, we're all trying to go after the same pool of resources.”


Responding to Marginalization of Students of Color in K-12 Education - From AdvancED, research and recommendations that can support change in practice within classrooms and schools, and lead to societal and structural change that benefits people of color.

Leading Learning for Children From Poverty - From the Association for Middle Level Education, six effective practices that can help teachers help students from poverty succeed.

Educating Students Who Live In Poverty - From Communication Across Barriers, facts about poverty and research-based Strategies to break poverty barriers, including best practices for educating students and connecting with families.

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