In Canada approximately one in seven children under the age of 18 lives in poverty. Within the public education system, these students face many obstacles to success. Teachers are in a unique position to see and understand the first warning signs of a youth struggling with effects of poverty. Lower academic achievement, hunger and health issues, and difficulties at home often lead young people into negative and sometimes self-destructive situations. Most importantly, for lack of field trip fees, running shoes, or new glasses, they may not be exposed to opportunities that will help guide them in life.
What if educators had greater discretion to do more to help students in need? Given modest resources and a degree of flexibility, is it possible to make a difference with a small act of kindness? This could be as simple as the timely gift of eyeglasses, assisting with the cost of a school trip, or food for a youth
who is consistently coming to school hungry.
The Student Opportunity Fund is a program that offers a small annual grant, averaging $2,000, given to each of 40 schools annually. The grants are provided to school principals with the direction that funds will be used to address the immediate and emergency needs of high-needs students at the school.
Measuredoutcome.org was asked to review this program with a particular focus
on the following questions:
- Are funds being utilized efficiently by teachers and school administrators to benefit young people in need?
- Can any pattern in use of funds be identified among this group of autonomous and geographically diverse schools?
- Can any improvements be made to the management of this program?
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