Bridging the Opportunity Divide

The Two-Pronged Approach That’s Finding Success in Breaking the Poverty Cycle

February 4, 2015
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The Two-Pronged Approach That’s Finding Success in Breaking the Poverty Cycle
Atlanta's Dunbar Elementary School takes a two-generation approach to learning. Educare Atlanta via Facebook
Education gives both generations a new chance.

How do you end poverty? While there’s a wide array of options and theses, one solution stands out from the crowd: education. And not just kids, either. At the Dunbar Learning Complex in Atlanta, Ga., parents are students, too, thanks to its two-generation approach, which is a theory that combines high-quality, early childhood education and career help for parents to build better families and lives.

Comprised of a preschool and public elementary school, Dunbar accepts students into its pre-K program if their parents sign up with The Center for Working Families, a career development center, to improve their job skills. The pre-K is part of the Educare Network, which is a national network of full-day early education schools. The school also has an on-site art studio and infant classrooms, which accept students starting at six weeks of age, reports National Journal.

While parents can drop their kids off  from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., administrators stress that Dunbar isn’t a daycare; students are there to learn — no matter the age — and every classroom has a curriculum.

So far, Dunbar has provided results. In 2010, only six percent of students entering kindergarten were reading at or above grade level, but after Dunbar’s first year, that number increased to 55 percent. Furthermore, those student scoring below the 30th percentile on the Peabody Picture Vocab Test dropped by 33 percentage points, while those above the 50th percentile increased by 12 percent.

Beyond educating children, Dunbar provides adult services, including assistance with finding special teachers for students, choosing healthcare, inspecting homes for health risks and educating parents through monthly meetings concerning child development, literacy and health. It’s also helped 1,800 parents find jobs and access to services that provide assistance with tax refunds, credits, childcare subsidies and other benefits.

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