Rebuilding the village: How one school system is tackling poverty so its students can succeed

By Moriah Balingit Oct. 19, 2019 at 6:37 p.m. EDT

The Washington Post

McDowell County in West Virginia is one of the poorest in the nation. Meeting students’ basic needs is as important as reading and math.

WELCH, W.Va. — The ceremony had the feel of a church service.

Standing at the end of a block lined mostly with empty storefronts, officials wielded a crackly PA system, their voices carrying over the din of coal trucks that rumbled through the town. They stood in the shadow of a half-constructed building whose workers paused to take in the spectacle.

“That is our belief: that small towns can thrive again, that all children regardless of demography or geography can thrive,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, a national teachers union, last month. She grew louder, her voice rising with each word: “From this day forward, we commit that not one more school, not one more hospital, not one more post office, not one more grocery store — should close on our watch!”

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