(Angel Franco/The New York Times)

In order to be a successful student, it takes more than smarts, drive for good grades and a desire to study: Students’ surrounding environment and mental health are key components as well.

The national nonprofit Turnaround for Children believes a child’s emotional and mental state deserves as much focus as academics. As The New York Times reports, the organization heads to high-poverty, low-performing public schools in New York and Washington and transforms them into positive, community-like environments:

“In focusing on students’ psychological and emotional well-being, in addition to academics, Turnaround occupies a middle ground between the educators and politicians who believe schools should be more like community centers, and the education-reform movement, with its no-excuses mantra. Over the past decade, the movement has argued that schools should concentrate on what high-quality, well-trained teachers can achieve in classrooms, rather than on the sociological challenges beyond their doors.”

Says Dr. Pamela Cantor, Turnaround’s founder and president: “This is the condition our organization was created to solve. A teacher who works in a community like this and thinks that these children can leave their issues at the door and come in and perform is dreaming.”

Read the rest of The New York Times article

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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