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PSA has recognized that learning involves addressing the whole person. In some areas where children grow up under extremely stressful living conditions, such as in poverty areas, it’s obvious that the needs of the whole person have to be addressed for learning to take place at all.

What is less obvious, is that this it true whatever the students background may be. That’s a whole lot of hands-on, and one on one “special ed”…which isn’t done because its too expensive to hire enough F2F enablers. Which is one reason why cloud tools are needed, and come to the rescue at least partially to address more students affordably.

We expect schools to function as everyday parents for the long hours students are away from home, including after hours. This is an expensive undertaking…which cloud tools can help with…but may indicate a different structure and MO for what we do to educate our kids, and where it is done, and what is the job description of those doing it.

Mostly serving generations of families living in one of numerous high-rise public-housing projects or homeless shelters dotting the area, The Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters, a New York City public high school, sits in the country’s poorest congressional district. Recently, The New York Timescited the city’s 40th precinct as having the highest murder rate in the city, but where there are the fewest detectives per violent crime. To get to their school, these three teens must also walk through a neighborhood that includes two methadone clinics.


According to the city’s Department of Education, roughly 29 percent of the  academy’s 600-member student body is classified as special-needs students. Many, including Jeremiah, Jasherah, and Paula, suffer from high anxiety, bouts of anger, teacher defiance, and serious behavioral problems generated by the volatility and poverty of their home lives. In this school, and others I havewrittenabout, more and more educators are relying on popular online comic creators such as Make Beliefs Comix and other digital teaching tools to address disruptive behaviors and serious academic challenges.


There, kids can engage in activities designed to support their social-emotional well-being, such as art, yoga, and meditation. But they also get access to another, less-conventional therapy tool: As an incentive for good behavior, and in an effort to strengthen their communication skills and readjust their problematic behavior, Fardig-Diop rewards the students with an introduction to Make Beliefs Comix, along with other online games and activities.


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