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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Thomas Nelson

First Committee Member

Harriett Arnold

Second Committee Member

Marilyn Draheim


This study analyzed elementary teachers’ perceptions of their challenges working with children who live in conditions of poverty. This study found that teachers often work with children from very difficult situations, including exposure to alcohol, drugs, violence, and abandonment. This study found that no matter the challenges teachers encounter daily, they remain motivated, dedicated and determined to take the necessary steps to meet the needs of their students. One way they do this is by using Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, which attempts to include various aspects of their students’ daily lives and interests in the curriculum. The teachers in this study were concerned about the number and frequency of mandated tests, which can take away from instructional time. However, this study also found that teachers valued formative assessments to help them meet their students where they are academically. All the teachers reported that establishing partnerships with stakeholders was important to obtain community support for their schools. Although children from a background of poverty will always present challenges, the teachers in this study remained committed to working with their students with respect and appreciation and to meet their personal and academic needs in moving these children towards academic success.



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