The Spring Break Gap

It is that time of the year when we are reminded about some of the inherent privileges baked into the lives of our students. It is spring break, and in this and in the coming weeks, we will begin to see pictures of ski slopes, beaches, and elaborate vacations on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. The images showcase how our schools continue to be deeply divided between those that have and those that don't. At times, this can be seen within the same school, but the growing reality is that the resegregation of schools and communities leaves more and more of these gaps between schools as opposed to within schools.

Though we can't fix the disparate income inequality with excellent education alone, it is imperative that we have an awareness that the spring break gap is not only something that keeps our students from having similar experiences in which to hang the knowledge, content, and learning that we provide at school, but it also a gap that is an emotional blow to our students that are impacted by poverty each day. It is hard in this FOMO (fear of missing out) world to see images and videos of classmates, teammates, and friends experiencing a life that they can only dream of having some day. As these students living in poverty worry about having to turn the heat back on for the chills of March, their more privileged friends are spending the equivalent of  a week of groceries on lift tickets, lunch on the beach under umbrellas, and plane tickets. Remember that both of these students are coming back to our schools at the end of spring break. How might we comfort them? How might we reengage them? How might we make meaning to the learning? How might we reunite these students with each other in learning teams after life with a spring break gap?