Take Two

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Alex Cohen & A Martínez

How trauma and stress affect kids' learning

by Annie Gilbertson | Take Two

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Training in self control starts early at Camino Nuevo. Karina Rodriguz leads preschoolers through a motor skills exercise where they'll be asked to start and stop based on musical cues. Students will exposed to 14 years of curriculum designed to address academic and soft skills. Maya Sugarman/KPCC

In this first installment of a three-part series, KPCC education correspondent Annie Gilbertson takes a look at new research that shows the mere act of being poor can affect the brain, making it hard for kids to learn.

Los Angeles public schools — where more than 80 percent of students live in poverty — illustrate the challenges for these students. Less than half of third graders in L.A. Unified read at grade level and 20 percent of students will have dropped out by senior year.

But researchers also offer hope. They said the right interventions can make a difference. And one school in MacArthur Park is battling biology by helping children with life as well as school — to growing success.

Read the full story.

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