Learning Community Assessment
By: Lisa Steeland
LIBM 6360, Fall 2013
Clarendon Elementary School
Clarendon is located in the rural Delta region of Arkansas. It is one of the poorest regions in the United States. 26.1% of the population lives below the national poverty level. This is reflected in our school in that 93% of our students receive free or reduced lunch, many do not have supplies, and there is low parental involvement.
Clarendon School District has a total of 584 students. 299 of those are students at the elementary school, a K-6 school. We have 13 ESL students.
50% of our students are African American, 45% are Caucasian, 5% are Hispanic, and one student is Native American, making up less than 1% of the student population.
POPULATION: The population of Clarendon is 1,664. Of that population, 30.7% is under 25 years of age, 26% is between the ages of 25-44, 29.3% is between the ages of 45-64, and 17.4% is over 65 years of age.
11.4% of the population is college educated, and 82.4% have a high school diploma or GED. The top three races in the population are: Caucasian 61.8%, African
American 34.3%, and Hispanic 2.7%. The poverty rate is 26.1%, and the average worker income is $23,278, which is lower than the national average of $29,701 (UsaCityFacts.com, 2012).
INDUSTRY: The primary industry in the area is agriculture, or farming. Clarendon has one factory, a saw mill, which employs a large number of people. The saw mill and the school are the largest employers in Clarendon. Most people must drive to Stuttgart, 30 miles away, to work in factories such as Riceland, Producer’s Rice Mill, and Lennox. There is no public transportation, and people drive their own cars or carpool to and from their jobs.
EDUCATION: Stuttgart also has a community college, a branch of Phillips County Community College, part of the University of Arkansas system. There are also two other community colleges and a vocational school within 40 miles of Clarendon.
MEDICAL: Clarendon has two small medical clinics. Mid Delta Health Systems is part of a larger entity which provides care to citizens of Monroe County. Many of their doctors come to the clinic once weekly from other hospitals such as Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Clarendon Medical Clinic is a branch of Stuttgart Hospital which is now owned by Baptist Health. The clinic has a full time nurse practitioner
and doctors from the Stuttgart Hospital visit the clinic weekly. Stuttgart hospital provides most of the major medical care for the community, and an ambulance service is provided to citizens of Clarendon and Holly Grove through funds generated through a fee added to the Clarendon Municipal Water Department’s monthly bill.
HOUSING: In Clarendon, 46.8% of people own their own homes, and 30.5% rent homes or apartments, and 0.9% of homes are for seasonal or recreational use (CensusViewer.com, 2012). This is probably due to the large number of hunters who visit our area during deer and duck hunting seasons. Because Clarendon is located on the White River and is a neighbor to the White River Wildlife Refuge and Stuttgart, which is known as the duck capital of the world, large numbers of hunters visit seasonally.
RELIGION: Most of the population is Protestant, but there are several other religions who travel to services in nearby towns. The churches in town are primarily Baptist, Assembly of God, Presbyterian, or Methodist, but there are Catholic and Episcopal churches within 15 miles, a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall within 30 miles, and Jewish and Mormon Synagogues within 40 miles of Clarendon.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?
As Ruby Payne explains in A Framework for Understanding Poverty, poverty is sometimes situational, but in our area, it is most often generational (Payne, R., 2005). Many of the parents I deal with did not have positive school experiences,
and therefore, are hesitant about attending programs. As I plan programs, it is crucial that I be sensitive to their needs, make the programs meaningful and relevant to them, and make them feel comfortable while they’re there.