WINGS serves a vulnerable population at great risk of failure. We recruit the most challenging students attending the most at-risk public elementary schools from low-income, predominantly African-American families whose kids drop out at an alarming rate -- 1 out of 2 males, 1 out of 4 females, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Report.
The impact of poverty on academic development is devastating. When evaluating cognitive scores of preschool-age children, there is a 60% difference in achievement between the highest and lowest socioeconomic groups. Further studies show that 10-year-old students living in the poorest families are already 18 months behind their higher-income counterparts. Additionally, third-grade students from low-income families are shown to have vocabularies that are only a third of middle-income students. Attendance records of fourth-grade students from low-income schools show a 38% increase in the number of kids who miss three or more days per month than from higher income schools, and the gap widens to 47% in eighth-grade.