The youth of the United States are our future; they are the soon-to-be leaders, workers, dreamers, and innovators who will shape our tomorrow. But across the nation, America’s middle and high school students are impeded in their journey to education because of a lack of access to simple, basic needs.

Learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom; it’s supported by a network of social and environmental factors that must be in place to achieve success. AI-driven social and healthcare technology, like the new C3S app is making a difference in helping low-income adolescents find their path to achievement.

Science has proven that a healthy environment is crucial to student success. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it is essential that basic needs like food, shelter, and social support are met before people can begin to pursue higher goals like an academic and personal accomplishment.  This is especially essential for middle and high school students; whose developing bodies and minds need greater nutritional and social support to find success in this difficult period of growth.

In the past it was difficult for schools to make sure that all students were getting the necessary nutritional and environmental support to facilitate learning; new AI technology could fix this gap in awareness, however, by allowing students and schools to track student health data.

Breaking Barriers

Unfortunately, though science has proven that a healthy environment and medical support is crucial for students to learn, many students live without adequate resources to support these vital components to success. As of 2015, over half of all students in U.S. public schools qualify for free or reduced lunch due to financial difficulties.  Impoverished students are more likely to experience many barriers to learning.

In underserved communities, middle and high school students may experience obstacles to learning such as food insecurity and undernourishment; these create physical impediments to learning as well as mental barriers connected to the stress of food insecurity. Studies have found that students in poverty are also more likely to live in environments where they experience other damaging social determinants, such as abuse and violence. New social networking coordinated care technology, like the recently introduced C3S app, could rapidly and confidentially connect students in crisis to a robust network of care to help them break free from dangerous living situations.

Where We Go from Here

It’s clear that the current system is failing some of our most vulnerable students.  But there is hope- technological innovations are aiming to create a digital network of support to help facilitate the learning of adolescents in poverty.

For instance, the new C3S app, designed by a team that includes dedicated healthcare professionals, enables finding, getting, and providing resources for underserved student populations. With this app, schools can maintain and monitor data about student social health determinants, and also help connect students to a wide network of medical care and social services, building a web of support for students in need. The C3S app allows students and their families to easily connect to affordable medical care as well as local providers of such essential environmental health needs as food, shelter, clothes, counseling, and educational support resources.

With a network of support on their side, middle and high school students are more likely to have a strong foundation for upward economic mobility. When schools, healthcare providers, and community resources work together with the power of technology, we can begin to lay the groundwork for breaking the cycle of poverty once and for all.