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Hierarchy of Needs


Self fulfillment

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, proposed by American psychologist Abraham Maslow, is a theory that dictates that human beings must go through stages before being able to achieve their full potential, also known as “self-actualization.” This hierarchy of needs has been largely discredited by modern psychologists, but it does reflect the real struggles of achieving success while dealing with many challenging factors that serve as barriers as a student.Students who are in schools that don’t completely fulfill their needs in a community that doesn’t fulfill their needs only furthers the gap between students who are in schools who address social-emotional needs in communities where they may be able to get the help they need.

Basic needs like consistent shelter, food and sleep can be difficult for many students to receive while they’re on their journey for academic success. It can be a struggle to go to school if a student did not receive enough sleep the prior night; it can be hard to focus on schoolwork if a student is hungry.

“Many schools don't have [comprehensive social-emotional support systems], [which] perpetuates the inequity. Now, I'm starting here [at basic]. My peers in another district are starting [at psychological]. They're getting support with their social-emotional needs and that's helping them to grow academically. I'm not getting support,” Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Dr. Cartelia Lucas said, giving an example of systemic inequity. “I'm not getting support with my social-emotional needs, which is potentially causing me some behavior issues, which is causing me not to be in class, which is now causing me not to have the education that I need. Now, I'm at risk. Underfunding schools is vastly problematic.”

Communities are important to the development of a student. Research has shown that the children of parents who have finished high school and college will be more likely to also finish high school and college, meaning that a student’s community has a huge impact on the student’s later opportunities.