How schools address trends and issues between students

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As I think about my students who are of Mexican descent, I have noticed within my school these student populations learning gains have not kept up with the overall state levels as we try to make AYP every year. The schools population is almost 60% Mexican American and our school trends have always been maintaining a "C" rating for FCAT school grades. Looking at data from the diversity portrait I created last week included our student dropout rate which was 5.4%.

The trend for our Mexican students has been excessive absences throughout the school year. Many of our students are torn between helping the family financially and continuing their education. Every year at least 3 female students who are at least 15 years old are pregnant before the school year is out and stop school or go to an alternative school. The majority of our English language learners are not making AYP, which is 81%. I am alarmed at this percentage and as I look at more data of this sub-group, I realize my school is" missing the target". When I say missing the target, I am alluding to the fact, that with all the data we have on our students and faculty working collaboratively trying to help our students, based on my readings about the steps we should use when looking at test data that will help with our instruction, we are missing some critical steps of the Data Wise Improvement Process (Boudett, 2007).

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We have the data, but it is not organized in such a way that all teachers can understand it and then takes this data to look at our instructional practice. We have dedicated teachers who are committed to student success, yet their job could be much easier if they would take the time to look at student data. We have and ESOL teacher who works with the students, yet there is a language barrier between faculty and the teacher. Budget cuts have caused us to loose key instructional staff members.

What suggested evidence-based remediation practices are in use for this student group at your selected school? What practices would you like to see implemented? What practice will you address in your Week 4 lesson plan?

In the beginning of the year, we created professional learning communities through district in-service activities as we looked at videos on the teaching to the target lesson strategy. We would meet within our department and have dialogue about how to vertical team. As you can see, this is not student remediation, but teacher remediation. There was afterschool tutoring for the students in the beginning, yet administration changed it to in school elective pullout for students who are failing or need to complete make-up work. Each grade level would meet with students and let them work or re-teach and coach the students until they show mastery of the concept. The guidance teachers are in the room with students also monitoring, helping, encouraging and filling out the paperwork for grade changes. What I see in the grand scheme of things, is procedures and remediation practices that looks at students class grades to determine if the student will be promoted. I do not consider this an evidence based remediation practice that will help this subgroup of students fcat scores increase.

If I could implement evidence based remediation, it would be for all students that needed the help. Since the majority of our students are Mexican Americans, there are some cultural differences that must be taken into consideration when working with our students. I would make sure learning pedagogy were more students centered, project based with cooperative learning activities for these students. Research states that Hispanic student are more group oriented than other ethnic groups and learning is easier this way (Griggs, 1996). So, students are more Kinesthetic learners.

I would implement more lessons that were differentiated based on student prior knowledge and work with other teachers to develop assessments and look at our teaching strategies to pinpoint weaknesses. For students who are learning English, I would also utilize Spanish resources when needed and give these students more structure. I have found out that student from Mexico are not used to all the posters and color as on American classroom walls and this can be visual stimulation overload for these students.

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I would change student scheduling to have all core subjects between 9am and 2pm, with 1st period and the last period for individualized instruction, help, homework, counseling, breakfast and snacks. I say this, because, many Mexican students who parents bring them to school are late habitually and it affects their learning. Also, students get picked up early, check out or skip the last period of the day frequently and this also affects their learning. In my week 4 lesson plan, I will utilize cooperative learning using Kagan methods and assess the students using rubrics because, rubrics documents how my students work will be judges and gives a fair, accurate and consistent way for me to grade (dfjdkld,1011).

How does your selected school address the preferred learning style(s) of this student group?

I really am not aware of what goes on in other teachers classrooms unless I get those rare opportunities to participate in classroom observations yet, every year and throughout the year, our administration and district specialist makes sure all teachers have the resources and time to create authentic culturally relevant learning plans that addressed or Auditory, Visual and Kinesthetic learners. At the beginning of the year, I take the time to survey our students to find out how they learn best using a student version of Gardner's multiple intelligence tests. Students keep this with them throughout the year and I use this information to help plan my lessons throughout the year.

We offer courses to our students where all students can be successful as we look at their learning styles and interest. All our teacher resources have idea and strategies in how to differentiate the lessons for all abilities. We use technology extensively to address the learning modalities of our 21st century learners such as giving teachers promethean boards for lesson presentations that are visually rich and engages the visual learner. The auditory learner is engaged also, because everything printed can be recorded and they can listen to the teacher or to the playback. Our kinesthetic learners can manipulate the software that controls the lesson as it is being presented.

How does your selected school address assessment of this student group?

We address assessment of this student subgroup using a variety of resources. Our mathematics teachers use journals, and portfolios that students must keep and reflect upon. Our Language Arts department also uses journals for writing. Our students' scores in writing were very high this year. There was an all school initiative to bring up the writing scores and the challenge was exceeded. All teachers' grade books are on line and uniform. 60% of all students' grades are formative or summative and 40% is classwork. Our school is moving towards mastery learning whereas students are considered proficient for passing with a 70% or above. We are still having serious dialogue with this because the math department wants to use the 70% assessment and 30% classwork grading protocol. The online grade book will eventually have the state and district learning benchmarks that is taught within the classroom. This will give us better data on how best to address the achievement gaps within the classroom. To address our diverse learners, many of our instructional teams are using rubrics and also allowing students to peer grade activities using rubrics. The school also uses FCAT grading rubrics for assessing all students with a writing prompt, math prompt or reading prompt on designated days. This data is collected and given to our administration.

Kathryn Parker Boudett, Elizabeth A City, & Richard J Murnane. (2006, October). The "Data Wise" Improvement Process. Principal Leadership, 7(2), 53-56. Retrieved May 11, 2011, from ProQuest Education Journals. (Document ID: 1152250271).

Hispanic-American Students and Learning Style

by Shirley Griggs, Rita Dunn eric 1996