Well, the school year definitely did not start out with a bang. Our API (Annual Performance Index) scores showed major gains for middle class students (I prefer this term to "white" since it is not color that decides success, but the value that parents place on education in the home). The other categories of Disadvantaged, English language learners, Hispanic/Latino, and Socio-Economically Disadvantaged showed major drops across the board in all subject areas.
Our teachers are veterans, but the school population has changed from upper middle-middle class to a mixed one with 55% of the school now being Latino/Hispanic. Of that 55%, many are not only disadvantaged, but also have varying degrees of experience with formal education. This is of course no reflection on their educational potential, but it does call into play the need for new, "out-of-the-box," creative, challenging strategies, assessments, teaching strategies to both fill in the gaps in formal education while delivering grade appropriate content.
Our district has decided to let our school have 3 full time instructional coaches this year and next to support teachers in any way possible to reverse this sharp decline. We will have one for math, one for English, and one for ELD (that will be me). Of the three, I will be sent to all departments since my skill is in working with ELLs at any level. This is a major experiment since there have never been instructional coaches at the high school level let alone full time ones. I hate to be the pessimist, but I expect resistance from many teachers who see the fault lying in the kids themselves and not in their own instructional deliveries. It is my hope that this attitude will be addressed at coach meetings throughout the year to devise approaches to transform "I won't" attitudes to "I will" ones. From what I have heard at workshops around the country, it takes about 3 years to develop a smooth flowing coaching program. My school, however, doesn't have that long.
As usual, I will try posting in other blogs to see if I can gather some solid working plans to pull this off. Feel free to post if you have ideas or if you have gone through a coaching cycle.