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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Year and New API Pressures

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.

Denise

www.ellteacherpros.com

4 comments:

  1. I need to find a way to approach teachers without appearing to step on their toes so to speak. It has been suggested that I just walk into classes unannounced. I do not feel comfortable with that one since I feel it doesn't show respect for the teacher. I am continuing to debated creating a blog site that is private so that teachers need not fear that an administrator or another teacher might read it. Maybe I could take suggestions from them on how they would like it set up though I don't believe any of them blog. A blog could serve as a sounding board for their concerns, suggestions, ideas, etc. as well as a central location where they could access any materials I find that I feel they might be interested in viewing. Has anyone out there ever used a blog with colleagues? If so, how did it go? Any suggestions?

    Thanks.

    Denise
    www.ellteacherpros.com

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  2. My experience is to not ask an open-ended question. Set up parameters, such as - which is better for you, morning or afternoon? When is your prep period? I'd like to schedule a meeting during your prep period.

    For observation, which day this week would be best for you? Are you giving any exams this week? Which is your favorite class? Which class do you feel most confident about? Which class has the most attentive students? Etc. It's always best to see them in a situation where they feel most successful or enjoy the most.

    Marnie Schwartz, MAT

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  3. This comment is for Denise.

    I really like your ideas of the centers and the color coded assignments. I also like the programs you want to use. Have you ever thought about writing a grant for the things you need. It seems like you have all of the components of proposal... What is the project? Who will use it? How will it be implemented? You have shown the percentage of your school; your school results. Check your school and your district and find out about writing grants. I think you may have some luck there.

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  4. Thanks for the idea, Lionel. I agree that it is an idea worth following up on and I will:)

    Denise

    ReplyDelete