By : Kristen Bradley Closing the Achievement Gap at Eureka Elementary
Take a deep breath… “Fifty-five years after Brown vs. Board of Education, forty years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and twenty-five years after the publication of A Nation at Risk, we must confront the shameful national reality: if you are an African American or Latino child in this country, the probability is high that our public education system will fail you, that you will not graduate from high school, that your ability to function successfully in the twenty-first Century economy will be limited, and that you will have no real prospect of achieving the American dream.” Ellen Winn, Director, Education Equality Project, National Journal, 2009
That should not and WILL NOT be our reality at Eureka Elementary “We do whatever it takes to ensure all students realize their potential”
WWhat is the Achievement Gap? The achievement gap is defined as the observed disparity on a number of educational measures between the performance of groups of students, especially groups defined by gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status (Wikipedia, 2011) Tied closely with the achievement gap is the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002.
What is the No Child Left Behind Act? NCLB Act of 2002, is a bill that was put into play by President George W. Bush. It gives statewide expectations to the schools and holds the school and teachers accountable for good or poor test results. The idea is that the results will get better with each year and by 2014, ALL students will be performing at the designated state standards and on grade level.
What are contributing factors to the Achievement Gap? Quality Preschool Socioeconomic status Cultural environment Family life (parent involvement) Attendance at school Teacher quality
Many studies suggest that children who attend a quality preschool are far more likely to get better grades, stay in school, and have better jobs than those who do not attend a quality preschool. “All over the world, your chances of success in school and life depend more on your family circumstances than on any other factor. By age three, kids with professional parents are already a full year ahead of their poorer peers. They know twice as many words and score 40 points higher on IQ tests. By age 10, the gap is three years.” – Mourshedand Whelan
Socioeconomic Status These students are coming from low income families that do not have the means to provide educational resources at home.
Cultural Environment We have to remember that not all of our students have the same upbringing. We need to acknowledge that and be accepting of different life styles and religions. If a child feels unaccepted in the school setting then learning is going to take a back seat to his or feelings.
The importance of attendance at school According the Parent Institute, “It’s a fact that students who attend school regularly learn more and are more successful in school than students who do not. Parents who make regular school attendance a priority also are helping their children learn to accept responsibility. And that’s an important lesson for a successful life. Attendance patterns are formed early in life. Children who develop good attendance habits in the early grades will be more likely to continue them throughout their school career. That’s important, because students who miss school miss out on carefully planned sequences of instruction. They miss out on active learning experiences and class participation. They miss out on the opportunity to ask questions. They are more likely to fall behind. And they are more likely to drop out.”
TEACHER QUALITY The only factor we CAN control is the quality of our teaching. We have to use our resources, get creative, and do everything we can to ensure that these students match up with their current grade level.
At Eureka Elementary, 9% of our population is African American, 2.4% is Hispanic, and 83.9% is White. The percentage students that are free and reduced is 16.2%. Our MAP data tells us that these students are struggling in the classroom and we need to figure out what we can do to help them and bring them up to grade level. www.rockwood.k12.mo.us What does this mean for Eureka Elementary?
Black Students # of students who are proficient and showing growth Free/Reduced Students # of students who are proficient and showing growth Communication Arts Only 9 out of 27 students are proficient and showing growth Math 18 out of 27 students are proficient and showing growth Communication Arts 27 out of 49 students are proficient and showing growth Math 35 out of 49 students are proficient and showing growth Eureka Elementary MAP Data(www.rockwood.k12.mo.us)
What does this information mean to teachers? IF you look closely at our data, you see that we have several students who are falling into the achievement gap, we have students who are not growing and working at least 1 grade level behind. It is up to us to identify their needs, areas of struggle, and provide them with the resources to become successful.
Interactive Smart board's in every classroom Computers in every classroom, including laptops Audio books Classroom wide speaker system Scanners Clickers Flip camera’s RESOURCES WE CAN AND SHOULD BE UTILIZING IN THE CLASSROOM
Study Island (www.studyisland.com) , our school does have a subscription Comprehension Expedition (program that requires a membership, our school is subscribed) Fast Math ( Program that requires a membership, our school is subscribed) Spelling City (www.spellingcity.com ) Math Play (www.math-play.com) Scrib Link (www.scriblink.com) Resource’s Continued…
Brain Pop (www.brainpop.com) – school will pay for your grade level to have a subscription. Storyline – (www.storyline.com)
Services Teachers Can Provide
Offer free tutoring, remember most of these students come from very little money Build relationships with these students, show an interest in their hobbies and their interests. Mobile teacher conferences, we can go to them
Proudly display their work, even if it isn’t the best in the class. Make them feel proud and let them know that you are proud too.
We need to make school ENJOYABLE for these students, they should WANT to come to school. Remember that we might be the best part of their day, let’s do everything we can to make sure they feel safe at school.
7 Correlates and what they mean… According to Ron Edmonds of Harvard University, students of all backgrounds can learn and be successful. After completing a study to find schools that were successful in closing the achievement gap, he found that the schools that were successful shared the same seven characteristics. He called them the 7 correlates. Edmonds proposed that the schools with the most successful students followed these seven correlates…
7 Correlates Clear School Mission ~ Set your school mission and follow it. Make sure your staff understands it and is willing to follow it. High Expectations for Success ~ Set goals for your students, don’t just make sure they are attainable, but make the students work for it. Aim high. Instructional Leadership ~ The principal is the role model for the teachers, parents, and students. The principal follows the school mission and leads by example. Frequent Monitoring of Student Progress ~ Assess, assess, assess…assess what your students know and what they don’t know frequently, and adapt your lessons accordingly.
7 Correlates Continued… Opportunity to Learn and Student Time on Task~ Students are engaged and the teacher has the classroom under control. There are variety of teaching methods one can utilize, use however many you need to make sure student’s are “getting it”. Safe and Orderly Environment ~ Students need to feel safe in your room and school. Learning needs to be a top priority, not taking a backseat to worrying or fear. Home – School Relations ~ Parents are supportive of the school and teachers, school communicates via any means possible. Constant communication is the key.
We CAN do it!!! We CAN make a difference for these struggling students. If we do OUR part and control what WE can control, these kids have a real shot at being successful. Keep up your hard work, your determination, and your love for teaching!! Have a terrific year, Eureka Elementary!
Works Cited “Achievement Gap in the United States." Wikipedia. Web. 9 July 2011. <http://www.wikipedia.org/achievementgap>.
"Eureka Elementary School Profile." Eureka Elementary . 7 July 2011. Rockwood School District. <http://rockwood.k12.mo.us>. "Income, Poverty, Health Insurance 2009." 2010 Census. 8 July 2011. Census Bureau. <www.census.gov>. Mourshed, Mona, and Fenton Whelan. "How to Close the Achievement Gap." Editorial. Newsweek. Newsweek. Daily Beast, LLC, 16 Aug. 2010. Web. 9 July 2011. <http://www.newsweek.com/2010/08/16/secrets-of-the-world-s-best-school-systems.html>. "The Importance of Regular School Attendance." Parent Institute. 2003. Web. 10 July 2011. <www.parentinstitute.com>.
United States of America. U.S Department of Education. No Child Left Behind Act. 2 Jan. 2002. Web. 9 July 2011. <http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/pg1.html>.
“What Is Effective Schools Research?" Association for Effective Schools, Inc. Web. 12 July 2011. <http://www.mes.org/esr.html>.
Winn, Ellen. "How Can We Close the Achievement Gap?" Web log post. Education Equality Project. Education News, 28 July 2009. Web. 8 July 2011. <http://www.edequality.org/blog/entry/ellen_winn_how_can_we_close_the_achievement_gap/>.