Albany High School Community Research ProjectSystem Issues within Albany High School faced by Refugees and Immigrants University at Albany Public Anthropology ANT 497 By: Meghan Luce
Observed areas of improvement at Albany High School There is not enough support: For teachers & students Very specific issues that are considerably different than issues faced by American teens. There are not enough programs available: Regents expectations, preparedness, scores After-School Programs Integrations Programs Culture English Community Involvement Learn about the city and community Projects to incorporate all parties
Programs & Services offered at Albany High School In School Resources: School Psychologist (1) Social Worker (2) Student Assistance Counselor (1) Community Resources: CrisisChat.org Refugees and Immigrants enter the education at a significant disadvantage, are there people trained and dedicated to deal with common issues?
A-PLUS Program A-PLUS Program- to improve academic outcomes ‘Designed to improve academic outcomes by expanding high-quality school and community-based services available to students and families so that students in Albany may learn, live and prosper in safe and supportive environments.’ Started in February 2009 Funded by a 4-year Federal ‘Safe schools- healthy students’ initiative.
Components of the A-PLUS Program A-PLUS Health Clinics: Started in Fall 2009 For additional support the High School is staffed with: Full-time clinical social worker Behavior specialist Parent Partner Case manager Youth Advocate Sometimes refugees and immigrants suffer from trauma The refugee population suffers disproportionately from PTS general population rate for the United States- 8%. Some refugee communities report 43% or more. Is there adequate support for these students with these very different pasts and problems?
Components of the A-PLUS Program Gang Resistance Education & Training Program: Started Fall 2009 Offered to 6th grade students entering middle school Weekly visits by law enforcement officers. Why not re-offer program to students entering Albany High School and that are new to the school district. CrisisChat.org ‘Nonjudgmental support and help through a difficult time’ Confidential Secure Anonymous
Albany High School Projects Project Safe Neighborhood: Proposed development and implement a school-based youth court. Will be comprised of students from grades 9-12, they will be trained to be Youth Court members and conduct hearings. Will hear the cases of mostly 9th graders involved in low level violations: Disruptive behavior Minor altercations Intimidation Menacing Bullying Harassment Theft Larceny Criminal mischief
Albany High School Projects The Youth Court will be comprised of 20 or more youth court members. The majority of the violations are considered precursors to gang and gun violence. There will be 2 hearings a month 8 cases from September- December 24 cases from January-June Possibility for more cases a month depending on recruitment.
Potential Errors: Youth Court Creating a minority with the ability to decide consequences for issues involving other students could increase tension in an already divided atmosphere. Could this increase the amount of bullying throughout the school? Are the issues the court is appointed to hear really ‘minor violations’? Do these ‘minor violations’ go 2 weeks without being reprimanded? If the these are present issues they should be dealt with on a real level. Where students are dealing with advisors and staff for serious infractions.
New York State Violence and Disruptive Behavior Report Minor Altercations 143 70Inimidation/Harrassment 176 96 8 Criminal Mischeif 8 2 Sexual Offenses 2 Riot/ False Alarm 3 2007-2008 2008-2009 8 Weapon Possession 40 46 Drug Possession 23 11 Assault 112007-2008 8 Other Offenses:2008-2009Students Enrolled- 2,668
New York State Regents Exam New York State Regents exams are designed to test students on core curriculum knowledge received throughout their education career, starting in Pre-K and continuing to senior. Starting in at the beginning of the school year 2011, Local Diplomas were no longer being awarded. Students can only receive a Regents Diploma. Local Diplomas allowed students to graduate by score 65% or higher on 3 Regents exams and 55% or higher on 2 exams. With this implementation students now have to receive 65% or higher on all Regents exams. Core Curriculum: Offered at different times from Pre-K to 12th grade. Arts Career Development & Occupational studies English Language Arts History, Social Studies Health, Physical Education, Family & Consumer Science Languages other than English Mathematics, Science, Technology Living Environment, Earth Science, Chemistry, Physics.
School Report Card: Global History and Geography & U.S. History and Geography Course: Year: Total Score: 55- Score: Score: Tested: 64 65-84 85-100 Global 2009-2010 741 61% 44% 13% Hist. & Geo. 2008-2009 814 61% 44% 11% U.S. Hist. 2009-2010 550 78% 64% 24% & Govt. 2008-2009 556 79% 63% 22%In a questionnaire I handed out to Senior and Intermediate ESL students at Albany HighSchool, I asked which class was their least favorite. The common answer along withScience was History. From data available is appears that this section has been continuallylow achieving and a visible problem area for students.
Observational Areas for Improvement Regents Exams are only available in languages that reflect the refugee and immigrant demographics of New York City: Traditional Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish This doesn’t represent the current demographic of students at Albany High School, only the Spanish translation is useful. The students might understand the material but doesn’t understand the phrasing of the question. In one class I observed everyone reviewing for the listening part of the January 2012 regents with sample passages and questions about Going Green. The students would understand main concepts but had trouble with unfamiliar words. An example would be a question that referenced junk mail. The students didnt understand the concept of junk and had a harder time answering the question. When completing core curriculum do they take into credit from other schools? Can their native language be considered their language credit? Could the low grades possibly represent rushing? Maybe the necessary time to develop the knowledge necessary to being successful isn’t provided.
Observation Areas for Improvement Standardized testing based on Regents exams presents a great challenge for most refugee an immigrants high school students. American students are provided with this educations starting in Kindergarten. From the survey I handed out in class the average number of years the students had lived in the United States was only 3 years (longest was 5 years, shortest was 8 months). In the class I observed for the semester the level was intermediate and advanced, and most of the kids were expected to graduate in the Spring 2012 or following year. I found it hard to believe that while being taught English, concepts, grammar and sentences the students were also expected to learn full course work for their determined grade, as well as prepare the for the Regents. Maybe the expectations are unrealistic. Refugee and Immigrant students are expect to perform at the same standards and testing levels of American students who have been taught to take Regents exams for 6-12 years. (Regents start in 6th grade.) All while not taking into account the possible trauma experienced, the difficulty of adapting to a new culture as well as a new high school.
Working Programs & Projects: San Francisco Refugee Transitions: Provide refugee and immigrant communities with the help and opportunities they need to develop supportive relationships with adults and peers, succeed academically, and develop leadership skills Youth Programs: Home-Based Tutoring: Over 80% involved develop role model relationships Improve reading and math skills Commitment of 1 academic year, available 2-4 Hours a week.
Refugee Transition: Programs Youth Programs: Afterschool: Offered Monday – Thursday Highest needs are paired with home-based tutor for additional support. On Thursdays, those with low English proficiency can attend an extra ESL class Volunteers are trained and supported as peer tutors. Summer Camp Soccer without Borders Takes students from the local community to form soccer games with refugee and immigrant students. Help develop understanding, relationship and English
Refugee Transition: Outcomes In the fall of 2009, 95% of regularly attending students either improved their academic performance [by an average of .32 points (GPA)] or maintained their A average. Data from the spring of 2009 show that 80% of tutoring students felt more confident with their English. 68% understood assignments better. 88% showed higher overall confidence.
Promising Practices Program Refugee School Impact Youth Program- Massachusetts. Programs: After-school Program: High-school students come for help after- school four days a week. Students are tutored in English, math and writing. Saturday Enrichment Program: focuses on strengthening English skills and learning about American customs through activities such as cultural celebrations and sports. Those activities are designed to facilitate integration of program participants into their community.
Refugee School Impact Youth Program- Massachusetts Health Education: Provide refugee youth with information on nutrition and healthy living through a series of small group and individual workshops. As a result of a recent collaboration with the Community Health Center and the YMCA to help achieve these goals, refugee school children have received a no-cost, 3-month membership to the YMCA. Summer Program: The summer program runs four days a week and is designed to foster retention of material learned during the academic year and to give students an additional opportunity to catch up to their classmates. Parent/School Communication: The Refugee School Impact Coordinator serves as a parent/school liaison for the students in the middle and high schools. She coordinates interpretation; attends Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings, parent/teacher conferences, and open houses; orients teachers to the cultures of new refugee populations; and consults with teachers on the needs of particular refugee students and their families.
Refugee School Impact Youth Program- Massachusetts Program Evaluation: The program staff created a modified version of the MEPA for their own internal use. Students take the test twice a year (in the beginning and at the end of the school year) to assess the effectiveness of the programs. In addition, the program staff monitors their students’ academic success by reviewing school progress report cards and discussing the students’ progress with their school teachers. To track the students’ overall adjustment, program staff are currently monitoring these aspects of their success through observations. Program staff get to know each of the students and monitor their ability to access mainstream services and programs as well as their readiness for employment. Program Outcomes: During the first half of Federal Fiscal Year 2009, 26 middle and 30 high school refugee students were served by the program. All of the students successfully completed their grade level, and all moved up one level in the school’s tiered Sheltered English Immersion program. Four of the five graduating seniors will attend college. Five students have found summer employment this year.
Refugee Teen Empowerment Program-Buffalo Partnership between the Youth Character Development Foundation and Daemen College for a leadership program for refugee high school students. Programs has several sections to help with the transition. Goal: Enable refugee students to adjust to American society and succeed in school, on the job and in the community
Refugee Teen Empowerment Program-Buffalo Education Component, including a tour of Daemen College and a meeting with the Admissions Counselor to discuss SAT preparation, scholarships, college life, etc. Employment and mentoring component, including discussion of employment opportunities, volunteering, professional appearance and conduct Personal responsibility component, which includes discussions about violence, bullying, staying out of trouble with the law, and related topics Citizenship component, involving presentations on what it means to become a US citizen and how to apply for it Additional topics include building self-confidence, public speaking, improving communication skills, and managing peer pressure. The students will also be eligible for one college credit upon completion of the program.
Observation Areas for Improvement With recent funding to Albany High School to help develop academic achievement among the entire student body, I believe there are many areas for improvement. If possible develop more afterschool programs as wells as private tutoring. Similar to the examples, offer programs more frequently, 4 days a week. Collaborate with local colleges: Create a credit program in related majors (Math, History, Language Arts, Anthropology) to provide tutoring to students. Valuable to student teacher because they can demonstrate knowledge, and the students can see the value of higher education, develop role models and get extra support.
Observation Areas for Improvement Provide a type of summer transition camp for new students. Allow students to make friends, get accommodated with school and community, as well as the ability to advance in classes. Provide an Intensive English program: Help students establish the fundamentals of English before trying to teach them standardized material. Without the foundation of the concepts the students are being taught, you wonder what is being retained and how effective the method is. A student is set up to fail when they are made to learn a new language, new culture and school along with learning expected standards for the grade their placed in all within the four years allotted for high school. ( Many students do not graduate, either drop out or leave school after turning 21).
Observation Areas for Improvement Create more Community Projects: Volunteering at local shelters Working on a community garden Hosting a community dinner Create different district sport teams facilitate friendship and language. Preparedness & Accessibility for the Future: Higher Education: Educate about options schools, programs, requirements, process Workforce:interview & resume skills, job training, job shadowing, internships, apprenticeships, search and placement, referrals.
Post-secondary Plans of 2009–10 CompletersPlan: Number of Students Percentage of Students4-year College 144 32%2-year College 197 44%Military 7 2%Employment 40 9%Unknown 52 12%Other 10 2%