Friday, November 26, 2010

There's No Need to Reinvent the Wheel

There is sufficient evidence as to what works for minority and/or low income students. Books have been written by individual teachers and books have been written about successful teachers and schools that have made a difference for this population. Therefore, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. We already know what principles and strategies work.

One of the latest examples is a school in Salt Lake City--Guadalupe School charter school--which was recently honored for closing the achievement gap. What are some of the things that this school with a 95% Hispanic student population do to close the achievement gap:
  • Offers door-to-door transportation which lessens family mobility concerns
  • Provides an early childhood program which starts at birth by sending parent educators into homes weekly to mentor moms and dads
  • Students begin attending the school's PreK program at age 3
  • All of the teachers are "highly-qualified" and ESL Endorsed
  • Requires 100% attendance at Parent/Teacher Conferences and does whatever it takes to make sure that happens
  • Supports a strong volunteer program consisting of community volunteers who come at least once a week to provide one-on-one interaction with students
  • Works with the whole child which includes having a mobile clinic visit the campus every six weeks

Guadalupe has been in existence for many years. It would behoove other schools serving a similar student population to learn from this school and search for ways to apply the same principles and strategies rather than look for excuses as to why it can't be done in their setting.

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