How to Avoid Cultural Dissonance in Schools
As a principal, I hoped I could help others embrace the changes in our community and in our classrooms. Administrators who find themselves in a similar situation should: Create cultural awareness; understand students’ experiences and realities; provide a positive school community; be a positive role model; and, set high expectations.
Special Education and ELLs
Good teams working with good data make good decisions that lead to good school districts. But what happens when the numbers don’t add up, and the percentages you expect to see don’t match what is showing up in your data? Disproportionality especially has an effect on how English Language Learners qualify for special education services.
Unequal School Justice
There was one bloody nose. But if the fight wasn’t extraordinary, the school’s response was. No one was suspended. The police weren’t called. No charges were filed. Instead, the boys, their parents, and the school principal met the next day and agreed to let the whole thing cool down.
The Long Beach Success Story
“World-class” has a nice ring to it, but what does it really mean? Many suburban districts excel with upper-income students: Urbanized Long Beach does it with a free and reduced-price lunch population of 72 percent. Last year, black students graduated at a remarkable 73 percent rate.
Is There an Opportunity Gap in Your District?
School board members do not fully recognize the power they wield to give kids in poverty a better change to achieve. The source of their strength is a purposeful change in policy and practice that embraces an intentional mission to erase the opportunity gap. Pursuing the high road has clear benefits.
Promoting Diversity in Your Schools
Education in the U.S. is at an important crossroads. Amplifying our collective national challenge is a demographic reality: Significantly larger segments of our emerging workforce will come in future years from low-income and racial and ethnic groups that often have been the least well-served by our schools.
Education Vital Signs: Immigration & Diversity
Education Vital Signs collection of reports on Immigration & Diversity.
Continuing the Legacy of Brown
Building political will to maintain voluntary integration is a challenge, but one that has been met in a number of districts. Beyond structuring opportunities to build political capacity for voluntary integration, school board members should be ready to provide visionary leadership to implement the remaining legal avenues for pursuing diversity.
Narrowing the Education Gap
Student achievement and economic outcomes remain highly related to social class and family background. That raises questions about the role of the school in achieving equality, and what schools can and can’t do to affect cognitive and economic outcomes. Can schools overcome the effects of class?
Change Can Happen
Humboldt Senior High is like many urban schools. Humboldt’s students filter into cliques -- and usually stay there. But things can change. Last year, Humboldt and the surrounding community became a model of solidarity, rallying behind an event that hadn’t occurred in decades: The boys’ soccer team was on a winning streak.
A Diverse Population Enriches School District
To determine her district’s future demographics, Mary Fertakis picks up a newspaper and scans the international section. Tukwila has been designated as a refugee relocation area by the International Rescue Committee and other organizations. It’s a safe haven for those fleeing oppression and host to one of the most diverse suburban school districts in the country.
A Town Unified by Schools
Socks. The Somali children needed socks -- and coats, hats, mittens, scarves, and boots, too. Refugees from the arid African plains, the sandal-clad children and their parents were not prepared for the bone-chilling winters in their new home in Lewiston, Maine. Lewiston City Schools were not prepared for the Somalis, either.
Representation and Inspiration
Visitors to the Salt Lake City school district’s website won’t have any trouble distinguishing Alama Uluave from the other board members. A Polynesian immigrant, Uluave is the district’s only nonwhite board member. But as the area’s minority population grows, so does the significance of his presence on the board.
Racing Against Time
A veteran in guiding students through transcripts, Judy Schilling volunteered for one of Norcross High School’s most daunting assignments: navigating its diverse and growing population of English language learners (ELLs) toward graduation. Her job entails a sense of urgency that she deftly yet calmly describes as “a race against time.”
From 'Rock Bottom' to the Top
When Sandra Jimenez became principal of Langley Park-McCormick Elementary, she hoped to turn the failing school into a valuable resource for the low-income, Hispanic community in Hyattsville, Md. She started by filling her office with squash. Besides food giveaways, the school sponsors clothing drives, medical care, financial aid programs, and parent education classes.
A Divided Community
As the U.S. economy worsens, places that welcomed inexpensive labor during the 1990s economic boom have reversed course. Undocumented workers are now targets. This is true in Prince William County, Va., an exurb of Washington, D.C., but the county’s school district leadership has been largely silent on the issue of illegal immigration.
A Safe Haven
For generations, public schools have served non-English speaking children, helping them assimilate into American culture while turning a deaf ear to their parents’ immigration status. But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to shut out the noise amid immigration raids and airwaves filled with debate about amnesty and border security.
Immigration and Diversity:The Next Generation
Our public schools mirror our nation, and today’s generation of students is more diverse and mobile than ever. Almost half of the record 50 million students entering U.S. schools this fall are minorities. For this series, ASBJ’s editors examined how this new wave of diversity affects school districts.