Marian Anderson Creative Arts Academy
Look for API rules and qualifications here
In the 2000-2001 school year, the Sacramento City Unified School District gave our school a target of 14 growth points on the API scale....... we gained 44 points!
Any type of gain of any size is hard to produce without making some changes. These changes included the entire staff from the volunteers, cafeteria staff, yard duties, teachers and students alike. 97% of our students were tested on the SAT-9, and our hard work paid off. Below are some of the ways we were able to meet and exceed our goal for our ethnically rich and highly mobile school.
1- ALIGNING OUR CURRICULUM TO THE STANDARDS
This is heart of standards based reform. This intervention causes a teacher to look at curriculum, being taught at the local level, and match those items to a set of state defined standards. As a teacher you need to match what students will be accountable for learning and as a teacher you will be accountable for teaching the curriculum that has been adopted by your district! To get the NEA stand on this issue CLICK HERE.
As a grade level team this took many days of after school meetings, and two days away from our classrooms to get the majority of the bugs worked out of our current adopted programs. The visual checkpoint was for all teachers to include standards in each and every separate area of their lesson plans. I had been doing this all along, my fellow team mates required some quality time to get properly aligned.
One of the greatest challenges was to get our ELD students up to grade level. Many of the ELD students in 2nd grade are levels A, B, C, and D. I have been happy to be the INTO ENGLISH teacher for the past three years. Having lived in Asia, I have experienced the same problems that many of my students are experiencing.
The state of New Jersey has taken ELD instruction to the next level. Their scores are doing great! New Jersey has not just aligned their curriculum to state standards , but have also decided to align with national standards as well.
2- HOMEWORK CLUB
This was the idea of two teachers who were performing a masters project. The entire school compiled a list of all of the most needy students in our school who were not turning in their homework. This was a volunteer effort that required 2 hours each week of a teachers time. Grades 2-6 were included with about 60 students attending each Monday-Thursday. The first 45 minutes were dedicated to completing homework. Fluency was given 30 minutes with the remaining time spent on math flash cards. Some students dropped out, and others were included. Overall, the homework club gave many extra students access to more curriculum that otherwise would have been neglected.
3- HOME VISITS
We participated in the Nell Soto home visit program in December 2000. I was one of the skeptics until I tried a few home visits. Liking it, I became the school home visit coordinator which is the job I still hold today. We do not have any type of parent support at our school. Home visitations allows us to go out into the community we serve and get the message out that our school does care. Our carrot was that teachers are paid $34/hour for these visits. Our funding ran out a while back, but our teachers have not let that stop them. I have well over 150 hours of home visits logged, and still plan on many more before the year is out.
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