Michael Vito Troiano

ED215

 

Educational equality as it applies to “real life” settings

 

 

            To give you my background, I work for the Sacramento City Unified School district and teach at the Marian Anderson Creative Arts Academy.  We have 24 teachers at my school consisting of 17 primary teachers and 7 secondary teachers.  We are a traditional year school.  We have had three different principals in the last four years.  One-quarter to one-third of our teaching staff leave the school each year.  There are no houses surrounding our school, with 98% of students being bussed in. All of our students receive free breakfast and lunch meals under Title-1 funds.

 

1- Demographics

 

Ethnicity

Female

Male

Total

American Indian Native Alaskan

7

5

12

Asian/Pacific Islander

45

52

97

Black

68

88

156

Hispanic

47

87

134

White

31

39

70

Not noted by parent

10

7

17

                                                                                                       TOTAL

486

 

 

 

            These statistics were taken from a report generated by our school secretary.  These are the official records for my school broken down by ethnic codes.

 

            After looking at each individual student’s ethnic listing, it was easy to see that a list like this can never be correct.  Some parents listed their children in different categories and sometimes completely different ethnic listings.  Our school also had 530 children enrolled.  This ethnic report excluded almost 50 children!

 

 

2- Disaggregated Data for the Last Two Years

 

 

            I have created both bar graphs and line graphs of data collected.  Not all people can visualize what one type of chart shows, and variety is the spice of life!  Please be aware that this data reflects only students that were tested for each area of math, and reading for each year.  The years covered are 2000 and 2001.  I have tried  to make the charts as large as possible, if they are hard to read just increase the view area.

 

 

 

 

Gender - Math - Grades 1-6

 

Below 25%ile

25-49 %ile

50-74 %ile

Above 74%ile

Total

% > 50

Male 2000

124

55

19

15

213

16%

Male 2001

83

57

42

38

220

36%

Female 2000

111

55

35

19

220

25%

Female 2001

73

50

34

40

197

38%

 

 

 

Ethnicity - Math - Grades 1-6

 

 

Below 25%ile

25-49 %ile

50-74 %ile

Above 74%ile

Total

% > 50

 

African Am 2000

74

25

13

11

123

20%

 

African Am 2001

54

31

20

28

133

36%

 

Am Indian Alaskan 2000

1

1

0

1

3

33%

 

Am Indian Alaskan 2001

2

1

2

3

8

63%

 

Asian 2000

55

25

12

5

97

18%

 

Asian 2001

30

22

31

13

86

40%

 

Hispanic 2000

80

42

14

6

142

14%

 

Hispanic 2001

44

38

21

19

122

33%

 

White 2000

19

12

12

11

54

43%

 

White 2001

24

13

11

15

63

41%

 

Other 2000

0

1

0

0

1

0%

Other 2001

0

1

0

0

1

0%

 

 

 

 

 Math - Grades 1-6

Home Language

Below 25%ile

25-49 %ile

50-74 %ile

Above 74%ile

Total

% > 50

English 2000

117

61

30

28

236

25%

English 2001

101

66

45

57

269

38%

Spanish 2000

31

13

11

1

56

21%

Spanish 2001

12

16

11

7

46

39%

Vietnamese 2000

2

3

1

1

7

29%

Vietnamese 2001

0

2

2

0

4

50%

Korean 2000

0

0

0

0

0

0%

Korean 2001

0

0

0

1

1

100%

Hmong 2000

16

6

2

1

25

12%

Hmong 2001

9

8

5

3

25

32%

Russian 2000

0

1

0

1

2

50%

Russian 2001

0

0

0

1

1

100%

Lao 2000

6

4

0

0

10

0%

Lao 2001

6

3

1

0

10

10%

Other 2000

34

14

9

2

59

19%

Other 2001

26

12

12

9

59

36%

 

 

  

 

 

Gender - Reading - Grades 1-6

 

Below 25%ile

25-49 %ile

50-74 %ile

Above 74%ile

Total

% > 50

Male 2000

106

53

33

17

209

24%

Male 2001

106

52

28

26

212

25%

Female 2000

89

52

42

33

216

35%

Female 2001

82

44

53

16

195

35%

 

 

 

 

 

Ethnicity - Reading - Grades 1-6

 

 

Below 25%ile

25-49 %ile

50-74 %ile

Above 74%ile

Total

% > 50

 

African Am 2000

51

27

28

15

121

36%

 

African Am 2001

60

27

28

14

129

33%

 

Am Indian Alaskan 2000

1

0

1

1

3

67%

 

Am Indian Alaskan 2001

2

1

4

1

8

63%

 

Asian 2000

54

23

11

6

94

18%

 

Asian 2001

50

18

14

3

85

20%

 

Hispanic 2000

66

39

19

15

139

24%

 

Hispanic 2001

51

33

22

14

120

30%

 

White 2000

15

11

15

12

53

51%

 

White 2001

23

16

12

10

61

36%

 

Other 2000

0

1

0

0

1

0%

Other 2001

1

0

0

0

1

0%

 

 

 Reading - Grades 1-6

Home Language

Below 25%ile

25-49 %ile

50-74 %ile

Above 74%ile

Total

% > 50

English 2000

84

57

55

38

234

40%

English 2001

109

58

60

36

263

37%

Spanish 2000

22

18

7

6

53

25%

Spanish 2001

18

18

7

3

46

22%

Vietnamese 2000

2

4

0

1

7

14%

Vietnamese 2001

1

3

0

0

4

0%

Korean 2000

0

0

0

0

0

0%

Korean 2001

0

0

1

0

1

100%

Hmong 2000

18

6

1

0

25

4%

Hmong 2001

18

5

2

0

25

8%

Russian 2000

0

1

0

1

2

50%

Russian 2001

0

0

0

1

1

100%

Lao 2000

3

4

3

0

10

50%

Lao 2001

0

0

0

1

1

100%

Other 2000

35

11

7

3

56

18%

Other 2001

34

11

9

2

56

20%

 

 

3- Data Trends

 

Math  2000 & 2001

 

Gender

 

Male: There were only seven extra males added in the year 2001, but students made a 20% rise within students at or above the 50 %ile.  Males in the 1st %ile diffused out into a higher placement to their advantage.

 

Female: A total of 23 female students were lost in the 2001 year while showing a rise of 13% at or above the 50%ile.  Here the 1st %ile also spread out with a more than doubling number raising up to the 4th %ile!

 

 

Ethnicity

 

Almost every ethnic group is represented at our school.  The biggest winners seem to be the smallest groups where small numbers of students can show great differences within a years time.  Our American Indian / Alaskan students went from 3 students in 2000 to 8 students in 2001.  In this case their scores had improved showing a 30% increase with just the addition of 5 students.  Our next largest change was also part of  one of our schools largest populations, Asian students.  In this case, a 22% gain was made in the 2001 school year.  50% of the 1st %ile students integrated into higher levels with the 3rd %ile making the largest gain.  African American students showed a 16% gain from 2000 to 2001.  Students in the 1st %ile moved upwards with great gains in the 2nd - 4th %iles.  White students were the only group to show a loss.  A -2% loss was recorded in the 2001 school year.  9 students were added in 2001 with more of the students being distributed within the 1st and 4th %ile

 

Home Language

 

            Russian students showed the best advance for students at or above the 50%ile.  This can be misleading since an increase of 1 student in 2001 made a large difference.  Our main student base made increases between 13 - 20%.  This may seem like a good increase when just focusing on my school, but when you look at the over all reality that 51% of the districts students are at or above the 50th %ile, you can clearly see that we have a ways to go!

 

Reading 2000 - 2001

 

Gender

 

Male: The number of male students in 2001 was increased by 3.  There was only a 1% change in students at or above the 50%ile. There was no change in the 1st - 2nd %ile. 

Female: 21 students were lost in the 2001 school year.  Most students were lost from the 2nd - 4th %ile.  There was no loss or gain noted with a constant rate of 35% of female students at or above the 50%ile.

 

   

 

Ethnicity

 

            No change in ethnic groups were noted between math and reading.  Once again the American Indian /  Alaskan students showed the greatest gains while also showing a -4% drop in the 2001 year.  Unlike math, students showed negative scores going from the 2000 to the 2001 school year.  The only positive gain were made by Asian and Hispanic students.  The greatest recorded loss was by white students who dropped a whopping -15%! Our district average for students at or above the 50%ile is 45%.  The only groups who met that standard was two small ethnic groups: American Indian / Alaskan and Filipino which both comprised of only a total of 10 students.

 

Home Language

 

            Drops of -4 to -14% were the main recorded scores.  Our Hmong, Russian and Other students showed a gain, but again these were very small groups.  English speakers and Spanish speakers were neck-and-neck at -3%.  Overall, from 2000 to the 2001 school year, our major populations stayed at about the same point.  As teachers we were keeping about the same number of students focused when we should have been reaching more of them.

 

 

4- Programs Available at School

 

            In the primary grades K-3 there is no standardized means of technology! There is no technology plan nor a budget for technology! Each Primary room has a computer, usually a Pentium 75 with 16 megabytes of memory and a 430 megabyte hard drive.  Out of the 17 primary classrooms, I am the only teacher that has any type of instructional activities on computers (I have 4 home built computers). Reader Rabbit Kindergarten was  purchased by the school, so far I am the only teacher to sign the program out, install it and use it with students.  I have purchased my own software for school use, and some software has been donated by parents.

 

            The 7 secondary teachers each have a bank of six computers that are capable of being networked.  I spend about 2-3 hours bi-weekly repairing their systems just so they can get to the point of being booted-up.  We have a maintenance agreement with an outside firm with a usual wait time of 6-7 weeks for repairs.  When I ask the teachers about how often the students get to use computers they claim daily, but in reality computer use is very rare, and most times consist of Math Blaster 6-9 or solitaire.

 

            A software package including: Corner Stone, Math Blaster ages 6-9, Oregon Trail, and anti-virus software was included with each computer under a grant.  No new software purchases have been made in the last three years that the grant has been in place. The grant provided initial training, but nothing since then.  Out of the 7 secondary teachers 3 are new teachers-in-training.  New hardware is always coming in: zip drives, digital cameras, printers…..  with no instructions on their use or setup.  I am usually the second one informed of the shipment by getting asked what this item is or what does it do?

 

            The one 6th grade teacher who is active in technology does use a program for writing called Corner Stone.  This is a writing program which is placed on the server and goes out from there.  The problem is that our desktops are not secure, and on a bi-weekly basis I have to go back in a redo the network settings. Our writing scores are still far below the district average, so any improvement connected to technology is very faint.

 

            Both our reading program, SRA’s Open Court Reading, and our math program, Saxon Math, have excellent support websites.  We have been wired with a T-1 line since October 2000, but only the office, our principal and my classroom have internet access.  Since December 1, 2001 only the office has internet access due to wiring problems. Our teachers in-need really should have access to the internet to supplement their students work and allow their students to succeed like their peers in more technology accepting schools!

 

5- Assessment Tools (Required)

 

            Our school uses the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT-9) for school wide testing.  Our reading program by SRA Open Court Reading has published unit tests which are given  about every eight weeks.  Also, this program has checkpoint exams that are given after each anthology reading.  Our math program by Saxon Math also has published tests that are given after every five lessons and include extra oral exams on an every ten test basis.

 

a- Chart Academic Growth

 

SAT-9 – This test is given once a year to chart overall academic growth in many different areas: total reading, word study skills, word reading, reading comprehension, total mathematics, problem solving, math procedures, language, spelling, listening, and basic battery total.  This test does chart growth, but by the time we have access to it the data is almost six months old! I can’t speak for the older grades, but children grow physically and mentally at astonishing speeds at this age, and most times this data is stale.  In reality this info is for principals who want to see growth or for teachers to ability group students in reading and math.  In a highly mobile school like mine 7 out of 20 new students had no SAT-9 scores to base anything on.

 

Open Court – The weekly checkpoint exams are a much better way to graph and track a child’s comprehension performance.  Each child charts their own progress on a class graph (using excel), which is displayed in our classroom. 

 

Saxon Math – The same goes for Saxon Math.  Students chart their own growth along with a class total chart.  You must realize that math scores can rise and fall depending on the skill we are learning. Students with 100% averages will occasionally fail when a new concept is introduced.

 

b- Chart Social Growth

 

            It may be different at different schools sites, but our students need to take all of the above tests individually and not within a socialized group setting.  A few years back the students were allowed to collaborate on the checkpoint exams.  Our overall school scores were so low that our principal demanded that the students take these tests on their own. 

 

            Our students must follow rules when using computers or working in workshop or small groups.  They have social rules to follow, but these tools can not fully measure social growth.  It is more like the halo effect with students behaving only when they think the teacher is looking.

 

c- Planning for activities and instruction

 

SAT-9 – As old as these scores may be, they will allow teachers to place students in groups that will allow those students to receive focused training for the next SAT-9 test.  Having access to these scores will allow any teacher to also focus normal instruction in areas that an entire class may be weak in.

 

Open Court – The weekly checkpoints are useful to see if a concept or anthology was put in place.  The unit tests are the best indicators of a students overall performance with in a given unit of study. If a child is weak in multiple meanings on one test, they will usually do poorly on the next unit test unless given extra help.  Much of the test is multiple guess, and really does not give a good indication of what a child knows.  I have had a non-English student guess and get a passing grade simply by guessing.  The write-in parts of the test are the best indicators of what a child has conceptualized.  The checking skills portion of each unit test is an honest indicator of growth.

 

Saxon Math – Some math activities take much more time then your math program allows.  Having a test every five lesson makes our second grade team stop and look back on a regular basis.  Which questions did my class get incorrect the most? Overall, did the entire 2nd grade miss this concept?

 

            Each teacher informs our educational stakeholders in a different way.  My team tends to wait for conferences or back-to-school-night for such events, I do not. 

 

 

6- Assessment Tools (extra)

 

a - Chart Academic Growth

 

I have created a word document that is given to parents at the end of each month called my MONTHLY PROGRESS REPORT.  My progress report covers all core areas, attendance, homework, behavior and unit test scores.  I also have a monthly newsletter that informs parents what the academic requirements are and mentions students who are achieving them. Every month I also focus on a new academic area that needs some extra attention.  These items go out monthly without fail.  I have tried to get my team members to follow my lead, but being at a non-technical school it is hard to get teachers to use the little bit of technology that we already have in place.  I honestly wish I could say that my team mates are following my lead, but that is not the case.

 

            Simple tools like charts made with excel are powerful visual tools when shown to parents, but you must have the technology users in place in order for them to be used.  Just being a talking head to parents puts them to sleep!  When given something tactile parents will look and perhaps wonder causing them to respond.  The worst thing in the world is to find out your child is failing and you were never told of the problems or given any solutions to help before it was too late!

 

b- Chart Social Growth

 

            Daily behavior charts will note behavior for that day, parents are made aware of their child's behavior on a weekly basis.  If a child is not behaving then they are not socializing appropriately.  Having many ESL students, they tend to socialize within their own ethnic group usually within a peaceful manner. ESL students tend to be in a more social mode since they have come through a long quiet period while transitioning to English language.  Most if not all of my social and behavior problems are with American born students. 

 

c- Planning for activities and instruction

 

            When  I create monthly progress notes, I am forced to focus on each students core areas and where they stand.  They are called monthly reports because they DO go out on a monthly basis without fail.  My parents expect them with their news letter.  Frankly the monthly progress reports are a rather lengthy process!  Last month I took a survey and asked my parents if they wanted me to continue both the monthly report and weekly return of homework.  My parents responded overwhelmingly in favor of continuing both reports.

 

            I don't mind revisiting a concept that my kids did not get earlier that month.  My record keeping helps me plan on items to reteach or revisit. I am aware of what my kids are doing, and on a regular basis so are my kids stakeholders!

 

            My teammates will make those dreaded bad calls home with not much more communication to parents. Home visits along with weekly , bi-weekly and monthly reports, keep my stakeholders informed on a regular basis they can expect to count on.

 

 

 

7- Equality Issues        

 

            The major equity issue at my school is POVERTY.  Our data does not state income, but our Title-1 funding is based on the income level of our students.  Many of our students come from single family homes, also a large number of children are in foster care.

 

            Our population is very transient.  Nearly half of my current  2nd graders attended another school last year.  Such frequent movement effects our children's social development and results in feelings of insecurity.  Currently only three of my parents have e-mail / internet access either at work or at home.  My e-mail address appears on all regular correspondence to caregivers.  During the course of my home visits, I have observed very few  home computers, and those I have seen are quite old.

 

            Without a PTA (we have no PTO or PTA) or community support we have limited sources to upgrade or to provide new computer equipment.  New acquisitions are usually the end result of a teacher obtaining or grant or even in my case when I got lucky and convinced Hewlett Packard to replace $3,000 worth of dried printer cartridges for our school.  We have no computer lab, and unless children are in my room, they will not have an opportunity to use a computer until 4th grade. 

 

            The circumstances of living in poverty have more to do with student achievement than race, ethnic background, language or gender.  To solve the issues of educational equity, we must first address the issues of poverty. 

 

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