Board Hears Report on Achievement Gap at Junior High Level

Share:

achievement-gapBy Nicholas von Wettberg  

When addressing ways of closing the student achievement gap, there is the constant reminder that no singular program or curriculum exists, which would fix longtime disparities in learning opportunities between students based on factors of class and race.

The long-term goal for California is to narrow the divide as much as possible, with districts now in charge of implementing the process – piece by piece – emphasizing themes of collaborative structure and shared leadership.

Closing the achievement gap has been a top priority for the Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD) Board of Education, whose recent agenda is to hear information about its programs, and how they meet the goals of their own Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP).

During last month’s meeting, the Board received a report on the services and actions of two elementary schools in the district, Birch Lane and Marguerite Montgomery.

Trustees heard an information presentation on Thursday, May 5, about a pair of programs (AVID & Bridge) aimed at supporting the needs of low-income students and English Learners at Frances Harper Junior High School.

The AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program, focused at closing the achievement gap, is also offered at three other district junior high schools: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Da Vinci Charter Academy and Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Associate Superintendent Clark Bryant briefed the Board on the progress of the programs, saying, that with AVID at Emerson “students receive support in strategic academic areas to help create a more equitable school experience.”

Along with the extra strategies students receive before and during academic instruction, tutoring also plays a role, through the volunteering of local UC Davis students, who Bryant said “help facilitate and guide students who may be struggling, and this allows students to develop interpersonal ways to resolve their academic points of confusion with support of tutors and their peers.”

Students two grades below the average reading level comprise an AVID program (Read 180) at Holmes, with before and after assessment. There is also a math clinic, which is in place for students struggling in some of their Common Core 3 math classes, and a mentorship program, according to Bryant.

Over one quarter (26%) of the total enrollment (620) at Harper is free and reduced lunch students. The amount of English Learners (EL) has been identified at 50.

Harper Principal Kerin Kelleher presented the report to the Board on the schools AVID and Bridge programs.

Accompanying her at the table was Bridge coordinator Liza Lopez and teachers Nick Gallaudet and Jennifer Fung, who is the AVID coordinator.

Now in her 36th year as an educator, Kelleher provided a few basic ways that Harper is able to address the achievement gap.

“One thing might be as simple as saying we have changed our bell schedule this year to be sure that students have a nutrition break after period one,” Kelleher said, reminding the Board that the students are between the ages of 12 and 15. “And we feed, literally, about 250 students in our SNS program right at the beginning of the day which is of course huge for them.”

Kelleher gained experience working as an AVID teacher in the San Diego Unified School District in the late 1980s.

The AVID program did not make its way to Harper until 2008, which was the same year the Bridge program began there.

Kelleher arrived at Harper only three years ago, but says that since the program got going there have been as many as nine faculty members, per summer, who have attended summer institutes for training.

“If you think about a school of only 620 kids, up to nine teachers spending summertime together planning,” said Kelleher. “That’s a third of the staff.”

She then asked trustees to take a look at the people sitting alongside her and notice how much younger they are.

“They are what is the future of what’s ahead for kids, and I thank God I’m with them,” said Kelleher. “AVID and Bridge are game changers for the students that we work with in Davis.”

Kelleher was reminded of a piece of advice given by her friend Derek Brothers, who said that her biggest challenge when taking over the reins as principal would be “taking a look at Harper’s community and trying to find a way to work with the disparity in terms of income and where kids, what do they bring to the table because we have two extremes at Harper and its amazing at how wonderfully it works.”

The official mission of AVID, which has been around for over 30 years, is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college and other post secondary opportunities.

Recruitment into the program, at Harper, is a yearlong process, and in order to be considered for selection, applicants must meet a majority of the criteria.

They have to come from a low-income household, be the first generation in their immediate family to attend college, be part of group historically underrepresented in four year colleges, and have a special circumstance that affected them growing up.

In the PowerPoint presentation, some of the examples of experiences that fall under the category are the death of a parent, being placed in foster care, and having gone through a parents’ divorce.

“We have children that have been adopted, we have kids on 504’s,” Gallaudet said. “What we really look for are the kids that have that determination and want to pursue a college education and need a little extra support in order to do that.”

Divided between two sections, there are a total of 49 students in AVID, with nearly half receiving a free or reduced lunch.

Over two-thirds of the students in the program are of minorities (Hispanic/Latino, African American, Asian) and almost half are reclassified fluent English proficient (R-FEP) students.

As for the educational level of parents of AVID students, 43 percent do not have a college degree.

“These students who are with us, they’re really motivated to go to college but they might not have that at-home support to know how to get there, so that’s what we hope to provide” Fung said.

The structure of the AVID class is based on a two-pronged approach, with one aspect placed on academic support (tutorials, critical reading strategies & writing support, study skills & test taking prep, A-G requirements and course selection, PSAT & SBAC practice and organization).

Another classroom emphasis is on college research, which includes learning how to write letters to colleges, choosing a major, figuring out application requirements, and knowing what to say when giving a personal statement.

One of the goals of the Board in holding its monthly discussion on the achievement gap is to hear what programs in the district are effective, and build off that positive impact.

According to the presentation, students in AVID report feelings of connectedness with school, teachers, and classmates.

“We really build a lot of community,” said Fung. “We start in the classroom and we talk a lot about when we’re trying to do something that’s really hard like getting in to college, it’s easier when we’re working together and we stay focused together.”

They also experience increased levels of academic confidence and self-advocacy, which Fung says “is reported by our other content area teachers, English teachers, Social Studies teachers have told us that when our kids fall behind they have the tools to bounce back.”

That kind of confidence exuded by students makes attending college appear more like a foregone conclusion rather than a what-if.

Engagement in the classroom is always encouraged, and, as a result AVID students develop skills of active learning.

Fung reasoned that one of the ways to address the achievement gap is focusing on A-G requirements, which for 9th graders covers a wide swath of choices.

“At a maximum students can be in five and a half classes towards the 15 A-G requirements that there are, and our AVID 9 students, 20 out of 28 of them are taking between three and a half and four and a half A-G required classes,” Fung said.

Some AVID students are enrolled in demanding courses, like Biology, Humanities and advance Math.

After a two-year tracking period (from 7th to 9th grade), nearly three-fourths of those AVID students showed improvements in their cumulative grade point average.

Lopez, whose focus is at Harper, said the Davis Bridge program, as a whole, is dedicated to improving the academic achievement of low-income students, particularly students that come from low-income Spanish-speaking households.

To better provide students the tools they need for success, UC Davis work-study undergraduate students serve as Bridge tutors, thus assuming the de facto role of mentor.

“The relationship between our tutors and students is one of the most important components of our program,” said Lopez. “And our tutors are specifically selected for our students with our students needs in mind.”

Lopez added: “And so our tutors share a very similar background and experiences as their student that they’re working with. They help validate their students’ culture and background and they’re really great role models and a great support system for their student.”

Just like with AVID, there is a set of criteria outlined for student enrollment in the Bridge program, which is intended for Title 1 students, those classified as EL or R-FEP, low academic achievers, low-income students, and kids recommended by a teacher, counselor or administrator.

The demographics of Harper students, in 7th Grade (32), 8th Grade (36), and 9th Grade (28), served through the program reveal a predominantly Latin and male enrollment.

“This is important when we look at…the disparity in educational performance between male and female so this is something that Bridge program is also helping to address,” said Lopez.

As for the positive impact the Bridge program has had on closing the achievement gap, students report a greater connectedness to the school, enhanced self-confidence and self-advocacy, and an increased ability to overcome setbacks, which all contribute to making the transition to high school easier.

After a two-year tracking period, 74 percent of Bridge students showed improvements in their cumulative grade point average.

Part of their weekly reflection periods includes Bridge students asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 their motivation to improve grades and positive attitude toward school and Bridge.

Ninth graders on an average placed themselves at a 9.1, while eighth graders placed themselves at 9.7. Scores were similar when Bridge students were asked about self-advocacy and connectedness.

When asked about feelings of connectedness, only 67 percent of students answered similarly in the YouthTruth Survey, according to Lopez.

Transitions are emphasized as another important part of the program, like the first day of junior high, as is communication and collaboration between sites and departments, course selection, and the AVID & Bridge College and Career Readiness Night.

Following the information presentation, the Board members had the opportunity to discuss, comment, or ask questions.

Trustee Barbara Archer started things off, asking if there were any kids enrolled in both the AVID and Bridge program, to which the answer was yes, but only a small number.

Archer then wondered how they reach out to students falling under particular categories, such as low academic achievers, or low SES.

“They are very different in some ways, the two programs,” Kelleher said. “Bridge is again, number one, receiving names from Montgomery, generally. We kind of know who were getting as incoming seventh…I can straight up tell you we have a huge waiting list for the after school program at all times and families are calling us too requesting it because they have the great experience of what’s happened at Montgomery already.”

AVID, on the other hand, is an elective program dedicated to finding kids who want to break the cycle of educational poverty, and be the first in their immediate family to attend college.

One of the foundational concepts of AVID is finding students who are good learners, and test above average but struggle in the classroom because of their overall language skills, and lack of shared experiences.

“They didn’t have the knowledge, as Jen mentioned, of what does it take to get to college, like how do you even do that?” Kelleher explained. “What is a college like, what do you eat at a college, what’s a room like there? They didn’t have their family members to walk them around.”

In relationship to the Board’s concern over the achievement gap, Trustee Archer cited numbers that show 60 percent of the district’s Latino students’ are not meeting A-G requirements, begging the need for perhaps further expansion of programs like AVID and Bridge.

Kelleher said the methods involved are good teaching strategies – literacy strategies, some more detailed than others.

“We have blue tape up on front of the white boards of every classroom that identifies what assignments are due when they’re coming up,” she said. “Something as simple as that is a game-changer for kids.”

Trustee Susan Lovenburg wanted some clarification about there being a wait list and a group of kids who fit the profile that weren’t being served.

Gallaudet said there are seven or eight kids on the wait list for students going in to 9th Grade.

“If you were to add those to our current class, I think we have officially accepted 25 kids, so if we were to add all of those in the class size would just be too big,” he said. “The kids on the wait list, we’re on the fence about, they maybe didn’t show that determination we wanted to see, maybe they got a good recommendation and their grades are solid but the determination might not be where it needs to be.”

Share:

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

Related posts

38 thoughts on “Board Hears Report on Achievement Gap at Junior High Level”

  1. zaqzaq

    I found it interesting that 57% of the AVID parents have a college degree.  I was surprised as it seems rather high for the targeted population.

    1. wdf1

      This article doesn’t seem to mention it, but from listening the meeting, I think there was mention that the AVID program intentionally attempted to have a certain kind of demographic mix in their program.  Maybe that includes trying to have something close to a 50-50 mix of students from families w/ college education vs. those who don’t.

      1. MrsW

        With a waiting list and a huge numbers of both free and reduced lunch and ethnic minority students not served–why tilt a pull-out program to students with college educated parents?

  2. MrsW

     
    I thought I’d try to get my head around the numbers and percentages being shared:

    Over one quarter (26%) of the total enrollment (620) at Harper is free and reduced lunch students

    26% of 620 is 161 students.
     

    And we feed, literally, about 250 students in our S&S program right at the beginning of the day

    250 students are fed in the S&S program.  There is a difference between those identified and those fed of 89 students.  So are there 250 or 161 free and reduced lunch students?
     

    “If you think about a school of only 620 kids, up to nine teachers spending summertime together planning,” said Kelleher. “That’s a third of the staff.”

    The Harper web-site lists 34 teachers Harper Staff Directory. 9 out of 35 is 26%, which is closer to a quarter than a third.  So are there 27 or 34 teachers at Harper?
     

    Divided between two sections, there are a total of 49 students in AVID, with nearly half receiving a free or reduced lunch.

    Let’s say half of 49 is about 25.  25 students out of a total of 161 students is 16%.  Sixteen percent of all free and reduced lunch students at Harper are receiving AVID services.  So, how well do those 25 students need to do on standardized tests, for Harper to see an improvement in the achievement gap?
     

    Over two-thirds of the students in the program are of minorities (Hispanic/Latino, African American, Asian) and almost half are reclassified fluent English proficient (R-FEP) students.

    Two-thirds of 49 is 33 students (a number much less than 161).  Assuming all 33 are receiving free and reduced lunch, 33 students out of a total of 161 students is 20%.  So, how well do those 33 students need to do on standardized tests, for Harper to see an improvement in the achievement gap?
     

    As for the educational level of parents of AVID students, 43 percent do not have a college degree.

     
    Assuming statistics are based on both parents, so 98 parents.  Assume no families, with one parent with a degree and one without a degree. 42 parents do not have college degrees, while 59 parents, do.

    Gallaudet said there are seven or eight kids on the wait list for students going in to 9th Grade.
    “If you were to add those to our current class, I think we have officially accepted 25 kids, so if we were to add all of those in the class size would just be too big,” he said. “The kids on the wait list, we’re on the fence about, they maybe didn’t show that determination we wanted to see, maybe they got a good recommendation and their grades are solid but the determination might not be where it needs to be.”

    I need to think about this exchange a little bit. So, is it class size?  or a child “not having the drive” that places him/her on the wait list and not in a class?  What does “having the drive” look like in a maturing person?

     

     

    1. wdf1

      Vanguard:  As for the educational level of parents of AVID students, 43 percent do not have a college degree.

      MrsW:  Assuming statistics are based on both parents, so 98 parents.  Assume no families, with one parent with a degree and one without a degree. 42 parents do not have college degrees, while 59 parents, do.

      The way this statistic works is that it is the parent with the highest level of education in a family that counts.  If one parent has a college degree and the other parent has only a high school diploma, that child counts as having college education in the family.  It is usually more common that both parents will have similar levels of education, though.  The 43% refers to the students who have no parents who have college education or higher.

    2. wdf1

      Vanguard:  And we feed, literally, about 250 students in our S&S program right at the beginning of the day

      MrsW:  250 students are fed in the S&S program.  There is a difference between those identified and those fed of 89 students.  So are there 250 or 161 free and reduced lunch students?

      There is a lot of context that really needs to be explained in this article to make it more understandable to an audience that doesn’t normally work with the lingo, norms, or details of programs being described here.  Free & reduced lunch is a federal program that has certain requirements and qualifications.  S&S, I think, is a local program whose qualifications for participation don’t necessarily have to be the same as free & reduced lunch.

      1. David Greenwald

        WDF: THere was an error in the article, it referred to it as S&S, in fact it is SNS (Student Nutritional Services). Hopefully that clears up the confusion slightly.

      2. MrsW

        Thank you for this clarification, too.  Actually,  what I am not used to, is people presenting numbers as if they are comparable, when they are not.

        I am worried, that this is what I’m reading in the article:  I’m reading about the process by which DJUSD administrators label, categorize, and discard the vast majority, 84%, of achievement-gap prone students from the one program touted as being able to narrow the gap.  And the rationalization of DJUSD’s choices, is that 11 year olds don’t have enough drive.

        1. wdf1

          MrsW:  I’m reading about the process by which DJUSD administrators label, categorize, and discard the vast majority, 84%, of achievement-gap prone students from the one program touted as being able to narrow the gap.  And the rationalization of DJUSD’s choices, is that 11 year olds don’t have enough drive.

          Not everyone who is eligible for AVID chooses to participate.  By participating in AVID, a student gives up the chance to participate in other traditional electives, such as music, student government, yearbook, etc.  I would argue that students participating in these and other electives can acquire relevant skills for later life.  An 11-year old can develop motivation from participating in some of these elective programs.

        2. MrsW

          Not everyone who is eligible for AVID chooses to participate.

          True.

          With respect to students, does society expect DJUSD be farmers, gardeners or both?  The achievement gap is a crop-level concern, individual outcomes are a gardener’s concern.  The individual choice of 1 student out 161 cannot be discerned in the achievement gap.

        3. wdf1

          MrsW:  The achievement gap is a crop-level concern, individual outcomes are a gardener’s concern.

          I think you might be assuming too much that AVID is *the* path to closing the achievement gap.  It is one path.

        4. MrsW

          I think you might be assuming too much that AVID is *the* path to closing the achievement gap.  It is one path.

          This discussion is about DJUSD, correct?  Not second chances provided by Community Colleges, the military, etc. that DJUSD has no control over.

          What other paths are provided by DJUSD?

      3. MrsW

        Also, I’m realizing that even though the sentences follow each other, I should not assume that the 250 students who get breakfast are actually free and reduced lunch students.  They could be a different 250 students entirely.

  3. ryankelly

    It is difficult to understand if the staff thinks that the program is working.  To hear that significant number of students in our District are entering Jr. High with reading skills two years behind, I’m kind of alarmed.  That there is a huge waitlist for assistance is just inexcusable.   AVID seems to be directed at students who are at-risk because of socio-economic or other factors but are not behind academically.  It is clear that college or university is a goal for these students.   I wonder what the goal is for the rest of the students – High School graduation?  I wonder if there is any kind of attention put on students who move from Bridge to AVID or if this is even a goal.

      1. MrsW

        What is the goal for the rest of the students?  Maybe a high school diploma that demonstrates a student can sit in college prep courses for four years, not be successful, but still show up.  I think that kind of diploma is the minimum needed to join the military.

        For the academically minded–a student does not need a high school diploma to go to community college.

        1. wdf1

          Community college offers remedial classes in reading/writing & math.  They don’t count toward a degree, but they offer a path to get there.  It definitely isn’t perfect but there are students who get baccalaureate degrees that way.

        2. South of Davis

          wdf1 wrote:

          > Community college offers remedial

          > classes in reading/writing & math.

          CSU and UC schools also offer remedial classes.  Only a small percentage of (non Asian) kids who enter the black hole of “Community College” ever get a four year degree.  Sending a (non Asian) kid that wants a bachelors degree to a Community College will virtually guarantee that they fail to reach their goal…

        3. wdf1

          SoD:  CSU and UC schools also offer remedial classes.

          …if you’re willing to pay CSU and UC tuition and fees, okay.  If you want to save money, enroll at a community college.  Community colleges take everybody.  CSUs and UCs will be selective.

          SoD:  Only a small percentage of (non Asian) kids who enter the black hole of “Community College” ever get a four year degree.  Sending a (non Asian) kid that wants a bachelors degree to a Community College will virtually guarantee that they fail to reach their goal…

          Wow.  Tough crowd.  I guess we live in parallel universes.  The California Community College system is the largest education system in the U.S.   If one is trying to economize on tuition and expenses, it is the cheapest and easiest way to graduate from a UC (including Cal or UCLA) or CSU campus, through the transfer program.

          • The California Community Colleges are the state’s largest workforce provider, offering associate degrees and short-term job training certificates in more than 175 different fields.

          • The California Community Colleges train 70 percent of California nurses.

          • The California Community Colleges train 80 percent of firefighters, law enforcement personnel, and emergency medical technicians.

          • 28 percent of University of California graduates and 55 percent of California State University graduates transfer from a community college.

          source

        4. wdf1

          MrsW:  For the academically minded–a student does not need a high school diploma to go to community college.

          and

          MrsW:  Why is that relevant to DJUSD?

          Because DJUSD is a means to get to the next step.  While one is in DJUSD, education is free to the student.  As a student who isn’t on track to go straight into a 4-year college, you get as far as you can for free and then pick up where need to at a community college after graduation.

          In Davis among the many parents and adults who went to exclusive colleges and universities, community college is viewed as second rate and inferior.  But UC’s and CSU’s will accept their lower division courses as if they were taken on their own campus.  A UC or CSU diploma received by a community transfer student is the same as that received by someone who went into UC/CSU as a freshman.  You can’t tell the difference.  I’m amazed how many Davis HS seniors feel disappointed they didn’t get into a UC campus, but refuse to consider enrolling into a community college to transfer there.

          Community college students have more flexibility to figure out what they would like to pursue for a degree or career.  The state of California could not sustain the student enrollments at the UC/CSU campuses were it not for the Community Colleges, nor would it have the capacity to offer higher education to as many residents.

        5. South of Davis

          wdf1 wrote:

          > The California Community College system is the largest

          > education system in the U.S.   If one is trying to economize

          > on tuition and expenses, it is the cheapest and easiest way

          > to graduate from a UC

          A friend who worked for the College of San Mateo about 15 years ago said that out of the kids that say they plan to transfer to a 4 year school (not counting the fire science and welding kids) only 16% had transcripts sent and “most” of those kids were Asian.  His numbers match the quote from the article below:

          “Overall, only 14 percent of all students who entered a community college in 2007 transferred and then earned a four-year degree within six years”

          http://hechingerreport.org/how-often-do-community-college-students-who-get-transfer-get-bachelors-degrees/

          Sending a kid in to the 13th grade/adult day care system that we call Community colleges is a bad idea for anyone that actually wants to get a degree.

           

        6. wdf1

          SoD:  A friend who worked for the College of San Mateo about 15 years ago said that out of the kids that say they plan to transfer to a 4 year school (not counting the fire science and welding kids) only 16% had transcripts sent and “most” of those kids were Asian.  His numbers match the quote from the article below:

          “Overall, only 14 percent of all students who entered a community college in 2007 transferred and then earned a four-year degree within six years”

          Sending a kid in to the 13th grade/adult day care system that we call Community colleges is a bad idea for anyone that actually wants to get a degree.

          Here’s the original source that your article cites.  Thanks for offering that; I appreciate suggestions for research papers, and I hadn’t read that before.  But I don’t think it is as negative a narrative as you probably want it to be.

          Not all community college students attend to participate in a transfer program.  Students go to get trade and professional certificates (auto mechanic, LVN, dental hygiene, firefighter, chef, CIS, etc.), some finish only with an associates degree, many are students who started at a four-year institution and are picking up classes to finish a degree because it fits their schedule better, are high school students looking to pick up college credit, are professionals picking up continuing education credit, in some states are trying to get a GED, are non-native English speakers looking to improve their English-speaking ability, or are taking classes because they want to (no objective in mind), perhaps because they wanted to participate in the community band or theater group.

          Degree transfers to four-year colleges is but one of several programs that community colleges offer.

          If the thing that has absolute value to you in a community college is the transfer rate to four-year completion from among all community college students, then what that community college should do to attract your possible favor is to abandon all the other programs and focus solely on transfer programs, because that would manipulate the formula to a much higher number.

          If you look in the original article, there are other formulations to isolate completion rates among only transfer students, and California Community Colleges come out better than average on most of those isolated measures, and would convince me that CCC’s are probably a better deal than you’re trying to argue.

          I would like to see how those numbers would look when there isn’t an economic/fiscal disruption in play (The Great Recession) for the 2007 cohort.

        7. South of Davis

          wdf1 wrote:

          > If the thing that has absolute value to you in a community

          > college is the transfer rate to four-year completion

          I am a big fan of Community Colleges for Fire Science,  dental hygiene and similar classes or for someone with a BA who wants to take some math classes before starting GMAT prep.

          After working with disadvantaged poor kids in SF for close to 10 years who told me thair “goal” was getting a 4 year degree almost none of them ever got out of city college (I could rant for hours about city college).

          Just like it is MUCH harder for a kid from a family where almost no one has a degree to get one it is MUCH harder for a kid that goes to a JC to ever get a degree.

          > In Davis among the many parents and adults who went to

          > exclusive colleges and universities, community college is

          > viewed as second rate and inferior.

          I grew up poor, my parents never graduated from college and I didn’t go to an “exclusive” school.  I don’t view community colleges as “second rate and inferior” I just see that (sadly) they have become a “dumping ground” for kids that have no idea what they want to do and when you put kids (that don’t have a “tiger mom” pushing them) in that environment few do very well and only a small percentage end up moving on to a four year school.

          P.S. I would be interested in seeing if wdf1 using his education contacts can find out what percentage of Sac City students send a transcript to a four year school in the last few years.

        8. wdf1

           

          SoD:  I would be interested in seeing if wdf1 using his education contacts can find out what percentage of Sac City students send a transcript to a four year school in the last few years.

          You can probably find that information through a public information request of the Los Rios Community College District.

      2. ryankelly

        The numbers of students who start community college and don’t earn a degree are extremely high.  I’m guessing that students are ill-prepared for college even at that level.  I don’t think military should considered as a primary option for our poorly educated students either.  This passing of the buck is what perpetuates the achievement gap, I believe.  And our District is touted as one of the best in California.

        1. ryankelly

          Don’t you think that students in technical careers need to read, do math and develop critical thinking skills at a competent level to succeed?

          I don’t understand the complacency over our students who have fallen behind or struggling, but the outrage about smart children from privileged and educated families not being provided with adequate opportunities to “reach their full potential.”  I think herein lies a basic barrier to closing the gap in our District.

        2. wdf1

          ryankelly:  Don’t you think that students in technical careers need to read, do math and develop critical thinking skills at a competent level to succeed?

          Sure.  Career/technical education doesn’t end in high school.  It continues in the community colleges.  Some programs require a certain level of math & reading which is provided for in community college, if required.

          ryankelly: I don’t understand the complacency over our students who have fallen behind or struggling, but the outrage about smart children from privileged and educated families not being provided with adequate opportunities to “reach their full potential.” I think herein lies a basic barrier to closing the gap in our District.

          I don’t disagree with you, although I would articulate it a little differently. I don’t think it’s complacency, but probably an obligation to follow certain conventions of intervention. Maybe a certain lack of cultural competence.

        3. hpierce

          Agreed, Ryan… I’d particularly want our military personnel to be fully literate, and have a real good handle on math and basic physics…

      3. MrsW

        I think I know where one of the disconnects I’m experiencing is coming from.  I am a fan of community college. However, the title of this article is “Board Hears Report on Achievement Gap at Junior High Level.”

        1. MrsW

          A better title would be “Board hears report on Avid and Bridge Program at Harper Junior High–a program that serves 16% of low income and reduced lunch students.  In 5 or 6 years, DJUSD expects Community Colleges to serve the other 84%”

  4. MrsW

     I don’t think it’s complacency, but probably an obligation to follow certain conventions of intervention. Maybe a certain lack of cultural competence.

    Is there any hope for change? Or is this it–using numbers to imply accomplishments that dont’ really mean and take no responsibility for the overwheliming and vast majority of students under their charge.

  5. Marina Kalugin

    if one really wants to learn about common core….then one will understand that the goal is to get all students to junior college……

    Even Lowell HS in SF during recent years had to fight common core….with common core, where each student is in the same class regardless of math ability, and is taught the approved curriculum…there would no longer be any AP math courses……….as of course, one would have to teach to the lowest common denominator…correct?

    Lowell is very much like Davis HS except higher ranked….  for decades there were more Lowell alums at UCD than even the DHS alums…..and I have not seen the statistics since my sons made their university choices….and I know that it is not even easy for DHS grads to make it into UCD… especially if one is a white male….   odd, because most UCs, including UCD now have way more women than men…

     

  6. Marina Kalugin

    the US is so far behind so many countries and lagging more each year….in the skills one used to master in HS… and much of it is due to so much that is taken for granted and which is the most  basic….    in Japan students learn to brush their teeth after each meal…and if one saw what is served to all students in other countries for breakfast and lunch and what is served in the US?      it is those basic things that our students do not even get….and many are hungry or fed food like substances which lack any real nutrition…. that is where to start….and when the children get proper rest, food and so forth then they won’t be bouncing off the walls or need to be subdued by pharmaceuticals….

     

     

    1. wdf1

      MK:  the US is so far behind so many countries and lagging more each year…

      In 1983, the famous, A Nation at Risk said:

      Our Nation is at risk. Our once unchallenged preeminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world. This report is concerned with only one of the many causes and dimensions of the problem, but it is the one that undergirds American prosperity, security, and civility. We report to the American people that while we can take justifiable pride in what our schools and colleges have historically accomplished and contributed to the United States and the well-being of its people, the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people. What was unimaginable a generation ago has begun to occur–others are matching and surpassing our educational attainments.
      If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.
      source

      There is no time in American history when our education system wasn’t criticized in some way like this, or like your quote.  Pick a year, any year, and I could dig up quotes equivalent to yours about how America is falling behind because of crappy education.  When did you graduate from high school?  That would be a great year to find quotes about what a failure your education was in its day, and how unprepared your generation was to serve the American society.

      Meanwhile, the Japanese and Chinese, in their own way, lament the shortcomings of their education system and wonder why can’t their system be more like ours.

  7. MrsW

    Back to DJUSD and the achievement gap.  From their web-site, it looks like Davis Adult School is energized.  I would be interested in knowing if they are accredited yet, i.e. if the military or anyone outside Davis city limits would accept a diploma from Davis Adult School.  Also, I just checked out the DJUSD’s 2016 Summer School Application.  Looks like even though the program is minimal, summer school courses are now actually “P,” i.e. the college prep courses offered on the main campuses. Summer school used to only offer “regular” English.  Pursuing accreditation for the adult school and providing a rational timely pathway for students to remediate a poor grade could affect the achievement gap.  I hope that DJUSD appropriately tracks these changes, so they can get credit for it.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for