|Posted by Dr. Jose Vidot on April 6, 2013 at 5:25 PM||comments (0)|
In the 21st century, educational policies and mandates serve to sustain the role of the school in a free and democratic society, and influence school advocacy for academic and social success for an increasingly diverse population of students. Title I of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 was developed so that school systems would target funding to students with linguistic challenges, lower socioeconomic status, and underperformance on standardized assessments. In 2009, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) was enacted to provide additional support for schools and school districts with high percentages of poor children who need help in meeting the rigorous state academic standards. The combination of NCLB and ARRA has brought about a renewed emphasis on accountability between the federal, state, and local governments to demonstrate higher student achievement results (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). However, the achievement results are not increasing fast enough.
A study conducted by U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2007) showed school enrollment increase gradually through the early 2000s and is expected to reach an all-time high of 50 million in 2014. Furthermore, immigrants continue to migrate into the United States with limited knowledge of the English language and culture. Many of these immigrants remain in the United States to work, raise their families, and quite often have more children. As this trend continues, the percentage of ELL students in the classroom will continue to rise (Gandara & Rumberger, 2009). This will require districts to become more proactive in developing family, school, and community engagement programs that reflect the needs of the children being served. Weiss, Rosenberg, and Lopez (2010) argued that preparing students for the twenty first century demands the full spectrum of society’s resources to support all students and especially the disadvantaged and disengaged. According to Popoviciu (2010) the majority of low income ethnic minority or disabled students tend to drop out of college and high school. School districts must take an assertive role in helping families become effective in modeling learning as a positive experience. Popoviciu argued that the nuclear family should be thought of as a community of practice that learns through the sharing of experiences and information. Through mutual engagement a new level of collaboration begins to transform the parent and child relationship into a joint enterprise that produces new capital. The production of new resources and capital through mutual collaboration is the main characteristics of a community of practice (Wenger, 2002).
Most people define capital as something of value such as a bank account, stocks, or property. These tangible items are defined as capital because they yield some monetary or useful output that can lead to increased wealth. Becker (2010) stated that schooling, technology for training, lectures, and medical care are also a form of capital because they can improve the earnings and health of an individual. According to Becker the latter description is often referred to as human capital because the individual cannot be separated from their talents, skills, health, or values the way they can be separated from their financial capital or assets.
A program that foments the school community as a community of practice must be developed and implemented so the community will work together to bring the school district to a vision where students receive the best access to resources for learning, exposure to the emerging career fields in society, best trained and qualified teachers and administrators, best facilities, and best programs that are responsive to the needs of the community. Some ideas that have worked in other districts includes district office leadership that fosters strategies for community and family engagement, building capacity for family engagement in the schools, family outreach, and meta analysis and evaluation of strategies and programs implemented for the purpose of refining and sustaining strategies and programs that work (Westmoreland, Rosenberg, Weiss, & Lopez, 2009). The community engagement dynamic must be leveraged so that new resources can be developed and existing resources can be sustained to meet the vision of a high quality community of practice. The program should be launched in stages as follows:
Stage 1: Schedule and conduct open forums on the feasibility of having a formal parent and community engagement program in the school district. During the taped forums, notes will be made on the community input regarding what the community views as an effective program. The local radio station can also serve as a platform for the forum. For example, in our community where there are so many Spanish speaking people that listen to SPanish radio, the radio director could also launch a family hour that can be utilized where questions regading education and children can be discussed. The education guest could review the tape in order to make notes of the community member called inputs as anecdotal data.
Stage 2: Make a formal assessment of the needs and capabilities of the community. The assessment can be accomplished through a survey of the entire school district population. The validity of the survey can be followed up with a triangulation comparison of the county demographic data, and follow up telephone calls to a random sample of surveys to confirm the consistency of the responses (Yin, 2008).
Stage 3: Form a community task force comprised of district, parent and community leadership. The purpose of the task force is to develop a framework for the office of parent and community engagement. The framework must be consistent with the ideals and vision that the school community will strive towards the development of a school system that provides access to resources for learning, exposure to the emerging career fields in society, trained and qualified teachers and administrators, modern facilities, and updated programs that are responsive to the needs of the community. In addition to developing a framework for the Community Engagement Program, the committee will make a budgetary recommendation to the superintendent.
Stage 4: Recruit and hire a person who will lead the community engagement program.
Figure 1.Process for Implementation of Community Engagement Program
In conclusion, the notion that a community of practice is confined to the school building is practical in one sense but impractical if the idea is to leverage all existing resources towards a culture of educational excellence. Parents and community from all walks of life are key stakeholders and should have an active role in achieving the vision.
Becker, H.S. (2010) A Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Human Capital, The Library of Economics and Liberty. Down loaded from http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc /HumanCapital.html
Gandara, P., & Rumberger, R. W. (2009). Immigration, language, and education: How does language policy structure opportunity? Teachers College Record, 111, 750-
782. Retrieved from http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?contentid=15343.
Popoviciu, S. A., & Popoviciu, I. (2010). Transdisciplinary approach on knowledge production in family as a community of practice. Problems Of Education In The 21St Century, 21, 141-152.
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2007). The condition of education (NCES 2007-064). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
U.S. Department of Education. (2010). Implementing the Recovery Act. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/recovery/implement.html
Weiss, H. B., Rosenberg, H. & Lopez, E. (2010) Beyond Random Acts: Family, School, and Community Engagement as an Integral Part of Education Reform.
Harvard Family Research Project.
Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W. M. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Westmoreland, H. ,Rosenberg, H.M., Weiss, H.M., & Lopez, E. (2009) Seeing is Believing: Promising Practices for How School Districts Promote Family Engagement. Harvard Family Project.
Yin, R. K. (2008). Case study research (4th ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
|Posted by Dr. Jose Vidot on January 25, 2013 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Dr. Jose Vidot on January 3, 2013 at 9:05 PM||comments (0)|
You prepare for a mathematics unit by studying the mechanics and processes demonstrated by the teacher or tutor. All of a sudden you are faced with the same type of problem on exam except that there are a myriad of terms and phrases that you perhaps did not consider as important as learning the steps to solving a problem. This experience can trigger anxiety, fear and disorientation in the student.
The terms and phrases used in mathematics are important in distinguidhing between the process that is required and appropriate for the particular problem. For example, the difference between evaluating a term and simplifying a term is the difference between finding a numerical conclusion to an answer versus reducing a problem to it's most intricate components. Quite often students incorrectly assume the two terms imply the same thing. Another example is the use of the term "greater than". In the context of comparing two final terms the arrow head symbol ">" is used as a relational operator. However when "greater than" is used within a term or phrase such as "the length of the fence was 4 greater than twice the shorter side" the expression is written as "2x + 4". This small differences are amplified as you move up the curricular chain in mathematics. The terms and phrases become more sophisitcated. In geometry, the logical terms such as contrapositive, or converse for example are not generally used by most people unless you are the proud owner of sophisiticated English vocabulary.
The point here is that time must be invested on the intricicacies of the terms and phrases used in the problems, procedures and the directives provided at the outset of all problems. Preparing a set of cue cards that help you visualize the words with examples and pictorals is an invaluable study tool. Other tools such as four square concept maps help as well.
|Posted by Dr. Jose Vidot on October 13, 2012 at 12:30 AM||comments (0)|
The start of a new semester means a renewed opportunity to challenge ourselves to grow in knowledge and understanding as a community of learners. This is particularly true in the field of mathematics. We are living at a time when proficiency in mathematics opens doors to a successful career and lifelong learning. My belief is that your success will depend on your commitment towards self improvement and personal
growth. The more that you practice mathematics the better you will become at mathematics. The web links on this site contain information that can help you succeed. Good luck and happy math voyage!
B.S. ,M.Ed, M.A., Ed. D.
Making a positive difference is what it's all about!
|Posted by Dr. Jose Vidot on October 7, 2012 at 1:10 AM||comments (0)|
I recently began to teach an intermediate algebra class at the local community college. The majority of the students in the class are holding down a full time job and in some cases 2 jobs including raising a family. One student confided in me that he wanted some ideas on how to be successful in this class, His fear was that the material was very difficult and that his job pulls him away 12 hours a day.Finding the time to practice would be a challenge.
The challenge for the instructor in these scenarios is what to say to someone who has the hopes and aspirations for something better, perhaps a career. When I went to college many years ago, I had already served a fulltime tour in the Marine Corps, so I was ready to move on to getting a good career in mathematics or engineering. However, the GI Bill covered the books and tuition, but the cost of room and board was incumbent on my efforts in obtaining extra income. I held a fulltime job 9 hours a day including a 15 credit semester load. My point is that it is not easy but it is doable.
According to Datasource, four things that busy people can do to study are to (1) find your peak performance time. At what time of the day are you at your best; (2) develop strategies for reading quickly and efficiently; (3) fight the urge to allow yourself to be distracted and (4) control your environment to minimize distractions. I also recommend that you look at your schedule and see where there are places that can be swapped for time to study.
|Posted by Dr. Jose Vidot on September 19, 2012 at 12:40 PM||comments (0)|
Today we worked on the Algebraic concept of percentages. Students who have difficulty with the English language often times struggle with the concepts in math given the unique usage of vocabulary in mathematics. I noticed that my students responded well to the idea that percentages are proportions that are divided by 100. When I presented the proportion
P/100 = a/b and stressed that the b (or bottom or bigger) number belongs there and the P is the percentage. The students immendaitely took hold of this codification strategy. The response on the exit ticket was a positive 92% out of 89 Algebra students. (note that an exit ticket is a formative assessment near the end of the period. In my case it was a 4 question quiz on percentages).
There are schools of thought that oppose codification strategies for English language development. In many respects I agree with the position that a student should comprehend the read material in it's entire context. However, when working with students that are years behind in English language and mathematics background, strategies such as coding to solve a math word problem through the acquisition of clues was very effective in my lesson. It was a good day!
|Posted by Dr. Jose Vidot on September 13, 2012 at 12:45 PM||comments (0)|
There is an achievement gap between Hispanic school aged students who are immigrants and those Hispanic school aged students who are native born. The lack of academic achievement among Hispanic students between the ages of 16 and 24 was may be attributed to their mixed feelings about academic success. In addition to these mixed feelings, the a PEW study conducted in 2009 showed that 58% of the respondents believed that limited English skills are a major reason why these students do not perform as well as other student groups. Other factors may contribute to the lack of achievement among students with limited English proficiency.
Often, the attitude of the teacher towards the student may also impact student achievement. When teachers are asked to comment on deficiencies they saw in the classroom; they noted deficiencies in their student‘s culture, language, intelligence, and families‖. Former Secretary of Education Richard Riley appointed a panel of researchers and policy analysts to study the achievement gap and drop out problem among Hispanic students The panel found that many educators believe that Hispanic students do not value school, nor do they desire to learn English.
However, a number of studies have refuted these findings. In a meta-review of the research on deficit thinking, the panel found differences were in teacher ratings of Non-Hispanic and Hispanic students, as well as an effect of ethnic background on the level of acculturation of Hispanic students. One hundred fifty students in fifth grade, of which were Hispanic, were assessed by teachers using the Behavior Characteristics of Superior Students Assessment (BCSSA) to determine the presence of leadership, motivation, learning, and creativity within students. The study showed that teacher perception of the student to simultaneously acquire the traits of the new culture while preserving their predominant culture significantly impacted the student ratings on the BCSSA. The impact of teacher attitude toward their students cannot be over emphasized.
|Posted by Dr. Jose Vidot on September 9, 2012 at 11:50 PM||comments (0)|
Employers in the United States are experiencing difficulty in sustaining a high- quality workforce (National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008). The jobs most in demand require engineering, mathematics, and science skills that are aligned with the technological innovations of the 21st century. As an educator in the classroom I see a large percentage of students lacking the level of mathematics competence and science skills needed to qualify for the high technology jobs. The task of providing rigorous mathematics instruction becomes more complicated when the student body has a diverse and often limited background in basic mathematics skills.
The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) is purported to be an effective way to provide the instruction of important content knowledge while implementing strategies to facilitate the acquisition of the missing background information (Echevarriia, Short, & Vogt, 2008). One study cited by Lee (2005) found that many students with limited exposure to the mainstream acquire cultural norms and practices in their homes that do not always align with those of the school. That is why instructional strategies that bridge the gap between student experiences and the new content can have a significant impact on students learning and achievement (Driscoll, 2005).
|Posted by Dr. Jose Vidot on September 3, 2012 at 9:55 PM||comments (0)|
Educators in the United States have received a new challenge. Students are to learn content with a new more rigorous set of standards aptly named the Core Content Curriculum requirements. However, there is no mention of how English Language Learners (ELL) are to learn the content areas such as mathematics with a limited English comprehension and vocabulary. Vidot and Simon (2011) conducted a study that showed that the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) was an effective instructional model for addressing language disparities in the attainment of academic content for high school mathematics students. The study showed that veteran teachers ascribed SIOP to sound teaching practice and welcomed the implementation of this model as a value added approach to addressing language barriers and gaps in educational background. The general consensus had been that most veteran teachers believe that their way of doing things is correct and time tested. However, the teachers involved in the study did not reflect this attitude. On the contrary, the teachers believed that something needed to be done to address the language barriers and that SIOP has been helpful in attaining this goal.
|Posted by Dr. Jose Vidot on September 2, 2012 at 11:10 PM||comments (0)|
Leadership is a shared responsibility. A good leader must also know how to follow. This is the culture within our Professional Learning Community. Congratulations to students and staff at Wahluke High School. Our principal announced an 11% increase in Geometry EOC and 15% increase in Algebra EOC scores.