California Schools - Tending to Transitions. According to a recent story by the Los Angeles Times, to provide extra support for ninth graders, schools like Yucaipa High School in San Bernadino have set up their own ninth grade campus, enabling school administrators, counselors and teachers to zero in on the needs of one age group. Schools that cannot afford a separate campus are creating learning communities. Logan High School, for example, in Union City, created a program called “freshman families,” breaking the 1,000-member ninth grade class into groups of 100 students who take classes from the same biology, English and mathematics teachers. For the full story, see:
“California: Educators focus attention on ninth-graders’ transition to high school.”
La Joya Learning Community.
A growing body of research finds that professional learning communities, combined with mentoring, can strengthen school holding power. In La Joya, Texas, IDRA is partnering with the school district to implement a model for raising teaching quality and reducing dropout rates. IDRA has assisted La Joya ISD in creating a professional learning community supported by mentoring and coaching activities in the classroom. This effort creates a culture of support and success for secondary students previously at risk of dropping out. Through the La Joya learning community, students’ reading scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) increased at a statistically significant level, student attendance rose, no at-risk student dropped out, and there were many fewer disciplinary problems. To find out more about the La Joya learning community model, tune in to:
Professional Learning Communities in Schools, Episode 25, of IDRA’s Classnotes Podcast Series.
A Framework for Action. When parents, families and others are actively involved as partners with their schools, students thrive and the community itself is made stronger. Listen in! to “Action for School Change” and School Holding Power for Every Child, as IDRA president & CEO, Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, discusses the essence of the dropout problem and what can be taken to guarantee graduation for every student.
From the Principal’s Office. “What was… critical was creating and maintaining meaningful culture where parents were valued, respected and treated with dignity and respect…Until we can value our students, parents and community, we will remain the same.” – from a conversation with Rogelio López del Bosque, Ed.D., IDRA senior education associate and former principal of Eastwood Academy High School in the Houston ISD. Under his leadership, Eastwood maintained a 100 percent graduation rate, a 98+ percent attendance rate, and substantial college readiness results in math and English. For recommendations on creating family-friendly schools that strengthen student success, see:
“Principal Shares Successes in Parent Involvement.”
Create a Local School-Community Action Team to Translate Information to Action. Here are some resources and “how to’s” for getting started:
Organized Communities, Stronger Schools: A Preview of Research Findings (2008) by the Annenberg Institute (report)
“Action for School Change” a Classnotes podcast with IDRA president & CEO, Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel (audio file)
Developing a Collaborative Team Approach to Support Family and Community Connections with Schools: What Can School Leaders Do? (research brief by SEDL)
Effective Parent Outreach - Episode 38, IDRA Classnotes Podcast (audio file)
Communities Using Data to Improve their Schools (Episode 34, IDRA Classnotes Podcast) (audio file)
IDRA School Holding Power Portal – (Texas web portal on actionable data)
Principles for Policymaking - (Article on setting "Uncompromising Expectations for Graduating All Students")
Knowledge for Action Organizing School-Community Partnerships Around Quality Data (article)
For more tools and resources, visit IDRA’s School Holding Power action page, where you’ll find policy principles, strategies for individuals and communities, and action steps for parents (in English and Spanish).
“The best thing I did last month was [sharing] my knowledge [with] someone who needs it and will respect me.” “This past month the best thing about tutoring was [showing] the kids… there is a place in the world for them to shine.” – Seventh grade tutors at Kennedy Middle School in Atlanta taking part in IDRA’s Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program. To learn more about how the program works to keep 98 percent of tutors in school and how to start a program at your school, visit: www.idra.org/Coca-Cola_Valued_Youth_Program.html/
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The Intercultural Development Research Association is an independent, private non-profit organization whose mission is to create schools that work for all children.
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Graduation for All Coordinator
Intercultural Development Research Association
5815 Callaghan Road, Suite 101
San Antonio, Texas 78228