We have many undocumented student immigrants in our schools through no fault of their own. Why not devise a plan where these students can earn their citizenship while in high school as part of the national immigration reforms?
I think the ESL programs are wonderful, but it is a disservice to children who only speak English not to also teach them a second language begining at the elementary level (Spanish being the obvious choice). These children will be at a disadvantage once they graduate as they have not started learning a second language at an early age. As our country becomes increasingly bilingual they will lose out on job opportunities as a result of not being bilingual. I believe this is an equity issue that needs to be addressed.
The middle schools would have a better understanding of where the elementary school children are curriculum-wise, and offer classes that serve students at different levels. For instance, all children who are ready for algebra in 7th grade should be able to have access to an algebra program in 7th grade and the option to take more advanced math in 8th grade, either at the middle school or by arrangement with the nearest high school. The integration between the schools should be clearly communicated to parents. There should be more and earlier open houses at the middle and high-school levels to introduce students and parents to the school and allow for questions about curriculum, etc.
Connection Centers and Prevention/Intervention Specialist: 1. All High Schools would have a Connection Center. These centers would be modeled after HIPP (Highline Interim Placement Center - major kudos to Founder and Lead Teacher Bruce Dearborn and his staff). The centers would specialize in re-engaging students in their education. They would be staffed by a 2 person team of a counselor and a teacher or teacher/advisers. Students would have the opportunity to work on credit retrieval classes, meet with a caring adult that specializes in assessing students strengths and areas of need, participate in individual counseling and small group social skills/study skills lessons, develop authentic goals and a vision for their life, and engage in career development activities. These centers would also house students who were serving a short-term suspension (as well as long-term depending on the situation). This model could eventually be modified and implemented at the middle school level. 2. All Middle Schools would enage in an activity to identify which students have built a strong meaningful connection with at least one staff member on campus. There would be a full-time Prevention/Intervention Specialist hired to monitor this work. This person would work with those students who had not built a strong connection to a staff member and/or their educational success. The Prevention/Intervention Specialist would focus on collaboratively building these connections with the student, engaging them in school, helping them develop goals and a vision for their life, and help them see the connection between their actions/performance in school and their ability to reach these goals.
Band parents together to hold HPS system accountable for protecting our children.