We are a high poverty neighborhood school surrounded by more affluent housing developments. Wedged between two interstate highways and hemmed in by industrial businesses, this school serves households where the average household income ranges from $33,000 to $54,000. Immediately outside the beltway, income jumps dramatically -- to almost double that of the school’s service area. The ethnic composition of the school is 49% African American, 42% Hispanic/Latino, 5% Caucasian, 2.5% Asian and does not reflect the diversity of the greater metropolitan Elsewhere in the county, only 18% of children live in poverty, however within the public school district the poverty level is 54% and at my school, the poverty level is 84%. At our school, we have 25 homeless students, a rather high number for this district. The school population, whether from old established families or recent emigrants, Hispanic, African-American, Caucasian or Asian, share one characteristic, that of poverty.
In spite of the obstacles they face, most students at my school meet or exceed expected yearly academic growth, due not only to the rigor of instruction, but also because of the support of specialized staff and a strong school culture.
Both Grades 4 & 5 just finished learning about Cornell Notes, They will be learning Mind-Mapping using colored pencils and we need a heavy-duty sharpener to get us through mind-mapping and sketch-noting as part of the research process. Students will learn how to take notes first on paper and then digitally. Grade 5 will move on to sketch-noting in the spring and Grade 4 will end the year with a project on designers, architects, and engineers.
Headphones will allow me to discreetly provide individualized instruction and audio support to students who need that to comprehend grade-level texts such as Readworks, as well as enrichment to those students who are ready to tackle above grade-level topics on Listenwise or science on Discovery Education.
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