My school is located in an urban area. The school has an estimated enrollment of four hundred students for the 2017-2018 school year, in grades TK-5, with fifteen classrooms. Additionally, we house a state pre-k program. About 92.5% of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, and 48% are English language learners. At our school, forty-six percent of the students are Latino, thirty-five percent are African-American, ten percent are Asian and three percent are Filipino.
The school has established a culture of continuous school improvement and has a team of teachers, parents and administrators who are committed to creating the best possible learning environment for students.
Teachers meet weekly for a sixty-minute period during the workday, in their professional learning community, to analyze student performance data, and to set goals and share instructional strategies. These teacher teams follow a developed agenda and use protocols and defined roles to manage the meetings. These meetings are my school's cornerstone for building a professional learning community and improving student achievement.
Do you remember back-to-school shopping with a parent as a child? I do, and I can remember that one of the things I loved most was picking out a new backpack for the year. A new backpack made me feel secure with all of my things safely put away during the school day, but it also was a point of pride for me. I would set it out every night with my homework inside, anticipating all the learning for the next school day. Sadly, my childhood experience is not a reality for many of our students.
Many of our students experience daily anxiety because they do not have a steady, reliable backpack with which to travel to and from school.
They can't keep track of their homework or school supplies; they are constantly in a state of worry about how to store their things. They don't have the security and pride that a well-made school bag can provide.
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