At SPPS and in school districts around the country, students of color perform at lower academic levels than their white counterparts - regardless of socioeconomic status. Closing the achievement gap is an urgent need for SPPS, with a student population that is 76% students of color and 30% of students receiving English Learner Services.
Our goal is to eliminate racial disproportionality and predictability of achievement by accelerating the achievement of our lowest performing students and increasing achievement for all students.
Our commitment to excellence in equity is the foundation for the Strong Schools, Strong Communities Strategic Plan - in the classroom, in school choice and in the assignment of resources. Our plan seeks to transform classrooms, thereby transforming lives, families, neighborhoods and touching our entire community.
Eliminating our district’s institutional racism will increase achievement, including on-time graduation, for all students, while narrowing the gaps between the highest- and lowest-performing students.
Full Racial Equity Policy link below:
COLLABORATIVE ACTION RESEARCH FOR EQUITY
The CARE model is built on the notion that a focused, small start, centering on improved instructional and support strategies for underserved student groups, is likely to yield significant whole school over time. Traditional whole school models of restricting can bring about changes in schools eventually, but rarely do they focus on the essential student-teacher relationships and specific learning improvements among the lowest performing student groups. As teachers begin developing lessons based on state and district standards using research based culturally relevant pedagogical strategies to engage their students of color, they will discover that this kind of instructional interventions has rapid and large effects on the achievement of underserved students of color about whom they are most concerned.
CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE PEDAGOGY
"Culturally responsive teaching can be defined as using the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles of ethnically diverse students to make learning encounters more relevant to and effective for them. It teaches to and through the strengths of these students."- Geneva Gay (2010)
Culturally responsive teaching characteristics:
- It acknowledges the legitimacy of the cultural heritages of different ethnic groups, both as legacies that affect students' dispositions, attitudes, and approaches to learning and as worthy content to be taught in the formal curriculum.
- It builds bridges of meaningfulness between home and school experiences as well as between academic abstractions and lived socio-cultural realities.
- It fits a wide variety of instructional strategies that are connected to different learning styles.
- It teaches students to know and praise their own and each others' cultural heritages.
- It incorporates multicultural information, resources, and materials in all the subjects and skills routinely taught in schools.
As cultural mediators, teachers provide opportunities for students to engage in critical dialogue about conflicts among cultures and to analyze inconsistencies between mainstream cultural ideas/realities and those of different cultural systems. They help students clarify their ethnic identities, honor other cultures, develop positive cross-ethnic and cross-cultural relationships, and avoid perpetuating prejudices, stereotypes, and racism. (Gay, p. 45, 2010)
Essential Domains of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy:
Q & A FOR TEACHER TO GET STARTED
Who are my focal students?
As a classroom teacher, you will be responsible for selecting your own group of 3-5 focal students that are preferable for all the students to be of the same racial group and African American males.
What Culturally Relevant Instructional Strategy could I use in the lessons?
The strategies should be based upon the information gathered about each Focal Student?
What is the “above the line” information?
These are information that you are able to recognize on the “surface” when you meet the student.
What is the “below the line” information?
These are information that you learn about the student through conversations that could vary from information about their family, culture, hobbies, goals, and ect..