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Evaluate a School-Wide Reading Program:

 How does the data support and/or illustrate the Culture of Literacy at your School?

In 2006, the relatively small Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD) had over 18,000

students and was a fiscally sound competent system. Today, IUSD has 8,400 students, is 30

percent privatized and drowning in debt (“Are Public Schools in California’s Inglewood a

Warning?”, 2018). Clyde Woodworh Elementary School is no different, with enrollment at an all

time low and 90% of teachers on the precipice of retirement, aggregated data provided by The

California Department of Education indicates a severe decline in academic performance school-

wide. The above measure is based on student performance on the Smarter Balanced Summative

Assessment for English Language Arts last school year, which indicates that; 74.1% students
performed below standard which is a 30% increase from the previous year. 7.2% of students

exceed performance levels, 14.4% students met performance expectations, 22.2% nearly met

performance expectations and 56.2% did not meet performance expectations. Overall, this data

illustrates a depressed Culture of Literacy at Clyde Woodworth Elementary. Clyde Woodworth

does not have a very robust literacy culture, many of the classrooms have dated books, the school

does not have a library, the school grounds are being remodeled and students and staff are

preparing for a facility merger with neighboring Monroe Middle School. The project is costing

IUSD approximately three-million dollars, leaving few resources for currently enrolled student

needs. Teachers and staff are having a difficult time sustaining a minimal personal budget for

their classroom needs because of the school and districts lack of available funding.

Additionally, there is a strained administration; Clyde Woodworth alone has had 5 principals

in the last 7 years, giving teachers little hope for substantial support and overall creating a

climate of inconsistency. Clyde Woodworth Elementary Schools academic performance ranks

staggeringly at 5,242nd out of 5,662 California Elementary Schools, making it one of the lowest

performance elementary schools in the state. Operating as a Title I school; 86.3% of the students

are socioeconomically disadvantaged, 49.8% are Emergent Bilinguals and 2.7% are foster youth.

The schools racial and ethnic demographic is approximately 67.3% Hispanic, 29.8% African

American, and 85.5% are free or reduced lunch recipients.

 Look at the data through the lens of a “Reading Specialist.” How do the scores at each
grade level confirm your impression of the teaching effectiveness at those levels? Reflect
upon what you see in the data and what you know about the teaching at your school.
The scores provided on the California Department of Education website only reflect those grades

levels that were assessed using the SBAC (grades 3-5), the results of the assessment only detail

student performance based on racial and language categorization. Using a color-coded

accountability system, California illustrates state measures, using comparable statewide data

represented by one of five colors: red, orange, yellow, green and blue.
Based on this accountability system, if viewing literacy performance from the perspective of

a Reading Specialist, these scores are cause for alarm. African American students are performing

92.9% below standard, ELLs are performing 70.7% below standard, students who are

socioeconomically disadvantaged in total are performing 76.3% below standard and Hispanic

students are performing 66.7% below standard for English Language Arts. All groups are in the

orange, just barely stretching out of the lowest performance level; with the exception of

collective Hispanic performance on the SBAC. In my view, there is an unquestionable amount of

underservice that is taking place at Clyde Woodworth, lack of resources coupled with

socioeconomic disadvantage amongst the families, is a recipe for academic decline when met

with low teacher performance expectations. Most of Woodworth’s teachers are approaching

retirement and generally feel unsupported by administration and overwhelmed by the demands of

the students. There is an observable lack of current evidence-based instructional strategies for

ELLs, an ineffective and impractical approach to socioemotional needs of the student population,

and a curriculum that is widely unpopular and not appropriately aligned to the full spectrum of

the students’ academic needs.

 If you were the Principal, what grade level would you be most concerned about. Identify
three steps you would take to help that grade level move closer to grade level
expectations.
The aggregated data provided is not categorized by grade level, though the measures are

based on the SBAC scores for grades 3-5. Using this collective data, the grade level I would be

most concerned about is 1st grade. It is during first grade that most children define themselves as
good or poor readers. Unfortunately, it is also in first grade where common instructional

practices are arguably most inconsistent with the research findings (readingrockets.com). When

it comes to reading, the nine months of first grade are arguably the most important in a students

schooling. With a predominantly ELL population and students from low-income families

enrolled at Clyde Woodworth, it is a moral imperative for effective research based instructional

practices and strategies to be implemented. Using the Universal Design for Learning Framework,

culturally responsive instructional guidelines, along with collaborative leadership practices, as

principal, the three steps I would take to help 1st graders move closer to grade level expectations

are:

1. Facilitate multiple Professional Development meetings discussing and training

teachers in Principle II of the UDL Framework – Provide Multiple Means of Action

and Expression: The UDL Guidelines for the Principle of Action and Expression

include strategies related to strategic planning, called executive functioning skills.

These are complex cognitive strategies, such as identifying goals, organizing,

planning, executing a plan, self-monitoring, and correcting actions (Ralabate, 2016).

This principle is the cornerstone of effective lesson planning, guiding teachers to

better determine their students learning goals. Some action and expression strategies

include:

a) Provide options for physical action- vary how learners can respond and

navigate the environment.

b) Provide options for expression and communication – use and encourage use of

multiple media for construction and purpose


c) Promote executive function skills – offer guidance for appropriate goal

setting.

2. Assessing Reading Instruction for Cultural Responsiveness – As Principal I would

help to bring Woodworth’s first graders closer to grade level expectation by assessing

student culture. Taking pride in knowing your students is the hallmark of any well-

functioning school; I would get to know the students by talking with them in the

classroom setting, interacting with them on the playground, and observing them

working and playing with others. Also, invite family members in to share aspects of

their culture with their children’s class. In addition, I would familiarize myself with

the cultural makeup of the students at the school and trace ELLs language

development based on geographical and social factors, truly educating myself on the

copious amounts of diverse cultural representation. Furthermore, cultural relativism

would branch out into the first-grade students reading instruction. I would first

identify the elements of reading; phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary,

and comprehension and use these components as a basis for determining whether

there is an instructional routine in place that is researched based. Once that is

established, I will propose culturally responsive assessment strategies that are catered

to the cultural diversity of the student body. For example, an effective reading

assessment for ELLs is a Cloze Procedure, a cloze procedure is good for assessing

both vocabulary and comprehension. In the cloze procedure, the reader attempts to

impose closure by using context clues to fill in blanks in an incomplete text

(Wisniewski, Fawcett, Padak, Rasinski, 2012).


3. Collaborative Leadership – Working closely with the first-grade teachers and the

Instructional Coach, I would attend the grade levels team meetings twice a month, using the

collective teacher vision for their students as a stepping stone towards higher academic

achievement. In addition, suggest scheduled one-on-one meetings with each first-grade

teacher to go over student progress, areas of challenge, strengths and whatever additional

support the classroom teacher may need. If the budget for the school remains fixed and

unsubstantial, I would research non-profits and organizations that offer free or reduced priced

educational resources and materials and provide catalogs for the teachers to place orders

appropriately. Lastly, I would implement a Buddy Reading Program school-wide.

Collectively and cooperatively organizing with the teachers, I would establish this peer-

monitoring reading program as a tool to help build overall fluency and reading skills school-

wide.
References

California Department of Education (2018) School Profile: Clyde Woodworth Elementary


School.
Ralabate, P.K. (2018). Your UDL Lesson Planner. The Step-by-Step Guide for Teaching All

Learners. (pp. 50-52). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brooks Publishing Co.

Ultican, T. (2018, June 13). Are Public School in California’s Inglewood a Warning? The San

Diego Free Press, https://sandiegofreepress.org/2018/06/are-public-schools-in-

californias-inglewood-a-warning/#.XM3eWI5KjIU.

Wisnieswski, R., Fawcett, G., Padak, N.D., Rasinski, R. (2012). Evidence-Based Instruction in

Reading. A Professional Development Guide to Culturally Responsive Instruction (pp.

19-24). Boston, MA: Pearson Education Inc.

www.readingrockets.com