A series of small changes turned a low-scoring San Diego elementary with many English Learners into a solid performer, writes Emily Alpert at Voice of San Diego.
Pushed by state monitors, Euclid “set aside common, continuous blocks of time for English and math.”
Bounce from one fourth grade classroom to another at Euclid on the same day and you’ll see both sets of kids penning biographies of Marie Curie and Martin Luther King Jr.
“If one person is off in left field,” asked second grade teacher Starla Ortiz, “how can we discuss what was successful and what wasn’t?”
Conforming allowed teachers to work together: They could talk about their strategies on similar lessons instead of talking past each other. Teachers from each grade gather to look at regular, shared tests throughout the year, meeting for a whole day every six weeks and for shorter sessions more often. They analyze what kids understand and what they don’t. They learn from coworkers whose kids ace the tests.
And they decide together how to re-teach the things students missed, then give students a quick, common quiz to make sure it worked.
Teachers teach sophisticated vocabulary to students whose parents know little English.
“Teachers don’t want to let fellow teachers down,” Alpert writes