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Improving The Current Teacher Student Ratio

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I currently teach 7th grade at Park Middle School in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. As I reviewed the multitude of data, a few specific statistics emerged. The population of our sending districts in 2010, Scotch Plains and Fanwood, totaled 30,828. The United States Census Bureau predicts our total sending population to rise to 31,433 within the next 5-7 years (U.S. Census Bureau, 2015). Even though that increase is slight, our school district has implemented a full-day kindergarten program this year. This data and new program generated the following questions:
Will full day kindergarten cause our district’s population to increase exponentially?
How will we accommodate an influx of kindergarten students and therefore an increase in middle
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What strategies are successful in seventh grade for African American students that are possibly not employed in eighth grade?
How is our school addressing and reaching African American and Hispanic students? Students with Disabilities?
Are seventh grade teachers fully preparing students for eighth grade?
Through the analysis of this data, another question arose: What is our school culture? In Chapter 5 of School Culture Rewired, we were introduced to the School Culture Typology Activity (SCTA). The data above caused me to reflect on the 12 Aspects of School Culture, specifically collegial awareness and communication. The SCTA chart describes collegial awareness as, “It’s important to know how much teachers in your school believe they can learn from colleagues-- not only by talking but also by actually watching each other teach” (Gruenert & Whitaker, 2015, p. 70). In a truly collaborative culture, teachers seek out each other to identify methods that are successful in reaching and educating all students or even specific subgroups. With this in mind, I am curious if teachers in seventh grade use curriculum that is more engaging for certain subgroups or employ different methods of delivering information that increases retention of knowledge and skill than in 8th grade. Similarly, are we communicating enough between grade levels? According to Gruenert and Whitaker (2015), “Any teacher can talk to any other teacher about
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