Our School

Our school has about 600 students, with a high transiency rate. The students you start the year with will not be the students you end the year with. Our teachers have varying degrees of experience. Many are near retirement and have been at the school for decades. Some are intermediate with on average 7 years experience at the school. A few have less than five years experience at the school.

On average, there are 2-4 students with a learning disability in each classroom. These students are all mainstreamed with many receiving an hour or two of resources.

Our school is located in what used to be called “South Central” but is now simply “South L.A.” Unfortunately, as part of LAUSD, it is in mini District 3, which would be the more affluent district. Our school is also a year-round school with 3/4 of our student body and staff in session at any given moment. Our school has, quite frankly, the world stacked against it. When plans are made, they do not take into account that we follow a different schedule and that our students aren’t like the other Westside students.

The free-lunch rate at our school is 99%. The other 1% receive reduced fee lunches.

The student body used to be 50% black and 50% Latino. Now, it’s closer to 40%/60%.

In any given classroom, you will have one or more students with identified ADHD, one or more students born with drugs in their system, one or more students whose parents are incarerated, one or more students whose parents are drug-dealers or prostitutes, several who are living with a person not their biological parents, one or more living with their grandparents, many students whose parents hold two or more jobs, quite a few who work with the parents afterschool in their store, and at least half know each other because they live down the hall from each other in the apartment building.

Your average third grader at this school comes into third grade reading 40 words per minute. There will be at least four students who read 30 words or less and are not yet identified Special Ed. A few will read 70 words or more and those are your high-achievers.

These kids require an education to succeed like a fish needs water…but education may be the least of their priority today…getting food to eat may be a top priority…the friend shot down the street maybe another.

Welcome to my school.

4 Comments »

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  1. Great Classroom Blog!

    This is life in the “Big City”.

    I teach 3rd in LD5 in East L.A.

    We would love to have Blog buddies.

    visit our classroom blog at
    http://www.room36.wordpress.com

  2. My hat is off to you!

    While I’m not a teacher (I’m a S.E. Para)I think I have an idea of what you are up against and have been up against.

    My heart goes out to you… you are appreciated!

  3. I have just started blogging, and recently found your site.

    I too teach in an inner city school, but a high school, where these dear children of yours will be coming in a few years. I understand that LAUSD is entrenched in all the fiasco of a large distict, and although my district is not as large, it too suffers many of the same fiascoes.

    I hope you can work through whatever issues you currently face and come out on top. That too I understand as I am seriously thinking of what I want to do next. I do not think I can keep doing this hard work for much longer.

  4. I stumbled across this blog and can resonate with you. I work in a small town just north of Boston, MA. It is a predominantly Spanish-speaking, low-income working class families. It is definitely a highly transient population with families and children traveling back and forth from here to their native countries often, and for extended periods of time.

    I am a 27 year old Asian woman, who nonetheless sticks out like a sore thumb in the neighborhood but I love love love love this place. The description of your district sounds much like the one I work in. It can be so frustrating as a teacher but more so, it simply breaks my heart. I’m so glad to find your blog because it’s given me TONS of encouragement, resources, and support.


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