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.