Skip to comments.Too much Spanish [Laredo, Texas High School]
Posted on 06/10/2009 5:14:14 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch
Martin High will focus on teaching English
Painfully aware that Martin High School likely will fail federal standards for the sixth year in a row, LISD officials say they will redouble their efforts to teach English to a hard-core group of students who are not learning the language of their adopted country.
"We need to speak as much English as possible," said Severita Sanchez, Laredo Independent School District's executive director of compliance and accountability.
"(Freshmen) are coming in with a very weak English foundation.
The comprehension is not there."
According to LISD, the federally mandated restructuring plan at Martin High will focus on Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and special education students - a demographic that has been unable to
meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standards for six consecutive years, causing the campus to likely go to Stage 5 sanctions, the highest level imposed by the government.
The Texas Education Agency will release AYP figures in August.
To try to pull itself out of the hole and improve students' scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, Martin High will revamp its master schedule and hire additional instructors to reduce class size.
Other goals include training teachers with research-based oral language development strategies, prescribing reading and math interventions and creating a small learning community for ninth and 10th grade special education and LEP students.
The numerous changes will cost LISD an estimated $715,000.
The bulk of the money, which will come from federal funds, will be used to employ 11 new teachers from outside the district.
More than half of those 11 already have been hired and are currently undergoing training, LISD officials said.
The new instructors, in addition to others with a proven track record, will teach a small, targeted group of students struggling with the math and reading portion of the TAKS.
When grading the performance of schools, the state does not factor in LEP and special education students' scores on the TAKS.
But the federal government's report card for schools does evaluate the TAKS scores of 10th-grade LEP and special education students.
Because of this small group of students, Martin High has been placed under sanctions set by the federal government.
In fact, several other schools in LISD and United ISD are under sanctions because their LEP and special ed students aren't passing math and reading TAKS. But only Martin is facing Stage 5.
Not enough progress
Each year, the districts take additional measures to help the struggling students.
Improvements have been made, but they're just not enough.
For example, of Martin High's 195 10th-grade LEP students who took the TAKS reading test in 2008, 49 percent passed. In 2005, only 12 percent passed the reading test.
It's the same story for the students' scores on the math test except there's less improvement.
As of last year, a 23 percentage-point gap exists between the LEP group and the all-students group, which encompasses Hispanic, white and economically disadvantaged, among others.
Martin High Principal Blas Martinez, an outspoken critic of the federal government's AYP standards, said the entire school, which has about 2,000 students, is unfairly labeled a failure because of LEP and special education students.
"Considering about 50 percent of those students are passing, it really comes down to 90 of them who are determining the fate of the entire campus," he said.
LISD predicts Martin High will not meet AYP benchmarks in 2009 because of the 10th grade LEP students' scores on math and reading.
Tenth-grade special education students were not measured this year because fewer than 50 of them took the reading and math portions of the TAKS.
Too much Spanish
According to LISD, Martin High's feeder schools "do not emphasize and ensure English is spoken in the classroom.
Spanish is generally spoken."
To remedy the situation, LISD suggests that school culture needs to change so that faculty and students speak English in nonclassroom situations, such as hallways, cafeterias and playgrounds.
Campus staff, such as assistant principals, will monitor instruction to ensure it's spoken in English, according to LISD's restructuring plan.
Monitoring will be conducted through walkthroughs, faculty meetings and communication with parents, among other things.
In its multipoint plan, Martin High will develop a master schedule with such proposed parameters as an additional instructional period, course sequence for LEP and special education students and scheduling targeted students with reading and math courses in the morning.
Research has shown students retain and understand information better in the morning, Sanchez said.
Also, the plan stated that Martin High will have a 10-1 student/teacher ratio for LEP targeted students in the second assigned reading and math course.
Currently, student/teacher ratios are about 30-1.
Sanchez said that reduced class sizes will make one-on-one instruction easier.
"Some (students) are too embarrassed to respond in English in fear they will be made fun of," she said.
Meanwhile, Martin High students who did not pass the TAKS in 2009 will not get the electives they ask for.
"If you want a certain class, you have to earn the privilege by passing the TAKS," the school principal said.
"It's going to be a very focused and deliberate scheduling process."
The school will also reexamine staffing from one grade level to another.
"I want the best person in the best place," Martinez said.
Sanchez elaborated on Martinez's point.
"We need to make sure every single teacher is not only fully certified, but is offered as much professional development and training as possible," she said.
School officials stressed that Martin High will not be taken over by the state.
"There is no silver bullet to this," Sanchez said.
"It's a process. It took us years to get into this.
Now, we're going to have to teach and learn our way out of it.
"If we're going to Stage 5, we're going to do everything we can.
And I know that faculty and staff at Martin High will continue to do everything they can.
You'll see progress."
"It's a process. It took us years to get into this."
Is Laredo still in the USA?
Make English the official language of the US and REQUIRE students to pass proficiency tests will help a lot.
I found the error in their thinking. Adopted does not mean invaded in a nicer way.
Los dos Laredos ping!
If you want on, or off this S. Texas/Mexico ping list, please FReepMail me.
Elections and constant pandering to the 3rd World have consequences.
If only 12% of sophomores can pass a proficiency exam... how the effing eff did the other effing 88% make it to the tenth grade?
This isn’t their adopted country. It is a place to squat, be violent, sh!t on the flag and bleed American taxpayers dry until the fascists pass amnesty.
The answer to this problem is very simple.
Pass a law that says you can’t get a driver’s license if you can’t speak and read English.
When some 16 year old kid knows he can’t drive if he can’t speak English, he will learn. And if he’s caught driving without a license, no license for 5 years.
Isn’t high-school a little late to begin with English comprehension... I’m assuming that they came in from middle-school.
“This isnt their adopted country. It is a place to squat, be violent, sh!t on the flag and bleed American taxpayers dry until the fascists pass amnesty.”
In Eagle Point, Oregon high school, the ‘hispanic’ students refuse to stand and many turn their back, for the Pledge of Allegiance. So the school made a policy that said that was okay.
In socialist Maryland we have a law that anyone driving a vehicle over 14,000 lbs. needs to speak proficient English or it’s a $1,000 ticket.
“According to LISD, Martin High’s feeder schools “do not emphasize and ensure English is spoken in the classroom.
Spanish is generally spoken.”
To remedy the situation, LISD suggests that school culture needs to change so that faculty and students speak English in nonclassroom situations, such as hallways, cafeterias and playgrounds. “
Having gone to an international school in Caracas, Venezuela, I have to say that there’s little incentive to speak anything outside the classroom other than what everybody else is speaking. I had to learn Spanish quickly because you just get left out if you don’t fit in.
This is NOT an excuse, just an explanation. I feel for the faculty, because these kids won’t get the English anywhere except the classroom. Mandating English on all posters, announcements, public speaking events, etc. will begin to make the point, but as the lady said, “we’ll have to learn and teach our way out of this”.
When some 16 year old kid knows he cant drive if he cant speak English, he will learn. And if hes caught driving without a license, no license for 5 years.
As a city prosecutor in one jurisdiction in South Central Texas and a municipal court judge in another, I’m here to tell you that I see kids in my courts every month who are in on their 3rd or 4th “driving without a license”, and they just don’t care. Their parents also don’t care. “No insurance? Well, I don’t have a license so they can’t take it away. What else you got?”
We’re looking at trying to get jail time for the offense of permitting an unlicensed driver to operate a motor vehicle, but it’s a tough row.