Monthly Archives: January 2015

Atrisco Heritage Academy High School

Atrisco Heritage Academy High School is located in the South Valley of Albuquerque. The school is built in the rapidly growing Southwest Mesa area on 65 acres of land and is home to approximately 2,350 students. It is a college preparatory, comprehensive high school that incorporates small learning communities, professional learning communities, and real life experiences to provide a personalized educational experience for all students. In 2008, with the opening of Atrisco Heritage Academy High School, the culture and legacy of the Atrisco Land Grant continues to live on in spirit and in name, proudly carrying forward a name that is deeply rooted in the land, history and culture.

Atrisco Heritage Academy High School values linguistic expression in multiple languages. At Atrisco Heritage Academy High School courses are offered in English, Spanish, and French in an effort to support students in achieving language proficiency. The majority of students are Hispanic/Latino. The students are challenged to reach high academic expectations and are supported in reaching those goals. Atrisco Heritage Academy High School had a school grade of C, but the school earned an A for the category of Student Growth of Highest Performing Students as well as for the category of Student Growth of Lowest Performing Students. Forty-three percent (43%) of English learners attained English language proficiency as measured by the ACCESS for ELLs, and Atrisco Heritage Academy High School had a high number of students who graduated with the APS District’s bilingual seal.

Chaparral Elementary School

Chaparral Elementary School is nestled in between the Franklin Mountains and part of the sprawling Gadsden Independent School District that embraces the border with both Texas and Mexico. Chaparral Elementary School is a predominantly Hispanic school community that supports its students’ bilingualism by implementing a 50/50 dual language program model strand at the school. Chaparral Elementary School’s one-way dual language values its students’ knowledge of Spanish and English. This is evident in the school’s balanced literacy approach where teachers gauge new students’ abilities based on how to read, write, and comprehend in their strongest language – whether or not that language is English.

The leadership, Laura Pargas and Vicki Arnold, together with the school community have set a goal of becoming a Blue Ribbon School in the future. The teachers, students, and families will strive to accomplish this goal together by valuing the community’s rich linguistic and cultural diversity with strong bilingual approaches in literacy and language across the content areas. Chaparral Elementary School received a school grade of A. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of English learners achieved proficiency in Reading and 67% in Math, surpassing state targets.

Dolores Gonzales Elementary School

Dolores Gonzales Elementary School was the first APS school to implement a 50/50 dual language program model for its students over 15 years ago. The school is named in honor of a well-known pioneer and advocate for bilingual education within New Mexico, Dr. Dolores Gonzales, La Doctora. The school proudly carries on her legacy with its dual language education. Students in the dual language program
receive an enriched education and an opportunity to become bilingual and biliterate. The students at Dolores Gonzales Elementary School develop a solid cultural awareness and appreciation for living in a diverse and multilingual world. Students are given homework, and their progress is continuously assessed in both
English and Spanish.

Teachers at Dolores Gonzales Elementary School believe that in order for their students to excel academically they must begin by building a classroom community that centers around respect. They believe in listening to their students, who they are – this allows them to know the whole child. For the parents at Dolores Gonzales Elementary School the school’s goal to graduate bilingual, biliterate students supports their efforts of ensuring that their children are grounded in their culture, know their language, and maintain communications with their extended family. Principal Lori Stuit and assistant principal Sandra Alvarado have created a school culture that values teachers, students, parents, and community. Dolores Gonzales
Elementary School received a school grade of B. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of English learners demonstrated proficiency in Reading and 59% in Math.

Emerson Elementary School

In the heart of the Albuquerque’s international district is where Emerson Elementary School is located. Emerson Elementary School’s motto is “Many Languages, One Emerson” exemplifying how the school community validates the multiple languages spoken by its students and families. Emerson Elementary School’s learning principles are based on SOAR. These are Show Respect, Offer Kindness, Act Responsibly and Reach for Success. Emerson Elementary School’s mission is to create a safe, respectful environment where students are empowered to be responsible and risk-taking learners. Through cooperative efforts, staff, students, and families promote life-long learning and provide for individual needs.

Emerson Elementary School implements a dual language program model that promotes an inquiry-based learning approach supported by Language Arts Units of Study curriculum and a Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD). With the leadership of Denise Brigman and Antonio Medina, the school is committed to supporting its dual language staff by providing a monthly opportunity for bilingual teachers to collaborate and study biliteracy planning through a professional learning community and book study. Emerson Elementary School received a school grade of C, with an A in the category of Student Growth of Lowest Performing Students as well as in the category of Opportunity to Learn.

Grace B. Wilson Elementary School

Grace B. Wilson Elementary School’s vision is for its students to master Navajo literacy and grammar with relative ease and become literate in the Navajo language. Grace B. Wilson Elementary School has put into practice a heritage language program model in order to achieve its vision. The Grace B. Wilson Elementary School teachers’ program goals also align to its vision to help students become bilingual in Navajo.

Grace B. Wilson Elementary’s school community has an open door policy inviting families “to come by and see us” any time during the school year. All parents are encouraged to become involved in their child’s education. Parents are ALWAYS WELCOME at Grace B. Wilson Elementary School!

Grace B. Wilson Elementary School’s Navajo language classes implement unique instructional strategies, which are:

1. Emphasis on Navajo literacy.
2. Integrating culture-based arts/activities into language instruction.
3. Navajo Literacy Nights.
4. Use of realia, visual aids, reading materials in Navajo.

Grace B. Wilson Elementary School received a school grade of B. Twenty-three percent (23%) of English learners attained English language proficiency as measured by the ACCESS for ELLs©, which is above the state target. The school staff is very committed to helping and working with all students.

La Academia Dolores Huerta Charter School

The vision of La Academia Dolores Huerta Charter School is to encourage students’ development of social identity through language, cultural values, and global realities. La Academia Dolores Huerta Charter School serves students in grades 6-8 from the greater Las Cruces area whose population is socio-economically and linguistically diverse. The school’s curriculum, goals and objectives and methods provide its students with an education based on dual language and multicultural education. The school’s mission is to build a curriculum that enables middle school students to achieve high academic standards and personal growth through:

1. promoting multiculturalism and bilingualism;
2. nurturing diverse cultural awareness and appreciation;
3. recognizing and developing the gifts and skills of each student;
4. providing an education equal to or better than that provided by other public or private schools;
5. promoting nonviolence by emulating the principles and spirit of such leaders as Martin L. King, Cesar Chavez, and Dolores Huerta;
6. encouraging students and their parents to maximize their involvement in an interfacing relationship with the school's staff and thereby assisting them to grow in self-motivation, competency, experiences, independence, knowledge and self-worth.

At La Academia Dolores Huerta Charter School students build their self-identity and self-confidence through their performances in mariachi, baile folklórico, for example, and become proud of who they are. Principal Octavio Casillas believes that it is important for middle school students to leave the school with a strong cultural background with the provision of forming a positive self-identity. La Academia Dolores Huerta Charter School has maintained a school grade of B. Sixty-one percent (61%) of English learners demonstrated proficiency in Reading.

See also: Video: ALD4ALL facilitators dancing with students

Ojo Amarillo Elementary School

Ojo Amarillo Elementary School’s Navajo language program’s goals are for all children to become bilingual in Navajo. Ojo Amarillo Elementary School recognizes its students’ strengths by acknowledging all students at the quarterly school wide awards recognition assemblies. The principal and staff make every effort to recognize students in some way for their efforts and success.

Ojo Amarillo Elementary School’s Navajo language classes implement multiple unique instructional strategies, which are:

1. Hands on experiential learning;
2. Integrating Culture-Based Arts/Activities into target language instruction;
3. Navajo Literacy Nights;
4. Use of realia, visual aids, and reading materials in Navajo.

Ojo Amarillo Elementary School has established an upward trajectory from being a D school in 2011-2012 to being a B school. The school has maintained this school grade of B for two academic school years now. Fifty-three percent (53%) of English learners showed proficiency in Reading and 48% in Math. The school community is enthusiastic and dedicated to their profession. Additionally, teachers are striving to create a more culturally sensitive environment in order to work with diverse, and particularly Native American, students.

Santa Teresa Middle School

The Santa Teresa Middle School’s vision is Striving Toward Mastering Standards. The mission is to create and maintain an environment and system of support that ensures that every member of the learning community reaches a high level of academic achievement as determined by state and national standards.

PAL program – Program for Acquiring Language: This program is a “school within a school” for newcomers or recent immigrant students. The PAL students are not isolated and are able to participate in all programs such as art and sports. The goal of the program is intensive literacy instruction for English learners so they can be mainstreamed in all content classes before they attend high school. Principal Rosa Lovelace encourages parents new to New Mexico to enroll their child in the PAL program “so we don’t lose kids” and we accelerate their learning in English and in Spanish.”

All teachers at Santa Teresa Middle School have a TESOL or Bilingual Endorsement. There is minimal teacher turnover since teachers report that they “want to be here at STMS.” Santa Teresa Middle School received a school grade of A. Ninety-two percent (92%) of English learners achieved proficiency in Reading and 74% in Math!

ALD4ALL Theoretical Framework

Culturally responsive pedagogy emerged over the last few decades as a response to address the underachievement of minority students. According to some researchers, teachers can improve ELs’ learning outcomes by using culturally and linguistically responsive teaching practices (Tharp et. al., 2000; Villegas & Lucas, 2002). Culturally responsive teaching practices (a) are based on a socio-constructivist approach to teaching and learning; (b) build on students’ cultural and linguistic resources by accessing prior knowledge and relevant experiences; (c) help students examine curriculum from multiple perspectives; (d) use a variety of assessment practices that promote learning; and (e) make the classroom culturally inclusive of all students (Villegas and Lucas, 2002).

Culturally responsive pedagogy offers a potential solution for addressing the challenges associated with educating ELs. Findings from the 2006 National Literacy Panel’s Report—a comprehensive review of the research on developing literacy among second language learners—suggest that a culturally responsive approach to teaching and learning may be a promising practice for teaching ELs (August and Shanahan, 2006). But the report noted that there is little empirical work to serve as guide for the implementation of effective PD on culturally responsive teaching practices.

The ALD4ALL project inquiry and PL is grounded in sociocultural theory, a social constructivist perspective of teaching and learning. Researchers from this perspective recognize that learning is not only an individual endeavor, it is also socially mediated and context-dependent (Vygotsky, 1978). Individuals are recognized to possess valuable funds of knowledge (Gonzalez, Moll & Amanti, 2005). As a critical component of—and to model a sociocultural approach to —PL, teacher coaching and on-going support are integral components of intervention design (Walqui, 2011). Furthermore, the inquiry takes a generative theoretical approach (Ball, 2009) to designing and delivering professional development.

A generative approach to PL encourages teachers to connect their personal and professional knowledge with what they learn about their students to implement instruction that meets their students’ educational needs, interests, and inquiries (Ball, 2009). The inquiry and the PL is anchored in the research and scholarship pertaining to bilingual education and school improvement including the indicators of effective practices for improving the education of CLD/EL students (Cadiero-Kaplan, 2004). The indicators of effective practices —value of learners, academic language orientation, expectations for learners, instructional goals, resources, and assessment and accountability (Cadiero-Kaplan, 2004)—are the source of inquiry providing a lens and setting the foundation for the ALD4ALL project’s inquiry and PL.

Project Theory of Change

Given the learning from the first year of the project and the feedback of the program officer at the time, the ALD4ALL project worked early in the second year to clarify and document the project’s theory of change. The ALD4ALL project’s theory of change is that by focusing on culturally and linguistically responsive (CLR) pedagogy, collaboration, effective practices, generative learning, and professional growth, at all levels of the school system, we will be able to improve the teaching-learning process for culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students and English Learners (ELs) in our state. The ALD4ALL project began with an inquiry into how effective schools with bilingual multicultural education programs serving CLD and EL students sustain gains in student achievement. The ALD4ALL project aims to sustain the process by providing ongoing resources and support from the PED, and by disseminating information for fostering increased collaboration within each school community.