The Design Challenge
Buena Vista Horace Mann K-8 will use an Innovation Award in 2016-17 to improve participation and engagement of English Language Learners in order to increase overall academic achievement and close the opportunity gap that exists for students of color.
Currently, Buena Vista Horace Mann is facing the challenge that its EL students are showing relatively low academic proficiency in both ELA and Math. The school has had a focus on supporting their ELLs for 4 years and they are not seeing the gap close. In instructional rounds they have noticed less participation in class by English learner students. They want them to have access to content knowledge and use academic language to express themselves in both English and Spanish to become leaders in their community. For the past 5 years the school has implemented a teacher collaboration structure called RPAC (Reflective Practices and Collaboration). In these weekly meetings teachers look at student work, give feedback on each other’s teaching and use reflective protocols to learn together and improve the quality of our teaching. Teachers are overwhelmingly positive about this structure. Using this collaborative teacher model they already have in place will help the school build teacher capacity to meet the needs of English learners and greatly improve results.