Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Disrupting Injustice: Principals Narrate the Strategies They Use to Improve Their Schools and Advocate Social Justice

Example 2: summary of the work, evaluation of methods and findings, and reflection on relevance to your practice

Summary: Theoharis’s article “ Disrupting Injustice: Principals Narrate Strategies They Use to Improve Their Schools and Advance Social Justice” offers strategies that six different principals implemented of their campuses. The primary purpose of these strategies was focused on leveling the playing field for all students, particularly they wanted to address under privileged students of low socio-economic status and students of color. What they found was integration of all students into the similar learning environments irrespective of perceived ability level and/or educational titles such as EL and gifted resulted in improvement of the schools in many ways.

Evaluation and findings: Much of what was stated in this article are questions that arouse for our senior staff as we grappled with the ideas about how to implement positive changes in scheduling for our students. The first strategy described in the article was “Eliminate pullout and segregated programs.” One principal stated that “ Teaching students in heterogeneous groups within the regular classroom was a critical philosophical decision that each of these principals made.” It seems that this is an important factor in the achievement of a truly equitable school environment. Students are not pushed if they are solely in support classes that do not demand rigor of them. Additionally the article noted on another strategy “Increase student learning time”, that often students being pulled out and tracked into lower ability groups are receiving less instruction by a classroom teacher. This furthers the inequity that results from tracked classes.

THEOHARIS, G. (2010). Disrupting Injustice: Principals Narrate the Strategies They Use to Improve Their Schools and Advance Social Justice. Teachers College Record, 112(1), 331-373

Additionally student were having to choose between music and math “ Students often had to make choices between [extra help in] math and taking band...my rich kids, many of them have experiences outside of school, but for my poor students, they need to have opportunities like band and art in school. They should not have to make the choice between math and music... so we had to change the way we scheduled students.” We have had a similar occurrence on our campus so this idea really resonates with me. I believe that students should be able to choose, when ever appropriate and possible, their own experiences from SIGS and Xblocks to electives that are of interest to them.

Reflection and Relevance: This could not be more relevant for my current put it to practice action research project. Students having been somewhat tracked on our campus due to ability levels in math has created issues of equity in my mind. Inequities in the way I approach my two sections of English are being identified and addressed through my studies in this course. Using the strategies provided in this piece will be a guiding resource in my own practice and ta resource that I share with my colleagues when we begin to discuss our schedule for second semester.

By: JoHanna Simko

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