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Poly, Small Learning Communities Essay

1401 words - 6 pages

Long Beach Polytechnic High School (Poly) has a very interesting strategy used in some large school; Poly along with the rest of the LBUSD school district has instituted small learning communities that divide Poly into seven small learning communities (SLC) (Long Beach Polytechnic High School). These SLCs divide the students by interests and academic achievement towards particular fields and further education. All students have to be in one SLC by applying to the one they want to be in when they first go to school. I’ve heard that two of the more successful ones are the Center of International Curriculum (CIC), Program of Additional Curricular Experience (PACE ) where a large percentage of their students take and pass AP exams along with going to four year schools. I didn’t observe classes for either of these programs. Instead over my time observing at that school the last two semesters I observed students in the Medical and Paramedical Services (MAPS) and Humanities Academy SLCs. Observing a math class in the Humanities Academy I noticed a lot of unmotivated, underachieving students. This is interesting when you read the mission statement of Poly: “The Mission of Long Beach Polytechnic High school is to support the personal and intellectual success of every Poly student, every day.

When reading the mission statement the school sounds like it will focus on every student, but I did not get that feeling when observing my class. Seeing many students struggle in class and doing poorly on exams makes me question if Poly’s SLCs are effective for all their students who aren’t in the “best” SLCs. I believe one way to help motivate underachieving students is by having students around them who are motivated and work hard for good grades. By separating out the students into different SLC’s Poly has lost some of that since many of the students with the highest academic goals are concentrated into two of the seven communities.

The classes I observed were not at the same diversity level as the school. In the two classes I observed there are a combined 69 students 2 are white and 3 are Asian, while the rest are Hispanic, or Black; This is much lower than the 22% and 10% of Asian and White students in the school overall (School Accountability Report Card (Long Beach Poly)). I think this is important because the White and Asian population of the school have a much higher API score than the Black and Hispanic Students in the school. This is part of the achievement gap in the school that is talked about in “Multicultural Education in a Pluralistic Society” (Gollnick & chinn, 2013); historically and at Poly Hispanic and Black students have lower standardized test scores. The mission statement of Poly makes it sound like they want every student to succeed every day but by having these different communities I’m not sure they are able to uphold the mission statement and close the achievement gap.

b) Discuss at least three culturally responsive strategies...

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