A Teacher's Day

The day in the life of an inner city large urban school district teacher after the high stakes testing ends and there is still three more months left before summer vacation.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

I have taught school for over thirty years always in the inner city and for the most part always upper grade students. I have two children and I have been married for twenty years.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


We received over twenty-five thousand dollars over time with this grant—an after school enrichment project.

1.) Please provide a brief overview of your enrichment program?

Currently ______ has a partnership with the Joffrey Ballet; a fulltime fine arts and computer lab program; a choir; and an after school sports recreational program with units on tennis, basketball, track, and baseball. In the past we have had extensive dance classes, violin lessons, an African drum ensemble and a band. The Joffrey Ballet grant expires at the end of this year, but we will try to renew it.
Our enrichment program has been designed with the help of student and professional staff surveys. With this enrichment grant, we will expand on our existing dance programs, add an after school computer club and a cultural arts project (African drums, band, and violin lessons and a fine arts club). The dance class will have a full curriculum beyond ballet and will include modern, African, and tap dance. Our music instruction will be multicultural and include a band, violin ensembles, an African drum group and an after school choir. (Our present choir meets one day a week during school.) The after school fine arts program will be an intensive exploration of the world of art crossing the entire horizons of culture and time. Students will study archeology, the various media of the artist, the disciplines of the fine arts and a number of artists. We will offer our students a number of opportunities to explore the world of cultural arts. In addition, we will offer a technology component—The Computer Club where students will learn a number of objectives including how to design web pages and repair computers.
These clubs will meet Monday through Thursday after school. Each class will serve fifteen students in order to meet the individual needs of all of the students. Parents will be encouraged to enroll in the various activities as mentors and tutors.

2.) How does this program support your regular school day?

Research has shown that well-rounded children become lifelong learners. The _______ vision and mission statement both incorporate lifelong learning as one of our primary goals. Furthermore, brain research shows that children learn through a variety of instructional methods. Not all children are auditory learners, for example. Some students are kinesthetic and tactile learners. Others utilize visual and/or mobility. The _______ after school program will incorporate all of the learning modalities needed to instruct the whole child.
Reading is the primary objective for all of our students. Without reading, they cannot achieve and they cannot become lifetime learners. Our after school enrichment project will help our students to become better readers because of the high interest and diversity of the programs. Learning to play a musical instrument institutes many of the same skills needed to read. A successful technology club also insures successful readers. The fine and cultural arts, according to brain and learning research, help children see ideas in traditional as well as alternative ways. All of these enrichment projects combined will offer our students higher order thinking skills and successful strategies to become better readers, scholars, and lifelong learners.
Lastly, the ________ enrichment program will raise our attendance levels. Students who are bored, disinterested or hesitant about school will attend everyday because they want to participate. The more a student attends school, the better learner that a student becomes. The famous axiom—the more you read the better you read—is also true with our enrichment program. We will immerse our students into enrichment and they will be enriched. With a number of engaged active learning environments within the confines of the program, students will begin to flourish academically, psychologically and emotionally. The variety of enrichment activities will enhance our student’s educational career and begin the upward spiral that will make a positive transformation in their overall performance. After all, this is what _________ and all schooling should be about—creating individuals who have a lifetime thirst for learning.

3.) What are the projected outcomes of the program?

With this program participating students will show a fifty percent decrease in negative referrals to the office, a two percent increase in attendance, a five percent increase in all standardized testing in both reading and mathematics, and a twenty percent increase in the ISAT for the section on fine arts. Students will make a technology and cultural arts portfolio. Furthermore, they will meet or exceed all of the following objectives for technology including: how to demonstrate basic operations and concepts; understand social, ethical, and human issues; and have a comprehensive understanding on how to use technology productivity, communication, problem-solving and decision-making tools. Students will meet or exceed the fine arts goals as listed in the Illinois Learning Standards: State Goal 25—students will know the language of art; State Goal 26—through creating and performing, students will understand how works of art are produced; and state Goal 27—students will understand the role of the arts in civilization, past and present.
Because the enrichment program is high interest and excites our students, we expect to see a ripple effect that helps change the focus of the entire school body thereby strengthening existing academic programs, creating more viable solutions to discipline and conflict and changing the mindset of students who act out, are not interested in academics, and/or are just plain bored. The overall effect will be the creation of a learning institution where children not only feel good about learning, but also want to learn more.

4.) Please explain briefly how you plan to evaluate the effectiveness of your program.

The _________ enrichment project will have both formal and informal evaluations. Informal evaluations will be on going. These will include numerous gallery showings within the hallways and main corridors of ______ with displayed artwork. This will also include a gallery showing of artwork at the High Risk Art Gallery located on Chicago’s north side. The various music groups—the band, violin, choir and African drum programs—will perform at all assemblies and they will record a professional CD with Q Studios. The technology club will display their work in a variety of technology shows developed for individual classrooms, assemblies and hallway exhibits. Teacher made performance quizzes and tests will also be utilized as evaluative tools.
Formal evaluations will include data on negative referrals to the office, a two percent increase in attendance, a five percent gain in all standardized testing in reading and math and a twenty percent increase in the fine arts segment of the ISAT.
Participating students will be given journals for notes and comments on the program. Each activity will include time for students to reflect on what they have learned. These journals will be collected from time to time and utilized as another form of evaluation. Teacher observation and a change in the climate of the school will also be documented through interviews, observation, and other anecdotal records from the ______ School professional staff, adults from the greater ______ learning community, and other interested stakeholders.
All of these evaluations—formal and informal—will be incorporated into an administrative portfolio. An administrative team made up of administrators, teachers, ESPs and interested adults from the greater _______ learning community will evaluate the portfolio and other results on a bi-weekly basis to insure all targeted objective, outcomes and formal evaluations are being met. The team will make periodic reports to the LSC and to the entire professional staff during scheduled in-service days.
Members of the Office of After School and Community School Programs will be invited to assemblies, field trips, and exhibits.


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