The Dancers are Here
At an early college institution in South Jamaica, Queens, there is a culture of competitive academic achievement. This school caters to students from within and outside the district and borough. The school is 64% African American, 23% Asian, 9.0% Hispanic and 1% Native American, with an overall population of 500 students. Being a small school makes it personable but, as such, students are quite aware of their classmates' achievements or the lack thereof.
As an early college institution, students are enrolled in college classes as freshmen until 12th grade. By 12th grade each student will leave with 10-60+ college credits. Amidst the successes, I had a set of juniors, 75% of whom are classified by the city and school as the lowest third, according to their performance on standardized exams. Also, students with IEPs make up for 20% of the population and 5% have fallen into the unfortunate lull of being on academic probation.
After analyzing data from Interim Assessments (I.A.), we observed the juniors we taught were scoring less than the freshmen and sophomores in the same course. The I.A.s are exams prepared by the teacher and are given every quarter to evaluate mastery of concepts currently on the New York State Regents exam. Intervention is done after grading to allow students to address skills not yet mastered. Interventions include using videos, teacher-suggested websites, re-teach opportunities, and using topic based worksheets to practice the concept and demonstrate mastery. Teachers also make themselves available during lunch times to assist struggling students.