The physical address of the school is Gardner Street Elementary School, 7450 Hawthron Avenue, Los Angeles, California. The school is located in the heart of the city, it is flanked by two of the most famous streets in the city, known for its hotels, boutiques and famous restaurants and entertainment centers. The school occupies a small stretch of land that had been donated to the city in the early 1980’s. The neighborhood where the school is located had been among residential houses but with the recent development’s in the city, around 3 or 4 business establishments have opened just a stone’s throw away from the school entrance.
The school is not along the main thoroughfare and children have to either ride the bus or be driven to school. It is however easy to get to the school but is a lot more difficult leaving the school in order to get home. Getting inside the school would require people to signal the secretaries inside with a ring. Upon notice of the same, the secretary would check the television monitor and would let people in. This is done for purposes of security both for the children and the staff as well.
Once inside, there are banners that display the words “trustworthiness,” “respect,” “responsibility,” “fairness,” “caring,” and “citizenship. ” These values are part of the program of the school which enhances the character of the students. These characters are called the “Six Pillars of Character. ” Aside from the Six Pillars of Character, the school is also proud of the outputs of the students, which they placed on the wall. It is for everyone to see and for the students to feel well-motivated and be reminded with learning.
Before entering the main entrance of the school, one would notice the word “office” written in three languages, which are English, Spanish, and Russian. The multiple languages used for the simple signage is indicative of the school’s diverse culture and the need to respond to the same. It is expected that everyone would be able to learn from one another especially with regard to language. What is the composition (ethnic? linguistic? economic? gender? religious? political? ) of the students? Faculty? Administration? Staff?
The community that the school is located is predominantly white Americans with only a few Hispanics, Black Americans and Asians. Of the total population of the school at the present is 438 and English language learners comprise 42% of the group. This would indicate that many of the students are not native English speakers but they do great work around there. The school also largely caters to the financially disadvantaged with 63. 7% of the students coming from the lower socioeconomic rung. The faculty is large where the student-teacher ratio is at 18. 8%, for every 18 students there is at least 1 teacher assigned to them.
The faculty however had not been vocal about their political beliefs however; the community is actually composed of more single parent’s than 2-parent households, although the difference between male and female is not evident. Since the school caters to a diverse student base, the teachers likewise are also very ethnically diverse. Religion is also very diverse but the faculty and staff had learned to respect each other’s beliefs. What are the school’s formal/stated and informal/inferred policies?
The school’s general formal policies include: • School of residence. The student can only be enrolled in this school if he/she resides within the school jurisdiction. Students found to have false address will be transferred immediately to the school residence. • Homework policy. Homework is given everyday, from Monday to Thursday and even on Friday as it is permitted. • Locked Gates. The campus gates will be locked at 8:15 and opened only after classes. • Parents may visit classrooms if they have a permit. • Student’s can be detained after school for disciplinary reasons for a maximum of 10 minutes.
• The school is drug, alcohol and tobacco free. • Students should wear comfortable clothes and closed shoes, open shoes or sandals are not allowed. • The school has zero tolerance for offenses like possession of firearms, brandishing of knives, sales of drugs and sexual assault. • Students are not allowed to leave the school during class hours, for any emergency, the student will only be released to a responsible adult. • Please follow safety rules always. • Report any suspected child abuse occurrence. • Cell phones will only be allowed if it is turned off during the class.
It can only be used after classes and the school is not responsible for lost cell phones. The school’s informal policies include: • Students must have their lunch at school. If they have to go home regularly for lunch parents should sign a form. • After school programs until 6:00 pm are available for parents who cannot pick up their child on dismissal time. • It is more difficult to drive the child to school than to have them walk. • The school is safety conscious. • The school welcomes the involvement of parents in the school’s operation. Student promotion/retention
The school has the School for Advanced Studies (SAS) which enables students to continue their SAS schooling up to middle school and the secondary level without applying. The school also offers grade 6 level which means that the school has a contained grade 6 instructions which is more appropriate for children instead of the multilevel middle school setting (Scheurich & Skrla, 2001). Promotion and retention will be based on their academic performance and test scores in the state and district standards. Students assignment into special programs (i. e. , bilingual, SDAIE, GATE, Special Education, etc. )
The school has a diverse cultural group of students thus language learning is given in the primary levels for all students. The school has several after school programs like the SAFE, STAR (Science, Theater Arts, and Recreation enrichment program) and the culture and arts and special education classes. Students are assigned to the different programs depending on their needs and the parent’s consent. Teaching programs The school is focusing more on the teaching of language, writing, science and math, culture and arts and character development.
Staff development Staff development had been focused on the teaching if writing skills to our students. Teachers are trained in the writer’s workshop format for the past 2 years. Teachers also receive training as SAS teachers and integrating special education classes to the regular classes. How are decisions made and implemented within the school? Who sets the agenda? Who doesn’t? The school board mandates the different standard operatng procedures in the school, while the principal implements it and the entire teachers monitor the adherence to the policies.
The school and the parent’s work hand in hand in matters concerning the safety of the students. The school board, administration, parents and teachers can bring their concerns to the table and it will be discussed to determine its viability and relevance. How are policies developed? Policies are developed in the philosophy that it is the best for the students who attend our school. The policies are drafted and read to the board and then deliberated upon by the school administrators. For policies that are state mandated, the school readily adopts the existing state policy (Cooper, Fusarelli & Randall, 2004).