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In this episode of Prolepsis, Dr. Theodore Ransaw talks with Dr. William Schmidt who believes common standards and high expectations for all students are essential in closing the achievement gap for African-American males.

sparty-02  The first day of school is always an adventure. Adrenaline runs high as parents encourage their children to work hard and be on their best behavior, students exude nervous energy as they timidly walk into their classrooms for the first time and teachers anxiously welcome their new learners. I remember my first “first day” of school vividly, as do my students. I had spent hours preparing my classroom, making it a warm and welcoming environment. I diligently constructed a classroom library that included a rug and pillows so that students would have a comfortable place to read. I enthusiastically set up centers around the classroom to facilitate student-centered small-group learning activities. I carefully labeled students’ desks and cubbies to ensure they felt they were part of a classroom community as soon as they walked in.

sparty-02  Today’s young people (aged 18-24) are being raised in a ‘college for all’ ethos and are enrolling in college in unprecedented numbers.1 Despite increasing enrollment from across the socioeconomic distribution, longstanding socioeconomic disparities in completing postsecondary degrees linger.2 In fact, recent studies have suggested that socioeconomic disparities in degree attainment are even wider than the more widely known racial/ethnic disparities in degree attainment.3 

sparty-02  In recent issues, we have discussed why and how schools identify their ELL students.  In this article, we want to provide you with some perspectives on ELL identification from practitioners in Michigan school districts.  

Most teachers have heard the old adage that knowing your students will help create a positive relationship and improve students’ learning in the classroom. This is particularly important for ELLs since these students have such varying needs in terms of language and academic support. In this short video, Sergio Keck, Director of Instructional Support Programs for the Lansing Public School District, describes the importance of identifying your ELLs and knowing who they are. It’s not just about compliance, but it is about truly ensuring that your ELL students have an opportunity to learn.

As educators, we often associate hip-hop with sex, violence, and the destruction of the potential of black youth. Many would be surprised to know that hip-hop was created by students in reaction to school budget cuts.

Budget cuts of the 1970s in art, dance, and music programs in New York Public School Districts prompted students to use whatever spaces and tools they could find to express their creativity. Subway trains, buildings, and walls along the streets became canvases for graffiti art.  Cardboard boxes were flattened into portable dance floors to practice breakdancing. When they were kicked out of one place, they moved on to the next.  Old turntables were re-interpreted as musical instruments as DJ-ing gained popularity, and students looked for an artistic outlet through the spoken words of rap.

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