Work Journal 2

Wed.  Heard back from both students in the Community Studies class.  Both are willing to meet with me.  Kiara requested the weekend to gather relevant materials.

Thurs. The notion of tracking and punitive negotiations of race in the classroom came up in interviews with both Professor Taylor and Professor Charity.   I searched for some studies that might frame these issues and the ways they have played out in Williamsburg.

Found the following sources:

Title:
A Multilevel Study of Predictors of Student Perceptions of School Climate: The Effect of Classroom-Level Factors.
Authors:
Koth, Christine W.1,2 ckoth@jhsph.edu
Bradshaw, Catherine P.1,2
Leaf, Philip J.1,2
Source:
Journal of Educational Psychology; Mar2008, Vol. 100 Issue 1, p96-104, 9p, 2 Charts
Document Type:
Article

Abstract:
A positive school climate is an important component of successful and effective schools and thus is often an aim of schoolwide initiatives. Climate has traditionally been conceptualized as a school-level factor and is often assumed to be related to other school-level factors (e.g., school size). The current study examines variation in perceptions of climate based on individual-, classroom-, and school-level factors to determine the influence of predictors at multiple levels. Data come from 2,468 5th graders from 37 public elementary schools. Two aspects of students’ perception of school climate, order and discipline, and achievement motivation are examined. Multilevel analyses in hierarchical linear modeling indicate that individual-level factors (race and sex) accounted for the largest proportion of variance in perceptions of school climate. School-level factors (e.g., school size and faculty turnover) and several classroom-level factors (e.g., characteristics of the teacher, class size, and the concentration of students with behavior problems) were also significant predictors of perceptions of climate. These findings suggest that characteristics of the classroom environment are important to consider when aiming to improve school climate.  (author abstract)

Title: BLACK-WHITE DIFFERENCES IN SCHOOL SUSPENSION: EFFECT OF STUDENT BELIEFS ABOUT TEACHERS
Authors: Hinojosa, Melanie Sberna
Source: Sociological Spectrum; Mar/Apr 2008, Vol 28 Issue 2, p 17-193, 19 p
Abstract: Research suggests that there are differences in the frequency with which white and African American students are punished in schools, with African American students being 2.3 times more likely to be suspended than white students.  Most of the research on school punishment has focused on documenting race differences and looking for student and school-level factors to help explain disproportionality in out-of-school suspension.  This study aims to fill the gap in the literature by analyzing the role of the teacher in affecting student punishment in a large, urban, primarily minority student district.  Results indicate that positive teacher behavior toward students and positive teacher expectations of students reduces suspension from school  (author abstract)
Title
Engaging contexts: Drawing the link between student and teacher experiences of the hidden cirriculum
Authors
Langhout, Regina D.
Mitchell, Cecily A.
Source Journal of Community and Applied Social Pscyhology, Nov/Dec 2008.  Vol 18 Issue 6, p 593-416,

Abstract

This article examines how academic disengagement (being off task, unenthusiastic and uncurious about learning) is facilitated by the hidden curriculum ( the values, norms, and beliefs transmitted via the structure of schooling) and mediated by race, ethnicity, and gender for students in a working class elementary school.  Additionally, we contextualize how a teacher was challenged by hidden curriculum in her attempt to make her classroom environment engaging for all students.  Results indicated that students were required to show their engagement in particular ways that related to control and conformity.  When they did not, they were reprimanded, which led to academic disengagement and the transmission of the hidden curriculum’s message  that school was not a place for them.  This process was especially salient for Black and Latino boys which indicated that the hidden curriculum was institutionalized.  Results also showed that the hidden curriculum was a structural limitation for the teacher, as she was often thwarted in her attempts to create an academically engaging learning environment.  Implications include strategies for school change and reform, including making hidden curriculum more visible. (author abstract)

These sources help frame some of the issues creating the need for alternative education.  While I cannot take these studies as  indicators of specific problems in Williamsburg, they have helped me develop some questions for future interviews in regards to the interrelation of disciplinary practice and the Academy of Life and Learning.

Also, confirmed interview with Jennifer Taylor for Mon. at 2.

Samanthe suggested meeting tomorrow, but given possible time constraints, wasn’t sure if it would be a full interview.

Friday

Grabbed a recording kit in case there was time for a full interview

Interviewed Samanthe  Tiver

I was a little nervous about doing my first independent interview, and fumbled a bit at the beginning.  Luckily, as she is a fellow student, I became comfortable rather quickly.

The interview turned out to be rather interesting one.  Samanthe discussed her involvement with Project ALL, an on campus group that tutors at the Academy. As a Sharpe Scholar who was in professor Charity’s class when the Academy began, she offered some insight into the evolution of the academy from a program meant to provide education to those suspended or expelled from school to a program for those struggling academically or socially.  She also shed some light on the Center for Educational Opportunity, and the transition from this “dumping ground” program to the Academy of Life and Learning.  In recounting her experiences with the Academy, she also spoke of tensions between the Academy and the college, resulting largely from misunderstanding.  She spoke of the efforts of students currently involved in the program to maintain their roles strictly as tutors while developing a rapport with members of the school board.  Additionally, she provided some intriguing perspective on the role of place for the academy, as she spoke of the implications of the location of the program for how the students are perceived in relation to mainstream schools.  She provided a very helpful view into some of the changing curriculum and methods espoused by the Academy as well.  Overall, she did not claim to be an expert on all of the issues discussed, and admitted some of her answers were a bit speculative, but she was extremely helpful in  understanding at least some of the dynamics between students and the college, and provided a lot of leads which I hope to further pursue.  She had a laundry list of contacts, including school board representatives, ALL leadership, and students  which will be extremely helpful.

Saturday

In looking up more about the Center for Educational opportunity, found the an interesting “That Guy” article  in the Flat Hat

http://dspace.swem.wm.edu/bitstream/10288/1381/1/09-21-2007.pdf

It was an interview with now former student, Matt Taylor, who apparently  was involved with the CEO program before it transitioned to the ALL program

Tell me about the CEO program and your involvement with that

Absolutely. CEO stands for Center

Educational Opportunities and it was an

alternative education program for local students

who were expelled or suspended for

large periods of time. The program mainly

worked with 45 to 90 middle school and

high-school-aged students. Last semester,

the superintendent announced that he had

made a decision to cut the program from

its former incarnation (which made it into a

four-hour night program). The students and

community at large rallied and advocated

together on behalf of the students to save

it as a full-time program. After advocating

to the School Board, city council members

and James City supervisors, we were able to

essentially save and reform it into a sevenhour

day program which is now under the

new name of “Academy for Life and Learning.”

It has a new director who is actively

seeking input from the community to make

it into the best program it can be for students.

I am currently a member of a cooperative

independent study with about six to

seven William and Mary students reviewing

alternative education best practices. We

are working with the school board and the

director of the program to see to it that some

of our recommendations are adopted.

How did you initially find out about

these efforts?

I have a large interest in education policy.

I’m a government major, but my focus

is in education. I was enrolled in an interdisciplinary

studies class entitled Impacts

of the Social System on Education last year.

It was a service learning course and about

60 percent of the class involved tutoring

at a school. I had no idea what to expect.

The first day of class we took a field trip

out there. I knew that we would be tutoring,

but I didn’t know that it would be with

population of students that it was. Visiting

this program and discovering what we’d be

working with was daunting to say the least.

Sunday

Intrigued by the transition from CEO to ALL, I did a quick search for Dr. Gary Matthews, current superintendent.  Apparently one of his first moves in office was to eliminate the CEO program and replace it with ALL, a decision which as the article above mentioned, was very heated.  In my search I discovered that Dr. Matthews has been hired by a school district in Georgia, and will be leaving after this year.  Though it is ambitious, now might be a key time to document his involvement with ALL.

Preparing for my interview with Jennifer Taylor tomorrow.

Planning on contacting Anthony Mungin tomorrow during school hours to see if we can arrange a meeting time soon.

2 Responses to “Work Journal 2”


  1. 1 iaknig March 30, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Great work, Meagan–terrific job balancing research into broader issues of context and history with making contacts and digging into the specifics of ALL. Keep it up.

  2. 2 sgglos March 31, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I’m curious to hear more about what you gather about the differences between CEO and ALL, and the debates/discussions surrounding the shift.

Comments are currently closed.

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The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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