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Kim Lettorale, Adam Leaman, Carly Sikorski Dr. Schwarzer Curr 509.01: Sociocultural Perspectives on Teaching and Learning October 3 2011 The Community: East Orange is a community in Essex County, NJ with a population of 69,824. The median age of the residents in East Orange is 33 years old. The ethnic groups represented in East Orange are White, African American or Black, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino and others. The majority of the population is Black or African American making up 89.5% of the population. The representation of Hispanics/Latinos is 4.7% making Hispanics/Latinos the second most represented group in East Orange after African American or Black. Most of the housing in East Orange is rental units (73.4%), while 26.6% of the homes are owner-occupied. The majority of residents in East Orange complete high school (72.4%), with 15% of the residents obtaining a Bachelors degree. 18.3% of the residents are foreign born and 15% of the population speaks a language other than English at home. The median household income is $32,324 (compared to the US average of $41,994) with 15.9% of families and 19.2% of individuals below poverty level. These demographics are a strong influence on the schools in many ways. East Orange is an urban area with a higher than average poverty rate. The schools may have less qualified teachers, outdated or rundown schools, and larger class sizes. The majority of the students in the school are Black or African American and the teachers are likely to be white middle class females who do not live in East Orange. This likely causes a disconnect between the cultures of the teachers and the students, and this in turn leads to a lack of personal connections made between the content and the students and their community. This situation can lead students to feel uninterested in the subject matter and thus less excited to learn. Also, there may be an overrepresentation of students in remedial classes, which are most likely unchallenging and boring. In East Orange, about 25% of students drop out before they complete high school, which shows that the schools are not helping the students reach their full potential. We found the fact that even though 72.4% of the residents in East Orange graduate high school, only 15% of them continue or go on to obtain a Bachelors degree to be the most interesting demographic finding. To us, this means that the students are smart and capable of succeeding, but there must be a reason that they are not finishing or attending college. There should be more effort made by colleges and universities to recruit the students in East Orange and make higher education more accessible to them. Some students do attend college but do not finish, which also shows that more effort needs to be put forth to retain the students of East Orange in higher education institutions. History of the Community: Before European settlers came to America, Lenni-Lennape Native Americans had inhabited the area that is now known as East Orange for hundreds of years. In 1666, the Hackensacks, lead by Chif Oraton, traded their land to Robert Treat, a Puritan leader who had originally settled in New Haven, Connecticut after leaving England (Robert Treat). Like most land sales between Native Americans and the European settlers, the Hackensacks had not meant to give full and permanent ownership of their land away (Robert Treat). In fact, the Native Americans did not even have the same conceptualization of ownership as the settlers (Robert Treat). When the land of current East Orange, as well as the areas between today’s Newark and Montclair, was “sold” to the settlers for “four barrels of beer, 850 fathoms of wampum, 3 trooper's coates, 2 ankors of liquer’ and other items” (Robert Treat) , the Hackensacks were under the impression that the settlers would use the land along with them. Native Americans believed that the land was for everyone: they did not fence off individual properties and families did not exclusively “own” their homes (Robert Treat). Nevertheless, following Treat’s original “purchase” of the land, the settlers increasingly strengthened their presence there, building meeting houses, churches, mills, homes, etc. where Native Americans had once farmed, hunted, and lived (Robert Treat). In 1668, Daniel Dodd became the first settler of East Orange. In 1718, the word of Daniel Dodd finding copper on his farm led the influx of people to the area, thus the population of the area boomed. In 1719 the first meeting house was built in this area. This was a significant historic event because now residents of East Orange had a place to worship, talk business, family life, and about educational issues (this first meeting house was an all-purpose center of town). Presently, the first meeting house is known as the First Presbyterian Church (Gerrish). In 1825, the residents in the immediate area built a two story wood-frame school and named it Franklin School and this marked the first start of classes in East Orange. In 1874, because of concerns of booming population, the school was moved down the street into a larger building. The old building would become Franklin Hose Company #2, the areas first fire department in 1884. Presently, Franklin School has been named the Whitney Houston Academy, and is in the same location (Pierson). Orange, including what is now the City of Orange Township, South Orange, West Orange and East Orange, incorporated as a city in1860, but immediately split into separate communities largely due to local disputes over issues such as the costs municipal departments such as fire, police, and transportation departments (City of Orange). In 1863, East Orange separated from Orange, and in 1909 it incorporated as its own independent city (City of Orange). Over time, each of the Oranges developed a greater unique identity. The demographics of the Oranges shifted most significantly in the 1960’s, perhaps due in a large part to the desegregation of schools during the Civil Rights movement (Worth, 2010). Other possible factors that likely affected the shifting demographics of East Orange and the surrounding Oranges also include the construction of Route 280 through the center of East Orange in 1958, the different forms of government among each Orange, and the influence of suburbs, schools, shopping, and hospitals to the West (Worth, 2010). The Students: The race/ethnicity characteristics of the schools we looked at are predominately African American with the percentages ranging from 94% - 97.9%. There is very little representation of Hispanic students (.3% - 5%), White students (0 - .3%) and Asian students (0-.2%) in all three schools. There is a large percentage of students that are eligible for free lunch which indicates that many the students are living in poverty. The percentage of students that are eligible for free lunch range from 54% - 71%. At all three schools, there are quite a few students that are students with disabilities, ranging from 17.4% - 24.5%. The student mobility rate is high (much higher than the NJ average) ranging from 13.9% -43.5%. The major difference between the schools seem to be the mobility rate. Although still higher than the NJ average, the mobility rate at the Whitney E. Houston Academy is lower than the other two schools. This may indicate that the schools are connecting to the students in a way that is personal and meaningful to them, inspiring them to learn and succeed. Since they are succeeding, parents may try to keep their children in this school and try to remain in East Orange. Overall the students in this district are predominately African American (averaging 97.1%) compared to the students in New Jersey as whole, which have a 17.4% representation of African Americans. This district also has a much lower representation of Hispanic (1.1%) White (.1%) and Asian (.1%) students than the NJ average of 19.4% Hispanic, 54.9% White, and 8.1% Asian. In East Orange, many more students are eligible for free lunch when compared to the NJ district average, averaging 64% in East Orange compared to the NJ average of 26.5%. Finally, the mobility rate in this district is much higher than the NJ average. In East Orange it averages 30.7% compared to 10.5% in NJ. Across the board, students taking the NJASK 3-8 in language arts from these three schools (Whitney Houston Academy, Patrick F. Healy and East Orange High School) average scores 32% lower than that of students taking the same tests in their state. Comparing each of the schools to each other, it appears that Patrick F. Henry school has the smallest percentage of students who are proficient or above in language arts (21.1-39%) compared to Whitney Houston Academy (41-60%) and East Orange High School (56.2%). Across the board, students taking the NJASK 3-8 in Mathematics from these three schools (Whitney Houston Academy, Patrick F. Healy and East Orange Campus High School) average scores 33% lower than that of students taking the same tests in their state. Comparing each of the schools to each other, it appears that Patrick F. Henry school has the smallest percentage of students who are proficient or above in language arts (19.3-28.4%) compared to Whitney Houston Academy (46.75.4%) and East Orange High School (37.5%). In both Language Arts and Mathematics, students at Whitney Houston Academy performed much better on these assessments throughout the years when compared to the Patrick F. Healy School and East Orange High school. Factors contributing to this differential could be that the teachers at the Whitney Houston Academy really care about their students and have high expectations for all of them. Since the class sizes are small, the teachers are able to get to know their students on a more personal level. This school focuses on the arts and allows its students to excel using all of their talents. This makes learning more personal and gets the students excited to learn by connecting the core subjects with creative ones. On the NJASK 3 and 4, the average percentage of students who scored proficient or better in both subjects was about 15 points higher in the East Orange school district than in the district factor group (DFG). On the NJASK 6 and 8 and the HSPT11, however, the average percentage of scores at proficiency level or above in the East Orange District were lower than those in the DFG by an average of about 6 points. This suggests a shift in achievement of East Orange students somewhere between fourth and sixth grade, perhaps due to rising family responsibilities and/or peer pressure. Furthermore, the gap between the East Orange school district and the DFG results in Mathematics was greater than the gap in Language Arts achievement. This suggests that East Orange has a sub-par Mathematics program. The lower results in East Orange secondary schools in general may suggest that it is difficult to recruit the best qualified teachers for these schools, or perhaps that students may have their time divided between school, work, family, friends, sports, and other responsibilities during the adolescent and teenage years. Finally, the gap could have something to do with the level of support from the East Orange community and parents, which could be low due to the high level of poverty in the city. There are several factors that likely play a role in these results so it is difficult to pick a single one for sure. Overall, the assessment results are lower in the East Orange school district than the state average. Interestingly, the gap between district and state results is very different when you compare the elementary school (grades 3 and 4) assessments to secondary school (grades 6, 8, and 11) assessments. For the NJASK 3 and 4, the average in percentages of students scoring at a proficient level in the district is about 6 points lower than the state average. In the secondary schools, however, this gap widens significantly, with the two averages differing by about 31 points. The pattern here between the district and state is similar to the pattern between the district and DFG in some ways, yet also different in some ways. It is similar because, in both comparison, the results were better for the East Orange NJASK 3 and 4 scores than the East Orange NJASK 6 and 8 and HSPT11 scores. While none of the East Orange district average scores were higher than the average state scores, the gap was much smaller for the NJASK 3 and 4 than for the secondary tests. It is different because in the district to DFG comparison, the district actually scored higher than the DFG in grades 3 and 4, while the results of the district compared to the state were always lower (with one exception where the district scored 0.4 percentage points higher than the state on the NJASK 4 assessment for Mathematics). Again, results signify that there was a significant downward shift in achievement of East Orange students between their elementary and secondary assessments. The gap between district and state results is much wider than the gap between district and DFG in secondary schools, largely because the state average has the highest and medium achieving schools to raise the average whereas the DFG is based upon mostly poorly-achieving schools. In a big picture analysis, this signifies that this country’s schools are very far from equal, with the poorer areas performing much lower than the more wealthy areas. The conclusions we can draw for our analyses of the East Orange school district and the three schools we looked at is that in urban districts, there seems to be a higher number of students that are living in poverty, as there is a high number of students eligible for free lunch. There also seems to be a high number of students that are classified as having a disability. That may indicate that some students are considered to have a disability because of behavioral problems or possibly cultural or linguistic differences than the schools community and they are being misunderstood. The mobility rate is also quite high, which may show that the parents have to move around a lot due to financial issues as the majority of residents rent their dwellings. In fact, there could be some students who get evicted from their homes and have no choice but to move. Also, an interesting statistic that can be observed is that, from the NJASK 3 progressively to the HSPT 11, students in these three schools seem to have an upward trend (that is they improve consistently) in the percentages of students that are proficient and above in both Language arts and Mathematics. However, there seems to be a dip in statistics on the NJASK6 in both the Whitney Houston Academy and Patrick F. Healy School. The percentages of students proficient and above from these two schools go down from the NJASK 4 to the NJASK 6 and then back up again when they take the NJASK 8. FORM A (Completed one for the group and submit it with the Group Report) Community Demographic Characteristics http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ACSSAFFFacts? In the box labeled “Get a Fact Sheet for your community,” insert the name of the target community and select New Jersey. This will take you to the information needed to complete Form A. MAKE SURE YOU USE THE INFORMATION FOUND IN THE 2000 tab. Characteristics Target Community U.S. (n) % % Total population 69,824 --- ---- Age Median age 33 ---- 35.3 Race White 2,683 3.8% 75.1% Black or African American 62,462 89.5% 12.3% American Indian/Alaska Native 177 .3% .9% Asian 302 .4% 3.6% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 51 .1% .1% Some other race 1,496 2.1% 5.5% Two or more races 2,653 3.8% 2.4% Hispanic Representation Hispanic/Latino (of any race) 3,284 4.7% 12.5% Housing Units (Occupied) Owner-occupied 6,918 26.6% 66.2% Renter-occupied 19,106 73.4% 33.8% Selected Social Characteristics High school graduate or higher (population 31,482 72.4% 80.4% 25 years and over) Bachelor’s degree or higher (population 25 6,545 15% 24.4% years and over) Foreign-born 12,759 18.3% 11.1% Speaks a language other than English at 9,826 15.3% 17.9% home (population 5 years and older) Selected Economic Characteristics Median household income $32,346 --- $41,994 Per capita income $16,488 --- $21,587 Families below poverty level 2,573 15.9% 9.2% Individuals below poverty level 13,159 19.2% 12.4% Information obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau FORM B (Complete individually and submit it with the Group Report) Student Information Your Name: Kim Lettorale Target District: East Orange Target School: Whitney E. Houston Academy 1. Selected Characteristics of the Student Population Student Race/Ethnicity (Report Percentages) School New Jersey African American 99.4% 17.4 Hispanic .3% 19.4 White .3% 54.9 Asian 0% 8.1 Native American 0% 0.2 Other 0% -- Other Relevant Student Characteristics (Report Percentages) School New Jersey Percentage of students eligible for free or 61% 26.5 reduced-price lunch (Indicator of poverty) Percentage of students of Limited English 10.6% 19% proficiency (LEP) Percentage of students with disabilities 17.4% 5.4% (IEP) Student mobility rate 13.9% 10.5% *information on this page obtained from schooldigger.com and NJ Department of Education Percentages of Students Performing at Proficiency Level or Above in the Target School Type of Assessment School District DFG State NJASK 3 Language Arts Literacy 47.8% 55.7% 37.1% 59.8% Mathematics 61.2% 73.7% 59.4% 78.3% NJASK 4 Language Arts Literacy 43.3% 45.3% 35.9% 59.7% Mathematics 75.4% 77.6% 59% 77.2% NJASK 6 Language Arts Literacy 41.2% 35.1% 37.9% 65.5% Mathematics 55.9% 42.8% 50.7% 72.1% NJASK 8 Language Arts Literacy 60% 53.6% 60% 82.9% Mathematics 46.7% 34.8% 44.6% 69% HSPT 11 Language Arts Literacy n/a Mathematics *information on this page obtained from schooldigger.com and NJ Department of Education a. How do students in the target school compare to New Jersey students in general? Students in this school score about 19% lower in language arts literacy assessments and about 14% lower in mathematics assessments when compared to New Jersey students in general. There is a greater gap in the scores between the students in this school and NJ students in general as the student gets older and enters the higher grades. b. What story do the assessment results summarized above tell you about the students in the target school? (Your response should address all three subject areas tested.) As the students progress through the grades, the discrepancy between their scores and the scores for NJ widens. In other words, as the students get older in this school, their scores are lower in both language arts and mathematics. Also the students have higher sores in mathematics overall than they do in language arts. The decline in scores as the students move through the grades may be because the focus has now shifted toward “teaching for the test” and the interest the students has at the lower grades is fading. The difference between mathematics and language arts shows me that the students are capable of achieving higher scores, but maybe there is a cultural disconnect with the language in the classroom that needs to be addressed. FORM B (Complete individually and submit it with the Group Report) Student Information Your Name: Adam Leaman Target District: East Orange Target School: Patrick F. Healy Middle School 1. Selected Characteristics of the Student Population Student Race/Ethnicity (Report Percentages) School New Jersey African American 97.9% 17.4 Hispanic 1.9% 19.4 White 0% 54.9 Asian .2% 8.1 Native American 0% 0.2 Other 0% -- Other Relevant Student Characteristics (Report Percentages) School New Jersey Percentage of students eligible for free or 77% 26.5 reduced-price lunch (Indicator of poverty) Percentage of students of Limited English 19% proficiency (LEP) Percentage of students with disabilities 24.5% 5.4% (IEP) Student mobility rate 34.7% 10.5% *information on this page obtained from schooldigger.com and NJ Department of Education Percentages of Students Performing at Proficiency Level or Above in the Target School Type of Assessment School District DFG State NJASK 3 Language Arts Literacy Mathematics NJASK 4 Language Arts Literacy Mathematics NJASK 6 Language Arts Literacy 21.1% 35.1% 37.9% 65.5% Mathematics 28.4% 42.8% 50.7% 72.1% NJASK 8 Language Arts Literacy 39.9% 53.6% 60% 82.9% Mathematics 19.3% 34.8% 44.6% 69% HSPT 11 Language Arts Literacy n/a Mathematics *information on this page obtained from schooldigger.com and NJ Department of Education a. How do students in the target school compare to New Jersey students in general? Students in this school score about 45% lower in language arts literacy assessments and about 43% lower in mathematics assessments on the NJ ASK6 when compared to New Jersey students in general. Similarly, on the NJ ASK8, Students in this school score about 43% lower in language arts literacy assessments and about 50% lower in mathematics assessments on the NJ ASK6 when compared to New Jersey students in general. This is a rather large divide between students at Patrick F. Healy Middle School and other students in New Jersey. b. What story do the assessment results summarized above tell you about the students in the target school? (Your response should address all three subject areas tested.) While still way below average, something is to be said about the considerable jump in language arts proficiency from 21% in 6th grade to 40% in 8th grade; the number of students proficient in this area of testing doubled. To me, this upward trend is optimistic. Math tells a different story. Math scores between grades averaged at around 45-50% less than the states proficiency scores. Also, from the NJASK 6 to the NJASK8, proficiency percentages dropped about 10% to a mere 19%. In middle school, the math curriculum changes pretty dramatically because teachers have three years to get students away from what they learned in elementary school (basic math – such as adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing) and prepare them for what they will learn in high school (more abstract math, geometry, functions, etc…) This change in curriculum could have a negative effect on students that may have mastered math in elementary school but are now exposed to a more challenging curriculum. FORM B (Complete individually and submit it with the Group Report) Student Information Your Name: Carly Sikorski Target District: East Orange Target School: East Orange Campus High School 1. Selected Characteristics of the Student Population Student Race/Ethnicity (Report Percentages) School New Jersey African American 94 17.4 Hispanic 5 19.4 White <1 54.9 Asian <1 8.1 Native American <1 0.2 Other <1 -- Other Relevant Student Characteristics (Report Percentages) School New Jersey Percentage of students eligible for free or 54 26.5 reduced-price lunch (Indicator of poverty) Percentage of students of Limited English 5.4 19 proficiency (LEP) Percentage of students with disabilities 19 5.4 (IEP) Student mobility rate 43.5 10.5 Percentages of Students Performing at Proficiency Level or Above in the Target School Type of Assessment School District DFG State NJASK 3 Language Arts Literacy n/a Mathematics NJASK 4 Language Arts Literacy n/a Mathematics NJASK 6 Language Arts Literacy n/a Mathematics NJASK 8 Language Arts Literacy n/a Mathematics HSPT 11 Language Arts Literacy 56.2 60.3 64.5 88 Mathematics 37.5 39.4 46.3 75 a. How do students in the target school compare to New Jersey students in general? Students in this school score about 32% lower in Language Arts Literacy assessments and 50% lower in Mathematics assessments on the HSPT 11 when compared to New Jersey students in general. This represents a significant gap between the academic achievement of students of East Orange Campus High School and the average achievement of students in New Jersey. b. What story do the assessment results summarized above tell you about the students in the target school? (Your response should address all three subject areas tested.) This data clearly shows that students at East Orange Campus High School score much lower than the average student in New Jersey. The data shows that East Orange Campus High School Mathematics performance is especially poor. Whereas the gap between Language Arts Literacy proficient or higher scores between this school and NJ schools on average was about 32%, the gap in Mathematics was a staggering 50%. References City of East Orange community demographics. Retrieved from http://www.eastorange- nj.org/departments/Planning/PEOPpdfs. City of Orange Township historical overview. Retrieved from http://www.ci.orange.nj.us/history_main.html. Gerrish, Jim, and Frederick Goode. "East Orange Time Line." East Orange Interactive Museum. Web. 08 Oct. 2011. <http://eohistory.info/EOTimeLine/index.html>. "New Jersey Department of Education | Report Card." Education Server Homepage. Stage of New Jersey, 2010. Web. 07 Oct. 2011. <http://education.state.nj.us/rc/rc10/dataselect.php?datasection=information>. Pierson, David L. "1825 Franklin School." East Orange Interactive Museum. Web. 08 Oct. 2011. http://eohistory.info/EOTimeLine/1825.htm. Robert Treat. Retrieved from http://eohistory.info/EOTimeLine/1666.htm "United States - Fact Sheet." American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau, 2009. Web. 07 Oct. 2011. <http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFFacts?> "Whitney E Houston Academy School, East Orange New Jersey / NJ School Profile, Ranking, and Reviews- SchoolDigger.com." SchoolDigger.com - School Rankings, Reviews and More – Public and Private Elementary, Middle, High Schools. Schooldigger.com, 2006-2011. Web. 07 Oct. 2011.<http://www.schooldigger.com/go/NJ/schools/0423002050/school.aspx>. "Whitney E Houston Academy School, East Orange New Jersey / NJ Ethnic Makeup Comparison SchoolDigger.com." SchoolDigger.com - School Rankings, Reviews and More - Public and Private Elementary, Middle, High Schools. Schooldigger.com, 2006-2011. Web. 07 Oct. 2011. http://www.schooldigger.com/go/NJ/schools/0423002050/school.aspx?entity=18 Worth, M. (26 Jan 2010). The edges of the Oranges. Retrieved from http://southorange.patch.com/articles/local-history-the-edges-of-the-oranges. "1666." East Orange Interactive Museum. Web. 08 Oct. 2011. <http://eohistory.info/EOTimeLine/1666.htm>.
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