Tyra Herr, a teacher at Longfellow, represents the school on the district's equity teacher committee, led by Pamela Harrison-Small, Executive Director of Berkeley Alliance. At Longfellow, Tyra, Principal Patricia Saddler and Vice Principal Chris Harrell have closely examined student achievement data, model programs around the country and strategies for closing the equity gap in our schools. They identified a significant number of African American boys who scored Proficient (at grade level) or Advanced (above grade level) on the English and/or Math CST. Based on research, they've implemented three strategies to work with this group of boys:
1. Access information on their own performance: Students have been taught how to use Power School, the district data program that allows students and families to view their grades and assignments. This allows the students to access pertinent information without relying on an adult.
2. Build a relationship with a caring adult at the school: Each student in the group identified an adult at the school with whom they have a positive relationship and that adult now serves as that student's mentor, checking in throughout the year.
3. Strengthen their self-advocacy skills: Students in the group are taught how to ask questions and approach their teachers when they're confused or falling behind.
The school is taking other successful approaches to address the equity gap, such as prioritizing equity work at staff development meetings and addressing the students' social and emotional needs outside of the classroom as a means to improve school culture and decrease the number of disciplinary measures needed.
Principal Saddler commends all of the staff, students and families at Longfellow who are making a commitment to closing the equity gap, acknowledging the dedication and effort from the whole school community.
The full agenda for the School Board meeting can be found on the Board meeting information page. The meeting will be held Wednesday, March 13 at 7:30 PM at 2134 MLK, Jr Way. You can watch live on channel 33 or listen on KPFB/FM 89.3. Videos will also be posted online approximately one week after the meeting and can be found under updates on the Board meeting information page.