Program to improve teaching of English learners at DUSD

DOWNEY - Meeting just days prior to the opening of school Sept. 3, and again apparently having done its homework beforehand, the Downey Unified School District Board of Education Tuesday matter-of-factly set its seal of approval on all items in its back-to-school agenda, including the adoption of 2009-10 Board goals discussed in these pages last week.What got the most attention was the presentation by Leslie Jones, director of categorical programs, of the so-called Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP), which is aimed at improving the teaching of English language skills to students generally categorized as English Learners or whose native tongue is a language other than English. As of last March, according to Jones, there were more than 4,000 students needing English language instruction out of a total student population of some 22,500, or about 19 percent. The majority of these students are Spanish-speaking, followed by Korean, Arabic and Filipino students, and a smattering of Urdu, Vietnamese, and "other" denominations. Federal and state standards dictate that all students, irrespective of linguistic, ethnic or disadvantaged background, pass proficiency assessments in reading (and math), not to mention course content, at various intervals before they can move on to the next level or graduate. Title III SIOP training to teachers, said Jones, is designed to "help ensure that limited English proficient children attain English proficiency and develop high levels of academic competence in English." Just as important, she said, the way the SIOP program was designed by its authors, its proper application will at the same time enable students to meet "the same challenging state academic content and academic achievement standards" thrown at them. Indeed, said Jones, after considerable training and experience in its methods have been conducted and gained by some 330 teachers ever since the program was introduced here in 2006, a growing realization is forming in the district and elsewhere that the basic SIOP pedagogical approach is adaptable to all subjects in the curriculum as it subsumes all the critical ingredients to effective teaching. SIOP is being practiced in most of the 50 states and in several other countries. The ultimate goal of the district is to provide SIOP training to all teachers. The program operates by virtue of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, and whose NCLB Title III designation entitles it to federal funding. NCLB administers Titles I through X categorical programs directed at various aggrupations. Briefly, the SIOP program employs three main elements: 1) preparation; 2) instruction; and 3) review/assessment. Under 'preparation', lesson and content objectives are determined according to appropriate content concepts and vocabulary; under 'instruction', emphasis is made on such instructional practices as connecting students' background experiences and prior learning, modulating teacher speech, emphasizing vocabulary development, etc.; and under 'review/assessment', spot checking/other informal assessment is made of student comprehension and learning progress. As well, those who are trained early get to observe and/or contribute their expertise to later SIOP batches called 'cohorts,' in a series of enhancing instructional exchanges and interactions. Jones said the program has found great favor among the English learner students as well as teachers, who initially have had to make time adjustments. For maximum effectiveness, the SIOP program is also given to district administrators. SIOP training is a major DUSD 2009-10 goal. In other action, the Board: •Accepted cash donations of $2,000 from the Downey Los Amigos Kiwanis Foundation and $250 from Soroptimist International of Downey in support of the TLC (True Lasting Connections) Family Resource Center, as well as $1,410 from Wells Fargo Bank in support of Character Counts; •Approved the payment of expenses, including registration fees, for convention and conference attendance; •Ratified the general agreements made with Alton School, Behavior Education for Children with Autism, California Unified Service Provider, LLC, Maxim Staffing Solutions, and Vista School-for the 2009-10 fiscal year effective July 1, 2009-June 30, 2010; •Approved the payments for special education placements; •Ratified the settlement agreement involving Case No. 2009060767, and approved the payment thereby of $5,250; •Approved the revisions to AR 1105, Uniform Complaint Procedure; •Approved the revisions to AR 2108, Intradistrict Open Enrollment, •Approved the proposed revisions to AR 2522, Identification of Child Abuse and Reporting Procedure, •Approved the revisions to AR 7340, Class and Lab Fees for Adult School students, •Approved the proposed revisions to BP 5249, Regular Part-Time Employees and Substitutes; •Approved the revised revisions to AR 5258, Jury Duty and Subpoena, •Approved purchase orders by the Purchasing Department; •Approved the payments for hourly, overtime and Civic Center work performed by classified personnel, Adult School and Food Services for the month of June; •Ratified B warrants; •Ratified the agreements made between the Downey Adult School Career and Ana Belinda Aquino, DDS, Inc.; Bell Plaza Dental Center; Dental Aesthetics Professionals-Euclid Center; Michael C. Duncker, DDS, APC; Dr. Sandra Enojado Family Dentistry; Danette E. Ergina, DMD, DMD, Inc.; Flower Street Dental of Dr. Rotter; David C. Moy, DDS; Orthodontics R Us; Santa Maria Dental Office, Inc.; Town and Country Dentistry; Jannette F. Trent, DDS of Santa Maria Dental Office, Inc.; J. Foster Weems, DDS; West Dental; and Tony Yang, DDS, MD,-to furnish practical experience to students enrolled in the Dental Assistant program; •Ratified the agreement between the Downey Adult School and V. Gil Panganiban, M.D., Inc, to furnish practical experience to students enrolled in the Medical Assistant program; •Ratified the agreement between the Downey Adult School and Agajanian Institute of Oncology & Hematology to furnish practical experience to students enrolled in the Medical Billing & Coding program; •Ratified the agreement between the Downey Adult School Career and Pharmerica to furnish practical experience to students enrolled in the Pharmacy Technician program; •Ratified the 2009-10 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Subrecipient Grant Agreement with the city of Downey, effective July 28, 2009 through June 30, 2010; •Ratified the contract for reimbursement for School Psychologist On-Loan with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), effective July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009; •Ratified the contract for participation in the Los Angeles Regional Occupational Program (ROP) with LACOE; •Approved the contract with California Detection Canines for substance awareness and detection services effective Sept. 1, 2009 though June 30, 2010; •Approved the transfer of the maximum allowable amount of Block Grant monies into other eligible categorical programs for the 2009-10 fiscal year; •Approved the renewal of the refuse/recycling system contract for the 2009-10 school year with CalMet Services in the amount of $166,666.10, to be charged to the General Fund; •Awarded Bid #08/09-16 for the purchase of snack foods as a lot to A & R Wholesale Distributors, Inc., Anaheim, in the annual estimated amount of $537,000 to be charged to the Food Services Fund; •Awarded Bid #08/09-17 for the purchase of prepared pizzas for the Food Services Department to GAFE Pizza, Inc. dba Domino's Pizza, South Gate, in the estimated annual amount of $352,000 to be charged to the Food Services Fund; •Awarded Bid #08/09-19 for the purchase of dry and refrigerated food for the Food Services Department to A & R Wholesale Distributors, Inc., Anaheim, and Campus Foods, City of Industry, in the estimated annual amount of $189,000 to be charged to the Food Services Fund; •Approved the change orders (due to changes to the scope of work) in connection with work (plaster, HVAC, electrical, etc.) done by a number of contractors on the Warren High School new library, classroom building and modernization, including work done on Portion 2 of the cafeteria; •Accepted as complete aluminum, electrical, fencing, paving, backhoe and concrete work performed by various contractors; •Approved routine personnel items until subsequent action is taken by the Board; •Ratified the establishment of two new positions with duties corresponding to the current classification of Senior Instructional Assistant Behaviorally Challenged, one assigned to Carpenter Elementary and the other to Rio San Gabriel Elementary School; •Approved the 2009-10 Board of Education goals; •Reviewed the Downey Adult School course of study for 2009-10; •Approved the 2009-10 test administration calendar involving CAHSEE and California Modified Assessment (CMA) test schedules; •Approved the Title I school-wide program for Alameda, Gauldin, Price, Rio Hondo, Sussman, and West; •Approved the waivers for student petitions No. 200809 - CAHSEE - 049-067; and •Approved the schedule for elementary school bus stops for the 2009-10 school year. The next regular meeting of the Board will be at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22 in the Gallegos Administration Center, 11627 Brookshire Ave.

********** Published: August 28, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 19

NewsEric Pierce