This online resource documents the history, development, and effectiveness of the Access to the Core grant.
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LAUSD District 6 Profile
Of the six million students in California public schools, a little over 1.5 million, or 25% are English learners. Studies have shown eight out of ten of these students will not graduate from high school.
From 2002 to 2006, the percentage of white students proficient or above on California's Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) English Language Arts test increased from 53% to 60%. The percentage of English learners during the same period only increased from 10% to 14%. In order to close the achievement gap, it is essential that California address the needs of English learners.
Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is the battle ground for fixing California's education problem. The largest district in the state, LAUSD encompasses 11% of California students and 15% of the state's English learners.
Improving Teacher Quality Grant 2005 - 2009
The Access to the Core Grant was centered in Local District 6, one of eight local districts that make up LAUSD. Local District 6 has the highest percentage of English learners in LAUSD.
Over 99% of the students in Local District 6 are Latino and 40% (8,803) are secondary English learners. In 2005-2006, at the beginning of this grant, only 18% of secondary students were proficient in English Language Arts. Less than 15% of the middle school students and less than 5% of the high school students were proficient in mathematics.
Summary of Main Findings
Access to the Core: Support for Secondary English Language Learners is a federal Improving Teacher Quality Grant administered by the California Postsecondary Education Committee (CPEC). During the 2005-2008 school years, the Access to the Core research team conducted a quasi-experimental study of over 9,000 students in grades eight and nine from 111 English Language Arts and Mathematics classrooms in Local District 6 of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The primary purpose of the research was to evaluate the effectiveness of Access to the Core, a teacher professional development project designed to improve English learners' academic achievement and progress learning English. Access provided a comprehensive teacher professional development program involving a series of institutes and workshops, on-site coaching, and on-site learning communities focused on the effective use of instructional strategies tied to California's state-adopted textbook programs and local district frameworks. It was designed to help teachers effectively scaffold students' academic language development while they building students' subject matter knowledge in English/language arts and mathematics. Access to the Core covered the essential content standards that students need to do well on the California Standards Tests in English Language Arts and Mathematics.
The University of California Professional Development Institute
Key findings are as follows: Access produced a positive and significant impact on student achievement in English language development. Students who were in classes taught by teachers involved in Access showed substantial growth on the California English Language Development Test. Also, larger numbers of English learners taught by Access teachers were re-designated.
This website provides an overview of the project and professional development model, video examples of classroom implementation, and research findings.
The San Diego Mathematics Project
) is a university based professional development institute that works with urban and rural districts across California to close the achievement gap. Over the last six years, UCPDI has focused on meeting the needs of English learners at the secondary level. Currently, UCPDI is working with schools serving English learners K-12 through its English Learner Professional Development ( ELPD) program.
Between 2002 and 2006, UCPDI collaborated with LAUSD on its secondary ELD programs. During that time LAUSD increased the reclassification rate by 18% for English learners in ELD classrooms. In part this was a result of the four year UCPDI and LAUSD collaboration focused on improving EL instruction at the secondary level. While celebrating the gains, it was clear to everyone that work remained to be done. At the same time LAUSD was improving ELD instruction, the district was cited for not providing differentiated instruction and adequate access to the curriculum in the core content classes once students were reclassified and transitioned out of ELD classrooms.
University and District Partnership
The San Diego Mathematics Project (SDMP) is a part of the Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Education (CRMSE) at San Diego State University (SDSU). SDMP serves mathematics teachers in San Diego and Imperial Counties.
The Director is Dr. Rafaela M. Santa Cruz, Associate Professor in the School of Teacher Education.
The Associate Director is Tony Spears, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, San Diego County Office of Education.
Dr. John Elwin, the Chair of the Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, serves as a mathematics faculty.
During the first half of the 2000-2001 year, SDMP developed partnerships with five schools in the Chula Vista K-12 cluster in anticipation of the participation of 25 of their teachers next year. We held a two-day retreat for 40 past and future SDMP teacher leaders. We also conducted a 4-6 MPDI for 65 elementary teachers in the Southbay Union School District. During the balance of the year, we will involve teachers in follow-up meetings and teacher working groups that will focus on mathematics content, the HSEE in the Sweetwater High School District, National Board Certification, student assessment, and developing partnerships with the San Ysidro School District preservice teachers in the SDSU Scho\oll of Teacher Education.
The major focus of the 2001-2002 plan is to provide a comprehensive professional development program for teams of teachers from predominantly low performing school.s The program will consist of a three-week summer flagship institute, a two-day fall retreat, winter and spring follow-up Saturdays, and other events and workshops to meet local needs. The focus of all our activities will be to enhance the mathematics content knowledge of all teachers and provide them with the support needed to implement the California Mathematics and Content Standards.
Access to the Core
English learners in Los Angeles Unified School District are in one of two types of classes:
- English Language Development (ELD) classes, designed to lay the foundation and accelerate the English language learning of students who come to school speaking a language other than English, and
- Core content classes with language support.
Eighty percent of the English learners in Los Angeles Unified School District are in the core content classrooms. These students are in the Preparing to Redesignate Program (PRP). They are students who have finished their ELD coursework but have not redesignated, often because of low grades and low scores on the California Standards Test (CST). They should be receiving additional language support. Many do not. This may be for a variety of reasons:
- Teachers do not know how to provide that support.
- Students are not identified as English learners, or are misplaced in a core content class when they should be in an intervention/ELD classroom.
- Many of these students have received much, if not all, of their education in Los Angeles and speak a language in addition to English at home.
- They are also the largest number of English learners in middle and high schools in LAUSD.
In order to address the needs of PRP students, LAUSD and UCSD in collaboration with San Diego State University and UC Irvine received an Improving Teacher Quality Grant focused on academic literacy. The grant addressed the achievement gap for English learners in the 8th and 9th grades, providing them an opportunity to graduate from high school and be prepared for continuing education and work opportunities.
Access to the Core was designed as a collaborative professional development model between the district and university partners. Professional development focused on the standards based curriculum in mathematics and language arts, the district's instructional guides and periodic assessments, and analysis of standards English learners have difficulty mastering. The first year of the project a team of lead teachers in mathematics and language arts was recruited at each school site. A five-day intensive institute was held in the summer of 2006. Three days of academic year support was provided each year for two years. Classrooms were observed and in some instances videotaped. Data was collected. Over the three years of grant implementation, the professional development model went from centralized meetings led by university faculty to site based professional learning communities (PLCs) led by coaches and teacher leaders involved in the project and working closely with the university and district leadership team.