Dear CNMT Community,
Choice. The new buzzword for education has driven much of the recent reform in LAUSD. The idea is that families deserve to have options for their children, and shouldn’t be forced to attend a low-performing school in their neighborhood.
Now we see choice in another form, with LAUSD’s Public School Choice program, which is entering its third round this year.
Proponents of public schools sometimes criticize this movement because it seems to drain neighborhood schools of the most motivated students and parents. I can confirm this with our own school. When I made phone calls this summer to recruit incoming ninth graders for our summer bridge program, many students told me that they had already signed up for a charter or magnet school. As the students were already in our system, I looked them up, and each and every one was scoring proficient or advanced on the California Standards Tests.
I have also noticed that the number of Gifted students at our school was originally going to be 20 in the ninth grade, but we actually have six now. The district goal for its schools is to have at least 6% of the students identified as Gifted. This year, CNMT has 33 Gifted students out of 480 total, which is approximately 6.8%. However, 16 of those students are seniors, and only 17 are in grades 9 through 11 combined.
On Friday one of our Gifted students came with his mother to request a transfer to the Magnet. He said that he feels that he is not being challenged enough, and that he’s afraid he will start to slack off if he continues in our school.
Before school started, another incoming ninth grader requested to transfer to another small school, because he was concerned that he wouldn’t be challenged enough in our school. I assured him that we do have a number of advance classes and can meet the needs of a high-achieving student, because I honestly believe that we can and do.
CNMT actually offers as many or more Advanced Placement classes as any other small school at Roosevelt. We are one of the few, if only, schools to offer the AP Biology class and the AP Statistics class, and we also offer the full complement of AP classes in English, science, history, math and Spanish. So why would it be that prospective and current new students would both feel that CNMT is not the school to be in if you want to be academically challenged?
We can continue to make excuses for our test scores because we can claim that the more motivated, advanced students are choosing other schools, but perhaps we need to look at the instruction that we’re offering our students.
And it’s not easy. How can a school meet the needs of students who are far behind grade level in reading and math, those who are English learners and have been for many years without reclassifying, while still finding a way to challenge the Gifted and advanced students?
One answer is that we have honors classes. Those classes are designed to challenge and enrich our more advanced students, and they must be very rigorous. I like nothing more than to hear students complaining about how hard a class is, as long as they feel supported and can get the help they need to succeed.
Even in our regular classes that are not honors, we need to do more to differentiate for the students who need more of a challenge, who already know what the teacher expects them to know and are ready to move beyond. We know that Gifted students are more independent learners and bored easily if they’re not challenged. We have a number of underachieving Gifted students, and I fear that this might be part of the problem, that they’re actually not being challenged enough.
I feel the same way as many, that it’s not fair for charter schools to take credit for their high test scores and college-going rates when they seem to cherry pick the best students coming out of the middle schools. However, I also feel strongly that we have the students at our school who can perform at high levels and that we need to have high expectations for all students.
Project-based learning is one great way to differentiate instruction, because it allows for more independent, creative work. But this is not enough. Teachers must make a special effort to identify students who are up for more of a challenge and to push them to achieve more. At the same time, we need to get away from the thinking that we won’t be able to raise our achievement until we start recruiting the more advanced students to our school
All of our students are capable of achieving at high levels. Until we truly believe this, we cannot expect that we will be preparing them all for college, career and civic engagement, as is our mission.
¹In simple terms, we are not doing enough to move students to graduation. Of our current seniors, only 64 are on track and 47 are behind in credits. That means that 42% are behind and only 58% are on-track to graduate.
Monday, October 3
- Girls V Volleyball BYE
- Girls V Tennis BYE
- Blood Drive – Gym
- 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM SHOUT Fitness – Fitness Ctr
- 3:15 PM to 5:15 PM A St@r Tutoring – Cafe
Tuesday, October 4
- BANKED DAY by Department – see Dept. Chair for location
- Super Quiz – Aud
- CAHSEE TESTING (12th grade only)
- 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM Sp. Ed Professional Development-Tch Cafe
- 3:15 PM to 5:00 PM CNMT College 101 night w/Princeton Review – College Corner
Wednesday, October 5
- Girls V Volleyball @ Huntington Park HS @ 2:30pm
- Girls V Tennis @ HP @ 2:30pm
- Battle of the Sexes – Quad
- Boys V Water Polo @ Eagle Rock (Yosemite Pool) @ 2:45pm
- 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM CNMT CEAC/ELAC/SSC Elections – Parent Center
- 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM Punishing Our Future: School Discipline in Los Angeles - Location: The California Endowment’s Center for Healthy Communities – 1000 North Alameda Street – Los Angeles, CA 90012 (Featuring Mr. Lopez - For details, link here: http://centersceneoctober5.eventbrite.com)
Thursday, October 6
- Battle of the Sexes – Quad
- Coed V Cross Country @ Bell HS @ 2:30pm
- Girls Golf vs. Jefferson HS. @ Dominguez @ 2:00pm
- 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT
Friday, October 7
- MINIMUM DAY Dismissal @ 12:23pm
- FB @ So. East HS JV 4pm/Var 7pm
- Girls V Volleyball vs. Bell HS @ 2:30pm
- Boys V Water Polo @ Santee EC @ 2:45pm
- Girls V Tennis vs. Bell HS @ 2:30pm
Monday, October 10
- Basketball Fundraiser – Courts
- Girls V Tennis @ South Gate HS @ 2:30pm
- Girls V Volleyball @ South Gate HS @ 2:30pm
- Boys V Water Polo @ South Gate HS(South Gate Park) @ 2:45pm
Tuesday, October 11
- Banked Day by Grade-Level Team (see grade-level lead for location)
Wednesday, October 12
- PSAT Day – NORMAL BELL SCHEDULE. Testing for 10th & 11th grade. All Students Report to Flex class in the morning.
- Boys V Water Polo vs. Hungtinton Park HS @ 2:45pm
- Girls V Tennis @ South East HS @ 2:30pm
- Girls V Tennis BYE
- Girls V Volleyball @ South East HS @ 2:30pm
Thursday, October 13
- Girls Golf vs. Dorsey HS @ Maggie Hathaway @ 2:00pm
- Verifications Due @ 7:20am ISIS Office
- Coed V Cross Country vs, Garfield HS @ 2:30pm
- UTLA Monthly Mtg – PH Lunch
Friday, October 14
- Girls V Tennis @ Garfield HS @ 2:30pm
- FB @ Huntington Park JV 4pm/Var 7pm
- Girls V Volleyball 2 Garfield HS @ 2:30pm