Empowering Educators through Cultural Competence

For all Dearborn Public school students to be taught well and achieve academically, educators need to understand and respond to the dynamics of culture in their school environment.  That is what the 3D Community teachers experienced in “Cultural Proficiency—Are we there yet?”. Teachers worked together on the Cultural Proficiency Continuum, Guiding Principles, and the Essential Elements of Cultural Proficiency to construct a school plan for students, teachers, and administrators.  “You cannot be truly proficient as a learner, educator, or institution until you are culturally proficient.”

In a second session, participants examined what it means to be a refugee and the journey refugees take before they enter our school system.  A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence.  The participants explored how Culturally Responsive Teaching impacts students academically and socio-emotionally.  Each participant defined their own values to understand that empathy is key to building positive and successful relationships.

A third session focused on understanding our culturally diverse students by taking a look at what happens when their home culture and school culture interact.  Participants developed an understanding of their own cultural histories and the role that plays in the implementation of culturally responsive practices for social and academic success.  Looking at events from different perspectives served as a starting point for examining the mismatch between culturally diverse home cultures and US school culture in order to support the advancement of educational equity in the classroom.

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The Role of ELD Specialists

The EL & Compensatory Education Department is committed to meeting the needs of all English Learners (ELs) across the district.  This commitment extends to supporting any student who struggles with language as a large body of research supports the view that language learning is influenced by many aspects of human experience and capability, including economic background.

Dearborn Public Schools has enrolled over 600 English Learners since June 16, 2016.  This includes over 500 immigrants of which 100 are refugees.  These numbers continue to significantly increase.   In addition, 73% of our district population is on free/reduced lunch which is determined based on a household’s annual income.

To meet student needs, we currently have nineteen bilingual resource teachers at the elementary level, seven at the middle school level and three at the high school level.

The new federal bill titled “Every Student Succeeds Act,” abbreviated in the summary as ESSA, requires that the first four components of the accountability system (achievement, growth, graduation/attendance and EL progress) carry substantial weight over the fifth measure (school success).

In order to meet the demand, the responsibilities of current bilingual resource teachers were revised to include expectations and roles aligned to ESSA.  The bilingual resource teacher position was retitled to English Language Development (ELD) Specialist.  The change in name is necessary since the focus and target of the ELD Specialists will be aligned with ESSA and Federal guidelines.  The teachers possess the expertise and knowledge of the EL dynamics, second language acquisition, ELD standards, and CCSS.  The teachers also carry the expertise to support newcomer students using Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) with the integration of the four domains (speaking, listening, reading and writing).  The expectations are also transitioning from push-in (small group) support for English Learners to co-teaching in core content areas.

The ELD Specialists are part of the building leadership team that provides professional development and works to bridge the achievement gap. In addition to working directly with our non-English speaking population of students and being an active member of the building support team, ELD Specialists are assigned to buildings to support teachers in planning and delivering instruction that accelerates English Language Development.

With the increase in student population, the district was able to provide additional ELD Specialist positions for a number of elementary and secondary schools where the need was justified based on the numbers of newly enrolled English Learners.

Students First.  Educate.  Innovate.  Celebrate.   

 

Click on the link below for more information.

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Welcoming Visitors to Dearborn

On Wednesday, November 9, a team from East Noble, a district in northern Indiana visited Dearborn Public Schools to learn about the successful EL practices our district has in place.  The Indiana team was seeking a district with a large Arabic-speaking population (a new population to East Noble) that is “highly effective at all aspects that effect interactions with the EL population regarding family contact, cultural sensitivity and best practices.”  In collaboration with the Michigan Department of Education, Dearborn was recommended as a district to visit.

The Federal Program Director along with a principal and a team of elementary and secondary teachers visited Salina Elementary, Salina Intermediate and Edsel Ford High School.  They met with the leadership teams from each building to learn about their school initiatives and programs in place, followed by classroom walk-throughs and observations.  The team then reconvened at central office to debrief the day and answer questions.  It was an exciting day for the team!

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Here is a note passed along from the coordinator of Federal Programs:

“I would like to thank you and your team again for letting us visit.  Your generosity and graciousness was much appreciated.  My team has much to ponder and consider as we move toward better meeting the needs of our ELs. Please pass our gratitude on to everyone there and we hope to meet again.”

Wayne County Regional Enhancement Education Millage Proposal

 

School districts in Wayne County have placed a proposal on the November 8th ballot to provide added funding for our schools. It is the “Regional Enhancement Millage Proposal.”

If approved by the entire county, the 2 mil proposal will generate approximately $6.2 million from Dearborn but the District will receive $7.8 million in additional funding for our schools.  Money would go to local schools starting this year and the millage expires after six years. 

Read moreWayne County Regional Enhancement Education Millage Proposal

Welcoming New Families

On November 2nd, the EL and Compensatory Education department hosted a district-level parent meeting for new families.  Transportation was provided from neighborhood schools to assist parents in attending the informational meeting.

Committee members in attendance included Youssef Mosallam, Rose Aldubaily, Maylee Mosallam, Ameena Elder, Lila Amen, Margaret King-Ahmed, Rola Bazzi-Gates, Amged Monyiddin, Manar Kodamah, Wedad Maatouk and Nadra Shami.

Youssef Mosallam and Glenn Maleyko welcomed parents to the district, shared our district mission in meeting students’ needs and our goal of partnering with parents to help all their children be successful.

Wedad Maatouk represented the Adult Education and shared information about how Dearborn Public Schools is committed to meeting the educational needs of all residents through classes and programs that are offered by the Adult Education program.

Margaret-King Ahmed, district parent involvement educator, shared a snippet about Parent Talk opportunities offered at various DPS schools which focus on talking to children using language that builds self-esteem and encourages responsibility.

A parent survey was administered and completed by parents with native language support and translation provided by Manar Kodamah, DPS district liaison.  The survey results will assist in planning future meetings and making ‘next step’ decisions.

Representatives from ACCESS and HYPE were also in attendance and shared the resources and supports they are able to provide to parents and their families.  Contact information and brochures were shared to give parents access to the services available to them.  Parents were pleased and satisfied with the community and school outreach.

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EL Department attends the WIDA National Conference

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Two team members of the EL and Compensatory Education Department, Maura Sedgeman and Kellie Bugajski, attended the WIDA 2016 National Conference which provided opportunities for professional learning, idea sharing, relationship building, and strategic collaboration.  The theme, “Drawing on Life’s Experiences: Designing Bright Futures,” expresses that English Language Learners bring an amazing array of knowledge and experience that must be valued in development of language ability and to be successful upon graduation from high school.  They specifically attended the Migrant/Refugee/Newcomer sessions with a focus on best practices that support students academically, socially, and emotionally and allowed us to reflect on improving the educational outcomes of ELs.  The new learning will be incorporated to upcoming district professional development opportunities.

Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Trauma

Many of the refugees that register for school in the US have often lived in a country with an unstable infrastructure for years due to extreme conditions like poverty, war and disasters.  To date, we have about 349 refugee students enrolled in Dearborn Public Schools.  They enter our school system with many basic needs.  Part of educating the whole child is ensuring that both their affective and academic needs are met.  Helping children and adolescents cope with trauma will strengthen their social and emotional skills.  Feeling safe at school translates into higher academic achievement, increased student well-being, and greater engagement

What is trauma?

“Trauma” is often thought of as physical injuries. Psychological trauma is an emotionally painful, shocking, stressful, and sometimes life-threatening experience. It may or may not involve physical injuries, and can result from witnessing distressing events.  Traumatic events threaten our sense of safety.

Reactions (responses) to trauma can be immediate or delayed. Reactions to trauma differ in severity and cover a wide range of behaviors and responses.  Frequently experienced responses among children after trauma are loss of trust and a fear of the event happening again.

What can school personnel do to help?

There are steps that adults can take that can help them cope.  These include creating safe conditions, remaining calm and friendly, and connecting with others.  Being sensitive to people under stress and respecting their decisions is important.

If a child brings up an act of violence that he/she experienced or their feelings about it, let them know:

  • You care about them.
  • The event was not their fault.
  • You will do your best to take care of them in school.
  • It’s okay for them to feel upset.

DO:

·         Allow children to cry

·         Allow sadness

·         Listen to children

·         Let children talk about feelings

·         Let them write/draw about feelings

·         Accept their feelings

·         Try to keep regular routines.

 

 

 

DON’T:

·         Expect children to be brave or tough

·         Force children to tell their stories

·         Probe for personal details

·         Make promises you cannot keep

·         Say what you think people should feel

·         Say how people should have acted

·         Argue about their feelings

·         Get upset if they begin acting out

·         Get angry if children show strong emotions

·         Ignore severe reactions

 

Source: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Notice for AOL Email Accounts

Dear Parents,

If you are an AOL email user, please be aware that you may not receive email notifications due to AOL policies. We are working to resolve this issue with AOL.

Thank you for your patience while we work with AOL to make sure you get classroom notifications from your teacher.

Sincerely,

Technology Department

3D Community Meeting

The 3D Community was established five years ago when three departments (EL & Comp Ed., Special Education and General Ed) came together with the purpose of serving the needs of all students in our district.  Each of the three departments brought a different dimension to the table, hence the name.

The first 3D community meeting of 2016-17 was launched today with our first collaborative learning opportunity which focused on co-teaching.  Special Education team members facilitated the morning session where school teams discussed the benefits and approaches to a successful co-teaching model.

Dr. Glenn Maleyko was even able to capture a selfie at the meeting.


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The learning continued through the afternoon where departments met separately.  The EL Department team members focused the discussion on the role of the bilingual resource teacher working collaboratively with classroom teachers to meet the needs of the growing population of English Learners.  The learning continued by examining what specially designed instruction looks like for newcomers (newly arrived immigrants with limited English proficiency) and ended with a sharing of resources.

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