Thursday, January 7, 2010

Overview of Aldine

For those of you who have not followed this blog, ever, I'll give you a brief update on who I am.

I am 21 years old. For the past 3.5 years I have attended Brigham Young University at the Provo, Utah campus. I entered to study elementary education and have kept that aim throughout the years. For my second semester in the program I was required to start this blog to post projects for a class on using Technology in the classroom. Every since then I have kept this blog to post updates in various parts of my education. I started student teaching this week at Carroll Academy in the Aldine Independent School District here in Houston Texas. This move is a big jump for me because I was raised in a rural community in Colorado. Aldine is an inner-city school in the middle of a very large city.

My first week is passing well, but I have a few things I have noticed that are radically different from the school I went to as a child, the schools I did my cohort work in and Carroll Academy.

Carroll is what is called a Magnet School. This means that it is a school with a whole lot of extra 'perks' to entice people to stay in the district rather than transfer their students elsewhere. From what I have observed Carroll has a majority student body made up of Hispanics, followed by African Americans and then whites. This diversity is one of the main differences.

The next difference is the size of the school. Carroll has 940 students enrolled. The elementary school back home as 450 in a year where everyone that could enroll has. There are never more than four teachers per team, and the school goes up to fifth grade. Carroll only goes up to fourth. This really shocked me when I learned about how the schools where split up. (K-4 is elementary, 5-6 Intermediate, 7-8 Middle, 9 own High School Campus, 10-11 High School.)

One more difference is the number of languages that the students speak. I have a gifted and talented second grade class so all of the students speak English. This is good for me because I have not learned Spanish. As a magnet school there are several bilingual classes in each grade so that students can move into English only slowly. In fact, in second grade, there is my gifted and talented, and one or two English Only classes. The rest are bilingual.

These are just the cultural differences between the schools. There are a lot more, such as security, staff positions, specials, lunch schedules, library, so on and so forth. There really is no reason to bemoan these differences, but I hope they give some context to the remarks that I make in the next few months with regard to this teaching experience.

If you're curious about the school or the district, visit their website:
Aldine Independent School District
Carroll Academy

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