- School Demographics
- Major Initiatives and How These Efforts Will Improve Student Performance
- Safe and Orderly Environment
- Parent Involvement
The Judith P. Hoyer Early Childhood Center services students in two programs: Extended Elementary Education Program (EEEP), better known as Pre-K, and Head Start Program. The Pre-Kindergarten program is a joint effort of the Maryland State Department of Education and the local school system. One of the classes utilizes Montessori techniques in the classroom, and was recently adopted into the Montessori Contextual Learning Environment program, and enrolls four and five year olds. Two co-taught classes will be introduced this year. These classes will include youngsters with Individual Educational Plans (IEPs) and will be co-taught by both regular and special education staff. The Pre-K program was changed from a half day program this year to a full day program. The Head Start Program is a federally and locally funded pre-school program targeting three and four year olds of families with limited income. Its mission is to provide a quality developmentally appropriate program for each child and to consider their unique needs for reaching their maximum potential. Our school's vision is to provide preschoolers with experiences that enable them to learn, grow and succeed, and become self-confident, self-directing five-year olds who are curious about many things and who find joy and satisfaction in learning. Establishing a strong parent communication and involvement in their child's development is inherent in the program. Within the full-day program, children participate in language rich experiences throughout their day, participating in student-directed and teacher-directed activities that include opportunities for whole-group and small-group instruction as well as independent work time in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. Dramatic play, art, motor, movement, and music are incorporated into their daily schedule.
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2. School Demographics
Overall, the J. P. Hoyer staff is a relatively small, yet highly experienced staff that works collaboratively to plan and implement their respective curriculum and special school-wide activities. Our instructional staff consists of 6 teachers certified in Early Childhood Education and 6 paraprofessionals in the Pre-K program, presently 3 long-term substitutes and 3 paraprofessionals within the Head Start program, as well as an early childhood certified music teacher and a library/media assistant. Our Pre-K teachers have an average of 22 years of experience (ranging from 11 - 30 yrs.) They are student-centered, knowledgeable of developmentally appropriate instructional activities, and recognize the importance of developing positive communication and relations with parents. Teachers are diligent in the assessment of student progress. Our PTO has played a very supportive role to our school and families, especially through its efforts to sponsor and coordinate a variety of enriching school-wide activities.
Our early learners have resided within the boundaries of seven Title I elementary schools. The ethnic composition of our student body is: 59.1% Black; 32.7% Hispanic; 3.5% White, 2.3% Asian, and 2.3% American Indian, and reflects an increase in the ESOL/Hispanic for the 2004-2005 school year. Our school boundaries will change for the 2005-06 school year. A major accomplishment of our school is the recognition received by the Maryland State Department of Education acknowledging our Pre-K program for attaining excellence in early childhood programming through the state validation process. Our Head Start Program also participated in its program evaluation process this past spring, and we anticipate a similar positive standing.
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3. Major Initiatives and How These Efforts Will Improve Student Performance
The priority needs in reading and language arts will focus on phonemic awareness and letter recognition, and in mathematics, the priority needs will focus on simple mathematics strategies, namely, numeral recognition and number concepts. The instructional programs will be improved through targeted activities to improve phonemic awareness, math strategies and continued monitoring of student progress. Staff will monitor pupil progress at grade level meetings, and share/identify strategies that will lead to differentiated instructional activities to support identified students and specific skill development, in particular, emphasis on monitoring student progress on the four indicators identified above. An intensive focus on vocabulary development strategies will be paramount in the coming school year. Our Pre-K program will incorporate two co-taught classes. Up to two classes will be staffed with a Special Education teacher and special education paraprofessional within a regular education context and up to seven to eight children with IEPs per class.
The letter a week strategy will be continued as implemented in the Pre-K program, and the addition of Problem of the Week and math journals. Small-group instruction utilizing a three-group rotation in reading will be continued and introduced in mathematics as a primary component of the instructional programs. Teachers will use multi-sensory approaches, such as sign language (signed English) and instructional technology, to enhance language development and communication skills of students. A new preschool curriculum will be implemented for the 2005-2006 school year in both the Pre-K and Head Start programs.
Teachers will receive staff development on the new curriculum prior to the opening of school. Staff in-services throughout the year will address the phonological awareness continuum, math problem-solving strategies, inclusion practices, school-wide management routines and practices outside of the classroom, and strategies to increase parent involvement. Teachers will learn strategies used by ESOL teachers skilled in the communication and instruction of students with limited or no English proficiency. All program staff will implement a social skills curriculum that will assist students to develop empathy and caring, in particular, and impulse control and anger management skills as well. All staff will participate in the development and delivery of parent-child activities that support young children's educational, health, social and cognitive development. A school-wide attendance program will be continued that will recognize children, classrooms and parents for exemplary attendance and develop interventions for students with less than satisfactory attendance.
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A review of the subgroups outlined in No Child Left Behind (NCLB), i.e. race, gender, ESOL, Special Education, and FARM, as they pertain to JPH ECC, finds the following: three of the five racial groups are each less than 5% of the school population, and therefore, not valid subgroups for the purpose of comparison to other racial groups in our school. Our racial subgroups are Black and Hispanic. Nearly all students meet the income criteria ( FARM) for program eligibility, so that here, too, there is not a comparison group within the school. Similarly, a few youngsters received special education services for speech articulation, and thus, there is not a Special Education subgroup to disaggregate for comparison purposes either. However, two co-taught classes, staffed by both a regular and special educators, have been established, such that there will be Special Education subgroup for the 2005-06 school year. Gender, of course, and ESOL are subgroups for our school. Our grade-level teams for each of our programs will continue to monitor the progress of students frequently, make adjustments or develop interventions as needed, with a focus on English Language Learners, students with IEPs, and youngster found to have individual needs. Special education and regular education staff will work collaboratively to address the needs of all students.
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5. Safe and Orderly Environment
The school's Emergency Plan is updated on an annual basis. Parents are informed of our alternate school site for evacuation emergency purposes. Emergency kits are provided for administrative and instructional staff. Our school follows the school system's policies and procedures for maintaining a clean and safe building. Staff and students are aware of safety procedures, e.g. fire drills, fire exits and alternative exits, and bus evacuations. Children and staff participate in monthly fire drills and annual front and rear bus evacuation drills. Strict precautions in the safe delivery and dismissal of our children are in place, with specific management routines for the signing in and signing out of students from school. Implementation of the Second Step Social Skills Program provides a developmentally appropriate social skills curriculum that teaches children to identify and practice social and problem solving skills. Thus, the intervention for social/behavioral concerns are first and foremost, implemented at the classroom level, in the child's natural setting, thus reducing discipline referrals. Student needs, whether academic, social or health, are addressed via the School Instructional Team. Parents are informed upon their child's entrance to our school of the importance of regular and prompt school attendance. However, this is an area identified for improvement across the general school population. Students with perfect and exemplary attendance will be recognized quarterly. An attendance team will be established to address issues related to chronic attendance concerns.
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6. Parent Involvement
Parents are encouraged to take leadership roles in the school through the school's PTO, volunteer activities, and participation in the various parent workshop opportunities made available to parents throughout the school year. Parent involvement is recognized at our school via a Five Star Family Award certificate. Our school has had a parent representative on the School Planning Management Team (SPMT) who is familiar with the school environment, school community, and curriculum. Parents are also involved with school decision making through their participation in the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and by participating in PTO sponsored family activities that build positive and strong relationships with the school community. Parents identify and participate in educational activities to learn effective strategies to support their child's academic, health and social development. Parental input is sought in the development of these activities. Parents and families are kept abreast of the school activities via a monthly school newsletter. A bilingual parent liaison is available two days/week to assist with home school communications. Most written home-school communications are translated into Spanish.
Parent involvement will be increased by conducting two new activities, in particular, that will connect our families to our school. Our school's newest business partnership, Livable Communities, has offered their support to assist with the beautification of our school grounds. We will plan opportunities for our families to participate in these beautification projects in ways that include the children, thus reinforcing science and social studies curriculum goals. We will add features to our school web page that will connect our families to their child's curriculum by providing opportunities to observe student work, access parent-child activities and link to early childhood sites and resources.
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