Taken together, these elements of cultural dissonance constitute a prevailing pattern that includes but is not limited to : perceptions of race and class as limiting predictors of school achievement; perceptions of different learning styles versus intellectual deficiencies; and lack of cultural responsiveness in current policies and practices. We discuss each of these briefly below followed by some of the practices we suggest for meeting these challenges that are being implemented in some of the more successful urban schools.
In fact, such perspectives can be found in many suburban and rural districts as well. To effectively combat these beliefs, we find school districts engage in some form of continued dialogue regarding these beliefs through year-long reading groups, attendance in continuous diversity dialogue seminars, and opportunities to operationalize their new thinking such as in PLCs, grade level and content meetings, staff meetings, collegial circles, and data inquiry groups.
Lack of Cultural Responsiveness in Current Policies and Practices The principles of culturally responsive pedagogy recognize that culture is central to learning and pivotal not only in communicating and receiving information but also in shaping the thinking process of groups and individuals Ladson-Billings, A pedagogy that acknowledges, responds to, and celebrates knowledge, information, and processes as culturally bound offers fuller and more equitable access to education for CLD student groups Gay, ; Nieto, Reflective practitioners regularly contend with the question of why certain school practices work well for some students and not for others.
Too often, schools make policy, curricular, and pedagogical decisions without careful consideration of the racial, ethnic, and cultural realities of the students and communities they serve. For instance, schools with high concentrations of children who are homeless need to construct homework as in-school reinforcement and not as an activity for a home environment that is not universally available for all children. The dearth of culturally responsive practices leads to a lack of student trust in the school setting Steele, Students may interpret the school environment as unwelcoming and thus unworthy of a meaningful, personal investment, making their academic achievement much more unlikely Cushman, ; Valenzuela, Good Practices for Addressing Issues of Cultural Dissonance Cultural dissonance and the beliefs relative to the limited abilities of urban students distract practitioners from engaging in conversations about how teaching matters in learning outcomes.
That is, we find practitioners are frequently willing to cite the family and community i. Cultural dissonance can be profoundly impactful, however, to the school experiences of urban students. It shapes and colors the expectations for achievement and sends critical messages to students about how much or little their cultural selves are valued by the school and larger society. To address these issues of cultural dissonance in the preparation of the implementation of an effective RtI model, urban schools must develop the capacity for these critical components of policy, practice, and belief: Achieve clarity of institutional mission that focuses on cultivating talent, confidence, and competence in all students.
Demystify school success. Embrace immigrant students and their culture. Build strong relationships between teachers and students to improve behavior and achievement.
Build partnerships with parents and critical stakeholders. Achieve Clarity of Institutional Mission That Focuses on Cultivating Talent, Confidence, and Competence in All Students The first task in developing clarity around mission in urban schools involves securing the appropriate buy-in from all staff regarding expectations and norms. Any notions, however subtle they may be, that accept the normalization of failure must be deliberately and directly challenged.
School teams should attempt to define explicitly what equity means in the specific context of the school building. In the course of defining equity, schools should identify and implement strategies that support the most vulnerable student populations and that also address the social and emotional needs of students as well as the underlying causes of behavior problems. These normed academic and social expectations need to be regularly clarified—particularly at critical transition points in the education pipeline.
Embrace Immigrant Students and Their Culture Increasingly, the children of recently arrived immigrants are enrolling in large numbers at urban public schools. These first-generation and 1. Contrary to the politicized stereotypes that might suggest otherwise, some immigrants do enter the country with a great deal of education and other professional training. The families of the formally educated as well as others with limited levels of formal education invest heavily in the notion that American schools will provide the goods and services that will give their children access to critical social, educational, and economic opportunities.
The academic success of immigrant students is largely contingent on how they and their families are treated. Schools serving large numbers of immigrant students must be increasingly vigilant in their commitment to the principles and practices of culturally responsive education CRE.
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The school practitioners must be especially aware of the ways in which the acculturation process may produce cultural conflict for recent immigrants. To mitigate the potential for conflict, the school must redouble its efforts to develop both cultural and language competence among staff. Build Strong Relationships Between Teachers and Students to Improve Behavior and Achievement Young people who are particularly vulnerable to school failure are most benefited by both good pedagogy that is supported by a carefully planned, rigorous curriculum as well as strong relationships between practitioners and students.
Good teaching in urban schools is often a function of leveraging trust and relationships to challenge students to meet the high expectations for learning. In this way, extracurricular activities can be utilized as tools to engage students, and these activities should be designed to develop skill sets beyond athletics that create opportunities for youth leadership and civic engagement.
Good schools produce students who feel they can present their intellectual selves authentically in a way that does not conflict with the cultural ways of being that are also important to their social and cultural selves. Build Partnerships With Parents and Critical Stakeholders Trust and relationships between students and school practitioners are also facilitated by the careful coordination of services with community partners to meet specific nutrition, health care, and counseling needs.
Effective urban schools should seek to build relationships with social service agencies and other community-based organizations. Urban schools should see these other agencies as not having outside interests but, rather, being equal stakeholders in the long-term goals of the school.
To this end, urban schools should offer training for staff on effective strategies for communicating with parents. The interactions that parents have with the school should be considered thoughtfully so that they do not send conflicting messages. In partnering with parents, schools should work to provide clear guidance on what they can do to support children. Work with parents should be based on the assumption that all parents want the best for their children and would like to partner effectively with the school.
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In considering the structures for incorporating the cooperation of parents, schools should remember that the most critical forms of parental support occur at home. Conclusion As previously stated, it is important to recognize the complex realities facing urban school systems that challenge the effective development and implementation of RtI.
The structural concerns of persistent low achievement, limited teacher and leader capacity, poor data and data inquiry infrastructures, and low expectations of students are not new phenomena but, rather, are historic conditions in urban schools. Additionally, the cultural challenges of teacher and leader perceptions about race and class as limiting conditions and producing intellectual deficiencies, and consideration of culturally responsive pedagogy in policies and practices, are bound to macrosocietal conversations of race and class.
As RtI continues to take center stage as a framework for considering equitable and consistent positive outcomes for all students, attention to these structural and cultural challenges is paramount. Teachers College Record. Boyd, D. Explaining the short careers of high-achieving teachers in schools with low-performing students. American Economic Review , 95 2. Buffum, A.
Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree. Cushman, K. Fires in the bathroom: Advice for teachers from high school students. Delpit, L. The silenced dialogue: Power and pedagogy in educating other people's children. Harvard Educational Review , 58 3 , — Other people's children: Cultural conflict in the classroom. Ferguson, R. Paying for public education: New evidence on how and why money matters. Harvard Journal on Legislation , 28, — Teachers' perceptions and expectations and the Black-White test score gap. Phillips Eds. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.
Fine, M. Framing dropouts: Notes on the politics of an urban public high school. Gay, G. Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research, and practice. Goldhaber, D. Journal of Human Resources , 42, — Teachers matter, but effective teacher quality policies are elusive. Fiske Eds. New York, NY: Routledge. Gordon, R. Identifying effective teachers using performance on the job. Griffith, J.
School climate as group evaluation and group consensus: Student and parent perceptions of the elementary school environment. T he Elementary School Journal , 1 , 35— Harry, B.
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Foundations for success: Case studies of how urban school systems improve student achievement. An estimated 3 to 11 percent of school-aged children meet criteria for the disorder, placing at least one child with ADHD in every American classroom Visser et al. Particularly in need of support are teachers in high-poverty urban schools, where resources are often limited.
Walter, Gouze, and Lim assessed teachers' beliefs about mental health needs of children in inner-city schools. In this study, teachers rated implementation of behavior plans and ADHD as the most important topics for in-service education. Although teachers who sought varied sources to educate themselves about mental health issues had not received either formal training or consultation on the subject, Walter and colleagues concluded that they would benefit from education, training, and consultation from mental health professionals.
Given the complex intersection between environmental factors and the neurobehavioral characteristics of ADHD, it is fitting that providing assistance to teachers would fall to school personnel with both clinical and macro systems training. However, little is known about school social workers' knowledge of ADHD and related interventions. Overall, school social work preparation has been scarcely researched, and the related literature on ADHD remains fairly conceptual.
A review of the literature yielded calls for support from school social workers in providing effective services for students with ADHD Brener et al. The latter provide some insight into the training of school social workers and the potential gaps in the graduate school curriculum.