Sunday, June 22, 2008
A BLACK-WHITE SUCESS STORY: LET'S HEAR IT FOR OUR KIDS!
I invite my neighbors to share stories and pictures of students of color who have successfully completed their high school education. I was moved to do this for two reasons:
1. recent conversations I have begun
2. the few news reports I have read that focus on students of color who succeed
3. the lack of conversation about the strengths of our educational systems in America
I was moved by this article that appeared in the TNT Saturday, June 21, paper copy and online. The two women students in this article are African American; the two men students are White American.
State requirements? These seniors met them
DEBBY ABE; firstname.lastname@example.org Published: June 21st, 2008 01:00 AM
They did it.
Each of the four Class of 2008 seniors The News Tribune followed this school year met new state graduation requirements to pass the WASL writing exam or pass math classes.
This spring’s senior class was the first in the state required to meet standards on the reading and writing sections of the 10th-grade Washington Assessment of Student Learning or a state-approved alternative.
Seniors also had to fulfill a math requirement by passing the math WASL exam, passing an alternative or, if they failed the math exam, trying the math test again and passing a year long math course.
They also needed to complete a culminating project, have a plan of what to do the year after high school, and amass the traditional course credits required by school districts and the state.
Here’s how the four South Sound seniors fared.
School: Washington High School, Parkland.
WASL history: Tried but did not pass any required WASL sections in 10th grade. That summer, she retook all the sections and passed the reading section. She attempted the writing and math sections in the 11th grade and passed writing.
The challenge: Pass a year long math course in her senior year and retake the math WASL, though passing the exam is not required.
Result: Graduated. She met the math requirement by passing two semesters of “segmented math,” a new class designed by the state to teach WASL concepts. She attempted the math WASL but was still awaiting her score.
What’s next: Attend community college, then transfer to the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Career goal: Lawyer.
Advice to high school students: “You have your ups and downs. … Don’t give up.”
Parting words: “I’m excited to graduate. I had a long journey.”
School: Graham-Kapowsin High School, Graham.
WASL history: He passed the reading section in 10th grade, but not the writing or math. He passed math in the 11th grade, but not writing. He missed meeting the writing benchmark by 1 point on each attempt.
The challenge: Pass the writing section or complete a “collection of evidence” consisting of specific class assignments demonstrating knowledge and skills tested on the WASL. He has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – problems concentrating and staying focused.
WASL preps: He took a communication arts class and was tutored by an English teacher hired by Graham-Kapowsin to help students pass the reading and writing WASL or the alternative.
Result: Graduated. He met the standard two ways – by submitting a writing collection of evidence and by passing the writing WASL exam. He scored 18 on each effort; the minimum needed to pass either measure was 17.
What’s next: Hang with friends this summer before he leaves Aug. 26 for Air Force boot camp in Texas.
Reaction upon learning he passed: “I was happy. I was like, ‘Yes!’”
Advice to high school students: “Work hard. Pay attention in class.”
School: Spanaway Lake High School, Spanaway.
WASL history: Passed the reading and writing portions of the WASL, but has been unable to conquer the math section.
The challenge: Complete a year long math course this year and retake the math WASL, though passing the exam isn’t required.
Result: Graduated. Passed two semesters of geometry. She retook the math WASL but just barely missed passing.
What’s next: Attend Pierce College, then transfer to Eastern Washington University.
Career goal: Clinical psychologist.
Reaction upon seeing a passing math grade on report card: “I was excited. Really happy … That was the only question” of whether she’d graduate.
Advice to high school students: “Just study really hard … and don’t worry about it too much.”
School: Curtis High School, University Place.
WASL history: Attempted but did not pass the three required WASL sections in 10th grade. Retook the test in 11th grade and passed reading and math.
The challenge: Pass the writing WASL or his writing collection of evidence in English, even though it’s his second language. Deshkin emigrated from Mordovia, Russia, to the United States in September 2003.
WASL preps: Took 12th-grade English, English as a second language and an English class for students who failed the WASL.
Result: Passed the WASL writing exam. Stopped preparing the collection of evidence once he learned he passed. To graduate, must still pass one English class.
What’s next: Probably take the needed English class in summer school to earn his diploma; go to Tacoma Community College in the fall.
Career goal: Software programmer, information technology specialist or video producer.
Reaction at not being able to participate in Curtis’ commencement: “I wasn’t upset. We’re moving this month to a new house in Fircrest. We need a lot of time to do work on the new house.”
He’s confident he will pass another English class to graduate.
Reaction when teacher told him he’d passed the writing WASL: “I was really, really happy.”
Debby Abe: 253-597-8694
I WELCOME ALL SUCCESS STORIES, ESPECIALLY STORIES OF CHILDREN OF COLOR
ONE OF OUR GREAT BLESSINGS.... THOSE AMONG US WHO ARE YOUNG, GIFTED, AND BLACK
Posted by JosephMcG at 9:00 AM