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Roberto Gonzalez Fieldwork Portfolio

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Welcome to the Fieldwork Portfolio for Roberto Gonzalez, PLI Cohort 10B.

Virgil Middle School

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INTRODUCTION

The AVID program was started in San Diego in 1980 as a response to school desegregation in order to prepare inner city students for the rigorous coursework they would encounter in suburban high schools. Despite its humble beginnings as one elective course for 32 students, AVID has grown across 45 states to serve nearly 300,000 students in 4th through 12th grade to prepare students with Bs, Cs, and Ds in the academic “middle” for four-year college eligibility. As part of the AVID curriculum students are exposed to a rigorous curriculum, social support, and access to college-aged tutors for academic support. The AVID program has been shown to be highly effective at preparing low-income and minority students with the necessary skills to qualify for enrollment in four-year colleges and universities at a rate of 97% immediately after high school.

 

Avid

Virgil Middle School implemented Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) in the 2008-2009 academic school year as part of Virgil Middle School’s Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA). The AVID student selection process at Virgil involves the A Track counselor, the AVID site supervisor, and the AVID elective teachers who work together to identify students through teacher recommendations and student interviews. Initial findings from the first year suggest that students enrolled in Virgil’s AVID program show greater student motivation and greater student achievement, as measured through GPA, attendance rates, and attitudinal surveys, compared to their non-AVID classmates.

Despite the tremendous gains documented last year with the first group of 50 AVID students, the AVID site team found that there was still a great deal of growth in the area of teaching student literacy that was possible at our school site. As a response, during the current 2009-2010 academic school year two sections of the 7th grade AVID elective have been added to supplement the two on-going 8th grade AVID elective sections. As a seventh-year middle school teacher I have seen many school improvement programs and initiatives come through my school and am very excited by the promising results produced in the first AVID 8th grade group and the first semester progress reports I have seen for my current 7th grade AVID students. In addition, my interest in studying AVID literacy strategies at my school site comes from my direct involvement in teaching one of the 7th grade AVID electives this year and from my desire to assess firsthand the efficacy of AVID literacy strategies with my non-AVID students.

 

PURPOSE

The primary purpose of my fieldwork project will be to work on my practice as an emerging school leader in the areas of curriculum and school wide professional development that places student literacy development and learning at the center of all school relationships. Some secondary questions that I would like to address are: How can student literacy become embedded in a school culture that does not value literacy approaches in content area classes? What are the most important components for supporting academic and literacy development in FBB and BB students? How can student voice be incorporated to frame a school wide discussion around the importance of writing across the curriculum?

The secondary purpose of my fieldwork project will be to study the effects of participation in AVID writing, inquiry, collaboration, and reading (WICR) strategies with the 16 struggling far-below basic (FBB) and below-basic (BB) students enrolled in my 1st and 4th period science classes. I have selected these periods because these groups consist of 55 students and have the most number of fails (16) compared to my other science classes. Other teachers have labeled this group as “difficult to teach” and as “unmotivated and low-performing.” My guiding question for my Literacy Fieldwork Project will be: What will be the effect of AVID Writing-Inquiry-Collaboration-Reading literacy strategies on student achievement and motivation of FBB and BB science students enrolled in my 1st and 4th period science class this semester?

 

Computer Work

Student Bio/ Information

In the heart of Los Angeles, Roberto Gonzalez can be seen after school running along the Silverlake reservoir surrounded by middle school students huffing and puffing. Gonzalez is not a physical education teacher, as one might expect. He is, in fact, a 7th -grade science teacher at Virgil Middle School in Los Angeles, CA. Each year, Gonzalez coaches roughly 25 Virgil students as part of Students Run LA, a program for students to train to run the LA marathon. Gonzalez takes training very seriously, whether it's prepping students for 26.2 miles or gearing up for the next science exam.

 

marathon


As science department chair at Virgil Middle School, Gonzalez directs a 12-person team of science teachers in addition to his classes. Under his leadership, the department nearly tripled student achievement on California Standardized Testing (CST) and submitted the highest scores in LAUSD for CST for middle schools in 2007-08. The science department has the highest gains in the school.

Gonzalez is steadily working to improve other departments as well. He was instrumental in the school's recently implemented FLEX schedule that incorporates student intervention, study hall and enrichment into the school day, rather than relegating it to after-school hours. Teacher turnover at Virgil Middle School is high, so Gonzalez always mentors at least two new teachers, guiding and providing support in a school where almost 90 percent of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch programs.

 

California Milken Educator, 2009

milken

 


Leadership Positions Held at Virgil Middle School During the 2009-2010 School Year

Science Department Chair

The Science Department Chair collaboratively develops and guides the 7th and 8th grade science teachers in professional development sessions, data analysis, Science Fair workshops, drafting a year-long budget for department orders, acquiring instructional and support resources for teachers, and implementing lesson study. During this school year our department was successful in implementing lesson study protocols and writing across the curriculum as part of a vision to move the science department towards common performance assessments and project-based learning.

Diversity Action Team Leader

The Diversity Action Team Leader is in charge of implementing diversity-related learning and social activities that values and celebrates the diverse perspectives, cultures, languages, and identities of all members of our school community. During this year, the diversity action team was responsible for creating a Women's History writing contest, a student cultural and linguistic door-decorating contest, and created awareness of the different cultures and languages represented at Virgil MS through several student-created morning announcements.

Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) Science Representative

The instructional leadership team (ILT) is a representative body comprised of faculty and staff members from all the departments in the school community. This committee is tasked with created PD calendars for the entire school, unpacking testing data to be shared out with the entire school and to individual departments, and creating teacher support structures for building professional capacity among all ILT members to become coaches and members to the teachers in the entire school community. As the Science ILT representative it is my responsibility to share the Science department's PD plans, make presentations to the committee about our department's goals, and make requests for additional resources and administrative support when necessary.

AVID Site Team Committee Member

The AVID Site Team Committee is a group comprised of the AVID school site coordinator and AVID elective teachers to plan collaboratively for the 7th and 8th grade AVID elective classes. Additionally, this committee plans the AVID Family Nights that are held once in the Fall semester and once in the Spring semester to acquaint parents and students with AVID requirements and to share with parents the success stories that have emerged among students who are involved in AVID. As one of the 7th grade AVID elective teachers, it is my responsibility to provide a cohesive learning plan for my students that includes college and career research, an introduction to the A-G requirements, use and application of Cornell Notes in all content areas, the use of tutorial sessions with college-aged tutors to receive extra support in content classes, and a final public speaking presentation to students, parents, faculty, and staff. Additionally, at the end of the school year the AVID site team is responsible for advertising the AVID program and interviewing interested 6th and 7th graders on A Track for participation in the AVID program as 7th and 8th graders.

FLEX SubCommittee Member

The FLEX subcommittee was a voluntary group established to explore in-school intervention for FBB and BB students who required extra support during school hours. In addition, the FLEX subcommittee was instrumental in developing an enrichment component for students who did not need intervention because they were meeting all of the standards during a given time. As a member of the FLEX subcommittee my primary responsibility was to plan the scheduling and provide insight into the course offerings that were available for students in both intervention and enrichment classes.

BTSA NEW TEACHER SUPPORT PROVIDER

The LAUSD BTSA (Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment) Program is a state-mandated two-year program that all teachers must successfully complete in order to "clear" their teaching credential. All BTSA teachers must be matched to a support provider in their school who will work as a mentor and observer of emerging practice. Through this program I have been able to successfully mentor and coach 7 teachers over the past four years as they document and reflect on their practice as new teachers.

    Student Contact Information

    Science Department Chair

    152 N. Vermont Avenue

    Los Angeles, CA 90046

    email: rxg1589@lausd.net

     

    School Information

    School Site: Virgil Middle School

    Site Supervisor: Ada Snethen-Stevens

    Fieldwork Class Information

    University Field Supervisor: Nancy Parachini

    Virgil Middle School Photo

     

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