My first post in the series provided background on the legal requirements for English Language Acquisition programs in DPS. I now zoom in on the specific needs of the Southwest Region.
The SW region is home to the largest population of Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL), Latino, and ELL students in DPS. Here are the stats:
2% African American
12% SwD (students with Disabilities)
English language proficiency represents a nuanced challenge. On the surface, several schools and charter management organizations (CMOs) throughout the city a fantastic job raising the achievement of ELLs. However, a closer look reveals that the level of success differs by school depending a student’s language level when entering the system.
DPS tests language proficiency using the WIDA Access test; ACCESS places students in proficiency bands with 1 representing beginner and 6 advanced. Not surprisingly, SW region has a high number of ELLs in the lower bands 1-3. STRIVE has a demonstrated track record of serving students in these lower bands, and STRIVE’s success in this region is what compelled DPS staff to recommend the network over game-changers DSST for the new Kepner Campus opening.
STRIVE opened their flagship middle school in the SW eight years ago. The first high school and (soon!!!) elementary school are in the neighborhood as well. By 2015, STRIVE will operate three middle schools, one high school, and one elementary for a total of five campuses in the SW region.