Case Study Research Area #3:
Role of Research-Based Information at the Middle Grades
|AREA OF RESEARCH||GRAHAM AND PARKS||HANSHAW||HORACE MANN||WIGGS|
|Restructuring||Based on Caught in the Middle-- California's blueprint for the middle school model. Many of the ideas are based on research conducted by the principal within the community.||The restructuring was led by a former principal; since we did not interview him, we do not know how much the ideas came from research.
The implementation of families, etc. seems to be based on "the middle school concept."
|The district is embracing the middle school concept in terms of "teams and pods." The Assistant Superintendent for middle schools explained that "research show that breaking students into smaller units is the most effective way to keep track of and maintain connections with kids, especially minority kids." Wiggs proximity to UTEP helped them get started with the implementation of the middle school philosophy; they also work with middle school people at the state level. The Asst. Sup. said that all of the changes they are making are research based.|
|Curriculum and Instruction||TERC's inquiry-based method for teaching science is research based.||The ideas regarding the promotion of an environment where learning can take place (i.e., absence of threat) and using curriculum that is meaningful to students come from "brain research."||Many strategies are in place at Horace Mann that appear to be research-based. Many of these strategies (i.e., cooperative learning) were primarily learned through teacher inservices. San Francisco's Project 2061 is research-based in that the developers attended national retreats, conferences, and summer work sessions. The emphasis on contructivism and a "transdisciplinary" approach to learning illustrate the research base.||It is district policy to teach thematically within the LAMP program.|
|Language Acquisition||Teachers were knowledgeable about the process of language development.||Teachers in bilingual classes were knowledgeable about the process of language development.||Teachers have sought out training on language acquisition, bicultural awareness, etc. They understand the need to be trained to facilitate the language development of LEP students. Many have LDS and bilingual credentials. LDS courses are offered to teachers on-site.||The LAMP program was designed at the district level; the emphasis is on teaching English through the content areas. They also made a choice to have reduced class sizes (10-15 students) in LAMP classes.|