Year: 1998-1999
Month: December
Leader: Group G

Situation/Case Study:
SYSTEMIC POLICY ISSUE

Description:
Expectations for 1st grade students are greater than in kindergarten. Parents of a student want to know why their first grader is struggling. There are certain expectations throughout the district that vary between buildings. Teacher was saying that the expectations are too high at her site for the first graders. Felt the issue was a district issue. Many different issues: Handwriting, Not knowing their letters and sound. Issues about style or development of handwriting skills.

Hypotheses:
A teacher in this situation feels frustrated because she is working to do the best teaching she can, and parents are unhappy (some) with their child’s experience. She is feeling overwhelmed and conflicted by different expectations: Parental, building, district and what she knows to be best practices. She feels conflicts with what she feels is best for students, school and parent expectations. The teacher is feeling frustrated that she is doing all she can for a child that is developmentally not ready. It is especially difficult because the district gives mixed messages of expectations. The teacher is feeling pressured to bring her students up to a level of performance that is too high for this age group. She is feeling frustrated because each site in the district has different expectations for their students. She feels obligated to support staff members - coworkers from the early childhood center when parents feel that their child has not been properly prepared for first grade. I feel very torn between my expectations at the school and the children's development. I am obligated to follow the expectations and actions of administration with the school. The teacher feels pressured to meet the districts expectations while at the same time teach appropriately to all children's ability levels. A teacher in such a situation might feel frustrated because she is questioned about issues that should be answered by the administrators. A teacher in this situation would feel conflicted and frustrated because though she cares for the needs of her students and is listening to parents concerns at the same time her hands are tied by the administrations expectations.

Theories behind practice:
Reassure parents that there is a wide-range of abilities. He/she (student) may have to work harder. Teachers and schools need to pay attention to developmental levels of students.

Impact on others:


Solutions:


Comments:
Need more consistency throughout the district concerning expectations of students. SAT scores should not determine or drive the curriculum taught at the site.