Exemplary Proficiency Level: High School Government

 

Support materials:
Video clip #180

Interview with Teacher (Excerpt)

Audio clip #180b_carabajal

Audio clip #180c_carabajal

Overall rating & analysis

Overall rating: Two E ratings equal an overall E rating

Beginning

Advanced

Exemplary

Strand 1: The teacher’s effectiveness in selecting “I want” strategies and messages that will compel students.

Effectively uses the same teacher-centered strategies in all situations to convey generic messages that students benefit from academic achievement

Effectively uses student-centered strategies (based on an understanding of students and depending on the situation) to reach a range of students to convey that students benefit from academic achievement

Effectively considers individual students and situations when choosing strategies and messages that convey that students benefit from academic achievement

Strand 2: The frequency of “I want” strategies and the degree to which they are integrated into the classroom.

Implements strategies in isolation and does so occasionally

Employs a series of integrated classroom strategies regularly

Monitors individual students’ “I will” investment levels, effectively conveys messages and employs strategies as often as necessary, enables students to empower one another, and initiates effective efforts to shape the larger school context.


Analysis: Why did the teacher receive these ratings?

Rating: E Strand 1: The teacher’s effectiveness in selecting “I want” strategies and messages that will compel students.

Why E?

  • The teacher "uses student-centered strategies (based on an understanding of students and depending on the situation) to reach a range of students to convey that students benefit from academic achievement" including: having students design their own lesson plans around what interests them in the election, having students debate issues that are relevant in the election so that they understand that it's important to learn so that they can have a voice in issues that affect them, and writing a paper about why it's important to be informed about the candidates. All of these strategies are "student-centered" and require active student participation.
  • The teacher implements the strategies "effectively" as evidenced by the numerous student and faculty interviews that attest to students’ increased desire to learn about politics as a result of the election unit and the teacher’s strategies (e.g., Teacher: "This has really opened their eyes to the possibilities and what issues affect them;" Teacher: "I've never seen my students so engaged;" Teacher: "Because of this mock election, the children of this school are talking about issues. They're talking about taxes, they're talking about minimum wage, they're talking about voting and they're going to vote. It's just as surprising, it blows me away;" Student: "I feel that since I've been in Ms. Carabajal's class, this new guy, Obama, came out who's running for US Senate. He's doing such a good job; it shows me that minorities have the same equal chance of winning, we just don't want to go out and get it. So I be the one who's going to go out and get it;" Student: "She tells us, it's important to go out and learn this because it's going to affect you or it's going to benefit you and your future. If you pick this president, maybe later on he'll give us more benefits for education and that's what makes me think, my God, who am I going to pick? If I pick Bush, he's going to do this for us, for the students, and that makes me want to think about my future and makes me real interested in class.").
  • The teacher "effectively considers individual students and situations when choosing strategies and messages." The context reveals that the teacher worked closely with students, during this unit, to understand their individual goals and skills and show each student how they would benefit from academic achievement. The teacher tells the story of one student who began to exert academic effort, even beyond her classroom, after an assignment that she helped tailor to the students interest. She also recalls seeing a similar impact on several students in her class and how many teachers have seen their students’ "I want" investment rise after participating in the teacher’s election unit (i.e., "So many of my students have started seeing the impact of being informed, of learning, of becoming better writers and several teachers have come up to me and told me about the changes they've seen in their own classes. For me, it's about understanding what each of my students wants in life, what they care about, and then showing them how learning and academic achievement will help them reach their own goals.").

Rating: EStrand 2: The frequency of “I want” strategies and the degree to which they are integrated into the classroom.

Why E?

  • The teacher "regularly conveys messages and employs a series of integrated classroom strategies." The teachers' "I want" strategies occurred throughout multiple lessons in her lengthy unit about the election. Messages were well "integrated" into her lesson plan and structure and occurred "regularly" from September to November. In addition, the teacher’s story about Lakeisha and similar experiences of other students in her class indicates that she "monitors individual students’ "I want" investment levels, effectively conveys messages and employs strategies as often as necessary."
  • The teacher has initiated "effective efforts to shape the larger school context" by carrying her "I want" lessons related to the election into other teachers' classrooms, including the adult advocacy classes. Testimonials from other teachers reveal that the teacher’s success has even impacted their opinion of how invested students can be (i.e., "We have all different levels and it's been really tough, especially since our school population is a very special population and not too many kids are really interested in politics or know too much about politics. So this has really opened their eyes to the possibilities and what issues effect them." and "I worked as a political consultant for 15 years before I started working here at Davis. In fact, I was Executive Director of the democratic party for Harris County. And one of the most frustrating things I faced was trying to figure out how I was going to get the youth and the leaders of tomorrow, involved in politics and involved in community issues, and involved in world issues, and involve in presidential campaigns. And because of this mock election, the children of this school are talking about issues. They're talking about taxes, they're talking about minimum wage, they're talking about voting and they're going to vote. It's just as surprising, it blows me away.")
  • The teacher also "enables students to empower one another." She has designed a unit where students take ownership over creating the lesson plans and writing letters on the issues they are most passionate about, giving students the power to drive their own learning. In addition, the teacher reports that she has seen this unit transform her class into a place where students actively collaborate and encourage one another to learn. "I've also seen my students really start to encourage and empower one another. They get so excited when anyone's letter is printed in the paper and they're always eager to debate one another or edit one another's work to make it better. I've even seen students share their research or come in after reading a really interesting article and just pass it along to their classmates. Their desire to learn and their collaboration and support of one another is really pronounced."
  • Additional Note: If the teacher does not continue implementing additional strategies past November when the unit ends, the rating would then be PN because the teacher would no longer even be attempting to implement "I want" investment strategies.