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Challenges in Students' Personal LivesFamily needs and responsibilities block students' focus on schoolFamily support and involvement variesMobilityPovertyTraumaFamilies lack access to resourcesStudents lack access to quality mental health resourcesPhysical & mental health issues
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Curriculum & InstructionContent is misaligned with SAT & PSATImplicit bias in curriculum & instructionInstruction does not align to rigor of competency rubrics or assessmentsInstruction is focused on tasks, not on learningLack of appropriate differentiation and supports for GT and SpEdTeaching is not culturally responsiveLessons are not engagingStudents are not asked to think criticallyStudents do not engage in independent practice aligned with grade-level rigorStudents don't understand the connection between competencies & postsecondary goalsStudents don't know what it means to demonstrate grade level competencyStudents don't receive feedback that will increase their mastery or competencyTeachers over-scaffoldWe don't focus on the “soft” skills that need as much attention as contentStudents aren't encouraged or empowered to own their own learning
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Teacher Knowledge and MindsetsTeachers don't understand formative vs summative assessment useTeachers do not have a firm understanding of grade-level competenciesTeachers don't authentically engage studentsLow expectations
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Student MotivationAcceptance of norm of failureStudents lack belief in themselvesHistory of discipline actions saps motivation to change behaviorPost-graduation options can seem either unattainable (e.g., college) or already available to them (e.g., low-wage jobs)We don't provide clear rationale and "why" to students that motivates them in schoolStudents of color aren't motivated to meet demands of traditional “white” normsSome students lack clear post-graduation goals that make school success worthwhileStudents don't trust the systemStudents believe "good grades" aren't for themThe traditional education curriculum is not relevant for many students
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Preparation for Rigorous CourseworkStudents have inconsistent access to high-quality learning opportunities throughout their education careersStudents' past failures blur future successStudents have been moved through the system without demonstrating proficiency each yearSome students have never met grade level competencyLow expectations and accountability for students in elementary, middle, and high schoolHigh schools often lack connection to feeder schools
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School CultureBias regarding expected student behaviorsDominant “college only” narrative is not inclusive or motivating to all studentsGrade-level competency may not be a priorityHeavy focus on SPF vs. learningHigh teacher turnoverSchool culture discourages risk-taking in the classroomSchool culture doesn't align to community valuesSome groups in the community feel marginalizedStereotype threat experienced by students in historically marginalized groupsStudents aren't engaged in established structuresStudents lack relationships with adults in the buildingTeachers’ beliefs about students’ abilitiesWeak communications and connections between families and school
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External SystemsDistrict has not named competency a priorityInadequate supports & training for working with students of colorInadequate transportationIntentional & unintentional tracking through a wide range of systemsLack of knowledge, clarity, definition of grade-level competencyLow expectations and accountability for students in elementary, middle, and high schoolStudents of color disproportionately identified for IEP and 504 plansRacial and cultural bias in assessmentsFraming competencies around assessments exacerbates impact of bias in assessmentsRigorous coursework has an oversimplified definitionStudents are tested too much
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School Processes & PracticesGrading based on task completion over masteryGrading practices lack relevance to authentic learningGrades do not align with mastery of major standardsLack of appropriate transition supportsLack of language supports for studentsLack of supports for staffLow-performing teachers placed in low-performing schoolsStudents of color have unequal access to advanced coursesStudents of color not reflected in teachers or school staff (esp. In advanced courses)Students of color aren't adequately supported in advanced coursesSchools don't provide for students' basic needs
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