The School of Awareness and Global Education (SAGE) offers an academic environment where our students become agents of change for themselves. Our SLC will create an academic learning experience equipping students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be positive agents of change in their personal lives, their local community, and in the global arena.
Our educators and administrators believe that strengthening the abilities of our scholars will benefit them as they become life-long learners and good global citizens.
B. Our Vision as a Small Learning Community
To achieve our mission we will involve all stakeholders (teachers, students, parents, and counselors) as well as, marshaling resources from outside the classroom. SAGE aims to widen the world-view of our graduates by coaching their skills and guiding them toward knowledge and experience. Embracing personalization, promoting cross-curricular thematic coordination, and building awareness of multiple skill sets that will permeate every aspect of the classroom.
Our Design Team has brought our Parent Advisor, Manuel Herrera, and other parents together to help us build on our vision of what the school should like form their perspective. They are able to see the big picture and have told us that college preparation is very high on their list of what they desire, and expect from their children. We will continue to teach the California A thru G requirements and standards effectively, while introducing well researched methods that will train young minds to think more critically about their own lives, academically, personally, and globally; preparing them for the future, whether that means college, skilled trade apprenticeships or jobs in the global and technological workplace.
SAGE is already reaching out to Regional Occupational Programs (ROP) at Belmont. Beginning January of 2007 students from SAGE will be able to enroll in a class called Automotive
Technology. The course taught by Mr. Jose Camacho at Belmont is more than the conventional ‘shop class’. Mr. Camacho’s class addresses California State standards from the English, Math, Science, and Chemistry curricula; not to mention convergence with principles taught through J.R.O.T.C. and SAGE. Furthermore, we are including in our Advisory period curriculum a project that culminates in a college application for every student.
The lead teachers, in conjunction with design team members, will work together to ensure our budget is aligned with the mission, vision, goals, and objectives of SAGE as set forth in this proposal. We propose to ensure this mechanism through quarterly meetings where we discuss past goals and identify new objectives as our budget permits. Our SLC currently conducts bi-monthly meetings to discuss and delegate responsibility relating to student conduct and behavior, facilities, scheduling and programming, as well as issues pertaining to the safety of our students inside and outside of the class and school environment. All of the aforementioned issues are aligned to our vision and identity.
Getting students to connect our mission with their needs in the post-high school phase of their lives in an important goal for us. Our SLC has already implemented two strategies to make this happen: one, we talk-up, present, and reiterate our mission to students’ futures in Los Angeles. An example event where we implemented this strategy was during our initial recruitment stage in the latter part of the Fall of 2006 (Nov.-Dec.). Carefully planned and implemented, all 19 design team members articulated to all potential students the link and benefit between joining our SLC and their future in the post-high school juncture. Our second strategy deals with reiterating the importance of fulfilling the all requirements by the time they graduate so they are well prepared for university life. We continually promoted the message that a college education, or vocational training, was essential if they expected to be successful in life. We commit to preparing all SAGE members for life after high school. All of the above falls in line with our theme of Global Education, in SAGE an education is more than a High School Diploma!
C. Our Identity
In the School of Awareness and Global Education we promote a unique educational focus drawn from input from our community, it’s families, and students. We have created an instructional approach based on the two terms “awareness,” and “global education.”
Awareness as a Core Theme:
For the purposes of SAGE the term “awareness” acts as a synonym for skills. In math, science, Language Arts, and Social Studies we teach our students ‘ways to do things’. While we value students’ abilitiies to answer questions correctly, simply answering questions is not enough; we need to be certain that students can process their own questions and answers. Through working with the educators of SAGE young people will be trained to utilize new and existing skills as ways to approach all problems they come to in school and life.
Concrete examples of this new ideal can be seen through SAGE’s innovative plans to change the traditional program of homeroom. Our plan is to modify Homeroom into a Student Advisory Period where students manage their own paper, and eventually, digital Academic Portfolios, focusing on academic progress, reading, and preparation for standardized exams.
Traditional skills of critical thought are the appropriate strategies students need; incorporating information technologies as additional tools is the icing on the cake of knowledge that will help our students become responsible citizens. This integration of information technologies with traditional skills of critical thought will create clear ways to understand history and culture, or the ‘why and how’ of their environs. Adding technical sciences to history and culture will help promote what we call “global education.”
Global Education as a Core Theme:
For the purposes of SAGE “Global Education” means ‘history and culture’ looked at through a broad spectrum. It is the term we use to draw students’ attention to understanding the global bazaar of ideas and opinions that confront today’s young people. We advance the idea that individuals contribute to world events and we expect results from our students. We question, or challenge, all students about how society should work. It is then their task to use their own “awareness” to navigate the path between liberal idealism, and the hard, practical truth. The results are often surprising.
The lead teachers, in conjunction with design team members, will work together to ensure our mission, vision, goals, are aligned with our budgeted objectives as set forth in this proposal. We propose to ensure this mechanism through quarterly meetings where we discuss past goals and identify new objectives as our budget permits. Our SLC currently conducts bi-monthly meetings to discuss and delegate responsibility relating to student conduct and behavior, facilities, scheduling and programming, as well as issues pertaining to the safety of our students inside and outside of the class and school environment. All of the aforementioned issues are aligned to our vision and identity.
English Language Learners, Students of Belmont have historically been largely 1st and 2nd generation migrants; many are children born as citizens of the U.S. The mixture of Latin American, Asian, Pacific Islander, and African American cultures is rapidly becoming a greater influence in every aspect of all our lives. Families of these groups are often dual language speakers, using one language at home and amongst friends and family, while speaking English only at school or work. It should come as no surprise that our students need more English language instruction in order to succeed. One case in this point is our strategy to increase skills, remediate, and mainstream second language learners from the outset by requiring a mandatory two-hour block of English for the 9th grade that is anchored in rigorous standards-based curriculum. The course is titled Global Language and includes all the accepted, standards based, course material plus intensive linguistic instruction on Standard American English grammar, its development, and global influences. Focusing on language skills beginning in the freshman year
that will be used up through the senior year is a part of the “Awareness” of SAGE. Our plan is to use the 9th grade elective as a way to supplement English Language Arts education. The student population we work with are overwhelmingly second language learners. (see Appendix B, English Language Learners)
Educational researcher Dr. Kevin Feldman points out that students “struggling with 9th grade English classes… are very likely struggling in every other class as well.”4 We believe that even those who are not of a second language background, ie. native English and fluent speakers, will benefit from a course that includes intensive language arts training, this means grammar, phonic, reading and writing education. “English speakers of other languages and high intensity language training programs emphasize the interrelationship among language, cognitive, academic, and socio-cultural processes that contribute to students’ academic success.”5 SAGE’s Global English works with the
school districts Developing Readers and Writers Program (DRWP) which includes the above mentioned strands in a multiple learning modality format that has proven success.