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Hillary Raszka


United States

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The challenge I am facing is equitable learning opportunities for the 3,000 students in the seven different elementary schools in my district. Due to factors such as zoning, specialized services, and community support, the students receive different experiences from school to school. These differences are reflected in assessment data, feedback, and overall ratings. The populations that are most negatively impacted are from lower socioeconomic and more diverse households. While our district follows state and federal laws to provide students with a fair, public education, this looks different from room to room. One of our district goals is, “By June 2024, ensure equitable allocation of the district resources to support the district’s mission and goals, including access and utilization of grade-level materials, resources, and programs.” Examples: A kindergarten class size at Crim School has an average of 13 students. At John F. Kennedy School (JFK) the average class size is 21 students. JFK has a 69.5% minority enrollment vs. Crim’s 36.8% minority enrollment. While 21 students do not exceed the maximum number of students that can be enrolled in a class, the learning opportunities these students are getting vary greatly from the students in a class size of 13. Opportunities include the amount of time spent 1-on-1 or in a small group with a teacher, individualized support, and closer connections with students and families. It is at the principal’s discretion to determine what teachers can ask families to pay for or provide for their students. For example, at Van Holten School, families are asked to pay more than $50 for a field trip to the Philadelphia Zoo, which includes transportation on a charter bus. Families at Hamilton School were allowed to ask for money up to $10 to cover the cost of a local trip using the school district’s school buses.

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