City of Keizer 9th Grade- mcNary High School

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TWS Setting

City of Keizer

9th Grade- McNary High School


9:22-10:12, Spring term 2014

Community, District, and School:


Identify source of Factor: Community, District, School

Contextual and Environmental Factors

Implications for Instruction


Low socio-economic community

Be aware that you can’t always rely on parental involvement or contributions; many of the students don’t have much support at home. Adjust expectations accordingly.


Diverse Population

Be sensitive when speaking about different ethnicities and form lessons to relate to these groups' backgrounds.


19% of students are ELLs

Be aware of varying ethnic backgrounds and education levels; try to provide language support in the classroom for all students.


Budget Cuts

Financial support in buying supplies, etc., may not be possible, so be aware of this when planning lessons.


Aging Technology

Plan computer projects accordingly because the computers have a lot of issues and are very slow; a one-day project may become a two or three- day project.


Nearly 1/5th of the population of Keizer is living in poverty according to the US Census Bureau and as such the chances of the students not having a solid family base are rather high. Educators need to make sure that they take this into account when assigning homework to be completed at home; if assigned, homework should be structured in such a way that it can be completed on an individual basis, with little or no parental support/guidance needed. In addition, because of this lack of support, students may not have the proper motivation or studiousness to complete work to the satisfaction of the teacher. Educators need to also keep this in mind and structure assignments in a way that a support network is in place to aid students in completing this work, even if it’s in the form of after school help.

Teachers must also realize that around a quarter of Keizer’s population is identified as being Hispanic or Latino. This being the case, the possibility of having an English Language Leaner in your classroom is going to be very high. These students will most likely need extra language support in the classroom, so teachers will need to make sure they simplify how things are worded on assignments accordingly; in addition, it would be helpful to also have abundant resources on the walls to help aid these students in their learning. All of the students in this community can be successful if the teachers are aware of the diverse situations being brought to the classroom.


Salem-Keizer School District educates over 40,000 students currently and is considered the second largest school district in the state, just behind Portland School District. It is composed of 42 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, 8 high schools, and even 4 charter schools. Over five thousand instructional professionals are employed by Salem-Keizer School District, with just over 2,000 of that number being identified as licensed teachers. As such, the support is there for students, it’s just a matter of making sure an effort is made by each and every teacher to address the various needs of every student in the classroom. Finally, there have been a spur of budget cuts over the last several years, resulting in a lack of funding and resources for teachers in the classroom. As a result, it’s important that teachers be proactive in finding cheap, but effective resources to use in the classroom when teaching and also shaping projects that don’t require much outside assistance.

These budget cuts go along with the glaring problem of aging technology within the district. According to my mentor teacher, nearly every school, if not all, in Salem-Keizer have slow, aging computers that are still using Microsoft XP. As such, the standing joke at McNary is that “You can expect to wait 15 minutes just for the computer to boot up.” Teachers need to be aware of this when planning on having the students work in the library on the computers for a project. It may be necessary to call ahead to the library and have the computers turned on before your arrival or perhaps wait until the afternoon to work on the computers, after they’ve been on for a while. Finally, another option might be to simply forgo using the computers at the school and have the students either work on their project at home or create it by hand.

In statistics compiled in October 2013, Salem-Keizer reports that about 50% of its students are ‘White,’ while nearly 40% are ‘Hispanic.’ These two groups are obviously the seen as the majorities, as the next closest population is ‘Multi-Ethnic’ at 5%. 19% of the 40,000+ students being taught are identified as ELL’s, while 14% are currently receiving Special Education services. On top of this, there are over 60 different languages being spoken at home by the students, thus, teachers may have to become creative in how they present information to the students, making the instruction as easy to understand as possible. Salem-Keizer has a very diverse school population and, as such, it’s important that teachers be very sensitive about the diverse backgrounds being evidenced through the students and adjust their instruction accordingly. One way would be to attempt to integrate culturally relevant information into the lessons being given in order to relate what’s being taught to each student’s individual experiences.


Opened in 1965, McNary HS was named after long-time U.S. Senator Charles Linza McNary; he is most remembered for helping to pass legislation that led to the construction of the Bonneville Dam. McNary’s school mascot is the Celtic and the school colors are blue and white. McNary is a 6A high school, having roughly over 2,000 students between grades 9-12. Currently, McNary has the most students enrolled of any high school in the Salem-Keizer school district. McNary is committed to meeting the needs of every student, providing reading, writing, and math support classes, AVID, as well as, a student mentor program. In addition, in order to better prepare incoming freshman, they host an 8th grade parent night every spring and a 9th grade orientation in the fall. They also provide ELL’s with great support, having ELD classes available to them, as well as, a ‘bridge class,’ which basically helps ELL’s to better integrate into mainstream classrooms; overall, in 2013, nearly 77% of English learners finished the high school program.

With 18 total different languages spoken at home by the student body of McNary HS and nearly 50% of the students coming from economically disadvantaged upbringings, it’s important that the teachers strive to provide a support network for the kids and help them to surpass all expectations, despite the lack of support and/or resources they may have. In essence, it’s up to the teacher to make sure the students have the motivation and opportunity to succeed in the classroom because a solid family support network isn’t always a given.




Relevant Information

Implications for Instruction

Physical: Class Size

35 students (3 are usually always gone)

Provide ample opportunities for smaller group work, so as to encourage student collaboration and support.

Physical: Class Layout

The class is setup with 6 rows, with an aisle between each; also, there is no access to technology for the students.

This setup doesn’t encourage group work as it is, so it may be advantageous to move the desks into clustered formations; also, when requiring research and such, make sure to consider the availability of technology to every student.

Readiness: Writing

Almost half of the students show below grade level writing skills

Be aware of what the students can or can't do in writing…then slowly increase the work load as the students become more confident.

Diversity: Ethnicity

Almost half of the class comes from different ethnic backgrounds ranging from Spanish, Russian, and even Iraqi

Plan lessons to relate to every student's experiences and help them to not be ashamed of who they are and their family's heritage.

Resource: Textbooks

The textbook used in the classroom provides a good overview of historical events, but it gives students very condensed, shallow information.

Supplement what's read in the textbook with extra readings like a primary source Document or a secondary writing on the topic by another historian.


The class being described is a 20th Century Studies 1 class, composed entirely of 9th graders. The primary focus of this class is American history from 1900 to the end of World War II (about 1950). While there are officially 35 students registered for the class, with an almost perfect split of 18 boys and 17 girls, there are three students that are almost always gone, making the class composition actually 18 boys and 14 girls. Having this class composition, I will need to make sure that I am thoughtful when forming mixed groups, so that one girl doesn’t get stuck with four boys; this being because this can make the girl student very uncomfortable and, as a result, prevent her from learning the material. While nearly 90% of the students are at or above grade level in reading, only about 60% are at or above grade level in writing.

With writing being a problem, it will be important that I strive to work on good writing skills with the students by providing ample opportunities for writing practice in class. In addition, it will be crucial that the students not feel overwhelmed with the workload; instead, the amount of writing expected of them should be slowly increased in order to help the students gain confidence in their abilities. Finally, there are two students who are currently on an IEP, both requiring additional time allowed on completing their assignments and tests, as well as, having clearly dictated instructions. With having such a large class size, it will be important for me to create activities that will allow for every student to have the same opportunity to learn in an effective manner, without feeling as if they are being ignored by the teacher.

Having this in mind, it’s essential to consider the current layout of the classroom. The classroom is setup with six straight rows of six desks, with an aisle between each. While this can be useful when taking tests and also allowing the teacher to directly observe each student, this setup almost entirely eliminates the opportunity of group work. In my opinion, group work is a critical component in a student’s development because this process incorporates the tool of scaffolding, which is the process of students learning from their peers. With a very diverse class population, with a good number of ELLs, as well as, a couple students on an IEP, in need of additional support, group work can play a vital part in providing the support network these students need to be successful in the classroom.

In addition, the only computer in the classroom is that of my mentor teacher. There are absolutely no computers available for student use, thus, the only technology used in instruction is the projector; while Power Point presentations and such can be effective in their own way, I feel that it’s extremely important that students have opportunities to do research of their own, either through class activities or research projects. Having at least one computer available to the students could prove to be a valuable resource for the classroom because it gives the students the ability to dive deeper into an area which interests them and/or find information for class presentations, etc. As seen in Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, students learn in a variety of different ways, thus, it’s important that teachers make sure to address every different avenue of learning in the classroom (Gardner,1991).

Officially, when all students are present, this class has a diverse population comprised of 11 students identified as being of Spanish heritage, 1 student with an Iraqi background, 1 with Thai ancestry, and finally 1 student who identifies as being Russian. This being the case, I need to take into account each student’s varying backgrounds and attempt to integrate culturally relevant material into class instruction in order to make lessons meaningful to the students and also create an avenue for growth for all the individuals in the classroom. Also, with the large amount of ELL’s in the class, it will be important that I adapt my instruction to aid these students in their language development through the use of, but not limited to, realia, simplified speech, and a lot of group collaboration and support. The IEP students will need additional support in the classroom and it will be necessary that I make prior arrangements with them before assigning homework or giving tests in order to make sure they have enough time to finish the work in its entirety. In addition, I will need to make sure that any instructions given are also available in written form for them to access if needed.

Finally, with the textbooks only supplying a shallow look through history, the students will only be seeing a portion of the larger picture . . . unless instruction is supplemented with additional resources. As such, I feel it to be extremely important that outside resources be accessed and/or referenced in order to emphasize periods in history and to help bring the material alive for the students.


During this deeper look into this classroom, I chose to follow a particular student, whom we’ll call Ricky for this portion of the paper. I chose Ricky because he is an epitome of an ELL who was mainstreamed too early and is now drowning in homework and instruction which he doesn’t understand. He’s identified as being Spanish and is currently considered to be an Early Advanced speaker, but he struggles in putting his thoughts onto paper. The reason I chose him was because I decided at the beginning of this semester that I would devote time to helping Ricky overcome his struggles in the classroom and gain confidence in his abilities. He’s a bright individual and I believe that he has the potential to do anything, as long as he is encouraged and develops the necessary skills needed to contribute in the real world. My individual student will require more focused class time instruction because he tends to daydream during class. My goal is to use a large amount of group work and interactive activities in order to keep Ricky engaged and participating in class.


For my subgroup, I chose the two students in my class on an IEP because I was interested to see if I could possibly help them to be successful in the class through different teaching techniques and by paying close attention to their specific needs in the classroom. By simply catering to their need of extra time on homework and tests, I feel that these two students can be successful in any classroom they may be in. They are smart individuals that solely need an opportunity and ‘time’ to show what they know both on paper and orally. One of the students, EC, is very quiet and keeps to himself in class, while DB, can sometimes be easily distracted by his peers around him. As such, they are complete opposites in how they interact in the classroom, but the fact still remains that both they need minor support in the classroom to be successful. Similar to that of my individual, I feel that group work will benefit both EC and DB in that they will be able to look to their peers for support in the classroom when a concept doesn’t make sense to them.

Works Cited:

-Gardner, Howard. “Multiple Intelligences” (1991). Harvard University.

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