Literacy Program | Mission Dolores Academy
Reading is a very important type of work for students. Through reading, students come in contact with far more interesting and advanced words than they would through conversation, and, therefore, the amount of time kids spend reading is a strong predictor of academic success: the most successful students being the ones who spend time reading daily.
Approximately two-thirds of our students come from homes where English is not the primary language. As a result, many students enter our school behind grade level in reading. To help students catch up, we launched our Reading Education and Development (READ) Program in 2013. The goal of READ is to help students break into this world of reading by meeting them exactly where they are in their reading ability and move them toward grade-level proficiency. Entry to the program is determined by teacher assessment and students remain in the program until they have reached grade level in reading.
Students are taught one-one-one or in small groups to explicitly rebuild phonics, decoding, fluency, spelling, and comprehension skills from the beginning no matter how old they are. As brains are retrained for reading, students begin to gain confidence in a skill that has not come easily to them and begin to fall in love with books.
Below are a number of reading-related resources that might be helpful to you and the readers in your life:
Math Lab is here to debunk the myth that we are born either a math person or not. Here, we believe all people are math people if given the right tools and the freedom to find their own way to the answer.
For many students the idea that there is “only one right answer” is paralyzing--they’ve tried and failed so many times they simply don’t want to try anymore, or they are so afraid of failing they are constantly doubting themselves. These students become cautious to experiment and learn, resulting in poor number sense and maladaptive response patterns. Some students may have missed a few key lessons years ago, and they have been working to fill the gap themselves without success. We are here to change that.
We designed Math Lab to be an inclusive environment, where small group instruction prioritizes individual needs of students. By uncovering their interests and deciphering what drives each student to learn, we build a relationship-based learning environment that prizes risk-taking, fortifying brave problem-solvers who are comfortable making mistakes.
We talk with teachers and analyze data to assess potential candidates and what they need. We group students by their shared learning goals. We pull out students several times a week to work on goals like strengthening basic number sense and requisite skills essential to success with grade-level content. We talk about the many ways to solve problems and listen to how others chose to solve them. Together, we set benchmark goals and monitor growth on a weekly basis. Weekly push-in allows the Math Lab to support students in applying learned strategies in the classroom.
Once achieved, students exit the program and return to the classroom empowered to use tools that work for them, strengthened by a deeper understanding of math. The myth is debunked, and a growth mindset is forged.