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Nathan Brandsma

Context and Setting
The city of Fort Collins, Colorado, is located at the border between the Rocky Mountains
and the Great Plains, an area known as the Front Range. It is found roughly halfway between
Denver and Cheyenne, Wyoming. The population in 2013 was 151,330 people, with a median
age of 29.1 years. The median household income from 2007 to 2011 is $51,446. Approximately
51.5% of the population has completed four or more years of college.1 As of the 2010 census,
Fort Collins is 83.1% white, 10.1 % Hispanic, 3.1 % Two or more races, 2.9% Asian, and 1.2%
black.2 Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University, which is also its largest employer.
Hewlett Packard and Advanced Energy also employ a large number of Fort Collins residents.
Fort Collins, as well as several of the surrounding communities, is served by the Poudre School
District (named after a river that runs through Fort Collins). Poudre School District is the 9th
largest school district in Colorado, serving approximately 27,000 students and containing 50
schools.3 Their stated mission is "Educate...Every Child, Every Day." Of the students attending
Poudre School District, 74.31% of the students are white, 17.93% are Latino, 3.06% are Asian
and 1.37% are black. 30.79% of the students participate in free/reduced lunch, 8.03% are in
special education programs, 11.57% are in gifted and talented programs and 7.55% are in
English language learner programs. The graduation rate in Poudre School district is 89%, and
89% of their graduates complete at least one post-secondary class prior to graduation. 4
My practicum and student teaching were completed at Fossil Ridge High School, which the
newest of seven high schools in Poudre School District, opening in the fall of 2004. The school
is 290,000 square feet in size and houses close to 2000 students. Their stated goal is "Excellence,
1 Fort Collins Facts (2014) Retrieved September 12, 2014 from Fort Collins Government:

2 Fort Collins, Colorado (2010) Retrieved September 12, 2014 from United States Census
3 About Us (2014) Retrieved September 12, 2014 from Poudre School District:
4 PSD Demographics (2012-13) Retrieved September 12, 2014 from Poudre School District:

science 6 Colorado Department of Education 7 Colorado Department of Education 8 Athletics (2014) Retrieved October 5.psdschools. basketball.psdschools. 11 School Accountability Committee (2015) Retrieved March 17.8 Fossil Ridge also supports a thriving number of clubs. participating heavily in programs such as Rachel's challenge and RTI or 'Response to Intervention'. which works to write the school improvement plan which is reviewed by the SAC. which meets quarterly to review and approve the school improvement plan. in which students learn critical life skills. 2014 from Fossil Ridge High School: https://frh. Fossil Ridge 10th grade Students averaged 86% in reading.10 The school is supported by volunteers. swimming and diving. Another related group is the School Improvement Committee. Fossil also supports a large number of athletic teams including football. 2014 from Fossil Ridge High School: https://frh. including book clubs.9 Twenty three advanced placement classes are offered at Fossil Ridge.7 Each student receives a laptop for use during their time at Fossil Ridge. post-secondary planning.Everywhere. parents and community 10 AP Courses at Fossil Ridge HS (2014) Retrieved October 5. teachers. known as TCAP. language clubs. parents and the community. One example of this community involvement is the School Accountability Committee. 2014 from Fossil Ridge High School: https://frh. giving students many opportunities to obtain college credit in high school.6 on the test. 2015 from Fossil Ridge High School: https://frh. RTI monitors student performance and if grades begin to drop. volleyball.6 On the state standardized test. This group is comprised of school administrators.psdschools.11 Fossil Ridge is committed to a positive and inclusive community. tennis. civic 5 About Us (2014) Retrieved September 12."5 The Fossil Ridge students who took the ACT averaged 23. 2014 from Fossil Ridge High School: . including " 9 Activities (2014) Retrieved October 5. interventions are undertaken to try to help the student improve their performance.psdschools. Each student also enrolls in a program called advisory. and various honor societies. 73% in writing and 57% in math.

Fossil has policies in place for a variety of 13 Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (2015) Retrieved March 25. parents and administration. To ensure a safe school. and accommodations are provided based on student needs. The classes are close to evenly split with male and female students. the system utilizes a tiered approach to intervention. The classroom in which I worked was spacious. 2015 from Fossil Ridge High School: https://frh. Both classes had roughly 30 students. I attended a day long training about different potential crises in school. where respect for one another. and service training. and is designed to strengthen community through established relationships. with predominantly white students as well as several Hispanic students and Asian students. In addition. In terms of behavior. responsibility. specialists. The demographics of these classes reflects the larger demographics of Fort Collins. two facing each other and one facing the blackboard. The first tier is school-wide support. Fossil Ridge has a system called integrated services. Inclusion is the standard. including a smart board. service and excellence.psdschools. followed by continual reinforcement of those norms.” which encourages learning. service to the class and community. responsibility for learning and striving. For students with special needs. rather than negative responses after the incident.13 This program emphasizes positive teaching of expected behaviors. clean and well stocked with technology."12 Each class of advisory stays together for the duration of their time at Fossil. Fossil Ridge employs a code of conduct entitled the “Fossil Code. Additionally. but training and simulation to work to ensure a safe school in any contingency. Integrated services is a collaborative project between teachers. including active shooter simulations led by police using blanks to simulate weapon fire. specifically a program called Response to Intervention or RTI. Individual education plans (IEPs) and 504 plans are created collaboratively and utilized to ensure that all 12 About Us (2014) Retrieved September 12.psdschools. Fossil utilizes the Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support. the second is classroom level support. This system establishes a school-wide system of discipline to ensure that all classrooms and teachers follow the same guidelines. compassion. and the third is individual support for students who have difficulty in maintaining the expectations of behavior.engagement. 2014 from Fossil Ridge High School: https://frh. or . The classes were three eleventh grade United States History and two ninth grade World History. respect. and excellence in instruction and interaction. compassion for differing views. The classroom’ management begins with the establishment of norms at the beginning of the year. The classroom is arranged in three blocks of desks. Fossil thus employs not only policies. This framework extends to the classroom I student taught in.

though with appropriate accommodations for the students who need them. 2015 from Poudre School District: .students can participate in the same class and with the same content.psdschools.14 14 Integrated Services (2015) Retrieved March 25.