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Lauren Davis

School Assessment
PPE 310: Sierra Vista
9/13/15

There are two main strengths of the school where I am placed, the first one being that everything
they do at the school is developmentally appropriate for the ages that are there. The whole school
campus is filled with preschool classrooms, so all of the toys, equipment, and activities are
geared towards 3 and 4 year olds. And the second strength of my school, is that they provide
breakfast for the morning class, and lunch for the afternoon class, because of the area, being that
the majority of people at our school are living in the lower socio-economic status.

That being said, there are a few weaknesses that do need to be addressed. One of weaknesses
being the conscious discipline, which is great in theory, but lacks luster in practice. The idea of
conscious discipline is to tell students what they can do, instead of what they cannot do. Which is
fine until it becomes a safety issue. For the most part, I feel that all of the teachers want what is
best for the students as well, which I also consider a strength.

A second weakness at the school where I am placed, is the new budgeting system for the food.
There is being more accountability in the cafeteria, because of new program guidelines, and we
are often shorted breakfasts and lunches because they use the totals from the previous day to
determine how many meals to serve, so we often find ourselves calling to school cafeteria to ask
for more food.

Another weakness that we have, and for a lack of another term, kind of piggy backs on the
previous weakness, is the food that is served. It is loaded with sugar and very little nutritional
value. We are often served canned fruit that has been soaking in syrup, sugary breakfast cereals,
juices and other sugary pastry for breakfast. Lunches are better but only minimally, they get

vegetables, which are usually over cooked, and lack nutritional value, a protein, usually chicken
nuggets, milk, and again, syrupy fruit.

Using the school assessment tool, and my own observations of the school I have come to the
opinion that the results from the school assessment tool, are skewed. I say this because, this
assessment is aimed at elementary school level, and I am currently placed in a preschool setting.
A lot of the questions that were asked such as, if students can participate in the presidents fitness
challenge, do not apply to the age group in which I am working with.

One of the biggest struggles, we may encounter is the amount of time we spend with each class
of students. Most elementary school students are in school from 8 am to 3 pm. That is 7 hours
that they spend at school every day. In preschool we have our students for three and a half hours.
And we have two different classes.

Lets talk a little bit about the day the students get to school, we have breakfast, then a quick
circle time, followed by centers, outside play for 45 minutes, then a book, journaling, and then
the students leave.

During centers, students pick their activity, maybe they are partaking in dramatic play and
pretending to vacuum the floors, or perhaps they are building trains and pushing them around the
classroom. There isnt much room in the assessment to explain these exceptions where physical
activity, is an option, in other ways.

That being said the students do get 45 minutes of outside time, every day they attend. It doesnt
happen right after they eat, breakfast/ lunch as the question suggested, but there is outside
activity built into every day. Outside they can climb, swing, bike, dig, and slide down slides.
And because there is no Physical Education class per se, that was another option that was missed
because of a lack of options.

And for the afterschool section, we do not provide after school activities, because they are three
and four years of age, and often go home to down for a nap. As well as with after the morning
group, we get ready for the second class that is coming, so there is no opportunity for an
afterschool program.

That being said, there is still room for improvement. We could definitely build in some more
healthy choices curriculum, as well as speak to the cafeteria ladies about providing healthier
choices when it comes to fruit and vegetables.

There are a few ways, in my opinion, to improve upon the policies that are in place at the school
I am currently placed at. One way to improve our school, would be to build more healthy choices
into the school lunch menu. We could do that by talking to the cafeteria workers, and offering
support in helping to develop a better-rounded menu of child friendly items, that are healthy. It is
also a possibility to research more information about grants available to help build healthy
menus, and to provide the food.

Another way we can improve the school, is thorough building a large school garden that grows
fresh vegetable for the school. One of the key components of this garden is that all the students
would be actively engaged in working in the garden and hopefully getting to try the things that
they helped to grow. It would be easy to build in a discussion about what plants need to grow,
and then turning it into a discussion about what people, or even children need to grow.

A different option would be to build in a once or twice after school club where students can
participate in making healthy snacks. It would cover personal safety, such as washing your hands
before you make food. Safety for others, walking when in the kitchen, and how to use kitchen
utensil safely. It could also include information form myplate.gov helping students to identify the
different food groups, and create healthy snack. It would be great if there could be a way to tie in
literacy as well, like you read a book and build a healthy snack from items found in the books.

Here are a few ways I can apply what I have discovered, and can use to engage the
administration at my school. While it is unclear how supportive the administration is because
there has been requests for items that have gone unheard, while others have been answered.
Being positive, two ways to involve administration in the process, would first be to talk to them,
and second, get them excited about the ideas, especially if you are the one taking on all of the
responsibilities. If they saw opportunity for improvement, and engagement from the students, in
the form of a community garden, or even an opportunity for students to engage in healthy habits
and reading, they would be more than happy to helps support.

After showing the teachers the results of the schools study, I think teachers at the school would
want to make changes to provide a healthier environment for their students. So in order to
engage other teachers, you can form committees, and ask if anyone would like to be involved.
Most teachers want what is best for their students, and would get on board for most things.
Another way to get teacher involved is to ask teachers what they would like to see happen in the
programs, or at the school in regards to a healthier community.

As for the Parents, getting them involved would be key. Parents are the backbones of the school,
yes teacher make things happen, but without the support of the parents, nothing would happen at
our schools. If we were to show them the results of the To get parents involved you can have
parent meetings, where they can vote on programs they would like to see happen at the school, as
well as programs they would be interested in volunteering in.

This information that has been gathered using the healthy schools assessment tool, can be
applied to my potential topic for the signature assignment because it shows me where there needs
to be more support in building a healthy environment. And I think the way to do that is through a
supportive after school program that engages students in both literacy and healthy choices.
At this point is it important to include some information about the people and the demographics
of those who live in the area directly around the school and those who attend. I would like to
mention right off the bat that the in this part of the paper, the information was gathered using
school digger, and while I am not one hundred percent sure its completely accurate, I feel that it
is the information that best reflects the differences in the school where I am placed. It should also

be noted that I am using the information from 2014 being that 2015 numbers have not been
uploaded yet.
First off the school I am at is called Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary school, although
sometime in the last 5 years, it has become an early childhood education center. The whole
school gets free breakfast and lunch, although according to School digger, last year in 2014 only
five percent of the students qualified for free or reduced lunches, which I find really hard to
believe. The enrollment at the school last year was of one hundred and forty students. As for the
proportion of ELLs at school, I was unable to find any statistics, revolving around this number.
At MLK Preschool, the average teacher to student ratio is one teacher for every 8.7 children,
which I am unsure if this includes Paraprofessionals that each classroom also has one to two of
each.
The school itself is in a very urban area, and the ethnic makeup is 76 percent Hispanic, one
percent African American, and less than one percent in each of the following areas, Caucasian,
American Indian, Pacific Islander, and one or more races. There is no letter grade that applies to
the school or AYP status, because it is preschool. The school does qualify as a title 1 one school,
and it is a public school, although you do have to qualify on either income, or with an IEP in
order to enroll. Although, after a certain amount of time into the school year, they open the

Assess Your School


Assessment Results
Overall Grade: F
During School: 20%
Let's get to work. The school day is the critical time for implementing the Active & Healthy
Schools Program, which can benefit students, teachers and staff. Let's look at some steps for
improving your Active & Healthy score during the school day.
Curriculum: 0%
Let's get to work. The Active & Healthy Schools Program is committed to creating programs that
schools can successfully implement and maintain. Let's look at some possibilities for your PE
program.
Recess / Lunch: 75%
Great potential! How about some more nutritional education? A little more activity? Together,
these key Active & Healthy areas can deliver outstanding results.
After School: 20%
Let's get to work. Take a look at a few simple changes your school can make to help create an
Active & Healthy environment, both at school and at home.

References

SchoolDigger.com. (n.d.). Retrieved September 8, 2015, from http://www.schooldigger.com


Assess Your School. (2015). Retrieved September 8, 2015, from
http://www.activeandhealthyschools.com/home/assess_survey.cfm