by George J Elbaum
Luther Burbank School is a K-8th grades public school in with approximately 500 students. A combination of demographics, economics, and language of the student body presents a major challenge to the school’s faculty and staff in providing academic advancement of the students. Based on GreatSchools.com information, the demographics are 90% Latino, 3.5% Asian, 3% White, 2.5% Black, and 1% other, but 84% of the students are from low income families and 63% are now learning English. The result of this combination is that the students’ test scores and their academic progress is markedly below state average, even though students/teacher ratio is at state average, the percentage of teachers with 3 or more years of experience is above state average, as is their salary structure. While the difficulty is evident, its solution remains elusive.
My presentation to 55 7th graders was organized by teacher Sandy Brooks as part of the collaborative program Holocaust & Resistance of the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM’s Ron Glait) and the Jewish Family and Children Services (JFCS’s Penny Savryn.)