The following is my school community and language analysis.
As an educator, learning about my students’ lives and interest help me adjust my teaching to meet their goals.
To view this analysis as a whole, please click here.
The International High School of Health Sciences is located in Elmhurst, Queens. The school is located on the 3rd and 4th floor in the Newtown High School campus. This area specifically is a melting pot of different cultures. From storefronts filled with English, Chinese, and Spanish, this section in Queens is an example of New York City being diverse.
The school is roughly a 10-minute walk from the M/R stop of Grand Ave/Newtown. Nearby, there is a lot of Asian supermarkets, delis, and also coffee shops. On the way the school, you can see a beautiful public library with an area for people to sit in.
The area has many choices for students to eat. There is a Chinese restaurant that has affordable food like soups, dumplings, or popcorn chicken. They also have a Colombian bakery that serves different baked goods, coffee, and also empanadas. There is also a bakery that was in the New York Times. It serves hot dog buns and also traditional southeast Asian cuisine.
The students who attend the International High School for Health Sciences (IHS-HS) are as diverse just like the city they live in. Students come from all over Queens, coming from buses or trains. Some students commute more than an hour away to get to school. Based on the location of the school, some students meet with friends and grab breakfast in the area before arriving to the campus. Students also have options to get breakfast in the school cafeteria as well, which is share with Newtown High School as well.
IHS-HS is located on the 3rd and 4th floor. The building is shared with Newtown High School, so some classrooms are shared with certain teachers. For example, seniors take chemistry classes in the chemistry lab but sometimes the room isn’t available, so seniors would go to another science teacher’s classroom located on the 4th floor. The Tower, a mini auditorium on the 4th floor is used for Drama class or advisory meetings if guest speakers need to talk to a specific grade level. This space is also shared with Newtown High School and needs to be reserve in advance for people to use it. As for school community and spirit, there is a lack of showing it outside the Newtown building itself, but once you enter the 4th floor, you see the familiar white and green color hall that represents the school’s color and culture. In the main office, there are flags of the different countries represented in the school and also the staff is diverse as well and multilingual. As much as IHS-HS is located on only two floors of the building, it’s a very small but tight community.
Currently, I am student-teaching with the 12th grade class in the school. a lot of the seniors have been in the school since the beginning of their Freshmen year. There are about two or three seniors that enter the school in either their sophomore year or junior year. Based on the population of the students, there are 49 students in the 12th grade, and it is split into three classes. Each class has between 15-20 students, and the senior staff mention this is the smallest cohort they have had since the school opened back in 2012.
Seniors in IHS-HS languages being spoken:
The image above shows the different areas students from the 12th-grade commute from.
I thought ENL teachers would be just supporting those who are taking English classes. I didn’t expect ENL teachers to take a critical role in learning and supporting others. Being in IHS-HS, I learned that every teacher is an ENL teacher. We are there to help and support students in their language support while it is integrated into their general education. Working briefly in District 75, I am so used to seeing ENL teachers doing co-teaching and co-planning in grade-level classrooms and pulling small groups of newcomer ELLs out of the school for intensive language instruction. There were other schools I got to see ENL teachers only co-teach and co-plan in grade-level classrooms. They spend all of their time working with one grade level and one teacher and are basically part of that grade level team. Overall, my ideas were definitely challenged because I wanted to see what were the different perspectives in being able to support students. While student teaching, I learned there were loopholes in the International Network’s model in learning, and a lot of the students I worked with didn’t have much of the language support. Reading comprehension skills developed to help support their writing or even understanding the literature. There were moments I did feel like I was spoon-feeding students to learn the material at times. Either way, academically, I want to be able to support the students I want to work with in the future but also help them build a foundation for them and be able to give the proper assessment to help their growth in learning the English language.