ENVIRONMENTAL CHECKLIST

AUTHORS

Eva M. Gavillán, and Patricia B. Campbell, Beatriz Chu Clewell, Yolanda George, Eric M. Jolly, Ellen Wahl

INTRODUCTION

The Environmental Checklist was designed to help you create a better learning environment for all students in your school and school district. The checklist is divided into five critical areas: administrative policies/data collection, curriculum instruction, teacher development, family and community development, and learning environment.

You may want to work on one area at a time, looking in depth at what is missing in your school/school district, what needs reinforcement, what is done well, and what represents an opportunity to create change. The checklist may be used individually or by a group. If working with a group, consider assigning different group members to each of the five areas. Remember, the enviromental checklist is a process tool designed to help you collect information on how to create change in your school/school district.

The summary page will help you or your group in analyzing what your answers mean. Reflect on changes that require immediate action, as opposed to ongoing monitoring, and on examples of accomplishments that are worthy of recognition.

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INSTRUCTIONS

Answer each question by filling in the box under the number that best represents your answer. Use the scale below to make your choices.

SCALE

4 done regularly with specific guidelines
3 guidelines in place, but not fully achieved
2 some efforts made in this direction, but no formal guidelines
1 no guidelines, little/no efforts in this direction

         
ADMINISTRATIVE POLICIES / DATA COLLECTION 4 3 2 1
DOES THE SCHOOL/SCHOOL SYSTEM:        
routinely collect data on mathematics and science achievement testing by gender, race and disability?
monitor science and mathematics course enrollments by gender, race, and disability?
use the data to create policies, procedures, and new curricula?
offer advanced placement in science and mathematics?
have policies assuring full participation of students with disabilities in science laboratories and hands-on science experiences?
encourage underrepresented students, disabled children, and girls to participate in out-of-class learning opportunities in science, math, and technology?
make accommodations in assessment procedures for non-English-speaking students and students with disabilities?
reward teachers for establishing collaborative efforts with parents, community organizations, and advocacy groups in support of science and mathematics education?
monitor how teachers interact with students from different racial/ethnic backgrounds, languages, and abilities?
CURRICULUM INSTRUCTION 4 3 2 1
DOES THE SCHOOL/SCHOOL SYSTEM:        
have established guidelines for science projects, so that students are encouraged to develop their own projects?
emphasize an experience-based approach that is explicitly designed to engage females, minorities, and disabled students in science, mathematics, and technology education?
offer textbooks, library books, and other cirriculum materials that include contributions to science by women, racial/ethnic individuals, and people with disabilities?
work with all categories of students, at all grade levels, to achieve facility with technology?
integrate mathematical and scientific concepts into other core disciplines such as language, arts, social studies, etc.?
prepare all students to take a core set of required courses in biological and physical sciences and mathematics, including those courses for admission to advanced programs?
provide appropriate assistance for disabled students to succeed in advanced science and mathematics?
make specific efforts to recruit students for extracurricular activities in science, mathematics, and technology?
promote mentoring and job shadowing experiences that emphasize careers in mathematics or that require strong mathematical skills?
assure that all students have equal experience with in-school activities that promote science, mathematics, and technology skills?
provide a curriculum framework that includes a local as well as a global perspective?
TEACHER DEVELOPMENT 4 3 2 1
DOES THE SCHOOL/SCHOOL SYSTEM:        
have a structure for teacher development on subject matters related to science, mathematics, and technology?
emphasize accountability for teaching science and mathematics on a regular basis in all classrooms?
provide assistance for teachers in obtaining the necessary materials and equipment for teaching high-level science and mathematics courses?
provide in-service training on strategies and procedures for overcoming gender, racial, and ethnic bias and discrimination on the basis of disability?
provide teachers with access to computers and state-of-the-art software to develop themselves professionally by communicating with other teachers, scientists, and mathematicians?
provide teachers of other core disciplines and teachers of students with special needs with opportunities to become certified in science, mathematics, and technology education?
train teachers on where to find and how to use resources on gender bias?
train teachers on where to find and how to use resources on multicultural education?
train teachers on where to find and how to use resources on disabilities?
train teachers on how to apply diverse instructional methods in diverse classrooms?
train teachers on how to accommodate students with disabilities?
train teachers in human relations skills to help them in handling differences in student participation in science and mathematics, career choices, etc.?
FAMILY/COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT 4 3 2 1
DOES THE SCHOOL/SCHOOL SYSTEM:        
have strong family/community outreach activities that include organizations serving girls, minorities, and disabled children in science, mathematics, and technology?
include family members from all ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic levels in the school/school system committees dealing with policy and curriculum development for all students?
regularly inform parents of underrepresented groups in an appropriate manner (e.g., in the language spoken by the family) of policies that affect their children's performance in science, mathematics, and technology?
inform parents of underrepresented groups of opportunities to learn new skills to help their children in high-level mathematics and science courses?
develop partnerships and utilize resources available through minority and advocacy support groups that do work in science, mathematics, and technology?
LEARNING ENVIRONMENT 4 3 2 1
DOES THE SCHOOL/SCHOOL SYSTEM:        
encourage administrators, teachers, and counselors to have high expectations for all students, regardless of gender, race, language, and disability?
offer all students a wide variety of role models for gender, racial/ethnic, and disability groups in science, mathematics, and technology?
give all students the same information about the benefits and advantages of school programs, awards, scholarships, and other activities?
monitor all physical environments in which learning takes place to ensure that they are free of barriers?
help teachers, counselors, and school administrators select classroom activities that make connections for all students between their science and mathematics learning and the students' life experiences?
promote activities that represent acceptance of and respect for diversity in the classroom?
         

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SUMMARY

Using the findings for each of the previous sections, summarize your school/school district’s strengths and the challenges that might be faced in the process of creating change. Think about who needs to be involved to achieve change at your school/school system. How can you involve them?

REFERENCES

Adler, Martha A., How Equitable Is Your Science Education Program? in Connecting with the Learner, an Equity Tool Kit, Michigan Department of Education, March, 1996.

Edmonton, Mary, Equity Issues in Math and Science, Reflections Unlimited, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996.

Michigan Department of Education, Connecting with the Learner, an Equity Tool Kit, Michigan, March, 1996.

The Network, Inc., The Equitable School Walk, The Network, Inc., Andover, MA, 1992.

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