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Austin Simpson

Joy Shaw
27 Jan. 2016
Setting and Context: Thompson Valley High School
Thompson School District:
Thompson School Districts total enrollment for the 2015-16
school year is 16,000 flat. Of those 16,083 students, 11.924 (74.6%)
are White with the second largest ethnic group, Hispanics, making up
only a quarter of that at 3,151 (19.7%). The remaining ~6% of the
student population is made up of primarily students that identify as
Multiple Races (2.9%), Asians (1.2%), and Blacks or African Americans
(1%) while American Indians/Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians and
Other Pacific islanders are just less than 1% of the entire population in
Thompson School District. The gender make up is majority male
(51.8%) (thompsonschools.org). Funding per pupil sits pretty low in
Thompson School District compared to the other districts in Larimer
County with a little over $6,000/student in 2012-13 (same as Poudre
Valley). The total funding for the districts sits between Poudre and Park
with about $90,000,000/year in 2012-13
(http://www.larimer.org/compass/). Thompson School District also uses
an online support system called Infinite Campus that students, parents,
and teachers can use to stay up to date on records, grades,
attendance, and important notifications with ease. Infinite Campus

makes the communication between all parties involved much easier


and is very transparent.
Thompson Valley High School:
Thompson Valley has an enrollment of 1173 students and is
primarily White (78.6%). The second most populous student are
Hispanics at 17.3%, followed by Other Race/Ethnicity at 2.5% of the
student population, and only 19 students (1.6%) that identify as
multiple races. The school offers free or reduced lunch to 36.5% of the
school (429 students) (www.thompsonschools.org). TVHS has 24 AP
courses available to students and is in the top 1,200 schools in the
nation offering AP. The school offers 30 state-sponsored sports and 20
different extra curricular clubs.
My Classroom
My cooperating teacher, Matt Norton, put me in charge of four
classes right at the start of the semester; I am teaching one period of
sophomore pre-AP English, and three periods of regular sophomore
English. All of the classes are predominantly white, with a small
(probably 15%) Hispanic population, an even smaller Black or African
Ameriacn population, and Kaleoaloha Niko representing the Native
Hawaiian population in my classroom. All of my class sizes range
between 22 and 25 students, with a fairly even gender split, with the
exception of pre-AP, which has 13 females to 10 males, and my
seventh period English 10 which has 13 males to 9 females.

As far as health issues, IEPs, and 504s are concerned, my pre-AP


class has the fewest issues; there are no IEPs, one 504, and only three
relatively minor health issues like exercise induced asthma and
seasonal allergies. My third period English 10 class has slightly more on
their plate with five IEPs, three 504 plans, and several health issues
that are a little more serious than my pre-AP kids that can affect the
flow of class at times, but overall are just things that I need to be
aware of in case something goes amiss. Of those health issues, there
are only a couple that involve medication that I should be aware of in
case the student has a flare up or issue. My seventh period class is full
of really awesome students, but is by far my hardest to plan for
because of the amount of IEPs in the room. With a little under half the
class holding an IEP (10 out of 22), it is a challenge to adapt and
differentiate for each of my students, but it is becoming clearer to me
as the semester goes on what they on an individual basis. It is also
immensely helpful to have Lorr Quinn, a special ed. teacher at TVHS, in
the room that knows the students really well and who can help certain
groups of students as needed. ADHD is the dominant health flags in
that room, but there is one student who has permanent decreased
vision. That student, however, has been very good at self-advocating
and letting me know what he/she needs to succeed. There are no IEPs
in my eighth period class, however, there is one student who has
autism and is very shy. That said, that student has been very receptive

to individual instruction during work time and seems to be opening up


a little bit as the semester progresses.