Sociology Essay Homework Paper on Schools And Society

Located in Laredo City, Texas, and operating under the United Independent School District, Matias De Llano is one of the highly rated elementary school located in this fast growing city. Proximity to the Mexican manufacturers based in the north make it a major transportation corridor for goods into the country. The school is highly rated for providing quality education to students and enhancing discipline, contrary to other public schools in the region. Laredo city has a population of about 240,000, majority of whom are whites of Hispanic descent. As a result, most of the city’s institutions and facilities are characterised by the same stratification and Matias De Llama Elementary is no exception.

The schools population of students is about six hundred students, but it a constant number from one year to another. Variations occur with different years registering just over five hundred students while others register well over seven hundred. Intake is open to all children aged seven to twelve years, subject to passing the schools intake exam and other requirements. The school has a total enrollment of six hundred and eighty students in this year, a reduced number compared to the seven hundred and thirty-seven at the school in the previous year. Similar to the city’s structure, the school’s majority population is of Hispanic descent. The Hispania’s makeup 95% of the schools population, whites account for 2% of the population and Asians and Blacks making up 3%. Distribution of the population across the various grades is almost even, with a small disparity in the pre-kindergarten class. The pre-kindergarten class makes up for a mere 5% of the school’s total population, while the kindergarten and subsequent grades account for between 15% and 17% respectively. The school faculty comprises of about forty teaching staff, three professional support staff and two administrators. The total number of teaching and support staff is entirely Hispanic, with not even one of them coming from any other group. The staff population comprises of just one man, all the rest being women.

The teachers are highly trained and have vast experience in education, averaging thirteen years of experience between them. The students come from dynamic backgrounds as some are financially stable while others are extremely disadvantaged financially. A majority three hundred and fifty students of the total population or fifty-five percent come from economically challenged backgrounds compared to two hundred and eighty who are from financially stable homes. The situation endangers the future of the majority of the students, as they are unlikely to complete their education without interruptions. Furthermore, the disadvantaged teens are vulnerable to a life of petty crime by the fast and easy money made through this means. The town is a major transit point and children as young as twelve are employed in the Mexican manufacturing companies located across the border. As a result, retention rates of students in the school are among the worst in the country. Retention numbers in the school are relatively high as just over one percent of the students enrolled leave the school before completion of the fifth grade.

The school struggles with a higher than the average index for students per class and student teacher ration as compared to the states averages. Currently, one teacher in the school caters for the needs of seventeen students, ratio compared to the state average of about fourteen students per teacher. Subsequently, the students per class ratio stand at an average of twenty-one compared to the nineteen students per class average in the state. A situation that could influence the performance of the school negatively as students gets limited individual attention from the teacher.

The teachers in the school enjoy relatively higher wages compared to teachers in other schools and the state as a whole. Annual salaries range from forty-five thousand to fifty-seven thousand dollars for regular teaching duties. The wages are subject to review based on the years of service of the individual teacher. Teacher with less than five years’ experience makes forty-five thousand dollars per year, compared to the states average of forty-three thousand dollars. Those with ten, twenty and over twenty years’ of experience make forty-six thousand, forty-nine thousand and fifty-seven thousand respectively. Compared to forty-three, forty-five and fifty-three thousand dollars average of earnings by teachers in the state, the incomes are relatively higher and favourable for the teachers.

 The schools attendance index stands at about ninety-seven percent, two percentage points higher than the states attendance index that stands at about ninety-five percent. Despite the challenges faced by the institution, it has managed to register good results compared to other public schools. Over the years, the school has performed exceptionally well in the Texas Education Agency examination. The TAKS exams assess whether the institutions within the state are preparing students adequately with respect to the curriculum. The results indicate the students in the institution are adequately prepared in mathematics, reading, write as well as other basic educational disciplines in the curriculum.

 The school has always registered results with all grades scoring above eighty percent. The excellent results in these assessments illustrate the institution’s commitment and dedication to delivering excellence through their students. The school averages B grades in ranked examinations and rarely drops below the median score. The most recent exams put the school at the forty-third percentile, beating many schools with better facilities and student-teacher ratios. The results also show the school is instrumental in identifying and nurturing talent. The school recognized and nurtured talents in sixteen percent of the students who sat the last examinations, offering an excellent platform for the advancement in their relevant fields.

Like any other organization working towards the achievement of defined goals and objectives, the institution has its strengths and weaknesses. The school also has tremendous opportunities for improvement of the quality of education offered in its jurisdiction and threats that might influence negatively on the performance of the institution.

The school is an essential facility in the community and is relied upon by its members to produce youth of high integrity and strong moral values. A major strength of the institution is the consistent strive in raising proficiency levels in all disciplines in its mandate. The vast majority of students passing through the school exhibit a firm grasp in multiple disciplines. The school is very creative in the development of its curriculum. The school curriculum entails different programs aimed at achieving different results but for the improved performance of the institution. The school is accommodative to all groups of the society and does not discriminate against any deserving application.

The school administration has a listening ear and is sensitive to the needs of the students as well as the desires of the parents. Special programs in the school include the provision of extended hours for students whose parents are not able to pick them up early. This is convenient to the parents who are financially unstable and cannot afford to hire a nanny or babysitter to look after the children in their absence. Furthermore, the institution offers extra classes, tuition and study hours for special needs children who do not understand concepts at the pace of the other students. Physically challenged students considered as the school has out in place various facilities to assist them in areas of difficulty such as mobility. In addition to this, the school has a team of excellent teaching staff that are qualified, knowledgeable and vastly experience in matters pertaining to the education of young minds. To enhance learning, the school has availed an online resource from which students and teachers access various articles, periodicals and publications related to the taught subjects. The school also maintains a strong relationship with the parents through the parents’ teachers association and other arrangements that enhance parent-teacher-student interactions. Through these programs, willing parents are trained on how to they can support the education of their children.

Parents get training on how to assist the students with their homework, provision of an environment that is conducive for learning, and giving the students moral support and encouragement.  The teachers at the school and the administration undergo regular vocational training in seminars and short course programs that improve the service provided in the school. The dedication from the teachers and the management that has ensured a cordial relationship between the school and the society.

Matias De Llano is an institution dedicated to the improvement of education standards in the Texas region and works in full cooperation with the district programs as required by the Texas Education Agency. The cooperation maintained with the relevant authorities, and stakeholders provide excellent partnership opportunities for the school. Partnerships of this nature end up benefiting the school and its various stakeholders as most organizations work with these agencies when offering support to deserving institutions. As such, the school benefits from bursaries to needy and deserving students, charity for expansion of the institutions facilities and even provision of necessary learning materials.

Despite the many strengths enjoyed by the school giving it a competitive edge against other educational institutions, Matias De Llano faces numerous challenges and has certain weaknesses in its system. Lack of sufficient funding is the primary challenge facing the institution. The school administration often finds itself forced to prioritize activities and put others on hold, as they are unable to finance all the activities in the school concurrently. The school is unable to facilitate external activities such as educational trips and tours, participation in tournaments, limited programs in talent related areas such as music and sports and much more.

 Like most public schools, the institution finds itself in a situation where the annual budget surpasses the actual resources availed to the school. In most cases, Partner organisations and charitable groups end up supporting the school by financing the budget deficit.  However, when their support is not forthcoming or sufficient, budget cuts are inevitable, and some activities or projects are put on hold.

As the town continues to experience economic growth, it also experiences population growth and insurgence. The increase in population translates to more members of the society being in need of the school’s services and facilities. However, the institution is already faced with challenges of accommodation its current population and is incapable of increasing its enrollment without substantial improvements in its facilities. As a result, many needy and deserving students miss positions in the school and end up attending lower ranked schools in the vicinity.

Other challenges such as the slow changes in structure and operations to accommodate policy updates, lack of consistency in accountability for extra curriculum activities insufficient parent input in the evaluation of teachers affect the performance of the school extensively. The slow changes mean the students lag behind in terms of curriculum development and thus affecting performance negatively. Furthermore, the inconsistency in the provision of extra curriculum activities provides limited opportunities for students to identify talents outside the classroom. Development of these talents is hampered further by the congestion of the available facilities due to the high number of students in each classroom.

Sports and artistic discipline students suffer the most from the inadequate facilities to accommodate their needs. Lack of sufficient input in the assessment of teachers leads to inaccurate competence reports. Multiple challenges occur because of the inaccurate data gathered concerning the school. Some teachers are not equipped with adequate or sufficient skills to enhance learning and yet no corrective measures taken to correct the anomaly as it is unidentified in the school’s reports.

Matias De Llano has various opportunities that can help it emerge as one of the best elementary schools in the state. However, this is not achievable without intervention by the federal government or the state in terms of financing. Once the financial crisis in the institution is addressed, other weaknesses and threats to the performance of the school are solved as they are the culmination of the school’s lack of financial muscle.

Works Cited

Jeanne, H. Ballantine AND Joan, Z. Spade. Schools And Society: A Sociological Approach To Education. 4th Edition. California: SAGE Publications, 2011. Print.

School Digger. Matias De Llano Elementsry, 2014. Web. 8 November 2014.

TEXAS Education Agency. Academic Excellence Indicator Systems (AEIS), 2012. Web. 8 November 2014.

TEXAS Education Agency. Texas Assessment Of Knowledge And Skill (TAKS), 2012. Web. 8 November 2014.

United States Census Bureau. INCOME AND POVERTY, 2010. WEB. 8 NOVEMBER 2014.