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Localized school districting and a suburban New Jersey Latino community

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0041856/00001

Material Information

Title: Localized school districting and a suburban New Jersey Latino community
Physical Description: 1 online resource (117 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Trokan, Matthew
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: district, dover, education, hispanic, jersey, latino, localized, morris, school, suburban
Latin American Studies -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Latin American Studies thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: New Jersey's school districts are localized to the municipal level and there are over 600 districts throughout the state. My study focused on the Dover Public School District (DPSD), a low-income, predominantly Latino school district located in suburban Morris County. Unlike many similarly low-income school districts throughout the state, the DPSD is excluded from receiving the same high levels of court ordered state aid and educational programming mandates that are afforded to a group of districts known collectively as the Abbott Districts. The district has thus regularly been funded below the average level of per pupil spending for both the state and the Abbott Group. Nonetheless, Latino students in the DPSD typically outperform Latino students from other similarly low-income (primarily Abbott) school districts on state standardized tests and graduate from high school at rates that are comparable to the state average. This research evaluates the experience of educational professionals affiliated with the Dover Public School District. Using archival, observational, and interview data, the study identifies some of the unique characteristics of the DPSD and the Dover community that have helped Latino students in the predominantly low-income school district to achieve success relative to their similarly low-income Latino peers statewide. My study contributes to expanding literature regarding the effects of localized school districting on low-income Latino communities by focusing on the specific case of one district.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Matthew Trokan.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local: Adviser: Coady, Maria R.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2010
System ID: UFE0041856:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0041856/00001

Material Information

Title: Localized school districting and a suburban New Jersey Latino community
Physical Description: 1 online resource (117 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Trokan, Matthew
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: district, dover, education, hispanic, jersey, latino, localized, morris, school, suburban
Latin American Studies -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Latin American Studies thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: New Jersey's school districts are localized to the municipal level and there are over 600 districts throughout the state. My study focused on the Dover Public School District (DPSD), a low-income, predominantly Latino school district located in suburban Morris County. Unlike many similarly low-income school districts throughout the state, the DPSD is excluded from receiving the same high levels of court ordered state aid and educational programming mandates that are afforded to a group of districts known collectively as the Abbott Districts. The district has thus regularly been funded below the average level of per pupil spending for both the state and the Abbott Group. Nonetheless, Latino students in the DPSD typically outperform Latino students from other similarly low-income (primarily Abbott) school districts on state standardized tests and graduate from high school at rates that are comparable to the state average. This research evaluates the experience of educational professionals affiliated with the Dover Public School District. Using archival, observational, and interview data, the study identifies some of the unique characteristics of the DPSD and the Dover community that have helped Latino students in the predominantly low-income school district to achieve success relative to their similarly low-income Latino peers statewide. My study contributes to expanding literature regarding the effects of localized school districting on low-income Latino communities by focusing on the specific case of one district.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Matthew Trokan.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local: Adviser: Coady, Maria R.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2010
System ID: UFE0041856:00001


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LOCALIZED SCHOOL DISTRICTING AND A SUBURBAN NEW JERSEY LATINO
COMMUNITY




















By

MATTHEW T. TROKAN


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE
OF MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2010


































2010 Matthew T. Trokan
































To my grandparents, Klemence (1922-2003) and Kathryn Nowak (1919-2005).









ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

First, I am grateful to the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of

Florida. Without the Center's generosity my graduate work would not have been

possible. I would next like to thank my committee chair, Dr. Maria Coady, for her

dedication to guiding me through my research. Additionally, I thank my committee

members, Dr. Efrain Barradas and Dr. Richmond Brown for their support and insight.

Finally, I would like to thank those members of the Dover School community who invited

me into their schools and offices to discuss their experiences with me.









TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

ACKNOW LEDG EM ENTS .............................................................. ................... 4

LIST O F TA B LE S ...................................................................................... 7

LIS T O F F IG U R E S .................................................................. 8

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS...................... .......... ......................... 9

A B S T R A C T ...................................................... 10

CHAPTER

1 IN T R O D U C T IO N .................................... .................................................................... 12

Population Growth and Demographic Changes in Morris County, 1945 -
P re s e n t ................... ....... .............. ................................. 1 4
Dover: Morris County's Earliest Latino Settlement........................................... 15
New Jersey's Home Rule Tradition................. ............. 16
O ve review ............................... .............. ...... 17

2 LOCALIZED SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND LATINO CULTURES ............................. 19

Localized School Districting ................................. ....................... .... ..... 20
D e m o g ra p h ic s ..................................................................................... ........ 2 0
F u n d in g .................................................................................................... 2 2
Local Control ....................................... ...................... ... ......... 25
Addressing Latino Cultures in the Schools ............................................................ 26
Professional Staff .................................... ......................... ........ 28
Curriculum and Programming................... ..................... 31
Types of ESL and Bilingual Programs................................ ............... 31
T rends in B ilingua l E education ........................................................................ 33
Spanish for Native Speakers Courses................... ............................ 35
Beyond the C curriculum .......................................................... .......... .... ...... 36
C chapter Sum m ary.............................. ............... 39

3 METHODOLOGY ............................................. ................. 40

C chapter O overview ...................................................................... 40
Interviews..................... ...................... .............. 40
Interview Participants........................................... ............... 41
P participant S election ................................. ................................................ 43
O organization and C oding ......................................................... ............... 43
S ite V is its ................................. ................... ...... .................. ....................... 4 4









New Jersey Department of Education Datasets and Websites............................ 45
C chapter Sum m ary.............................. ............... 45

4 FINDINGS..................... ...................... ............... 47

Chapter Overview .................................. .. 47
The Socioeconomics and Demographics of Localized School Districting ............ 47
Localization and Funding ..................................................... ......... 54
Localized School Districting, Educational Outcomes, and Community Factors...... 60
O utcom es for Latino Students .......................................... .......... ....................... 61
Professional Staff Dedication .................................................. ...................... 64
The Home-School Partnership............... .............................. 71
Program m ing for Latino Students .................................. .......................... ....... 78
Bilingual Education and ESL Programming........................ ................. 79
N ative S panish P program m ing ............................... ... ..................................... 82
O the r P ro g ra m m ing ............... ..................................................... 8 3
C chapter S um m ary........................................... ...................... 87

5 O B S E RV A T IO N S ............... ................................................................. ...................... 97

Localized School Districting .................................. ........................ 97
Localized Funding.............................. ............... 98
D over C om m unity .................................................. 99
P rofessio na l S taff ................ ................................. 99
Home-School Partnerships .................................................... 100
Program m ing for Latino Students ................................................................ 101
Policy Recom m endations ................................. ......... ........ .......... ............ 103
C o n c lu s io n ................................................... ....................................... 1 0 5
M y In s p ira tio n ................................................... ...................................... 1 0 5

APPENDIX

A DATA PLANNING AND COLLECTION MATRIX ....................... ...... ......... 109

B ADMINISTRATOR QUESTION GUIDE ........................... ...... ....... 110

C TEACHER Q UESTIO N G UIDE............................................................ ............... 111

D GUIDANCE COUNSELOR QUESTION GUIDE .............................................. 112

R E F E R E N C E S ............................................................................................... 1 1 3

B IO G RA P H ICA L S KETC H ............................ ..................................... ............... 117







6










LIST OF TABLES

Table page

4-1 Com parative Cost Per Pupil ......... ............................................. ............... 90

4-2 NJDOE Test Score Data Dover Latinos and DFG A Latinos........................ 92

4-3 Graduation Rates ....................... .......... ....... ............... 93

4-4 Faculty M ability R ate ......................................................................... 94

4-5 Administrator and Teacher Salaries ..................... .......................... 94

4-6 Hom e Language by School .......... ............................................. ............... 96

4-7 Lim ited English P roficient by S chool.............................................. .. .................. 96









LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

4-1 Morris County Latino Population by Municipality.................. .. ..... ............ 89

4-2 Comparative Cost Per Pupil Graph ...... ................... ............. 91

4-3 NJDOE Test Score Data: 5 Year Averages for Dover Latinos and DFG A
Latinos ............ .. ....... .......................................... ............ .. 93

4-4 Administrator and Teacher Salaries .......... ........... ............ .............. 95









LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

AP Advanced Placement

CCM County College of Morris

DPSD Dover Public School District

DFG District Factor Group

ELL English Language Learner

ESL English as a Second Language

ESOL English to Speakers of Other Languages

GEPA Grade Eight Proficiency Assessment

HSPA High School Proficiency Assessment

K-12 Kindergarten- Grade 12

LAL Language Arts Literacy

MCOHA Morris County Organization for Hispanic Affairs

NCLB No Child Left Behind

NJASK New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge

NJDOE New Jersey Department of Education

SES Socioeconomic Status

SNS Spanish for Native Speakers

SRA Special Review Assessment

SRR Sending/Receiving Relationship

TBE Transitional Bilingual Education









Abstract of Master's Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

LOCALIZED SCHOOL DISTRICTING AND A SUBURBAN NEW JERSEY LATINO
COMMUNITY

By

Matthew T. Trokan

August 2010

Chair: Maria R. Coady
Major: Latin American Studies

New Jersey's school districts are localized to the municipal level and there are

over 600 districts throughout the state. My study focused on the Dover Public School

District (DPSD), a low-income, predominantly Latino school district located in suburban

Morris County. Unlike many similarly low-income school districts throughout the state,

the DPSD is excluded from receiving the same high levels of court ordered state aid

and educational programming mandates that are afforded to a group of districts known

collectively as the Abbott Districts. The district has thus regularly been funded below the

average level of per pupil spending for both the state and the Abbott Group.

Nonetheless, Latino students in the DPSD typically outperform Latino students from

other similarly low-income (primarily Abbott) school districts on state standardized tests

and graduate from high school at rates that are comparable to the state average.

This research evaluates the experience of educational professionals affiliated with

the Dover Public School District. Using archival, observational, and interview data, the

study identifies some of the unique characteristics of the DPSD and the Dover

community that have helped Latino students in the predominantly low-income school









district to achieve success relative to their similarly low-income Latino peers statewide.

My study contributes to expanding literature regarding the effects of localized school

districting on low-income Latino communities by focusing on the specific case of one

district.









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Dover, New Jersey is a 2.7 square mile municipality of roughly 18,000 people

located thirty-five miles west of Manhattan. The town is situated in the center of

suburban Morris County. By road and rail, Dover is well-integrated into the

transportation grid of both Morris County and the greater New York City metropolitan

area. A point of early settlement and industry in a once largely rural county, Dover looks

much like other older suburbs in Northern New Jersey. The town has wooded areas,

parks, a downtown commercial district, and industries but is mostly covered by an

eclectic mixture of single and multi family, Victorian era, Cape Cod, and split-level

homes as well as a few scattered garden apartment complexes and row houses. Like all

New Jersey municipalities, Dover has its own corresponding, localized public school

system, the Dover Public School District.

A population with a Latino majority and a lower overall socioeconomic status

differentiate the town of Dover and its corresponding school district from other

communities and school districts of comparable size in Morris County. Though located

in the heart of a predominantly middle-class, white county, Dover and its school district

have demographics and socioeconomic indicators that more closely resemble those of

the state's generally poorer urban areas where Latinos and African-Americans generally

constitute the majority. Despite socioeconomic disadvantages similar to those found in

New Jersey's urban school districts, as will be demonstrated later in this paper, Latino

students in the Dover Public School District consistently outperform socioeconomically

comparable Latinos statewide in terms of standardized tests and high school graduation

rates. This factor provides a rationale which forms the basis for my study.









The focus of my study is thus threefold and based around three primary research

questions. First, the study intends to examine how localized school districting affects the

socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic composition of the Dover Public School District.

Second, it seeks to determine the effects of localized school funding structures on a

predominantly low-income, majority Latino community. Third, the study seeks to

investigate localized school districting's influence on the meeting of the educational

needs of this community. It seeks to identify specific negative and positive educational

consequences that can be attributed the state's municipal-based, localized school

districting scheme.

Though focused on a population within the United States, my study is relevant to

the field of Latin American Studies as U.S. Latinos are tied to Latin America either

through birth or ancestry. Latin America is the closest major world region to the United

States and has been the greatest source of new immigrants to this country since the

mid twentieth century (Gonzalez, 2000). According to the Pew Hispanic Center, the

Latino population of the United States was estimated to be nearly 47 million as of 2008.

The nearly 47 million Latinos in the United States thus constitute a population larger

than that of each of the individual Latin American countries, with the exceptions of

Mexico and Brazil (Central Intelligence Agency, 2009). My study is thus important

because the effective inclusion of Latinos into the U.S. educational system and the

provision of educational opportunities to Latino youth become increasingly pertinent as

the Latino population of the U.S. (and Latino influence on U.S. society) continue to

expand.









Population Growth and Demographic Changes in Morris County, 1945 Present

Morris County's population grew rapidly between the end of World War II and the

taking of the 1970 U.S. Census. A predominantly agricultural county with a few

scattered industrialized areas until the middle of the twentieth century, Morris County

witnessed a massive wave of incoming residents starting in the late 1940s. Following

national trends toward suburbanization, families with origins in northeastern New

Jersey's urban areas moved west in search of better living conditions in the county's

newer suburban developments. The county grew at a rapid pace throughout the 1950s

and 1960s reaching a population of 383,454 by the time the 1970 census was

conducted. Thus by 1970 the county had more than doubled in population in the twenty

years after the 1950 U.S. Census, when its population had been recorded as 164,371. It

is important to note that during the generation following World War II, the rapid influx of

new residents consisted nearly entirely of urban, middle-class, native-born, non-Latino,

white New Jerseyans who had relocated to Morris County's new suburban communities

(Prosser & Schwartz, 1977).

According to the United States Census Bureau, Morris County's 39 municipalities

had a population of 487,548 persons as of the bureau's most recent estimate from July,

2008. During the 1970s, Morris County's population growth rate slowed significantly

after two decades of explosive expansion. Despite the slowing of the pace of population

growth since 1970, the county's populace has become increasingly demographically

diverse. The greatest contribution to the county's increased diversity has come from

Latinos and immigrants from Latin America. According to the 1990 U.S. Census, Latinos

accounted for only 4.7% of Morris County's population; by 2000, this figure had climbed









to 7.8% and by the time of a 2008 census estimate, Latinos represented 10.9% of

Morris County's population (U.S. Census Bureau, 1990, 2000, 2008).

Dover: Morris County's Earliest Latino Settlement

Although the Latino population of Morris County has grown rapidly in recent years,

Latinos have had at least a sixty year history in the county, particularly in the town of

Dover. Dover served as a major demographic exception to Morris County's primarily

white, middle-class population growth during the generation following World War II.

Dover had been a focal point of the county's industrial development prior to the Second

World War. Following the war, Dover's industries, in need of more workers, began to

attract economic migrants from Puerto Rico. This early Puerto Rican Diaspora

community started out as a small, marginalized group within Dover (Vazquez-

Hernandez and Whalen, 2005).

In the 1950s, Dover's fledgling Puerto Rican community, lacking the financial

resources to purchase homes, was settled primarily in inexpensive rental apartments

clustered in a few blocks around the town's main thoroughfare, Blackwell Street. This

area around Blackwell Street became known locally as the Spanish Barrio. Essentially

confined to the Spanish Barrio, the Puerto Rican community in Dover thus remained

relatively small until the 1970s. In the 1970s, the foundation of the Spanish-American

Credit Union of Dover and a shifting economy allowed Dover Puerto Ricans to finally

begin purchasing homes in the town en masse. This in turn allowed the Latino

population of the town to expand more rapidly and by 1990 the town had a population

that was over 40% Latino (Vazquez-Hernandez and Whalen, 2005).

People of Puerto Rican origin made up nearly all of Dover's early Latino

community. From its Puerto Rican roots, the Dover Latino community continued to









expand up to the present day and has diversified in Latin American origins. Latinos

became the majority of the town's population sometime during the 1990s and by the

recording of the 2000 U.S. Census Dover was 57% Latino (U.S. Census Bureau).

Although the Puerto Rican community of Dover remains prominent, Latinos of

Colombian, Ecuadorian, and Mexican background, among others, have added to the

diversity of Dover's Latino community. Dover Latinos with origins in Colombia now make

up the most prominent group (Kugel, 2006).

Dover's demographics are reflected in the municipally based, localized Dover

Public School District. As the town's population became increasingly Latino in makeup,

so did its corresponding public school district. Nearly 80% of students enrolled in the

Dover Public School District were Latino as of the 2008-2009 school year, the most

recent for which enrollment data are available. Furthermore, Dover, with 67% of its

school population eligible for free or reduced price school lunches, is an overwhelmingly

low-income school district as compared to other districts in its county. Overall, across

Morris County's other school districts, on average only 11.5% of public school students

were Latinos and only 7.2% of all students were eligible for free or reduced price

lunches during the 2008-2009 school year (NJDOE, 2009).

New Jersey's Home Rule Tradition

To better understand how a low socioeconomic status (SES), majority Latino

school district developed in a predominantly white, middle-class county, it is necessary

to briefly examine how New Jersey's state and local governments are structured and

financed. New Jersey has 566 municipalities. Each of these 566 municipalities has its

own local government. Nearly all municipal governments in New Jersey are responsible

for local police and fire protection, trash and recycling collection, and the maintenance









of municipal roads among other services rendered to the community. The functions of

local government are largely paid for via the collection of municipal property taxes.

Localized control as seen in New Jersey is known throughout the state as home rule. As

part of the home rule tradition, each municipality in New Jersey has a corresponding

local school district. With few exceptions, each municipality in the state operates its own

school district, regardless of the size of the population residing within its borders

(Salmore & Salmore, 2008).

Overview

The Dover Public School District receives all public school students from the

lowest-income municipality in Morris County. Dover is also the only town in Morris

County with a Latino majority resident population. Thus, the Dover Public School District

has both the most socioeconomically disadvantaged student population in Morris

County, as well as the county's only Latino majority student population. With this

distinction, unlike other school districts in Morris County, the public schools in Dover

have had to develop to meet the educational needs of a Latino community with diverse

strengths that faces unique challenges. Despite the disadvantages of minority and low

socioeconomic status, Latino students in Dover typically perform better than

socioeconomically similar Latino students on statewide standardized tests and graduate

from high school at higher rates. The goal of this research will be to identify factors

within the Dover Public School District that may be influential in these outcomes.

Chapter two is divided into two sections and serves as a review of relevant

literature. The first section focuses on the issue of localized school districting and how it

can affect student demographics, school finance, and control of decisions regarding

education within a community. The second section focuses on the treatment of Latino









cultures in U.S. schools. The section begins by identifying an historical trend whereby

U.S. schools have viewed Latino cultures from a deficit perspective. This is followed by

the addressing of means by which schools seek to engage and include Latino cultures.

A specific focus of this section deals with language policy.

The third chapter addresses the methodology used for the study of the Dover

Public School District and presents my principal research questions. The fourth chapter

presents findings related to socioeconomic status, school funding, and the treatment of

Latino cultures within the localized context of the Dover Public School District. This

chapter seeks to identify key community characteristics that may have contributed to the

relative success of Dover's Latino students in comparison to statewide Latino students

of similarly low socioeconomic status. The final chapter summarizes the findings and

places them within the context of the literature. It uses them to identify policy

recommendations that could be used in improving school funding equity as well as

outcomes for low-income Latino students.









CHAPTER 2
LOCALIZED SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND LATINO CULTURES

As described in the introduction, the Dover Public School District (DPSD) is

suburban Morris County's only school system with a longstanding Latino majority

student population. Socioeconomically, Dover is also by far the least well-off district in

the county. The district has three elementary schools, all with roughly 500 students

each. It has only one middle school and one high school. For the 2008-2009 school

year, Dover Middle School (grades seven and eight) had 461 students, and Dover High

School had 856 students enrolled. Throughout the district, roughly 80% of students

were Latino and 67% were eligible for free or reduced price school lunches (NJDOE,

2009). In sum, the Dover Public School District is a small, low-SES localized school

district serving a predominantly Latino student population. Compared with other districts

in Morris County, Dover is of comparable size as far as student population. However, it

is demographically and socioeconomically more similar to the large school districts of

the state's urban areas. This combination of factors makes Dover a unique school

district within the state of New Jersey.

This chapter has two sections. The first part of the chapter focuses on issues

related to localized school districting and its interaction with demographic forces and

funding mechanisms. The second section addresses means by which schools address

the often unique educational needs of Latino students and the wider Latino school

community. This section has a particular focus on language policy. Chapter Two serves

to build a foundation for understanding how localized school districting interacts with the

meeting of the needs of Latino school communities.









Localized School Districting

This section addresses localized school districting and its interaction with

socioeconomic and demographic forces. Localized school districting has long been a

primary characteristic of K-12 educational systems in the United States. This is

particularly true in the Northeast and Midwest, where a preponderance of small,

localized school districts has long been the norm. As shown in the introduction, New

Jersey, which until recently had tens of tiny, non-operating school districts as well as

more school districts than municipalities, seems to take school district localization to an

extreme. In fact, the state's maintenance of roughly 600 municipally-based school

districts seems to counter national trends since the World War II era that have leaned

toward school district consolidation. For example, in 1930 there were "200,000 school

districts with 1.5 million citizens sitting on local school boards." Conversely, today there

are "twice as many citizens" (as in 1930) and "fewer than 20,000 school districts with a

few hundred thousand citizens serving on school boards" (Ayers, Klonsky, & Lyon,

2000, p. 34). Nonetheless, as will be demonstrated, not all regions of the United States

have followed the national trend towards school district consolidation.

Demographics

In her article, "Splintering School Districts: Understanding the Link Between

Segregation and Fragmentation," Frankenberg (2009) described how school districting

can interact with demographic forces to create either segregation or integration along

socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural lines. In her study, Frankenberg examined a specific

case of localized school districting as found in Birmingham, Alabama and its suburbs,

where the school district of the central city is nearly entirely low-income and African-

American and certain suburban districts are nearly monolithically white and middle-









class. Frankenberg found that the formation of smaller, localized school districts out of

an all-encompassing countywide district in the years following the 1960s Civil Rights

Movement had contributed to socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic segregation among

the twelve school districts that constituted the Birmingham area as of 2006. Through the

Birmingham case, Frankenberg also found that localized school districting schemes can

contribute to municipal and neighborhood boundaries being seen as "a frame of

reference" for home seekers. With this frame of reference, certain schools and school

districts become associated with defined geographical areas, thus influencing home

seekers' decisions about where to live based on school choice. Under this type of

districting scheme, "cost of housing becomes a measure of community wealth" and

certain groups become priced out of certain school districts. The ultimate result is that

segregation along the lines of socioeconomic status (and very often cultural and ethnic

background) takes place as a result of localization (Frankenberg, 2009 p. 898-905).

Bischoff (2008) described the specific case of localized school districting as

found in New Jersey stating,

New Jersey epitomizes a fragmented political system with 616 school
districts for just 8.5 million residents. In contrast, Florida has only 67
(county-based) school districts for 16 million people. (p. 183).

Much like Frankenberg found in Alabama, Bischoff found the preponderance of

localized school districts in New Jersey to be a major contributor to school segregation

along socioeconomic and demographic lines. Bischoff thus formulated a similar theory

to that of Frankenberg, that school district boundaries

.... give access to one of the nation's most valued services, and they
signal other community characteristics, such as property values, that may
be associated with school district quality. The quality and reputation of a
school district play a large role in formulating this common definition of a









residential area. Consequently, these characteristics are heavily weighted
in residential decisions. (Bischoff, 2008 p. 188-189).

Unlike the aforementioned case of Birmingham, Alabama, and its suburbs, however,

New Jersey's localized school districting scheme and resultant socioeconomic and

demographic segregation did not develop as a response to court-mandated school

desegregation. For the most part, municipal boundaries, and thus school district

boundaries in New Jersey, had already been set prior to the state's mid-twentieth

century urban white flight to the suburbs and the 1960s Civil Rights Movement

(Bischoff, 2008).

Funding

As for funding schemes, localized school districting also has the propensity to

create great funding inequities unless remedies are sought to create funding parity

between school districts. Prior to the 1970s, K-12 school funding was orchestrated

almost entirely through local property taxes. Consequently, this very often led to

localized school districts that corresponded to areas with wealthier residents being able

to afford more for education spending while lower-income districts were shortchanged.

However, successful legal challenges about the fairness of such mechanisms has led to

an ongoing trend since that decade that has been "accomplished by diverting tax

revenues collected locally and pooled into the state's general fund, and then

redistributed back to the localities, often on a per student basis" (Ahearn, Kilkenny, &

Low, 2009, pp. 1201-1205).

The state of New Jersey represents an unusual case. Traditionally, New Jersey

school districts have relied heavily on the collection of municipal property taxes for their

funding. With regard to legal challenges questioning the fairness of such funding









schemes as described in the article by Ahearn, Kilkenny and Low (2009), New Jersey

has not been an exception. Following the state's massive urban white flight and

subsequent suburbanization, great funding disparities developed between the state's

lower-income, primarily African-American and Latino urban school districts and its

middle and upper income, primarily white suburban districts (Gold, 2007). The first

major legal challenge to the state's localized school funding scheme, Robinson vs.

Cahill, was argued in 1973. In Robinson, The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in favor

of the plaintiffs that the state's localized funding scheme was inherently unfair to lower-

income school districts where residents could not afford to be taxed at levels

comparable to suburban New Jerseyans. However, the ruling did little to redress

funding inequities when the New Jersey legislature failed to designate redistributed

funds for low-income districts. Lack of progress regarding the state's school funding

scheme led 28 of the state's lowest-income, urban, majority African-American and

Latino school districts to file suit in the case of Abbott vs. Burke in 1981. Three Abbott

cases were decided before the landmark Abbott IV and Abbott V led to the

implementation of drastic school funding and programming overhaul mandates that

called for redistribution of education funding beginning with the 1997-1998 school year

(Gold, 2007).

Much in line with the national trend that Ahearn, Kilkenny and Low (2009)

described, the Abbott rulings have led to the redistribution of locally collected tax

revenues for the benefit of low-income students. Unlike the national trend, this

redistribution takes place on a per district basis rather than a per student basis. The

main beneficiaries of the Abbott rulings have been the primarily low-income, majority









African-American and Latino districts that initially filed suit against the state in 1981.

Since the implementation of Abbott funding and programming mandates, these districts,

known since the 1997-1998 school year as the Abbott Districts, have reached levels of

per student spending greater than those of most of the state's wealthiest school districts

(Schrag, 2003; NJDOE, 2009).

School districts in New Jersey are based nearly entirely along the lines of

municipality, thus the state's school districting scheme can first be characterized as

having large urban school districts that primarily serve students of lower socioeconomic

status from minority backgrounds who live in the state's largest cities. Conversely, the

school districts of smaller municipalities are more nuanced demographically and

socioeconomically. Certain smaller school districts serve middle and upper-middle

class, predominantly non-Latino white students, while others have populations that

serve more ethnically and socioeconomically diverse populations. What most of the

smaller school districts in New Jersey tend to have in common, regardless of ethnic and

socioeconomic composition, are smaller student populations and generally smaller

schools than their urban counterparts. Almost none of these districts receive the same

funding advantages as the aforementioned Abbott Districts. Consequently, lower

income districts found outside of the state's principal urbanized areas typically have per

pupil spending below the state average. Goertz, Lauver, and Ritter (2001) found that

"the Abbott decisions did not apply to all New Jersey students, or even to all poor New

Jersey students." The authors continued, "because the focus of litigation has been on

only the 28 poorest urban (Abbott) districts, the fiscal situation facing many other poor









non-Abbott and middle-wealth districts in New Jersey has been largely ignored" (Goertz,

Lauver, & Ritter, 2001, p. 283; NJDOE, 2009).

Local Control

Despite funding disadvantages, the typically smaller, non-Abbott, low-income,

localized school districts in New Jersey may have certain structural advantages. In a

comparison of two different perspectives on local democracy in education, Mintrom

found that small, localized districts allow parents and other stakeholders within the

community to make decisions that are specific to the needs of the student populations

which they serve. The author found this to be much less true of large urban districts

which serve much larger communities where individuals are more removed from

decision-making processes. Mintrom tempered this with his finding that "Local control

can create conditions under which discrimination occurs," and "excessive reliance on

local funding of schools can promote gross inequality in the educational opportunities

open to the young" (Mintrom, 2008, p. 332).

A case study by Howley and Howley, (2006) about a small, high-achieving but

low-SES school district in the Midwest found small district size and localized control to

be a factor in positive outcomes for students. In their research, Howley and Howley

noted "persistent findings that small districts confer advantages, especially to low

income students" (2006, p. 2) The advantages that they found with smaller school

districts were as follows: higher achievement for poor students; a weakened link

between poverty and achievement; lower dropout rates; higher rates of participation in

school activities; and curriculums that are focused towards the needs of the community

(Howley & Howley, 2006).









Furthermore, in their study, Howley and Howley distinguish their case study

school district, "Concordia," as a naturally occurring small school district. Because of

localized school districting schemes, the Concordia School District has had a

longstanding existence based around one, small, Midwestern community. This

distinction is used so as to differentiate Concordia from recent school reform

movements that seek to restructure large, urban schools. In making this distinction,

Howley and Howley also cited that many of the teachers and faculty in the case study

district are themselves from the local community, having attended and graduated from

the district's schools. Through interviews, they found that this factor gave faculty and

staff at Concordia a vested interest in the success of the school community, empathy for

the students, and longstanding relationships with many of the school families. (Howley

& Howley, 2006).

This section described some of the advantages and disadvantages that are

conferred by localized school districting schemes. The next section will address how

Latino cultures are addressed in U.S. public schools. The section will focus on trends

within the U.S. educational system toward the treatment of the cultures of Latinos,

programming specified for the needs of Latino students, and the engagement of Latino

parents and families in the educational process. Several case studies will be presented

so as connect the next section with the concept of school localization.

Addressing Latino Cultures in the Schools

In culturally diverse schools, it has been demonstrated that greater success can

be found when the culture of students and their families is embraced and valued by the

faculty and staff of the school community. That is, as Nieto (2004) states, "When

students' cultural and linguistic backgrounds are viewed as a strength on which









educators can draw, pedagogy changes to incorporate students' lives." Nieto continues,

"this approach is based on the best of educational theory, that is, that individual

differences must be taken into account in teaching" (Nieto 2004, p. 146). In other words,

in a majority Latino school, as in any other school, it is especially important to take into

account the role that cultural and linguistic background have in students' lives and to

demonstrate that each is valued by the school community.

Delgado Gaitan (2004) states that, "too often, educators in schools with large

ethnic and culturally different groups perceive the situation as a problem because they

believe the stereotype that language or cultural differences interfere with learning"

(Delgado Gaitan, 2004 p. 15). Delgado Gaitan describes this view as a deficit model

whereby "differences in culture, ethnicity, and social class are viewed as a deficit"

(Delgado Gaitan 2004, p 15). According to Flores, who traced the history of the deficit

view since the 1920s, the valuing of the linguistic and cultural diversity of Latino

students has often been rather elusive in U.S. public schools where the vast majority of

teachers have traditionally been non-Latino and from English-speaking backgrounds.

Flores described a general trend in the U.S. educational system since the 1920s toward

viewing the linguistic and cultural backgrounds of Latino students as handicaps and

disabilities (2005). Today, even in schools with Latino majorities, very often the vast

majority of teachers are not Latino and are often dissimilar from their students with

regards to social class and linguistic backgrounds. For example, roughly 90% of the

teachers in the United States are non-Latino and white, while 40% of students are from

minority groups. Furthermore, over a third of Latino children in the United States live in

poverty while most teachers have had lower-middle and middle class upbringings.









Linguistically speaking, most teachers in the United States are monolingual speakers of

English while there are nearly 10 million non-native English-speaking students in the

U.S. public educational system (Kloosterman, 2003).

Professional Staff

Despite what seems to be an often dichotomous relationship between the

cultural, social class, and linguistic background of Latino students and that of the faculty

and staff of public school systems, it has been demonstrated that such differences can

be bridged. The following case studies demonstrate the practice of culturally and

linguistically sensitive professional development tailored to the needs of local Latino

communities. The two case studies show the ability of educators from middle-class,

non-Latino U.S. cultural backgrounds to move away from a deficit viewpoint of Latinos'

linguistic and cultural backgrounds. This type of professional development enabled

educators to focus instead on the strengths that Latino students and families from their

respective school communities possess as a means by which to inform their pedagogy

and interactions with Latino parents and caregivers.

In a case study, Garcia, Trumbull, and Rothstein-Fisch (2009) found that with the

help of professional development, teachers were able to bridge differences between

their own cultural backgrounds and those of their Latino students with the help of a

culturally-focused professional development program. The researchers reported the

results of a case study of a longitudinal action research project, The Bridging Cultures

Project, which took place at the early childhood and elementary levels in the greater Los

Angeles area. The researchers used a cultural framework of individualism and

collectivism. The researchers described the culture of the United States and its public

school systems as being "highly individualistic" while that of many Latino families with









students in the greater Los Angeles area schools were deemed to be more

collectivisticc." The researchers noted that no culture is bound to an all-encompassing

label and that overlap exists between the value systems of most cultures. The project

sought to help elementary-level teachers to better understand the cultural backgrounds,

values, and expectations of the Latino families that constituted the majority of their

school community (Garcia, Trumbull, & Rothstein-Fisch, 2009).

The teachers who participated in the professional development project all were

English/Spanish bilinguals and recognized the importance of language. These same

teachers were also determined as having primarily individualistic value systems by the

results of a test of their orientations toward problem-solving. Through a program of

professional development that helped to make the implicit cultural values of the Latino

families whom they served explicit, the educators were able to gain a greater

understanding of the cultural backgrounds of their students and developed various

collectivist-oriented strategies for working with the strengths possessed by the school

families and students.

Colombo (2007) presented a case study of a northeastern school district that

implemented a professional development program that focused on helping teachers to

better understand the Latino cultures found within their district. In Colombo's case study

of the "Riverdale Public School District," over twenty percent of students were

predominantly low-income Latinos from Spanish-speaking backgrounds. The school

professional staff was overwhelmingly middle-class, non-Latino white and from

monolingually English backgrounds. Prior to their participation, most teachers who took









part in the program viewed the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of Latino students

from a deficit perspective (Colombo, 2007).

The professional development program was facilitated by bilingual, bicultural

members of Riverdale's Latino community who were knowledgeable of both the school

district and the district's Latino community. The program sought to build empathy

among teachers for the experiences of Latino students and their families and

demonstrate the strengths of Latino students and families on which teachers could

build. One of the major components of the program that Colombo studied addressed

language. The workshops had a field experience component where the monolingual

English-speaking teachers attended bilingual family literacy programs that were held in

the evening at school sites within the Riverdale Public School District. At the literacy

nights, the teachers witnessed Latino parents and students as well as other community

members engaged in reading activities in both English and Spanish. The teachers, all of

whom did not understand Spanish, reported that their inability to communicate in a

Spanish-dominant environment helped them to gain greater empathy for ELL students

and non-English speaking parents. Furthermore, the teachers reported that witnessing

the bilingualism of their Latino students helped them to better see this ability as an

advantage, helping them to better focus on the strengths of Riverdale's Latino

community (Colombo, 2007).

The aforementioned case studies provided evidence that how language is

addressed when working with Latino students and families is of great importance. Many

Latino students are from backgrounds where English is not the home language.

Roughly 80% of the approximately 4-5 million English Language Learners (ELLs) in the









United States educational system are Latinos from Spanish-speaking backgrounds

(Kloosterman, 2003). Being that so many Latino students come from non-English

speaking backgrounds, schools' attitudes toward the Spanish language as well as

programs utilized for the teaching of English as a second language are both prominent

issues concerning the education of Latino students. It will be shown that school

language policies are expressed both through curriculum as well as by the manner in

which public schools interact with the wider Latino community.

Curriculum and Programming

Ruiz (1988) described three paradigms by which schools in the United States

have viewed languages other than English. These three paradigms are: language as a

problem, language as a right, and language as a resource. Historically, schools in the

United States have often viewed language as a problem, seeking to teach students

English as quickly as possible with little regard to the retention and maintenance of the

student's native language and cultural background. Conversely, schools that follow the

language as right paradigm seek to help students learn English while at the same time

allowing the use of students' native languages for communication and instruction.

Schools that follow the resource paradigm expand on the right paradigm; seeking to

increase students' abilities in their native language and valuing bilingualism (Ruiz,

1988).

Types of ESL and Bilingual Programs

As a result of the 1974 Lau vs. Nichols Supreme Court Decision, language

accommodations must be made to ensure that the educational needs of ELL students

are met through both the acquisition of English and inclusion into the school community

(Kloosterman, 2003). The two major categories of programs for these accommodations









can be divided into monolingual English-only programs and bilingual programs that

utilize the student's native language. Two-way bilingual programs have a combination of

ELLs and native English speakers. These programs utilize both English and the native

language of the ELLs fairly equally and seek to develop bilingualism and biliteracy in

both languages. Two-way bilingual programs require long-term participation to

accomplish their goals and thus "transient populations are not the ideal students for this

program" (Minaya-Rowe, 2008 p. 2). Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) provides

students with instruction in both their native language and in English. These programs

slowly transition students to the use of increasing amounts of English for their eventual

placement in monolingually English classrooms (Minaya-Rowe, 2008).

Conversely, monolingual programs utilize only the English language. Among

monolingual programs, sheltered English instruction provides students with an

environment that focuses on content knowledge. In a sheltered English classroom, all

instruction is in English but students are provided accommodations that make the

content more comprehensible. English as a Second Language (ESL) provides students

with instruction in English speaking and literacy skills. ESL students are generally

placed in mainstream, monolingual English classrooms for all other classes, often with

no additional support (Minaya-Rowe, 2008).

Programs that utilize a student's native language align with Ruiz's paradigms of

language as a right and resource and potentially consider a student's linguistic

background as a strength to be utilized in the educational process. In a study that

controlled for socioeconomic status, Thomas and Collier (2002) found that ELL students

who were educated in quality bilingual environments for a sustained period (at least 4









years) were able to close the standardized test achievement gap with their Native-

English speaking peers (Thomas & Collier, 2002). Additionally, the development and

maintenance of bilingualism can confer certain life advantages to students. Harlin and

Paneque (2006) found that bilingualism allows for greater ability to communicate across

cultural lines, greater levels of creativity in cognitive tasks, and greater marketability in

seeking employment (Harlin & Paneque, 2006).

Trends in Bilingual Education

Educational policy in each state in the United States is largely dictated by each

respective state's department of education. Since the late 1990s, there have been ballot

referendums in various states to ban bilingual education programs that utilize students'

native languages. In California, the state with the largest ELL population, Proposition

227 effectively banned such bilingual education programs in 1998, limiting ELL students

generally to one year of English-language immersion support. Similar anti-bilingual

education referendums were likewise passed in Arizona (2000) and Massachusetts

(2002). Voters rejected attempts to ban such bilingual education programs in Colorado

(2002) and Oregon (2008) (Mora, 2009).

In analyzing recent movements by states to rid their public schools of bilingual

education programs, Salazar (2008) found that, "in the current political climate, district

language policies and practices privilege English-only instruction" citing a report that

showed that "over two-thirds of ELL students are enrolled in English-only programs with

no native language support" (Salazar, 2008). Ma also found that nationwide the "trend

to limit language support for ELLs to one-year English immersion programs raises

significant civil rights problems in light of the existing body of educational research" (Ma,

2009 p. 12). Through work with researchers at the Harvard Civil Rights Project, Ma also









found that there is no ideal, one-size-fits-all program for meeting the educational needs

of ELL students and found that schools should be given the discretion to implement

programs that are geared toward the needs of their school communities. Furthermore,

though researchers with the Civil Rights Project could not identify a single program of

instruction that could be deemed most effective above all others for all ELL students,

they did agree that a single year of English-only immersion was insufficient for acquiring

proficiency in English (Ma, 2002).

Despite nationwide trends that are in opposition to bilingual education, the state

of New Jersey stands out as being more supportive toward bilingual education

programs. In an article titled "NJ Bucks Tide on Reading for English-Learners," Zehr

(2007) writes that "New Jersey appears to be the only state that has written into its

Reading First grant application to the federal government that native-language

instruction is required, with some exceptions, for children who arrive at school with no

proficiency in English" (p. 1). Unlike the aforementioned states, New Jersey has not

faced legislative or voter referendum challenges to bilingual education as it takes place

within the state. The state of New Jersey has required the use of bilingual methods in its

public schools since 1976. Since 1976, all New Jersey public school districts with twenty

or more ELL students who speak the same language must implement a bilingual

education program that utilizes the ELL students' native language. If an overly wide

student age range, geographical dispersion of ELLs within a school district, or the

unavailability of certified bilingual teachers make the implementation of a bilingual

program impossible, the district may apply for a waiver in favor of ESL instruction (Zehr,

2007). Statewide, 72 out of New Jersey's over 600 school districts had bilingual









programs for the 2008-2009 school year. Nearly all of these school districts had

bilingual programs for Spanish-speaking ELLs (NJDOE, 2009).

Spanish for Native Speakers Courses

In addition to bilingual programs that utilize a student's native language in

instruction or seek to maintain and further develop academic skills in a student's native

language, some schools have implemented Spanish language courses that are geared

toward native speakers of Spanish. Known as Spanish for Native Speakers (SNS)

courses, these classes are typically taken at the upper grades and the collegiate level

and can be utilized by both ELL students as well as students of Spanish-speaking

Latino heritage with varying degrees of bilingualism between Spanish and English. SNS

classes offer students "the opportunities to take Spanish formally in an academic setting

in the same way that native-English-speaking students study English language arts."

Therefore, most commonly, SNS courses are taken as a means by which to maintain

Spanish language abilities, expand one's bilingual range, and also to acquire academic

skills in one's heritage language. (Kreeft Peyton, Lewelling, & Winke, 2003, p. 2).

Importantly, SNS courses help to demonstrate that Spanish is a valued

language within the school community as they often deal with literature and other

matters that are culturally relevant to the background and experiences of Latino

students and families. According to Carreira, SNS instruction can help to narrow the

achievement gap of Latino students by supporting biliteracy, learning across the

curriculum, and bridging home and school cultures. Additionally, Carreira found that

SNS courses can help to facilitate better integration of Latino students and families into

the U.S. education system by utilizing students' cultural strengths and backgrounds to

advance the educational and social needs of Latino youth (Carreira, 2007).









Beyond the Curriculum

The involvement of parents in the educational process through relationships of

mutual collaboration, respect, and understanding with school personnel is widely

recognized as a key component by which to foster positive outcomes for students

(Ramirez, 2003). Because of perceived cultural and linguistic deficits, Latino parents

and communities have often been marginalized in their interactions with the school

systems which their children attend. This marginalization has often led to Latino families

being unable to advocate on behalf of their sons and daughters, a detriment to Latino

students (Gonzalez, 2005).

Nonetheless, schools can successfully engage Latino parents and the wider

Latino community to build partnerships for creating school environments that are

respectful of the diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds of Latino families. Such

schools are able to convey to Latino families that they are valued by the school

community and are able to foster productive home-school relationships via mutual

collaboration. As Olivos (2009) argues, "collaboration is facilitated when educators

understand how they, as school agents, accept a Latino community's culture,

knowledge and power within the school context and how educators align their values

and beliefs, as well as school policies and practices" (Olivos, 2009, p. 109).

According to Reyes, Scribner, and Paredes Scribner's study about high

performing Latino schools in the Rio Grande Valley, "in general, school staff, including

teachers, administrators, and parent specialists in the high performing Hispanic schools,

considered parent involvement an important way to serve the needs of both the school

and the children." In these school communities, parental involvement was viewed as a

key ingredient for academic success. Parents saw their involvement as helping to









improve the school environment by "providing role models for the children" and

"showing concern for the development of the child." Likewise, school staff identified the

involvement of parents in the school as an element that helped to "increase student

achievement, strengthen relationships, create a community environment, and provide

parent education" (Reyes, Scribner & Paredes Scribner, 1999 p. 41).

De Gaetano (2007) conducted a study of two majority Latino, predominantly low-

income schools in the Northeast that were seeking to cultivate higher levels of parental

involvement and engagement. The two schools took part in a program known as the

Cross Cultural Demonstration Project which sought to foster cross-cultural

understanding between home and school. The project sought to accomplish its goals by

including parents as volunteers in various instructional capacities in the schools, holding

parent forums, and conducting bilingual meetings between parents and school officials.

Throughout the process, parents became more aware of the importance of their roles as

informal teachers to their children and the importance of their language and culture in

the lives of their children. De Gaetano found parents' increased awareness of the

importance of their roles to be helpful in maintaining the involvement of the parents and

in increasing the value that school personnel placed on parents' roles within the school

community (De Gaetano, 2007).

Beyond purely home and school partnerships, Riggs and Medina (2005)

discussed the value of quality, school-based afterschool programs to the Latino

community, in their case study of a Pennsylvania school district with a growing Latino

population. The authors found that "increased frequency of exposure to schools, may,

in turn decrease apprehension or anxiety that Latino parents feel when approaching









school personnel" (Riggs & Medina, 2005, p. 473). Thus it was evidenced that

afterschool programs have the power to serve as an intermediary in connecting Latino

parents to the schools that their children attend. Furthermore, the authors found that

culturally and linguistically sensitive afterschool programs that are academically-focused

have the potential for success in improving academic outcomes for Latino youth via

home-school partnerships (Riggs & Medina, 2005).

With the value of parental involvement being evident, the issue then becomes

how to gain and maintain the involvement of Latino parents in the school community.

Delgado Gaitan (2004) identified key actions for educators and schools to take when

they seek to meet the needs of Latino students and families. In identifying these key

actions, she acknowledged that "there are many ways to accomplish parent involvement

objectives in Latino communities." Nonetheless, Delgado Gaitan then expressed that

there are "three major conditions and objectives" that aid schools in accomplishing

parent involvement goals which she labels as "connecting, sharing information, and

staying involved" (Delgado Gaitan, 2004, p. xi).

For the "connecting" objective," Delgado Gaitan stressed several points. First,

she noted that schools must reach out to Latino families and learn their cultures. In this

outreach, schools need to make sure that parents and families can become

comfortable with the culture of the school, which is often very different from what they

may be accustomed to if their own experiences with school were in a Latin American

country where schools tend to be organized much differently. Furthermore, in making

connections, schools must seek to communicate with parents in whichever language

they are most comfortable with and make necessary accommodations for parents'









schedules. The "sharing information" objective is focused on the linguistic backgrounds

of Latinos and how language must be used as a strength for fostering communication.

The "staying involved" objective focuses on how schools can positively acknowledge the

cultures of Latino families. By continually making positive acknowledgements of Latino

cultures, schools can help Latino families to feel comfortable and welcome in the school

setting, therefore fostering their continued involvement in home-school partnerships

(Delgado Gaitan, 2004).

Finally, while this section discussed means by which schools can work with

Latino students and families, it is important that educators "challenge the belief that

there exists just one Latino culture that needs to be understood" (Olivos, 2009, p. 111).

In other words, it is important to remember that while many Latinos may share a

common linguistic background and certain cultural traits, they should not be viewed as

monolithic. According to Olivos, educators instead need to think in terms of plural Latino

cultures rather than a singular Latino culture. Furthermore, they must not make

assumptions and should instead seek to understand the diverse experiences that make

the individual (Olivos, 2009).

Chapter Summary

This chapter provided a framework for the study. The literature reviewed here

first considered the effects of localized school districting and funding mechanisms. This

was followed by a review of pertinent literature regarding language policy and

educational programming for Latino students and school communities. In the next

chapter, I present the methodology used for studying the interaction of localized school

districting and funding mechanisms within the Dover Public School District, a

predominantly low-income, majority Latino school community.









CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

Chapter Overview

My field research took place during August and September of 2009. During this

period, I conducted ten semi-structured interviews using interview guides approved by

the University of Florida's IRB. To conduct the interviews, I traversed Dover and

observed four out of five schools in the Dover Public School District as well as the

Dover Head Start program and the Morris County Organization for Hispanic Affairs. In

addition to field research, I utilized information from websites provided by the Dover

Public Schools and other purveyors of educational services in the community. I obtained

school data and statistics published by the New Jersey State Department of Education

that is made available via the agency's website.

Interviews

I conducted ten semi-structured interviews with current and former educational

professionals employed by either the Dover Public School District or local social service

agencies that cater to the school district. These professionals represented a range of

occupations from teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators, to

education coordinators and liaisons for Dover's privately-contracted after-school

program. Eight of the ten participants with Dover ties had held multiple roles during their

years of service with the school district. The interviews averaged about thirty minutes in

length. Interviews where I met with the interviewee during their own personal time lasted

longer, while those that took place during field visits were shorter due to work-related

constraints. As an additional note, all interviewees that are referenced throughout the

rest of this paper are referred to by pseudonyms.









Interview Participants

All of the seven interviewees that were employed (or previously employed) by

the Dover Public School District (DPSD) had served in multiple roles within the district.

Of this group, five (Alicia Alvarez, Nicholas Avellino, Thomas Laskaris, Nora Lewis, and

Karen Maslowski) had started in Dover first as students before returning as teachers.

Four out of the five subsequently became guidance counselors or administrators. Each

of these interviewees had also attended school in Dover and become employed there

during different time periods.

Nicholas Avellino graduated from Dover High School in the late 1960s and

became employed there first as a Spanish teacher in the late 1970s and subsequently

as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. He soon became the Director of

Foreign Languages and Bilingual Services (though he typically taught at least one class

throughout his career), and finished his career at Dover as an elementary school

principal. He was employed directly by the DPSD until his retirement in 2001 (he

subsequently worked as a Spanish teacher at a neighboring school district from 2001

until 2006, and has been employed at the County College of Morris (CCM) as an ESL

and Spanish professor since then; he also occasionally does educational consulting for

Dover.

Karen Maslowski graduated from Dover High School in the early 1970s and

returned to Dover to teach in 1979 as both a Spanish teacher and an ESL teacher,

eventually succeeding Avellino to take her current position as Director of Foreign

Languages and Bilingual Services in 1999. Thomas Laskaris graduated from Dover

High School in the early 1980s and returned to the district at the end of the decade as a

Social Studies teacher; he is currently a guidance counselor. Alicia Alvarez graduated









from Dover High School in the early 1990s, returned to Dover several years later as a

Spanish teacher, and is now also a guidance counselor. Nora Lewis graduated from

Dover High School in the late 1990s and returned in the early 2000s first as teacher's

aide and later as a special education teacher.

Of the other two interviewees directly employed by the DPSD at some point,

(Michelle Rizzo and Deborah Nagelberg), both had held multiple roles within the district.

Deborah Nagelberg, a New York City native, taught in Dover from 1979 until 2001, first

as a Spanish teacher, later as an ESL teacher, and then as a bilingual teacher. Michelle

Rizzo, a native of a neighboring Morris County community, taught at Dover from 1996

until 2001, first as a Social Studies teacher, and subsequently as a Spanish teacher and

bilingual Social Studies teacher. Rizzo and Nagelberg are both currently employed at

the same neighboring school district (Rizzo as a Spanish teacher and Nagelberg as an

ESL teacher).

Three other interviews were conducted with professionals employed by agencies

that provide educational services to the Dover community. Jane Ektis, a Dover native,

currently serves as the Executive Director of Dover's Head Start Program. Martina

Derricks is employed by the Morristown Neighborhood House, an organization based in

nearby Morristown that was founded in the 1890s with the purpose of helping newly

arrived Italian immigrants to Morris County (the organization's focus has since shifted to

Latinos). Five years ago, Neighborhood House partnered with the Dover Public Schools

to establish academically-focused and culturally sensitive afterschool programs at all

three Dover elementary schools as well as at Dover Middle School. Derricks currently

serves as site coordinator at North Dover Elementary School. I also interviewed Julia









Enriquez, the Coordinator of Education for the entire Neighborhood House organization.

Though neither of these women are from Dover, both Derricks and Enriquez were

raised in Morris County.

Participant Selection

These interviews were all arranged using purposeful sampling (Cresswell, 2005).

According to Cresswell (2005), purposeful sampling is a strategy whereby "researchers

intentionally select individuals and sites to learn or understand the central

phenomenon." Furthermore, the goal of this sampling strategy is to interview individuals

and observe sites that are "information rich" (p. 204). Following Cresswell's concept of

purposeful sampling, the interviewees were not chosen arbitrarily. In arranging the

interviews, I sought to speak with individuals in touch with issues confronting the Latino

school community of Dover. Avellino and Maslowski were selected because of their

experience as supervisors of the Department of World Languages and Bilingual

Programs; one or the other has run the department since 1977 (Avellino from 1977-

1997 and Maslowski since 1997). Nagelberg and Rizzo were both called upon for the

variety of roles which each has undertaken between Spanish and bilingual instruction.

Laskaris and Alvarez were chosen because of both their past roles as teachers in the

Dover Public School District and their current roles as guidance counselors who serve

as intermediaries between parents, teachers, and students. Afterschool coordinators

Enriquez and Derricks were chosen for their intermediary roles between parents,

students, and teachers.

Organization and Coding

Before I had completed my interviews, I developed a data matrix (found in the

appendix section) based on three principal research questions related to localized









school districting's impact on the Dover school community. The first question asked if

localized school districting contributes to school segregation. The second question

asked how localized school districting affects funding and the final question was

concerned with how localized districting affects programming for students and the

school community. I then used the data matrix to identify key information from the

interviews that would be relevant to the study's research questions. I recorded each of

the interviews using a digital recording device and then transcribed the interviews upon

completion. Next, I read and reread all of the transcripts to see how each fit into the

criteria of the data matrix.

Following transcription and initial review, I coded relevant pieces of the

transcripts based on how they fit into the data matrix. I used a color-coding system for

this. I used green for interview data related to school funding and finance, blue for

educational expectations and outcomes, orange for items related to the treatment of

diverse cultures within the localized school community, and pink for the interaction of

the wider Dover community within the localized context of the school community. After

color-coding the transcripts, I utilized codes to consolidate roughly eighty pages of

transcripts into a fourteen page document aligned with the questions I had developed

for the data matrix. This consolidated document was used as a guide in my analysis of

the data.

Site Visits

Site visits were another important part of the research. I observed Dover's Head

Start Program during normal business hours, observing some of the children interacting

with their teachers, parents and other Head Start staff. I observed North Dover

Elementary School and observed its afterschool program and some of the educational









services provided there. I also observed the complex that includes both East Dover

Elementary and Dover Middle School and then visited Dover High School. I observed all

of the K-12 schools during after-school hours and was therefore able to witness

supplemental homework programs, extracurricular activities, and the interaction of the

wider Dover community with the school community.

New Jersey Department of Education Datasets and Websites

Another integral component of the research was examining various records and

statistics published by the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE). The NJDOE

publishes a wide variety of records about each of New Jersey's more than 600 school

districts. These records are readily accessible and available for download from the

NJDOE's website. The NJDOE data allowed me to access information about school

funding, per pupil spending, employee salary levels, and free lunch eligibility rates

among other financial figures. Furthermore, concerning and student performance

measures, I was able to access test scores and graduation rates. I was also able to gain

additional insight about programming and community interactions from the websites

maintained by the Dover Public Schools, El Primer Paso School, and Morris County

Hispanic Affairs. The websites outline some of the educational, academic, and

extracurricular programs and opportunities available to the Dover school community.

Chapter Summary

I was able to obtain interviews with people who have had a wide range of

experience with the Latino community of the Dover Public School District and make

useful field visits to educational sites in Dover. The seven interviewees currently

working in the Dover community each have had unique experiences working with the

district and represent work experiences with all levels of the pre-K-12 system found









within the confines of the school district. Two of the three former Dover Public Schools

employees that were interviewed, Michelle Rizzo and Deborah Nagelberg, currently

teach in a neighboring school district and regularly receive former Dover students due to

student transience between small suburban Morris County school districts. Nicholas

Avellino, as an ESL and Spanish professor at the County College of Morris, also

regularly receives students from the Dover community at the post-secondary level and

interacts with Dover teachers and administrators through educational consulting work.

Participants were chosen by using a purposeful sampling method that sought

interviewees based on their expertise and knowledge of Dover's Latino community.









CHAPTER 4
FINDINGS

Chapter Overview

This chapter presents findings for the research questions that were presented in

the methodology section. The chapter is divided into three major sections. Each section

is based on one of the three principal research questions. The final section is related to

the last of the three principal research questions and is divided into three thematic

subsections.

The Socioeconomics and Demographics of Localized School Districting

The first section of this chapter is devoted to findings related to my first research

question. To recall, the first research question asked if localized school districting

contributes to segregation based on socioeconomic status and cultural background and

if so, how is the school community affected. The following findings shed light on an

answer to this research question.

Dover is the only Latino majority community in Morris County and this is reflected

in its corresponding localized, municipal-based school district (The map in Figure 4-1

demonstrates Dover's high proportion of Latinos relative to the rest of Morris County).

As of the Fall Enrollment Survey conducted by the New Jersey Department of

Education for the 2008-2009 school year, each of the three elementary schools in the

Dover Public School District had student populations between 85% and 90% Latino.

Dover Middle School's enrollment was 76% Latino. Likewise, Dover High School had a

Latino student population of 73%. For the entire Dover Public School District, there

were a total of 2,914 students, 2,319 of whom were Latino. Thus Latino students









constituted nearly 80% of all students in the Dover Public School District during the

2008-2009 school year (NJDOE, 2009).

During the same school year, all school districts in Morris County combined had

a total public school enrollment of 80,297. Thus Dover's 2,914 students constituted only

3.6% of the county's total enrollment. All school districts in the county had a combined

Latino enrollment of 9,284 students. Latinos thus constituted 11.5% of Morris County's

total public school enrollment. Therefore, the Dover Public School District's 2,319

Latinos accounted for just under 25% of the county's total Latino public school

enrollment despite Dover accounting for a much smaller proportion of the county's total

enrollment. Furthermore, the DPSD was the only district in Morris County where the

vast majority of students were Latino at all grade levels (NJDOE, 2009).

Additionally, 1,934 of the Dover Public School District's 2,914 students (66.5%)

enrolled during the 2008-2009 school year were eligible for free or reduced price school

lunches. Of this group, 1,442 (49.5% of the total school population) were eligible for free

lunches while 492 (17% of the total school population) were eligible for reduced price

lunches (NJDOE, 2009). To be eligible for free school lunches, a student's family

income cannot exceed 130% of the income level set as the federal poverty line;

students with family incomes between 130% and below 185% of the federal poverty line

are eligible for reduced price school lunches (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2009). For

Morris County as a whole, 7,552 students out of a countywide public school enrollment

of 80,297 had eligibility for free or reduced price school lunches. Thus, despite having

less than 4% of the County's total public school enrollment, Dover represented nearly









26% of the county's student population that was eligible for free or reduced price school

lunches during the last school year for which data is available (NJDOE, 2009).

Additionally, in 1975, the New Jersey Department of Education developed a

system to measure the overall socioeconomic status of each of its 611 school districts.

This system is known as District Factor Grouping. Under District Factor Grouping, each

school district throughout the state is assessed based on a variety of six measures and

then assigned to a District Factor Group (DFG). The letter A is assigned to districts with

the lowest socioeconomic indicators and the letter J is assigned to those with the

highest (districts with socioeconomic indicators between these two extremes are

designated B, CD, DE, FG, GH, and I). The socioeconomic factors taken into account

when assigning a New Jersey school district to a DFG include: percent of adults without

a high school diploma, percent of adults with at least some college education,

occupational status, unemployment rate, percent of individuals in poverty, and median

family income. Every ten years, the state reassesses the DFG of each of its school

districts following the results of the latest national decennial census. The Dover Public

School District was reclassified from Group B to Group A following the results of the

2000 U.S. Census (NJDOE, 2009).

Under the state's District Factor Grouping (DFG) system for classifying school

districts according to socioeconomic status further demonstrates the DPSD's status as

a socioeconomic outlier in Morris County. As of 2009, there were 39 school districts in

Morris County classified under the DFG system. Dover is the only school district in the

county assigned to District Factor Group A, the lowest group. There are no districts

within the county assigned to groups B or CD, the next two lowest groups. Three









districts are members of middle-SES group DE and five are members of group FG.

From the three high-SES DFGs, ten Morris County school districts are in group GH,

Thirteen districts belong to group I and six are in group J. Overall, 29 out of the 39 DFG-

classified Morris County school districts (nearly 75%) belong to the three highest District

Factor Groups (NJDOE, 2009). Thus the New Jersey Department of Education's

datasets indicate that the Dover Public School District is the only low-SES school district

and the only one with a Latino majority student population in Morris County.

When one crosses the municipal border into Dover from a neighboring

community it becomes apparent that the demographics of residents have suddenly

shifted from one town to the next. Colombian, Ecuadorian, Mexican and Puerto Rican

flags can be seen flying in front of homes and businesses and as adornments on

vehicles parked on the streets. Along Blackwell Street, Dover's main thoroughfare,

restaurants with names like Sabor Latino, Tierras Colombianas, and La Sierra have

signs that boast of comida traditional. On the same stretch of street, Casa Puerto Rico

(formerly the Aguada Social Club) and Club Colombia cater to the social and cultural

needs of Dover Latinos both new and old. From its nondescript warehouse -like

headquarters on Bassett Highway, the Morris County Organization for Hispanic Affairs

is open for business, providing an array of social services from translators to rideshares

for the benefit of Dover Latinos. On various storefronts throughout downtown Dover,

fluorescent signs flash se habla espanfol. Meanwhile, the Salvation Army, the Episcopal

Church, the Methodist Church and one of the Catholic churches all have signs that

advertise aprende ingles, horario de classes. Unlike other Morris County municipalities,

this is a distinctly Latino community.









Observations demonstrated that Dover's Latino culture is reflected in its schools,

where bilingual signage greets visitors at the schoolhouse doors,

"Welcome/Bienvenidos." The Spanish language can be heard prominently in the halls.

In the Dover Head Start school building, the flags of Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador and

Peru can be seen alongside self-portraits of the children. In late September, the North

Dover Elementary School had a poster in its lobby that displayed the flags of the world's

Spanish-Speaking countries alongside the U.S. flag in honor of Hispanic Heritage

Month. Reflecting the demographics of the municipality which it serves, the vast majority

of the students in the Dover Public School District are Latinos.

The interviewees provided reasoning as to why a majority Latino, predominantly

low-income population took hold in Dover whereas the Latino populations of most other

communities in Morris County remain relatively small, with none yet approaching a

majority of residents. Being that school districts in New Jersey correspond to

municipality, all of the interviewed educational professionals expressed similar views

that localized school districting as found in New Jersey has contributed to the

development of a low-income, majority Latino school district in Dover as well. All of the

interviewed participants spoke about Dover's Latino majority as a contrast to other

school districts in Morris County. Six of the interviewees (both guidance counselors, the

current and former Supervisors of Foreign Language and Bilingual Programs, and the

afterschool program employees) also discussed the lower socioeconomic status of

Dover and its school district in comparison to the rest of Morris County.

Nicholas Avellino, the retired Foreign Language and Bilingual Programs

Supervisor, described Dover as a community that "was always mostly working-class"









and thusly receptive to lower-income populations before lower-income Latinos and Latin

American immigrants arrived. Avellino, himself a lifelong Dover resident, described the

development of a Latino majority community in Dover as a long term process. The

director noted that the Latino population grew in surges during certain time periods, but

that overall, the growth of the Dover Latino population has been gradual and steady

since the initial arrival of Puerto Rican workers in the late 1940s. The early Puerto Rican

community in Dover was followed by people of more diverse Latin American origins,

primarily Colombians, Ecuadorians, and Mexicans. The retired supervisor expressed

that this gradual process allowed the community and its corresponding school district to

adapt themselves to changing demographics over time as they each became

increasingly Latino in character. Avellino and the other interviewees discussed features

of Dover that have helped the town and its corresponding school district to cultivate

reputations as friendly destinations for low-income Latino and Latin American

populations. Important themes related to Dover's development as Morris County's only

Latino majority municipality and school district were the concepts of availability of

services, namely commercial, social, and educational services within the community as

well as the availability of affordable housing.

Head Start Director Jane Ektis further commented that Dover has been attractive

to Latino residents because of the abundance of social and commercial services that

cater to Spanish-dominant Latinos. "Everything that we do here is bilingual. The housing

partnership, WIC (Women Infants Children) Hispanic Affairs, all have bilingual services

as well, basically all of the community organizations here do, they basically have to."

The director added that the town has many businesses that cater to the consumer









needs of the Latino community. "There are so many businesses that specialize in Latin

American products with Spanish-speaking staff; the community is just very open." This

observation is further corroborated by former Dover teacher Michelle Rizzo, and

Directors Avellino and Maslowski who each described Dover as having an established

network of Latino-oriented social services and an economically important base of small

Latino-owned businesses that are oriented toward the needs of the community.

An additional component of Dover's attractiveness to low-income Latino

residents was the availability of affordable housing. Guidance Counselor Alvarez

commented on the availability of affordably priced rental homes in comparison to nearby

communities, "where it's often just too much money for them, the homes and

apartments in nearby towns." This is further corroborated by former director Avellino

and guidance counselor Laskaris who both commented that Dover is a predominantly

"blue collar" town with greater availability of affordable housing as compared to other

Morris County communities. Additionally, the Dover-based Morris County Organization

for Hispanic Affairs (MCOHA) provides free translation services and interpreters for

renters who need to negotiate with non-Spanish-speaking landlords.

Furthermore, former supervisor Avellino expressed that the expansion of

Dover's Latino community over the years was fueled by the town and the school

district's cultivation of reputations as places that are friendly to Latinos relative to other

communities in Morris County, stating, "I know a lot of people [Latinos from Dover] who

don't feel comfortable in those other communities." Avellino expressed that because of

the home rule tradition and localized school districting structure that characterize the

entire state of New Jersey, Dover has had a much longer history of working with Latinos









which has necessitated being more receptive and responsive to the needs of its Latino

residents and students relative to other Morris County municipalities and school

districts.

While speaking about one of Dover's neighboring school districts, where he had

worked as a consultant, Avellino explained that attempts within that district to introduce

educational programming geared toward a growing low-income, Latin American

immigrant community had been viewed with suspicion and sometimes hostility. "There

everyone wants to be better in money and that kind of thing," Avellino explained.

"There's a perception that you have an immigrant community coming in, and you have

to take money away from your own kids to spend money on programs for theirs."

Avellino continued, "then there's the perception that it may lower standards in the

schools, or that schools may be perceived as not as good as they once were. These

factors are perceived as big negatives by them." Avellino further explained, "They worry

it's going to bring down the prices on their homes. All of that is on the minds of the non-

Latino community over there." Avellino identified this hostility as having contributed to

the continued growth of a Latino majority in Dover and in its corresponding school

district from an already established base.

Localization and Funding

This section is devoted to findings related to my second research question. To

recall, the second research question asked how school funding works within the

localized context of New Jersey's public school districts and how funding affects the

Dover school community. This section first presents archival data about the Dover

Public School District's cost per pupil spending relative to averages for the state, Morris

County, and socioeconomically-similar districts. Using data from the New Jersey









Department of Education as well as observation and interview data, the manner by

which extant school funding mechanisms affect the Dover Public School District's

predominantly low-income, Latino majority student population will be addressed.

The New Jersey Department of Education's Comparative Cost Per Pupil Guide

revealed that the Dover Public School District is funded at a lower level than both the

average and medians for the state of New Jersey as measured by cost per pupil

spending. The state had a mean cost per pupil of $13,601 across all of its K-12 school

districts during the 2008-2009 school year. During that same school year, the median

cost per pupil for the state's public K-12 school districts was $12,791. For academic

year 2008-2009, cost per pupil in the Dover Public School District was $11,261. Thus,

cost per pupil in Dover was 83% of the state mean and 88% of the median (NJDOE,

2009). Table 4-1 and Figure 4-2 show the lower per pupil spending in Dover as

compared to the state mean over the last 5 years (NJDOE, 2005-2009).

Furthermore, Dover's cost per pupil of $11,261 during the 2008-2009 school year

was the lowest of all K-12 school districts in Morris County. Nearly mirroring state

means, the county mean for cost per pupil for its K-12 school districts during the 2008-

2009 school year was $13,591. The county median cost per pupil for K-12 school

districts was $12,738. Again, within Morris County, much like as in the state as a whole,

Dover's cost per pupil was significantly lower (NJDOE, 2009).

Additionally, during the same school year, cost per pupil in Dover was even lower

than the mean for the Abbott Districts, a group of 31 mostly DFG A school districts with

whom Dover shares similar socioeconomic disadvantages. Because of funding and

programming mandates set in place by the Abbott IV and V decisions, mean per pupil









cost for the 31 Abbott Districts was $16,447, well above the state average. Therefore,

Dover's cost per pupil was 68% the mean cost per pupil for the Abbott Districts. Thus,

using cost per pupil as a measure, Dover is funded well below the average cost per

pupil levels of school districts statewide, nearby Morris County school districts in

addition to the socioeconomically similar Abbott Districts (NJDOE, 2009).

Nonetheless, Dover does receive a greater share of its funding from the state

than do the other K-12 Morris County school districts. During the 2008-2009 school

year, the other fourteen K-12 school districts in Morris County on average received 83%

of their school funding from local sources while they only received 13% from the state.

Conversely, Dover received 50% of its funds from the state and 41% of its funds from

local sources. Dover thus received a much greater proportion of its budget from state

funds than the other K-12 school districts in Morris County (NJDOE, 2009).

Still the proportion of funding for cost per pupil that the Dover Public School

District received from the state was much lower than what was received by the Abbott

Districts. On average the Abbott Districts received 80% from the state and 14% from

local sources to fund their cost per pupil expenditures during the 2008-2009 school

year. Additionally, Dover does not benefit from the same funding mandates that allow

the Abbott Districts to guarantee pre-K for all children who reside within the borders of

the district as well as full-day kindergarten, afterschool programs and summer schools

(NJDOE, 2009).

The areas outside of each of the Dover Schools that I visited were well-

maintained, with clean sidewalks and building exteriors as well as manicured lawns and

shrubbery. The interiors of each of the Dover Public Schools were visibly well worn with









outdated color schemes, furniture, and fixtures, as all of the public schools in Dover

were built between forty-five and seventy years ago. Nonetheless, each school was

well-maintained, clean, and orderly. North Dover Elementary School, East Dover

Elementary School and Dover Middle School, all of which were visited directly following

the end of the school day, were nearly free of the afterschool debris that is often present

in school settings. With all of the public schools in Dover it seemed that pride in

ownership was taken.

With the exception of the guidance counselors (who did not discuss the issue of

the district's finances but instead focused on the cost of higher education in New

Jersey), each of the ten Dover educators that were interviewed expressed the view that

the Dover Public School District, as well as affiliated programs like Dover Head Start

and Neighborhood House, were underfunded relative to community needs. Some

identified how budget cuts over the years have forced the district to make difficult

decisions to cut programs. Others expressed dissatisfaction with Dover's exclusion from

the Abbott funding and programming mandates despite the district's socioeconomic

similarities to the Abbott Districts.

The director of Dover's Head Start, Jane Ektis, identified the Dover Public

School District's lack of Abbott designation as having had a particularly negative effect

regarding funding for early childhood education in Dover. Ektis explained, "If you earn

$200,000 a year and live in an Abbott District, your child is going to get free preschool."

The director continued, "However, since Morris County doesn't have any Abbott

Districts we have a lot of very low income children in Dover and they don't get a penny."

This has been a detriment to families in Dover, as Ektis further explained, "Because of









this situation, each year we have a waiting list of 50 to 100 families who we can't serve

because we don't have enough funding." Furthermore, Ektis noted that Head Start is

the only full-day pre-K program in Dover and therefore is often the best option for

working parents. These views were further corroborated by elementary school teacher

Nora Lewis. Lewis stated that several years ago, the Dover Public School District had

implemented its own pre-K program however, "they only go from 8:00 until 10:40 or

12:00 to 2:40. I don't know the exact timing but it's less than 3 hours. I know Head Start

is a full day."

Both former Supervisor Avellino and his successor, Supervisor Maslowski

expressed that funding is a precarious issue from year to year for the Dover Public

School District. According to both supervisors, the precarious nature of funding has

negatively affected successful programs. Former Director Avellino described a "golden-

era" in the mid 1980s when the district had the "right demographics" for receiving state

and federal educational grants. The former director stated, "In the mid '80s if you wrote

a grant you would get it, and I don't think I was ever turned down for a grant I wrote

during that period, however, it was short-lived." Avellino then recalled a Transitional

English Biology and Earth Science curriculum that he felt had been extremely

successful after having been developed as a result of a state grant. "The science

program had to be removed because after the grant expired we could no longer afford

to fund it. The cost of having two teachers in the classroom was too much. This was just

one of many cuts." Avellino explained. Maslowski was more general, and described the

issue of funding as a major concern for the district each year. "We're not an Abbott

District but we're similar to one as far as student demographics. We got some increased









funding already, but that was last year," Maslowski explained. The supervisor continued,

"We've had to cut things before; last year the state ordered that we cut cafeteria

services in favor of a subcontractor because they were losing money." Maslowski

continued, "We're kind of up in the air again for this year, we're worried about the

funding once again."

Both of the former teachers were affected by funding issues while they worked in

the Dover Public School District. While teaching bilingual classes at Dover Middle

School, former teacher Deborah Nagelberg expressed that toward the end of her tenure

in the early 2000s she always had "really big classes" that typically had at least 25

students. Conversely, early in her career as a bilingual teacher, classes typically had

15-18 students. Nagelberg indicated that Dover was unable to afford to hire an

additional bilingual instructor as need increased. Furthermore, the other former Dover

teacher, Michelle Rizzo, had to resign her position with the Dover Public School District

because of personal circumstances that necessitated a greater salary. A wealthier

neighboring school district met Rizzo's need.

Additionally, Julia Enriquez, the director of the Morristown Neighborhood House

which provides K-8 afterschool programming for the Dover Public School District

expressed that funding is frequently an issue for her organization. "It [funding] never is

enough to meet the needs of the community. With the cuts we've had lately it's been a

real struggle," stated Enriquez. According to Enriquez, the recent economic downturn

has forced the organization to increasingly rely on private donors as sources of

additional funds. Echoing other educational professionals affiliated with the DPSD,

Enriquez added that although her organization receives some funding from county,









state, and federal sources that "it's never enough, but we do as much as we can with

what we have."

This section demonstrated how localized school funding mechanisms have

affected the low-SES, majority Latino Dover Public School District. The next section of

this chapter will examine community factors which Dover educational professionals

identified as being helpful to educational outcomes in their community in spite of the

district's low socioeconomic status and funding deficits.

Localized School Districting, Educational Outcomes, and Community Factors

This last section is devoted to findings related to the final research question. To

recall, the final research question asked how localized school districting has affected

educational outcomes and school programming for the Dover school community. The

question also inquired about how localized school districting has affected interaction

between the diverse members of the Dover school community. This final section will first

present data related to educational outcomes for Latino students in the Dover Public

School District. The remainder of this section will be divided into three thematic

subsections: Professional Staff Dedication, Home-School Partnerships, and

Programming for Latino Students.

Each of the thematic subsections will present factors which Dover educational

professionals have identified as influential in educational outcomes for the district's

Latino students. These thematic subsections are based on three principal groups found

in the Dover school community with which this paper is concerned: professional staff,

Latino school families, and Latino students. Each thematic subsection has its own

unique subthemes. Nonetheless, the three principal subsections are united by an









overarching subtheme that is related to the Dover Public School District's orientation

toward the linguistic and cultural diversity of Latino students and Latino school families.

Outcomes for Latino Students

As demonstrated by the previous data, the Dover Public School District is an

overwhelmingly Latino school district in a county that is predominantly non-Latino and

white. The DPSD is also a predominantly low-income school district with levels of per

pupil spending that are well below the averages for school districts in Morris County and

the state of New Jersey. Additionally, the DPSD's per pupil spending is much lower than

the average level of per pupil spending found among the predominantly District Factor

Group A (lowest socioeconomic group), socioeconomically similar Abbott Districts. Not

being a part of the Abbott Group, Dover does not benefit from the same funding and

programming mandates that are guaranteed to Abbott Districts.

Despite socioeconomic and funding disadvantages, Latino students from Dover

have been performing better on statewide standardized tests than their Latino

counterparts from socioeconomically similar Group A school districts. Dover's Latino

students have also been graduating from high school at rates comparable to the

statewide average. The following data will demonstrate this.

Table 4-2 provides a summary of statewide standardized test score data from the

last five years for Dover Latino students as compared to all Latino students from the

socioeconomically similar District Factor Group A. The test scores are for the Language

Arts Literacy (LAL) and Mathematics sections of the fourth grade, eighth grade, and

eleventh grade statewide standardized tests. On each test, a score within the range of

proficient or advanced proficient indicate that a student has passed. With the exception

of the 2007 fourth grade test, Dover Latino students outperformed Latinos from









statewide DFG A school districts for each the LAL and Mathematics sections in the past

five school years at each of the three grade levels. Figure 4-3 provides 5 year averages

for each grade level on each test. (NJDOE, 2005-2009).

Dover Latino students were compared with other Latino students from District

Factor Group (DFG) A primarily because according to the New Jersey Department of

Education, one of the principal reasons for creating the DFG designations was "for the

purpose of having a mechanism by which similar districts could be compared in terms of

their performance on statewide assessments." The department states "without

exception, the average student performance increases as one progresses through the

DFG classes" (NJDOE, 2009).

Performance in Dover has been strongest among eleventh grade Latino students

on the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA). The difference between Dover

Latino students and statewide DFG A Latinos also has been the most pronounced at

this level. Over the past five years, eleventh grade Latinos from the Dover Public School

District have passed the HSPA Language Arts Literacy (LAL) section at an average rate

of 74.8% as compared to 59.7% of statewide DFG A Latinos. During the same period,

Dover Latino students averaged a passing rate of 63.9% on the Mathematics section

while statewide Latinos from DFG A schools averaged 46.4% (NJDOE, 2005-2009).

The five year average pass rate for eighth grade Dover Latinos on the Language

Arts Literacy (LAL) section has also been markedly higher than their Latino peers from

other DFG A schools. Eighth grade Dover Latinos have had a pass rate of 65.8% on the

LAL section over the past five years while Latino students from other DFG A schools

have passed at a rate of 51.9%. The difference on the Mathematics section of the









eighth grade test is less pronounced, with Dover's Latino students passing at a rate of

44.6% and statewide DFG A Latino students passing at a rate of 41.7% over the past

five years (NJDOE, 2005-2009).

Differences in average pass rates have been the least pronounced at the fourth

grade level. Nonetheless, the average pass rate for the last five years for Dover Latino

students has been higher than that of statewide DFG Latino students on both the LAL

and Mathematics sections. Dover Latino students have passed the fourth grade LAL

section at an average rate of 64.8% as compared to 59.8% for statewide DFG A

Latinos. Likewise, Dover Latino students have passed the fourth grade Mathematics

test at an average rate of 73.3% as compared to 67.3% for statewide DFG A Latino

students (NJDOE, 2005-2009).

Thus the last five years of statewide standardized test score data indicate that

Dover Latino students have been outperforming Latino students from socioeconomically

similar DFG A school districts. Dover Latinos have been outperforming statewide DFG

A Latino students most markedly on the eleventh grade High School Proficiency

Assessment (HSPA), an extremely high stakes test that is used as a prerequisite for

high school graduation. Nonetheless, graduation rates in Dover (and statewide) are

higher than the pass rates for the HSPA because of the New Jersey Department of

Education's provision of the Special Review Assessment (SRA), "an alternative

assessment that provides students with the opportunity to exhibit their understanding

and mastery of the HSPA skills in contexts that are familiar and related to their

experiences." The SRA is administered under the supervision and discretion of teachers

from each respective school district. The test is available in Spanish (NJDOE, 2009).









During the most recent five year period, graduation rates from Dover High School

have been similar to statewide rates. Dover High School posted an 89.9% graduation

rate in 2009, while the statewide graduation rate was 93.3%. This was the lowest Dover

High School graduation rate for the past five years. Conversely, in 2006 Dover High

School had a graduation rate of 98% while statewide the graduation rate was 94.2%.

Table 4-3 summarizes graduation rates for Dover High School as compared to

statewide rates (NJDOE, 2005-2009).

The educational professionals whom I interviewed indicated a variety of factors

as contributors to the Dover Public School District's Latino students' success relative to

statewide Latinos from socioeconomically-similar District Factor Group A schools.

Generally speaking, the educational professionals expressed that this success was

attributable to several key factors that exist within the confines of the localized Dover

Public School District: a historically dedicated professional staff, policies and actions

that are conducive to the development of strong home-school partnerships, and

programming geared toward the needs of the district's predominantly low-income,

majority Latino student population. Data related to the factors that the educators cited

as contributors to the relative success of Dover Latino students will be presented in the

rest of this chapter under three principal subthemes: Professional Staff Dedication, The

Home School Partnership and Programming for Latino Students.

Professional Staff Dedication

The educational professionals whom I interviewed each identified key traits that

pertain to the Dover Public School District's professional staff that they found to have

contributed to success for Dover and its Latino majority student population. Overall, they

found that the interaction of these faculty traits within the localized context of the Dover









Public School District has been beneficial to student outcomes. It is important to note

that educational professionals in Dover commonly identified several key faculty

characteristics that have helped their school's Latino student population. The most

discussed characteristics were under the Professional Staff Dedication theme were:

generally high levels of faculty retention, a high proportion of faculty who are graduates

of the Dover Public School District, and pedagogical creativity. Furthermore, several

educators cited a long term trend among district professional staff toward increasing

respect for linguistic diversity and Latino cultures that has been fostered by periodic

professional development.

Each of the ten professionals directly involved with the Dover school community

identified the abundance of longstanding teachers and administrators that the school

has on its payroll and low levels of teacher turnover as contributors to the school

community's success. Data from the New Jersey Department of Education (2009)

corroborate the educators. Teacher mobility in each of the Dover schools over the past

five years has been typically lower than the state average. Table 4-4 provides a listing

of faculty mobility rates at each of Dover's public schools over the past 5 years relative

to state averages (NJDOE, 2005-2009).

Additionally, it is important to address the issue of professional staff salary as a

factor that is indicative of overall professional staff dedication. Aside from one

interviewee, no mention was made of this issue. However, the New Jersey Department

of Education (NJDOE) publishes average salaries for administrators and teachers for

each school district within the state. The NJDOE also publishes a statewide average for

both administrator and teacher pay. The NJDOE's data indicated that Dover teachers









and administrators have been consistently paid at rates that are below the statewide

averages. Table 4-5 and Figure 4-4 show Dover's lower teacher and administrator

salaries as compared to state averages over the last five years, a reflection of the

district's lower spending levels (NJDOE, 2005-2009). These figures are noteworthy in

that they demonstrate that educational professionals tend to continue to work for the

school district in spite of lower salaries than can be found in other New Jersey school

districts.

Furthermore, in addition to generally low teacher mobility rates, each of the

interviewees identified the shared Dover roots of many of their colleagues as an

important component of professional staff dedication. Former Supervisor of World

Languages and Bilingual Programs, Nicholas Avellino, described one of Dover's staffing

patterns as "you plant the seeds and it grows and people feel good about coming back

and helping their community; generally in the Abbott Districts you don't get teachers

from the community," Avellino, himself a Dover High School graduate and lifelong town

resident continued, "Dover has quite a number of faculty members and staff who live

right in Dover still, or at least grew up here. Many have a great investment in this

community." These views were shared by Avellino's successor, Karen Maslowski.

Maslowski stated, "We have a lot of teachers and staff who are Dover graduates. I

graduated from Dover High School and have spent most of my career here." Maslowski

continued, "I've lived in the town my whole life and sent my children to Dover schools."

Guidance Counselor Alicia Alvarez, a Dover High School graduate who has

worked in the Dover Public School District for thirteen years described the importance of

staff with Dover roots, "Staff members who grew up here are better able to understand









where the kids and families are coming from because we lived it too. Even though its

years later, you have more of an understanding of what they're going through." Her

colleague, Guidance Counselor Thomas Laskaris, another Dover graduate, described it

as, "I've been working here for twenty years now, and there are many school staff

members who grew up in Dover and went to the schools, don't ask me to quantify it but

it has to be something like a third." Laskaris continued, "I think it's good for the kids to

see that many of us grew up here and that we can then serve as positive role models."

He added, "Our superintendent and assistant superintendent are both from Dover as

well." Regarding Dover's high number of ELL students and families and staff ability to

empathize, Laskaris stated, "Personally, I definitely know the challenges of having

parents that don't speak English or don't speak it well and I can definitely appreciate

what a lot of the kids here are going through."

The two former teachers, neither of whom is from Dover, echoed similar

sentiments, noting that the teaching staffs and administrations of their former schools in

Dover consisted of a high proportion of longtime staff members, many of whom had

attended the local school district as students. They both sensed that many of their

colleagues with Dover roots felt invested in helping the community and school system to

achieve success as its demographics became increasingly Latino. According to the

former teachers, this sense of investment in the schools and community manifested

itself in school leadership and affected teachers without childhood or family connections

to Dover. Former teacher Michelle Rizzo stated, "Don Castelluccio, my principal, he

was from Dover. He was of Italian descent but learned Spanish. He was always very

open to providing as much service as possible to the Spanish-speaking community."









Rizzo expressed that the high proportion of her colleagues who had attended the DPSD

as students helped her to better relate to current students and Dover school families.

This view was shared by former teacher Nagelberg. Nagelberg also shared an outreach

strategy that she adapted from some of her Dover-born colleagues. Nagelberg stated

that if she had to reach a parent who was difficult to contact because of a work schedule

conflict she would often go to that person's workplace and meet with them during a

designated break.

Martina Derricks, the site director for North Dover Elementary's afterschool

program added that during her tenure at the school she has found out that many of the

teachers and administrators whom she interacts with on a daily basis are graduates of

the Dover Public School District. Derricks identified common Dover roots as influential in

the dedication to school and community she sees among Dover teachers and staff who

aid her in various ways with the afterschool program, whether it is through daily

communication or assistance in tutoring students. "People here really support each

other, they definitely help each other out, it's a very tight community," Derricks stated.

The site director then directed me to speak with a Dover teacher who often tutors

students in the afterschool program. The Dover teacher, Nora Lewis, has been working

in the Dover Public School District for the past ten years. Her father had been a vice

principal at one of the Dover Public Schools and she attended school in the district

through her graduation from Dover High School. Lewis, who is not Latina, described

Dover as being "like a family, and you don't have to be a part of the Latino community to

feel that way."









Former Supervisor Avellino also identified staff dedication to the Dover school

community as a major factor that has helped Dover's Latino students to succeed. The

former supervisor added pedagogical creativity as a component of this dedication. "We

always were fortunate to have a lot of teachers who were up to the task," Avellino

stated. Avellino recalled the many classroom observations he had made of teachers

during his years as an administrator. In recollection, Avellino noted that he frequently

observed that most Dover teachers often used several instructional strategies to reach

diverse groups of learners throughout the course of a single lesson. Avellino noted that

this pedagogical practice was necessary because classes often had a variety of

students who had experienced school in different contexts both in the United States and

in different Latin American countries. "With groups as varied as we often had, you had

to have teachers who were willing to work individually with kids, in small groups, and

with various methodologies." Avellino continued, "fortunately, we always had people

who were willing to make the extra effort."

Furthermore, both of the former Dover teachers identified a trend among

faculty members toward a greater acceptance of linguistic diversity and the Latino

community throughout their tenures in Dover. "I think definitely that a more positive

attitude toward the importance of language and Latino cultures grew," Michelle Rizzo

stated. "This truly was generational. With the younger staff, there was much more of an

embracing, while there was a certain resentment among elements of the older staff."

Deborah Nagelberg corroborated Rizzo's views. During her tenure with the Dover

schools, Nagelberg noticed that as time progressed that certain teachers would often

volunteer to take the challenge of having recently mainstreamed ELL students in their









classes. Nagelberg explained, "Eventually certain teachers would take all of the

recently mainstreamed ELL students each year." Nagelberg continued "these were

younger teachers, people under 40. I think they saw it as rewarding and as an

opportunity to use the power of diversity, really of having a diverse population where we

had people from all over Latin America." Nagelberg also noted that professional

development programs geared toward the entire faculty began to focus more on

incorporating Latino students, particularly ELLs, into the whole school community.

Nagelberg expressed this as a factor that helped nearly all faculty members to become

more inclusionary towards Latino students, particularly ELLs.

Professional development that is focused on sensitivity toward Latino cultures

and linguistic diversity continues to the present in the DPSD. Current Supervisor of

World Languages and Bilingual Services, Karen Maslowski, stated that the school has

workshops during professional development days that are geared toward helping staff

to better work with Latino cultures and linguistically diverse students and families.

Maslowski noted the influence of localized school districting on the DPSD's Latino focus

regarding staff recruitment and training. Maslowski stated, "Our town is about 80%

Hispanic, so we work with that population much more than other districts surrounding us

do." Maslowski continued, "We always need people who can relate to the Hispanic

community."

The school's current professional development plan corroborates Maslowski. The

Dover Public School District's Professional Development Plan for the 2009-2010 school

year emphasized helping teachers to better work with ELL students and non-ELL Latino

students. Based on responses from teachers regarding professional development from









the previous year, the district planned to implement additional professional development

programs for all teachers regarding strategies for teaching ELL students across

disciplines. These programs and workshops were to be led by ESL and Bilingual

Instructors from the district who are experts in working with ELL students. Furthermore,

the professional development program plan stressed collaboration between colleagues

in order to create and implement culturally responsive writing assignments (Dover

Public School District, 2009).

The final portion of this thematic subsection brought forth data related to the

Dover professional staff's orientation toward language and Latino cultures last for a

specific reason. This element of the Professional Staff Dedication thematic subsection

was addressed last because it extends beyond the professional staff of the Dover Public

School District. In the subsequent thematic subsections, the district's overall orientation

toward language and culture will be shown as an important factor in both the fostering of

home-school partnerships and the development of a school curriculum that is

responsive to the needs of Dover's Latino community.

The Home-School Partnership

This thematic subsection addresses the importance of the home-school

partnership to the relative success of Dover's Latino students. All of the educational

professionals were in agreement about the importance of home-school partnerships

within the Dover Public School District. The professionals identified this as a major

contributor to helping Latino students in Dover to achieve success despite the obstacles

of low-socioeconomic status within the context of a localized school district with below

average levels of funding. Each educational professional identified a variety of ways in

which home-school partnerships are facilitated within the Dover community. Through









the interviews, it became clear that strong-home school partnerships are facilitated in

Dover through home-school interaction that is sensitive to the linguistic and cultural

backgrounds of Latino school families. This interaction is further facilitated through

Dover's small walkable size and its access to public transportation.

According to the educational professionals, the state's localized school districting

scheme has contributed to the development of a school community in Dover where

Latino parents are accepted and welcomed. "In the early days (the late 1970s) it was

often tough to get the Latino parents to come out, it really was, but we had to find a

way" former Supervisor Avellino stated. "Really, we were the only town in Morris County

that had the proportions of Hispanics, the numbers, so we had to be proactive early on."

As the district's Latino population continued to expand throughout his tenure, Avellino

expressed that it was increasingly important to ensure that the Latino parents were

included as partners and allies so as to better serve Dover's students. According to

Avellino and the other educators, inclusion of Latino parents and families as partners in

the school community has been accomplished through a variety of measures.

Avellino first took the example of back to school nights. The former supervisor

stated that by the late 1970s that the district always made sure that there were several

Spanish-speaking teachers to speak with Spanish-dominant parents. By the mid 1980s,

Dover made the back to school night programming more publicly bilingual so as to more

fully include Spanish speaking parents. "By that point, the superintendent would ask me

to write her speeches in Spanish." Avellino continued, "I'd record them for her. And she

would listen to them and practice and then be able to read them for the Spanish-

speaking parents, basically the same thing that she had said in English." Beyond back









to school nights, Avellino stated that it also became important to invite the parents into

the school and cultivate an atmosphere that was non-intimidating, informal, and

inclusive towards diverse Latino cultures. "One of the things that really helped were the

festivals that we would have, the international dinners. They were always great things to

get everyone to come together." Avellino continued, "Latino organizations and

restaurants from the town participated as well. We had representation from all these

different countries." Avellino continued, "It was a way to invite the parents into the

school into what would sometimes otherwise be a very intimidating environment. The

festivals were entertainment, but helped connect school to home."

According to Supervisor Maslowski, the bilingual back to school nights and

school festivals continue to this day within the Dover school community. Additionally,

these programs have expanded to include monthly bilingual and Spanish-language

parent advisory forums and workshops that are directed towards the educational needs

of Latino families and students. "The Hispanic parents come out in full force, they're

very much interested in finding out how to help their children, even if they don't speak

English, sometimes especially if they don't speak English." Maslowski explained, "We

spend a lot of time at meetings emphasizing that if they read to their child in Spanish, or

have their child become proficient in reading in Spanish, that they'll be able to read in

English much more quickly." Maslowski emphasized that various parent forums hosted

by the school each month give Spanish-dominant Latino parents a forum in which they

can express their needs and concerns in the language with which they feel most

comfortable. Maslowski included that parents are given choices concerning the content

of forums and workshops and are asked for their input on various school decisions.









According to Maslowski, the parent forums have been extremely beneficial to giving

Spanish-dominant Latino parents a voice in the school community. Maslowski stated,

"The parents have thanked us profusely in the past few years because they needed

somewhere to go where they could speak in Spanish to somebody, and get some ideas

and training for dealing with their children."

Dover's focus on the needs of Latino parents is not limited to group settings but

is extended to interactions between individual parents and the school's professional

staff. As Spanish-speaking supervisors of bilingual programs at Dover, both Maslowski

and Avellino have been highly involved in working with Latino parents at a personal

level. Both described how they sought to cultivate open and trusting relationships with

Spanish-dominant Latino parents throughout their careers at Dover. This has been

accomplished both through meeting with parents at the aforementioned programs and

forums as well as through weekly bilingual informational mailings from the school

district that encourage communication in order to cultivate relationships with Latino

parents. "I get many calls from parents who are seeking advice or want more

information about our programs. They come and see me if they have questions,

because I do speak Spanish, and they're welcome to call me anytime" Maslowski

explained.

Personal communication between Dover's professional staff and Latino parents

has not been limited to the administrative level. The non-administrative staff whom I

interviewed all described Latino parents in the school district as being accessible and

generally very concerned about the academic and social progress of their children.

Through interviews, it was revealed that the district makes conscious choices in its









staffing patterns in order to best facilitate dialogue between Spanish-dominant Latino

parents and professional staff. Each of Dover's public schools has a bilingual main

office secretary who is in charge of answering and directing all phone calls that each

respective school receives. Furthermore, the district priorities having a Spanish-

speaking teacher in each grade level at each of the elementary schools, on each

teacher team at the middle school, and in each subject area at the high school. This

staffing pattern is in addition to teachers who are responsible for Spanish language and

bilingual classes. According to the educational professionals, this allocation of staff

helps to facilitate communication between Latino parents who are Spanish-dominant

and the staff members who do not speak Spanish.

Additionally, Guidance Counselor Laskaris and Supervisor Maslowski both spoke

strongly about the value of having academically-oriented afterschool programs that are

sensitive to the needs of low-income Latino parents. "Many parents can't provide their

kids with advantages that kids in other districts have. Many students I work with don't

have a place to study, so we've had to establish some after school programs and

studying groups for students," Maslowski explained. Laskaris further described the

situation, that because of work responsibilities and linguistic differences that "the

parents are not always able to help the students with homework, so we offer various

programs after school that help to take the burden off the parents."

Furthermore, Dover's afterschool programs function as an intermediary that

connects school and home. The afterschool staff members at the K-8 level interact with

both Dover teachers and parents on a daily basis (as parents must walk to the school to

pick up their children in the evening) and are thus able to help relay messages between









teachers and parents. According to Julia Enriquez, the Educational Programming

Director for Morristown Neighborhood House, the organization that provides Dover's K-

8 afterschool programs, about two-thirds of the organization's staff is bilingual in

Spanish and English. According to Enriquez, this allows the staff to better communicate

with Spanish-dominant parents and to aid them in working with Dover Public School

District staff members who do not speak Spanish on occasions when the District is

unable to provide a translator. Furthermore, according to Martina Derricks, the site

director for Neighborhood House's program at North Dover Elementary School, the

school site is open each day to parents who often come in to help the staff or to learn

skills which they can use to aid their children with academics. This form of parental

involvement was witnessed firsthand during a visit to the North Dover program, as a

father, speaking in Spanish, drilled several children on multiplication tables. Several

other parents came in and out of the program during my visit, thus demonstrating the

openness of the environment.

The preceding interview data identified the Dover Public School District's

sensitive treatment of Latino cultures and diverse linguistic backgrounds as key to the

fostering of strong home-school partnerships. As a final portion of the Home-School

Partnership thematic subsection, it is important to bring forth data regarding public

transportation and small size. As will be indicated by interview data, both public

transportation and the small geographic area of the Dover community have been pivotal

in the facilitation of the aforementioned culturally and linguistically sensitive interaction

that characterizes the home-school partnerships of the Dover Public School District.









The guidance counselors revealed that public transportation is extremely

important in Dover because many people in the community cannot afford car ownership.

Both guidance counselors identified Dover's high level of integration into the county's

and the state's public transportation systems, its abundance of taxi and car services,

and the town's small, walkable size as compelling reasons that lower-income Latinos

often choose to live in Dover over other Morris County communities. They also identified

these factors as helpful to the facilitation of communication between the school district's

professional staff and low-income Latino school families. The factors of transportation

and geographic size help to facilitate communication in that they allow low-income

Latino families easy access to the schools which their children attend.

The afterschool program coordinators added that they had found with some

difficulty about Dover's reliance on public transportation. The afterschool program, run

by the Morristown Neighborhood House, has operated in the Dover Public School

District for five years. The afterschool program's parent organization is headquartered

over ten miles away in Morristown. It had been excessively difficult for many Dover

parents to attend various evening functions and parent workshops at the Morristown

headquarters during Neighborhood House's first year working with the school district.

Upon receiving requests from members of the school community, Neighborhood House

remedied this by moving all of its evening programming for Dover parents to its school

sites within the Dover Public School District. This change allowed parents the ability to

walk to their local schools for events, much as their children do in order to go to school

during the day. According to the afterschool program coordinators, attendance by Dover

parents at evening events increased markedly after the change was made.









Jane Ektis, Director of Dover Head Start, also commented on transportation in

Dover. The director stated that many people from the community often lack personal

automobiles and therefore rely on the use of Head Start's facility for various parent

meetings and educational programs such as evening ESL classes. "They're able to walk

here, so it's much easier," she stated. Dover's walkability is reflected in its public

schools. According to Supervisor Maslowski, because of the compact geographical area

which the school district serves, the DPSD has never required a school busing service

and many parents, especially those with elementary age children, walk their children to

nearby schools each day. This factor helps to facilitate daily interaction between home

and school for many parents.

Thus Dover's small, walkable size is helpful to the facilitation of relationships

between lower-income Latino families and the district's public schools. The small

geographic size and transportation factors thus help the district in building home-school

partnerships that are based upon respect for the linguistic and cultural backgrounds of

Latino school families. The final thematic subsection based on findings related to the

third research question will address how localized public school districting affects

programming for the district's majority Latino student population.

Programming for Latino Students

Interviews with educational professionals revealed views that localized school

districting has given the Dover Public School District a greater level of autonomy in its

ability to meet the needs of the students which it serves. This autonomy has been an

impetus for the Dover Public School District to provide educational programming that is

geared towards the needs of its predominantly low-income, majority Latino student

population. According to former supervisor Avellino, reflecting on Dover's historically









large Latino population relative to the rest of Morris County stated, "It has been a great

advantage for Dover to have been able to come up with programs that work specifically

for the benefit of our district." Avellino continued, "I feel that under a countywide school

system, the specific needs of Dover would have probably been swallowed up." This final

thematic subsection will address how the Dover Public School District has implemented

programming to serve the needs of the predominantly low-income Latino students which

the district serves.

New Jersey Department of Education datasets from the past five years indicate

that the majority of families with children enrolled in the Dover Public School District are

Spanish-speaking. This is much greater than the state average, where just over 10% of

school families statewide are Spanish-speaking. The data for home language can be

found in Table 4-6. Additionally, most of the schools within the Dover Public School

District have proportions of English Language Learners two to three times higher than

the statewide average. This data can be found in Table 4-7 (NJDOE, 2005-2009). This

being said, the district's orientation toward language policy is extremely important to this

final thematic subsection.

Bilingual Education and ESL Programming

The Dover Public School District's Bilingual/ESL Three-Year Program Plan for

2008-2011 indicated that the district has developed numerous programs in order to

meet the needs of its Spanish-speaking English Language Learner (ELL) population.

Under the current plan, the district has a full-time bilingual education program at

Academy Street Elementary School for kindergarten students. North Dover Elementary

school is home to full-time bilingual programs for students in grades 1-5. East Dover

Elementary school, which takes all sixth grade students in Dover, hosts a full-time









bilingual program for sixth grade students. Dover Middle School and Dover High School

each have departmentalized (subject area), part-time bilingual programs and sheltered

English courses. Each school within the district also provides ESL classes which are

grouped by English proficiency level (beginner, intermediate and advanced) at each

grade level in grades 7-12. All students who are enrolled in bilingual programs must

also take ESL as required by state law. The plan states 136 students took part in the

district's full-time bilingual programs, 146 took part in part-time bilingual programs, and

148 students were in English-based sheltered instruction and ESL programs. Students

enrolled in ESL/bilingual programs are reassessed annually and on an as-needed basis

before they enter the English-mainstream school setting (Dover Public School District,

2008).

The plan describes the district's first goal for bilingual programs as, "to provide a

full academic program in all content areas linked to the NJ Core Curriculum Content

Standards." The district states that its second goal for bilingual programs is "to provide

students with a nurturing setting upon arrival and facilitate the transition from Spanish to

English through intense English instruction as students adjust to a new culture, school,

and academic setting." Bilingual programs within the district utilize a transitional

approach whereby both English and Spanish are used in instruction and Spanish is

used for clarification, explanation and discussion (Dover Public School District, 2008, p.

3).

The interview with former Supervisor Avellino revealed that Dover began a

curriculum for Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) starting in the late 1970s. The

early program started with mixed grade classes but expanded in breadth over the years









to include a TBE class for each elementary grade level within the district and subject

area bilingual courses at the middle and high school levels. The NJDOE mandates that

each school district in the state have a bilingual program when twenty ELL students who

speak the same language attend public schools within a district. Despite this mandate,

Dover remains one of two school districts within Morris County with a bilingual program

and one of only 72 districts statewide (NJDOE, 2009). Both Avellino and Maslowski

noted that other districts with sufficient numbers of Spanish-speaking ELLs within Morris

County apply for a waiver on bilingual programs each year. The bilingual education

mandate stipulates that districts may apply for a waiver each year if a bilingual program

would be unfeasible because of a geographically dispersed ELL population or student

age range (NJDOE, 2009). In addition to TBE classes, the district also maintains ESL

(English as a second language) pullout instruction, and content area sheltered English

classes depending on the individual needs of students.

Furthermore, bilingual education within Dover is not limited to the K-12 level.

According to the Head Start Director, Jane Ektis, a full-day TBE program is provided for

all students at her school site in Dover. A half-day pre-K program with a curriculum

similar to that of Dover Head Start was initiated recently within the Dover Public School

District. Ektis also mentioned that El Primer Paso School has provided a half-day pre-K

program since the 1970s. El Primer Paso's program seeks to build children's skills in

both English and Spanish through a 50/50 bilingual format, charging tuition on a sliding

scale. The director added that both Head Start and El Primer Paso coordinate closely

with the Dover Public School District as nearly all of the children that are educated in

each of the schools ultimately go on to attend school in the local K-12 district.









Native Spanish Programming

In addition to addressing the needs of English Language Learners through a

program of Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) and ESL, Dover also seeks to help

students to maintain and improve their abilities in the Spanish Language. Under

Avellino's leadership the district implemented a curriculum for Native Spanish courses

at Dover High School the year after it began offering TBE classes. The Native Spanish

program began at Dover High School in 1978 with a single course and has expanded

greatly in breadth since its inception. Avellino, who has consulted other districts in the

development of Native Spanish curriculums, noted that only a few other school districts

in Morris County today have the critical mass of native Spanish speaking students to

have such programs, none with the breadth of classes that Dover can offer.

According to Maslowski, Dover High School today offers several different tracks

for Native Speakers of Spanish that are tailored to the varied educational backgrounds

and Spanish expertise of the students which they serve. Furthermore, the school offers

Advanced Placement (AP) Spanish Literature in addition to AP Spanish Language.

Additionally, in the mid 1990s, Native Spanish was expanded to Dover Middle School.

The Native Spanish Program at Dover Middle School is a multi-tiered program similar to

what is found in Dover High School. Thus a curriculum that addresses the diverse

Spanish language abilities and needs of Dover's students is implemented in grades 7-

12 across the district.

Furthermore, both Maslowski and Avellino discussed a program that is

conducted through Dover High School's Native Spanish courses which they both

identified as being extremely successful. Through its Native Spanish courses, The

Dover Public School District partners nearly every year with Repertorio Espahol, a









professional Spanish-language theater company based in New York City. With

Repertorio Espahol, students in the Native Spanish courses are paired with professional

writers from the theater company. Working with the writers, the students develop their

own full-length plays. The students then compete against other schools with similar

Native Spanish courses to have their plays selected to be professionally performed in

New York City at Repertorio Espahol's theater. Dover students have won the

competition several times since the partnership was initiated in the early 1990s.

Additionally, Repertorio Espahol has performed professionally at the Dover High School

auditorium for the wider Dover community in front of full-capacity audiences several

times in the past two decades. Both Avellino and Maslowski see the partnership with

Repertorio Espahol as being important within the majority Latino school district for the

validation it gives to the Spanish language and Latino cultures both within the school

and the wider community. Both administrators noted that they have witnessed this

program inspire students to learn which has transcended itself to other academic areas

and interests.

Other Programming

The academic focus that Dover places on Latino students is not limited to

bilingual programs, ESL, and Native Spanish courses. Nonetheless, the supervisors, all

three teachers, and both guidance counselors noted that Dover's ability to specialize in

these programs has contributed to helping Latino students to excel in other academic

areas. The district's strong and diverse offerings in ESL and bilingual programs help

Latino English Language Learners to acquire the necessary skills to compete in classes

that are conducted entirely in English. The DPSD's offering of Native Spanish courses

allows students a linguistically and culturally validating learning environment which often









inspires the desire to learn in other fields. According to educational professionals, this

combination has contributed to the cultivation of high standards and expectations for

students across curriculums.

Former Supervisor Avellino and Supervisor Maslowski described the faculty's

high standards as helping Latino students in the district to develop strong work ethics.

Maslowski stated, "Our students work hard, a lot really work hard and do well. Many of

them don't have economic advantages but overcome a lot of these challenges and do

pretty well on tests and acquiring English for the many ELLs." Former teacher Michelle

Rizzo corroborated that "curriculum was never dumbed down" because Dover was a

low-SES school district or because of the high proportion of ELL students and that this

positively benefited students in helping them to develop strong work ethics. Guidance

Counselor Thomas Laskaris described the district as having high expectations for all of

its students. "Whether ELL or from an English-speaking family, our goals are ultimately

still the same; to get them up to the high school and to get them into the college prep

track, and get them into a 2 or 4 year school after they graduate," Laskaris stated as he

described advisement and expectations of students.

Furthermore, though Dover Public School District personnel seek to maintain

high academic standards so as to prepare Latino students for post-secondary

education, the district has recently taken action that acknowledges that higher education

has often been inaccessible to many of its lower-income Latino students. Guidance

counselor Alicia Alvarez described a recently implemented dual-enrollment college

credit enrollment program that the Dover Public School District put into place with the

cooperation of the County College of Morris (CCM). Alvarez described Dover as









traditionally having had "a lot of very intelligent, capable students" who did not pursue

postsecondary education even though they had expressed interest in further study and

had proven that they have the abilities to continue on to higher education. The guidance

counselor spoke from her own personal experience when she stated that part of the

reason for this is that many low-income Latino families in the district are extremely debt-

averse. "They look at the tuition prices and they don't know how they'll ever pay it off."

Laskaris and Maslowski also identified this issue. Both counselors, as well as

Supervisor Maslowski discussed the dual enrollment program as a major step that the

district has taken to help low-income Latino students to overcome some of the financial

burden of higher education. The County College of Morris (CCM) dual enrollment

program offers college-level courses in science and writing composition while students

are still enrolled at Dover High School. Under this program, professors from CCM

come to Dover High School to teach using the same curriculum that would be used for

corresponding classes that takes place on the college's campus. Through this program,

students can attain a full-semester of college credits at no cost.

Alvarez, Laskaris, and Maslowski all stressed the benefits of the County College

Program. The guidance counselors and the supervisor emphasized that the program

has helped Dover students to gain additional confidence that they are capable of doing

college level work. They also emphasized that the program can provide up to a

semester of college credits at no cost to students and helps to encourage students to

continue with further education. Both Alvarez and Maslowski found this to be especially

important for many of Dover's Latino students, most of whom are the first from their

families to have had the opportunity to receive post-secondary education. Laskaris









stated that Dover is only one of a few school districts in the county that offers such a

program and that the district is looking to expand it to include more courses.

The strengths of Dover's Latino students are not met without challenges. Though

test scores among Dover's Latino students are generally higher than those of Latino

students from socioeconomically similar DFG A districts, recent increases in the number

of high stakes, statewide standardized tests are a major concern for Dover educators.

Supervisor Maslowski stated, "I think the biggest challenge is passing state

assessments, and they're adding more and more each year in the State of New Jersey."

The supervisor stated that the number of state tests that are administered is daunting

for the Dover Public School District because of the high number of students in the

district whose first language is not English having to take state standardized tests in

their second language.

The supervisor also expressed concern about the potential removal of the

Specialized Review Assessment (SRA) a test that can be taken as a high school exit

exam in New Jersey in place of the High School Proficiency Assessment. The test can

be taken in Spanish and has been beneficial to latecoming high school age ELLs who

have not yet acquired full proficiency in academic English. Former supervisor Avellino,

and the two former teachers, expressed similar concerns about the increasing role of

high stakes statewide, standardized tests.

Nonetheless, Maslowski remains optimistic. The supervisor continually

expressed that the district's high proportion of Latino ELLs has allowed the district to

specialize in providing services to that population. The supervisor identified this

specialization as beneficial to some Dover Latino students' performance on state tests.









The supervisor explained, "Even though studies show that it takes 5-7 years to attain

academic English skills, we have to do it quickly." The supervisor then praised the

teachers in her department, "when we get a new ELL student, say in ninth grade, that

speaks no English, they still have to eventually pass all the tests to graduate."

Maslowski explained, "so our bilingual and ESL department really work hard to get

students learning English as quickly as possible. In this district they have to rise to the

challenge."

Chapter Summary

The New Jersey Department of Education datasets demonstrated that the Dover

Public School District is disproportionately low-income and Latino relative to the rest of

the relatively affluent county where it is located. Observational and interview data

provided reasoning behind the development of a low-income, majority Latino

community in the midst of county that is mostly non-Latino, white, and middle class.

Furthermore, archival data from the New Jersey Department of Education demonstrated

that the Dover Public School District is funded well below the mean and median levels

for Morris County, the State of New Jersey, and the similarly low-SES District Factor

Group A Abbott Districts. Additionally, interview data revealed that the Dover Public

School District is funded insufficiently for the meeting of all community educational

needs as identified by educational professionals affiliated with the Dover Public School

District. Successful programs and vital services have been cut, the lack of Abbott pre-K

mandate creates a waiting list for Head Start and similar programs each year, and

teacher and administrator pay is consistently lower relative to the rest of the state.

The final section of this chapter demonstrated that in spite of socioeconomic and

funding challenges found within a low-income, majority Latino school system, that the









Dover Public School District has often managed to exceed state expectations for

student performance as determined by District Factor Group. The educational

professionals whom I interviewed found that high levels of professional staff dedication,

the fostering of home-school partnerships, and the development of programming geared

toward the educational needs of Latino students as having had pivotal roles in Dover's

relative success.






















































Data Classes
Percent
S1.5 2.9
3.4 -5.1
5.8 -9.4
23.2 27.1
50.6 57.9
Features
/v Hajor Road


StreamnWaterbody
St reamnWaterbody

Items in:.i text
are not visible
at this z~om level
Figure 4-1. Morris County Latino Population by Municipality (The dark green spot in the
middle of the map corresponds to Dover). Source: 2000 U.S. Census Data









Table 4-1. Comparative Cost Per Pupil


2008-2009


2007-2008


Comparative Cost Per Pupil
2006-2007


Dover State Dover State Dover
11,261 $13,601 $10,382 $12,598 $10,169
Source: New Jersey Department of Education (2005-2009)


State


Dover


State Dover


State


11,939 $9,774 $11,673 $9,167 $11,215


2005-06


2004-05












16,000

14,000

12,000

10,000

8,000 U 2008-09 Dover

6,000 2008-09 State

4,000

2,000

0
2008-09 2007-08 2006-07 2005-06 2004-05

Figure 4-2. Comparative Cost Per Pupil Graph; Source: New Jersey Department of
Education (2005-2009)









Table 4-2. NJDOE Test Score Data Dover Latinos and.


Grade 11 HSPA Grade 8 NJASK/GEPA Grade 4 NJASK
Partial Proficient Advanced Partial Proficient Advanced Partial Proficient Advanced
2009 LAL Dover 21.2 70.3 8.5 20.3 75.1 4.5 51.7 45.5 2.8
2009 LAL
NJ DFG A 39.4 57.9 2.7 40.2 58 1.8 60.3 38.4 1.4
Dover 39 54.2 6.8 46 40.3 13.6 24.8 55.9 19.3
2009 MATH
NJ DFG A 54.5 40.7 4.8 50.3 36.5 13.2 40.9 43.5 15.6
2008 LAL Dover 23.8 70.3 5.9 26.3 66.9 6.9 29.3 70.1 0.6
2008 LAL
NJ DFG A 43.1 54.8 2.2 40.5 57.2 2.4 32 67.1 0.9
8 MAT Dover 33.7 63.4 3 55.4 39.4 5.1 27.8 43.8 28.4
2008 MATH
NJ DFG A 53.7 41.9 4.4 56.5 34.5 9 27.6 48.9 23.5
2007 LAL Dover 16.5 71.1 12.4 40.3 55 4.7 32.4 64.8 2.8
2007 LAL
NJ DFG A 39.5 55.5 4.9 50.6 46.4 3 36 62.3 1.7
Dover 33.7 63.4 3 50.3 47 2.7 33.1 54.5 12.4
2007 MATH
NJ DFG A 54.1 41.6 4.3 57.9 34.4 7.6 30 47 23
2006 LAL Dover 30.7 64.6 4.7 42.7 54.9 2.3 31.3 68.2 0.6
2006 LAL
NJ DFG A 43.6 52 4.4 52 45.9 2.1 39.2 60.1 0.7
6 MAT Dover 37 59.1 3.9 60.8 33.5 5.7 21 52.8 26.1
2006 MATH
NJ DFG A 52.7 42.3 4.9 62.4 31.5 6.2 32.1 42.6 25.3
2005 LAL Dover 33.9 63.7 2.4 41.4 56.8 1.8 31.5 68 0.6
2005 LAL
NJ DFG A 44.9 51.9 3.2 54.5 43.9 1.6 33.7 65 1.2
Dover 37.2 56.2 6.6 64.3 32.2 3.5 26.8 52 21.2
2005 MATH
NJ DFG A 52.7 41.3 6 64.5 30.4 5.1 33 46.9 20
Source: New Jersey Department of Education (2005-2009)


DFG A Latinos













70
60
50
40







Gradell Gradell Grade 8 Grade 8 Grade 4 Grade 4
LAL Math LAL Math LAL Math

Figure 4-3. NJDOE Test Score Data: 5 Year Averages for Dover Latinos and DFG A
Latinos. High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA), Grade Eight
Proficiency Assessment (GEPA), New Jersey Assessment of Skills and
Knowledge (NJASK); Source: New Jersey Department of Education (2005-
2009)



Table 4-3. Graduation Rates G
High School Graduation Rates %
Year Dover State
2008-09 89.9 93.3
2007-08 91.2 92.3
2006-07 94.2 92.3
2005-06 98 94.2
2004-05 93.2 91.3
Source: New Jersey Department of Education (2005-2009)









Table 4-4. Faculty Mobility Rate
Faculty Mobility Rate % by School
Year DHS DMS ASE EDE NDE State
2008-09 2.4 0 0 2.6 2.4 4
2007-08 4.9 26.2 0 8.8 0 5.7
2006-07 1.2 7.1 6.2 6.2 0 6.2
2005-06 2.3 0 5 0 3.7 6.7
2004-05 6.6 6.7 2.5 16.2 10.1 7
Source: New Jersey Department of Education (2005-2009)


Table 4-5. Administrator and Teacher Salaries
Dover vs. State Average Salary Comparison
Title 2008-09 2007-08 2006-07 2005-06


2004-05


Admin Dover $96,874 $98,971 $93,630 $87,823 $85,906

Admin State $114,950 $111,311 $108,450 $105,960 $102,755

Teacher Dover $57,987 $56,412 $52,822 $50,487 $44,722

Teacher State $59,545 $57,242 $55,550 $53,871 $52,562
Source: New Jersey Department of Education (2005-2009)











$140,000

$120.000

$100.000

$80.000

t^ n- nfl a- -


iAdmin Dover

iAdmin State


;U U.-U-U-U
Teacher Dover

$40.000 -- Teacher State

$20.000

$0

2008-09 2007-08 2006-07 2005-06 2004-05

Figure 4-4. Administrator and Teacher Salaries; Source: New Jersey Department of
Education (2005-2009)









Table 4-6. Home Language by School
Home Language by School
Language DHS DMS ASE EDE NDE State
Spanish 56.3 63.5 68.8 76.4 74.7 10
2008-09 English 37.8 35 30.3 21.6 25.3 78.2
Spanish 55.6 62.7 71.4 69.9 73.7 10.8
2007-08 English 39.7 34.7 27.3 25 25.2 77.6
Spanish 55.6 59.7 74.8 72.4 68.5 Unknown
2006-07 English 36.4 39.1 24.1 26.2 29.1 Unknown
Spanish 54.5 61.8 73.1 71.3 68.3 Unknown
2005-06 English 40.3 35.6 25.4 27.7 29.4 Unknown
Spanish 57 70.8 68.1 70.9 68.6 Unknown
2004-05 English 41.1 26.9 26.7 26.2 30.7 Unknown
Dover High School (DHS), Dover Middle School (DMS), Academy Street School
(ASE), East Dover Elementary School (EDE), North Dover Elementary School (NDE);
Source: New Jersey Department of Education (2005-2009)


Table 4-7. Limited English Proficient by School
% Limited English Proficient (LEP)
Year DHS DMS ASE EDE NDE State
2008-09 10.5 5.3 5.8 1.6 9.3 3.9
2007-08 11.8 8.5 9.5 2.2 14.3 3.7
2006-07 11.6 11 10.2 Unknown 15.5 3.9
2005-06 12.9 11.4 11.8 7.4 10.4 3.8
2004-05 13.7 13.1 11.3 10.5 10.6 3.8
Dover High School (DHS), Dover Middle School (DMS), Academy Street School (ASE),
East Dover Elementary School (EDE), North Dover Elementary School (NDE); Source:
New Jersey Department of Education (2005-2009)









CHAPTER 5
OBSERVATIONS

Interviews with educational professionals affiliated with the Dover Public School

District (DPSD) added to archival data to demonstrate how localized school districting

as found in the state of New Jersey has affected a predominantly low-income, majority

Latino school community. The interviews revealed how the DPSD has been specifically

affected by the state's localized school districting and funding mechanisms. The

interviews also revealed how the gradual growth of a longstanding, predominantly low-

income Latino majority within the confines of the Town of Dover has affected the

responses of educational professionals in engaging the corresponding school

community. This chapter places these issues within the context of the literature and

makes potential policy recommendations for the improvement of K-12 educational

finance and the engagement of low-income, majority Latino school communities.

Localized School Districting

All of the interviewed educational professionals concurred that New Jersey's

system of localized school districting has led to the development of a predominantly

low-income, majority Latino school community within the confines of the Dover Public

School District (DPSD). With only 3.6% of Morris County's total public school enrollment

but 25% of its Latino students and 26% of its students eligible for free and reduced price

lunch, the DPSD represents the segregation of much of Morris County's low-income

Latino population into one school district (NJDOE, 2009). Several of the interviewees

mentioned the greater availability of affordable housing relative to other Morris County

communities as a principal contributor to this demographic and socioeconomic trend.

As discussed by both Frankenberg (2009) and Bischoff (2008), small localized school









districts have the potential to contribute to socioeconomic and demographic segregation

as school district boundaries are used as frames of reference which homeseekers use

when considering where to live. This affects property values and thus certain groups

become effectively priced out of certain communities and their corresponding school

districts. Though interviewees acknowledged that New Jersey's localized school

districting scheme has contributed to the segregation of low-income Latinos into the

Town of Dover and its corresponding school district, they also recognized that this

arrangement has conferred certain advantages for this group. Most notably,

interviewees mentioned the town's small walkable size and connection to mass

transportation as important features for low-income Latinos in Dover, many of whom

cannot afford car ownership. Furthermore, the town's concentration of Latinos within a

predominantly non-Latino, white middle-class county has allowed Dover to focus its

social and educational services to reflect the demographics of the community and

likewise develop a base of Latino-owned businesses oriented toward the needs of the

community.

Localized Funding

Several of the educational professionals who were interviewed expressed dismay

with how funding has affected the Dover Public School District (DPSD). From the

interviews, it was revealed that the current setup of K-12 school funding in the state of

New Jersey has had a particularly negative impact on the DPSD, a low-income district

that is not eligible for the funding and programming mandates that are allowed to the

socioeconomically similar Abbott Districts. As discussed by Goertz, Lauver and Ritter

(2001), the district-based redistribution of tax dollars that focuses most specifically on

the needs of the Abbott Districts has adversely affected low-income non-Abbott school









districts throughout the state of New Jersey. Interviewees revealed the realities of

Dover's lack of benefit from the Abbott Decisions, helping to show the real-life impact on

an actual community. Interviewees discussed how successful programs have been

forced to be cut, the precariousness of state funding from year to year, and the district's

inability to meet all educational needs within the community.

Dover Community

All of the educational professionals who were interviewed identified the state's

localized school districting scheme as having certain benefits for Dover's Latino

community, particularly in Morris County which is overwhelmingly non-Latino and white.

The statement by former Supervisor of World Languages and Bilingual Programs,

Nicholas Avellino, that "It has been an advantage for Dover to have been able to come

up with programs that work specifically for the benefit of our district. I feel that under a

countywide school system, the specific needs of Dover would have probably been

swallowed up," speaks to this. Avellino's statement fits well with Mintrom's finding that

small, localized school districts are better able to focus on meeting the needs of the

specific student populations and communities which they serve (Mintrom, 2008).

Furthermore, in making decisions that are focused on the specific needs of the

community, it seems that Dover's administration and professional staff has typically

been able to find ways to work with the community's strengths, an important way of

affecting positive outcomes according to Nieto (2004).

Professional Staff

One of the major themes revealed through the interviews was the Dover Public

School District's (DPSD) retention of dedicated, longtime professional staff, many with

roots in the Dover School Community. Interviewees identified the district's cultivation of









a familial atmosphere within the context of a small, walkable school community as

helping to cultivate conditions that encourage former students to eventually start careers

as members of the Dover faculty. Interviewees revealed that such faculty members are

able to be more empathetic to students and families from the town because of their

shared experiences. The interviewees also demonstrated that faculty members with

Dover roots often feel that they have a vested interest in the school community and are

in turn dedicated to facilitating positive outcomes for students. Their dedication in turn

leads to their willingness to embrace the use of multiple modalities to reach diverse

learners and their willingness to assist faculty members without Dover roots in

understanding the community. This is similar to the situation observed by Howley and

Howley regarding the low-income, localized, small community of the "Concordia School

District" (2006). The case studies by Garcia, Trumbull and Rothstein Fisch (2009) and

Colombo (2007) demonstrated that culturally and linguistically sensitive professional

development can help faculty and staff to better relate to Latino cultures and better work

with Latino students. Perhaps it is the dedication of Dover's professional staff, their

desire to empathize with students and families, and their vested interests in the

community that has led to the district's focus on implementing professional development

oriented toward meeting the needs of Spanish-speaking English Language Learners

and bilingual Latino students.

Home-School Partnerships

The district has made increasing efforts to engage Spanish-dominant Latino

parents since at least the late 1970s so as to facilitate stronger home-school

partnerships. The district seems to adhere to the principles espoused by Delgado

Gaitan (2004) of "connecting, sharing information, and staying involved" in that Dover


100









educational professionals report that the district has a history of seeking to engage

parents in a variety of ways that are linguistically and culturally sensitive (p. xi). This

shows that parents and their cultural and linguistic backgrounds are valued. Events

geared toward parents are bilingual in format and international school festivals allow for

the celebration of home cultures in an environment that seeks to be informal and

nonintimidating, so as to foster relationships between home and school. The district's

strategic placing of Spanish-speaking staff is focused on fostering communication

between Spanish-dominant parents and the school. Additionally It seems that the

district's efforts to work with Dover's Latino parents are indicative of a school district that

views parental support of the school community as an asset, much as the study by

Reyes, Scribner and Paredes Scribner found with the high-performing Latino schools in

Texas. Additionally, based on observation and interviews, the afterschool program as

run by the Morristown Neighborhood House seems to foster communication between

home in school similar to what was found in the study by Riggs and Medina (2005). This

seemed to be helped by the program's bilingual staff and the informal atmosphere by

which parents entered and left the program and provided assistance to the staff.

Programming for Latino Students

Interviewees acknowledged that Dover's Latino students face certain challenges

but also recognized the strengths that these students bring to school. Several school

professionals expressed that high stakes statewide standardized tests are a major

challenge for ELL students who have not yet mastered academic English. In her article

on trends in ELL education, Ma noted that autonomy and discretion in decision-making

is important for schools in developing programs that work for their students (2002).

DPSD professionals expressed that localized school districting's effect of concentrating


101









a disproportionate number of Latino ELL students within the district has been cause for

the district to be proactive in addressing the needs of these students through the

development of a variety of bilingual education, sheltered English, and ESL programs

that are not widely available elsewhere in Morris County. The variety of bilingual

programs and ESL classes are indicative of a district that has been able to tailor its

curriculum to the needs of its ELL students. Furthermore, Mora (2009) and Salazar

(2008) discussed the effective banning of bilingual education in several other states

whereas Zehr (2007) conversely discussed the favorable climate which exists in New

Jersey for this educational practice. Surely the legality of bilingual education in New

Jersey coupled with the state's localized districting structure has contributed to Dover's

ability to make decisions that are better for meeting the needs of its Latino ELL students

through a variety of instructional techniques. Clearly, there would be fewer options if

bilingual education were banned in New Jersey as it is in several other states.

Additionally, Dover is able to offer a multi-tiered group of Spanish for Native

Speakers (SNS) classes in grades 7-12. The district has been offering SNS classes

since the late 1970s and has developed a unique writing partnership with the Repertorio

Espahol of New York City. This is indicative that the District values the bilingualism of

Latino students as a strength to be developed and seeks to provide programming that is

relevant to students' cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Carreira (2007) found that SNS

programs which value students' cultural and linguistic backgrounds are able to support

English-Spanish biliteracy and help to raise achievement among Latinos. Perhaps the

secondary-level SNS programs are partly why the statewide test score achievement is

highest for the DPSD's Latino high school students relative to other District Factor


102









Group A Latino students. Additionally, the DPSD sets high expectations and recognizes

the needs of its students with the implementation of both academically-oriented

afterschool programs and the County College of Morris dual-enrollment partnership.

Policy Recommendations

My research does not allow me to make generalizations about all localized,

predominantly low-income, majority Latino school districts. However, it does raise

issues about the fairness of public school funding mechanisms. It also brings forth

issues about the costs and benefits of school district localization with regard to low-

income Latino communities.

First, the findings revealed that the DPSD is funded at 68% the level of the

socioeconomically similar Abbott Districts, most of which also belong to the same

District Factor Group (DFG) A, the lowest socioeconomic grouping for New Jersey

school districts. While Abbott Districts receive programming mandates and funding

mandates that ensure that they are funded at least comparably to the state's wealthiest

school districts, Dover is left out of this equation and is in fact funded at 83% of the state

average. This hardly seems fair. The state of New Jersey should explore the option of

implementing a new school funding regime for meeting the needs of low-income

students. The example of Dover helps to make it obvious that many low-income

students live outside the borders of the state's Abbott Districts. The state should

consider a targeted-spending approach that provides supplemental funding on a per-

student basis.

Second, the Dover Public School District's Latino students typically have

outperformed socioeconomically similar District Factor Group A Latino students on

statewide standardized tests as indicated by five year test trends. Dover school


103









professionals revealed Dover's relative success to be attributable to various community

factors that are generally not characteristic of the urban districts that most DFG A

Latinos attend. First, the Dover Public School District, a predominantly low-income,

Latino school district corresponds to a small, walkable geographical area that helps

facilitate communication between home and school. This is not typical of most of the

state's other predominantly low-income, Latino majority school districts, most of which

correspond to much larger cities in heavily urbanized areas. These districts do not

necessarily have to disband into smaller districts in order to replicate some of the

benefits of localization that the DPSD has enjoyed. Perhaps one strategy these districts

could employ would be to ensure that each of their schools correspond to a specific

neighborhood. Still it seems that factors found in Dover, such as the maintenance of

longstanding staff with community roots who are committed to the school district would

be difficult to replicate elsewhere.

Third, schools need to focus on being sensitive to the cultural and linguistic

backgrounds of the students and school families that they serve. The case of the Dover

Public School District and its predominantly low-income, majority Latino school

community illustrates that positive outcomes can be conferred when schools view

students' cultural and linguistic backgrounds as strengths. The DPSD has made a

sincere effort to ensure that Latino school families feel welcome in the district and has

actively sought their collaboration. This has been done through both the fostering of

home-school partnerships and the development of educational programming to meet

the needs of Latino students since at least the late 1970s.


104









Finally, given the praise that both the current and the former supervisors of World

Languages and Bilingual Programs gave to the native Spanish program, it seems

evident that this program has been successful in helping to increase the bilingual range

of students and raise student achievement across subject areas. The Dover Public

School District should consider implementing Native Spanish at the elementary level if

the funding to do so becomes available. Additionally, other districts with sufficient

populations of Latino students of bilingual background should consider the

implementation of such programs if they have not done so already.

Conclusion

In conclusion, my study was a beginning, primarily qualitative investigation into

school district localization and the ability of one specific school district to respond to the

needs of its predominantly low-income, majority Latino community despite funding

deficits. My study found that despite funding deficits, several community factors have

worked in Dover's favor to help provide generally better educational outcomes for low-

income Latino youth than can be found among socioeconomically similar Latino

students in other low-income District Factor Group A New Jersey school districts. My

study was in certain ways limited by the fact that only members of the school district

professional staff were interviewed. A follow-up study on the Dover Public School

District may seek interview participants from the wider Dover school community, such

as parents and guardians. Future studies may investigate this topic using a more

quantitatively focused approach that could facilitate comparison between districts.

My Inspiration

In December of 2008, after seeing the film The Wrestler, I made a visit to Dover,

New Jersey, a town that played a significant role in my youth. The film was shot entirely


105









in New Jersey and I thus recognized many of the sites that were depicted onscreen. I

was amazed to see the dramatic ending of the film take place at none other than the

Baker Theater, an early 1900s venue located in downtown Dover that is today used for

everything from wedding receptions to the showing of South American soccer matches.

Inspired by nostalgia, the purpose of my trip to Dover that day was to see the Baker

Theater in real life once again. When I arrived at the theater on Blackwell Street, the

marquee was not advertising the date of the next soccer match, concert, or wedding but

was instead expressing congratulations to the Dover Public School District for winning a

silver medal award from U.S. News and World Reports (I later found out that U.S. News

took socioeconomic disadvantage into account in awarding these distinctions to

schools.)

The Dover Public School District's winning of the award intrigued me. Growing up

less than ten blocks from Dover, I can recall the town and its corresponding school

district at times being scorned by outsiders for perceived shortcomings. Dover is a

predominantly low-income community where a majority of residents are Latino; the

towns in Morris County that surround Dover are predominantly middle-class and non-

Latino white. When I underwent a teacher preparation program at The College of New

Jersey major topics of focus in many of the courses that I took were the roles of

socioeconomic status and cultural background and their relationship to educational

outcomes within New Jersey's public educational system. This was so much the case

that the college's education department required that it's students complete two unique

teaching internships; one in a school with students of predominantly middle-class and


106









generally white backgrounds, and another in a low-income school with mostly minority

students.

Recollections to experiences from my youth on the day that I revisited the Baker

Theater gave me the idea that perhaps Dover had certain community factors that were

influential in its winning of the school award. I frequently visited the town of Dover as I

lived just ten blocks outside of its borders and my maternal grandparents were town

residents who had lived in the town since the 1940s. As a child, I spent many school

vacations at my grandparents' home in Dover. From a young age, I received the

impression that Dover was a caring community. My grandparents frequently performed

small acts for the benefit of their neighbors. People in the neighborhood were always

friendly toward me. My grandparents rarely locked their door.

At the start of my early adulthood, roles reversed and I became a caretaker to

my grandparents as their abilities to function independently slowly diminished. Virtually

every day during my final two years of high school I would drive to my grandparents'

house in Dover to take care of any necessary household chores or to take them

anywhere that they needed to go. My position arose out of practicality; all of the adults

in my family worked fairly long hours while I finished school at 2:00 each day, a factor

that was especially important for taking my grandparents to their frequent appointments

with physicians. Though we made an effort to do so, my family could not always

expediently meet every need that my grandparents had. Many important tasks were

handled by a small group of their neighbors, all of whom were young immigrants from

Colombia and Ecuador. All of these people had their own family obligations and seemed

to work multiple jobs with very little personal time. Still, they took the time out of their


107









lives to help their elderly neighbors, my grandparents. Perhaps these experiences

further reinforced my earliest images of Dover as a caring community that belied the

perceptions of critical outsiders.

Both of my grandparents had passed away before I started my second semester

of college. Typically working twenty or more hours per week while attending classes full-

time and living near my college in Trenton, my contact with the Dover community

declined to an annual visit to the town's Colombian Festival and an occasional dinner at

one of its Latin-origin restaurants whenever I happened to be in the area. Nonetheless,

from my youthful experiences I retained an interest in the community that was sparked

again on the day that I revisited Dover and discovered that the town's school district

was winning praise and accolades from a national magazine. It was from this context

that I began my research.


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APPENDIX A
DATA PLANNING AND COLLECTION MATRIX


Research What did I need Why did I need What kind of Where did I Whom did I
Questions to know? to know this? data answered find the need to contact
the question? data? for access?
1 Does localized To understand NJDOE data, NJDOE, NJDOE data,
school districting how NJ's census data, U.S. Census U.S. Census
segregate localized interviews with Bureau, Data,
students based school Dover staff, Dover educational
on socio- districting former Dover School professionals
economic status affects Staff District, from Dover
and cultural socioeconomic Neighborhoo School District,
background? and cultural d House, community
How does this diversity within Head Start organizations
affect school and schools.
community?
2 How does school To understand NJDOE data; NJ NJ Department
funding work how NJ K-12 Interviews with Department of Education
within a localized public school Dover Staff, of data, staff from
districts are former Dover Education, Dover District,
context in New
financed, staff Dover community
Jersey? How School organizations
does this affect District,
the school Neighborhoo
community? d House,
Head Start
3 What are some of To understand Interviews with Dover Dover Staff,
the positive and how localized Dover staff, School former Dover
negative districting may former Dover District, staff,
have benefits staff, Dover Neighborhoo community
coneqece for the Dover Schools d House, organizations
that localized school website Dover Head
districting has on community as Start
Dover? Programs well as
offered to negatives.
students and Especially
families? concerning
Interaction programming
and interaction
between diverse of community
stakeholders members.
within the
community?


Adapted from LeCompte and Schensul (1999)


109









APPENDIX B
ADMINISTRATOR QUESTION GUIDE

1. Describe the student demographics at your school
(race/ethnicity/language/income/ participation in free or reduced lunch) etc.

2. What do you feel are some of the greatest academic, social, and economic
challenges confronting students from your school or school district? What are
some of the greatest strengths that can be found in your student body? How do
these qualities influence the leadership role you take as an administrator?

3. In general, how would you describe your interaction with parents? What types of
concerns do parents from your district often have? Are parents from your district
generally accessible? For what reasons might they be inaccessible?

4. In what ways do you think the reputation of the local public school district
influences parents' decisions to live in the community and whether or not to send
their children to the municipality's public schools? How does this affect your school
district?

5. How do you find that the state of New Jersey's system of localized school
districting affects your school and school district? Do you have any opinion of
county-wide school systems as found in many other states?

6. Do you think there are any ways by which New Jersey's system of localized school
districting and municipality-based school funding could be improved? If so, how?

7. How do you feel that the current plans of the New Jersey governor and legislature
to change the mechanisms of redistribution of school funding to better meet the
needs of economically disadvantaged students (regardless if they live in the
state's designated, economically-disadvantaged Abbott Districts or not) may affect
students in your district?


110









APPENDIX C
TEACHER QUESTION GUIDE

1. Describe the student demographics at your school (race, ethnicity, home
language, two-parent or single parent households, family income, participation in
free or reduced lunch etc).

2. What do you feel are some of the greatest academic, social, and economic
challenges confronting students from your school or school district? What are
some of the greatest strengths that can be found in your student body? How do
these qualities affect your role as a teacher? Your pedagogical practices?

3. In general, how would you describe your interaction with parents? What types of
concerns do parents from your district often have? Are parents from your district
generally accessible? For what reasons might they be inaccessible?

4. Have you encountered language barriers with parents while working in this
district? How was this addressed? Do you feel that there are sufficient numbers of
faculty who can communicate with non-English speaking populations?

5. In what ways do you feel parental involvement affects student behavior and
academic performance? What types of challenges do you confront with students
whose parents do not seem involved with their child's academic life? What about
students with overly-involved parents?

6. As a classroom teacher, do you feel that your district's level of funding is sufficient
in meeting the educational needs of students in your district? Where might funding
deficits be noticeable?

7. Do you feel that your district is able to provide the necessary support for students
who are English-language learners? How does this support (or lack thereof) aid (or
hinder) you in best addressing the educational needs of English-language learners
in your classroom?

8. How do you feel that your district's level of cultural and socioeconomic diversity (or
lack thereof) among students affects the overall classroom experience? The
culture of the school?


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APPENDIX D
GUIDANCE COUNSELOR QUESTION GUIDE

1. Describe the student demographics at your school (race, ethnicity, home
language, two-parent or single parent households, family income, participation in
free or reduced lunch etc).

2. What do you feel are some of the greatest academic, social, and economic
challenges confronting students from your school or school district? What are
some of the greatest strengths that can be found in your student body? How do
these qualities influence the role you take in advising students?

3. n general, how would you describe your interaction with parents? What types of
concerns do parents from your district often have? Are parents from your district
generally accessible? For what reasons might they be inaccessible?

4. What factors do you typically take into account when advising a student at your
school who seeks your advice about the type of academic program he or she
should pursue?

5. In what ways might a student's status as an English language learner (as
opposed to being a native or fluent speaker of English) affect your advisement of
him or her?

6. What factors would you take into account when advising a student from your
district who told you that he or she was considering attending a trade school after
graduation? The armed forces? How do you think that their parents would react?

7. In general, can you tell me about some of the post-graduation plans of students
in your district? Do many students attend private/out of state, four-year colleges
and universities? In-state four year colleges and universities? Community
colleges? Trade school? Join the military? Enter the workforce full-time?

8. Regarding the previous question, what factors do you feel most influence
students' post-graduation decisions? Why?

9. Do you think that public higher education within New Jersey's college and
university system is generally affordable for most students in your district? If
applicable, how sufficient do you think the state's Educational Opportunity Fund
(EOF) is in addressing the needs of graduates from your district (To be eligible
for EOF, students must have family incomes of less than $41,300 for a family of
four for the 2008-2009 academic year)? Why or why not?


112









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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Matt Trokan was born in 1985 in New Jersey to Thomas and Norma Trokan

(Nowak). Trokan lived his entire youth in Morris County and attended public schools

there. In his youth, he spent much of his time at his maternal grandparents' home in

Dover. He later attended The College of New Jersey where he majored in history. In

addition to majoring in history, Trokan underwent a teacher preparation program to

teach secondary-level social studies. He graduated from The College of New Jersey in

2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and a state-issued teaching license. As of

June 2010, Trokan will be teaching English in a Chilean public school as part of a joint

program sponsored by the Chilean Ministry of Education and the United Nations Human

Development Programme.


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PAGE 1

1 LOCALIZED SCHOOL DISTRICTING AND A SUBURBAN NEW JERSEY LATINO COMMUNITY By MATTHEW T. TROKAN A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGRE E OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2010

PAGE 2

2 2010 Matthew T. Trokan

PAGE 3

3 To my grandparents, Klemence (19222003) and Kathryn Nowak (19192005).

PAGE 4

4 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS First I am grateful to the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida. Without the Centers generosity my graduate work would not have been possible. I would next like to thank my committee chair, Dr. Maria Coady, for her dedication to guiding me through my research. Additionally, I thank my committee members, Dr. Efrain Barradas and Dr. Richmond Brown for their support and insight. Finally, I would like to thank those members of the Dover School community who invited me into their schools and offices to discuss their experiences with me.

PAGE 5

5 TABLE OF CONTENTS pag e ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ............................................................................................... 4 LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................ 7 LIST OF FIGURES .......................................................................................................... 8 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ............................................................................................. 9 ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................... 10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................... 12 Population Growth and Demographic Changes in Morris County, 1945 Present ................................................................................................................ 14 Dover: Morris Countys Earliest Latino Settlement .................................................. 15 New Jerseys Home Rule Tradition ......................................................................... 16 Overview ................................................................................................................. 17 2 LOCALIZED SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND LATINO CULTURES ............................. 19 Localized School Districting .................................................................................... 20 Demographics .................................................................................................. 20 Funding ............................................................................................................ 22 Local Control .................................................................................................... 25 Addressing Latino Cultures in the Schools ............................................................. 26 Professio nal Staff ............................................................................................. 28 Curriculum and Programming ........................................................................... 31 Types of ESL and Bilingual Programs .............................................................. 31 Trends in Bilingual Education ........................................................................... 33 Spanish for Native Speakers Courses .............................................................. 35 Beyond the Curriculum ..................................................................................... 36 Chapter Summary ................................................................................................... 39 3 METHODOLOGY ................................................................................................... 40 Chapter Overview ................................................................................................... 40 Interviews ................................................................................................................ 40 Interview Participants .............................................................................................. 41 Participant Selection ............................................................................................... 43 Organization and Coding ........................................................................................ 43 Site Visits ................................................................................................................ 44

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6 New Jersey Department of Education Dataset s and Websites ............................... 45 Chapter Summary ................................................................................................... 45 4 FINDINGS ............................................................................................................... 47 Chapter Overv iew ................................................................................................... 47 The Socioeconomics and Demographics of Localized School Districting ............... 47 Localization and Funding ........................................................................................ 54 Localized School Districting, Educational Outcomes, and Community Factors ...... 60 Outcomes for Latino Students ................................................................................ 61 Professional Staff Dedication .................................................................................. 64 The Home School Partnership ................................................................................ 71 Programming for Latino Students ........................................................................... 78 Bilingual Education and ESL Programming ...................................................... 79 Native Spanish Programming ........................................................................... 82 Other Programming .......................................................................................... 83 Chapter Summary ................................................................................................... 87 5 OBSERVATIONS ................................................................................................... 97 Loc alized School Districting .................................................................................... 97 Localized Funding ................................................................................................... 98 Dover Community ................................................................................................... 99 Professional Staff .................................................................................................... 99 Home School Partnerships ................................................................................... 100 Programming for Latino Students ......................................................................... 101 Policy Recommendations ..................................................................................... 103 Conclusion ............................................................................................................ 105 My Inspiration ....................................................................................................... 105 A PPENDI X A DATA PLANNING AND COLLECTION MATRIX .................................................. 109 B ADMINISTRATOR QUESTION GUIDE ................................................................ 110 C TEACHER QUESTI ON GUIDE ............................................................................. 111 D GUIDANCE COUNSELOR QUESTION GUIDE ................................................... 112 REFERENCES ............................................................................................................ 113 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................... 117

PAGE 7

7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 4 1 Comparative Cost Per Pupil ............................................................................... 90 4 2 NJDOE Test Score Data Dover Latinos and DFG A Latinos ........................... 92 4 3 Graduation Rates ............................................................................................... 93 4 4 Faculty Mobility Rate .......................................................................................... 94 4 5 Administrator and Teacher Salaries ................................................................... 94 4 6 Home Language by School ................................................................................ 96 4 7 Limited English Proficient by School ................................................................... 96

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8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4 1 Morris County Latino Population by Municipality ................................................ 89 4 2 Comparative Cost Per Pupil Graph .................................................................... 91 4 3 NJDOE Test Score Data: 5 Year Averages for Dover Latinos and DFG A Latinos ................................................................................................................ 93 4 4 Administrator and Teacher Salaries ................................................................... 95

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9 LIST OF ABBREVIATION S AP Advanced Placement CCM County College of Morris DPSD Dover Public School District DFG District Facto r Group ELL English Language Learner ESL English as a Second Language ESOL English to Speakers of Other Languages GEPA Grade Eight Proficiency Assessment HSPA High School Proficiency Assessment K 12 KindergartenGrade 12 LAL Language Arts Literacy MCOHA Morris County Organization for Hispanic Affairs NCLB No Child Left Behind NJASK New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge NJDOE New Jersey Department of Education SES Socioeconomic Status SNS Spanish for Native Speakers SRA Special Review Ass essment SRR Sending/Receiving Relationship TBE Transitional Bilingual Education

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10 Abstract of Masters Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Mas ter of Arts LOCALIZED SCHOOL DISTRICTING AND A SUBURBAN NEW JERSEY LATINO COMMUNITY By Matthew T. Trokan August 2010 Chair: Maria R. Coady Major: Latin American Studies New Jerseys school districts are localized to the municipal level and there are over 600 districts throughout the state. My study focused on the Dover Public School District (DPSD), a low income, predominantly Latino school district located in suburban Morris County. Unlike many similarly lowincome school districts throughout the st ate, the DPSD is excluded from receiving the same high levels of court ordered state aid and educational programming mandates that are afforded to a group of districts known collectively as the Abbott Districts. The district has thus regularly been funded below the average level of per pupil spending for both the state and the Abbott Group. Nonetheless, Latino students in the DPSD typically outperform La tino students from other similarly low income ( primarily Abbott) school districts on state standardized t ests and graduate from high school at rates that are comparable to the state average. This research evaluates the experience of educational professionals affiliated with the Dover Public School District. Using archival, observational, and interview data, t he study identifies some of the unique characteristics of the DPSD and the Dover community that have helped Latino students in the predominantly low income school

PAGE 11

11 district to achieve success relative to their similar ly low income Latino peers statewide. My study contributes to expanding literature regarding the effects of localized school districting on low income Latino communities by focusing on the specific case of one district.

PAGE 12

12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Dover, New Jersey is a 2.7 square mile municipalit y of roughly 18,000 people located thirty five miles west of Manhattan. The town is situated in the cen ter of suburban Morris County. By road and rail, Dover is well integrated into the transportation grid of both Morris County and the greater New York Cit y metropolitan area. A point of early settlement and industry in a once largely rural county, Dover looks much like other older suburbs in Northern New Jersey. The town has wooded areas, parks, a downtown commercial district, and industries but is mostly c overed by an eclectic mixture of single and multi family, Victorian era, Cape Cod, and split level homes as well as a few scattered garden apartment complexes and row houses. Like all New Jersey municipalities, Dover has its own corresponding, localized pu blic school system, the Dover Public School District. A population with a Latino majority and a lower overall socioeconomic status differentiate the town of Dover and its corresponding school district from other communities and school districts of compara ble size in Morris County. Though located in the heart of a predominantly middleclass, white county, Dover and its school district have demographics and socioeconomic indicators that more closely resemble those of the states generally poorer urban areas where Latinos and AfricanAmericans generally constitute the majority. Despite socioeconomic disadvantages similar to those found in New Jerseys urban school districts, as will be demonstrated later in this paper, Latino students in the Dover Public School District consistently outperform socioeconomically comparable Latinos statewide in terms of standardized tests and high school graduation rates This factor provides a rationale which forms the basis for my study.

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13 The focus o f my study is thus three fo ld and based around three primary research questions First the study intends to examine how localized school districting affects the socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic composition of the Dover Public School District. Second, it seeks to determine the ef fects of localized school funding structures on a predominantly low income, maj ority Latino community. Third the study seeks to investigate localized school districtings influence on the meeting of the educational needs of this community. It seeks to ide ntify specific negative and positive educational consequences that can be attributed the states municipal based, localized school districting scheme. Though focused on a population within the United States, my study is relevant to the field of Latin A merican Studies as U S Latinos are tied to Latin America either through birth or ancestry. Latin America is the closest major world region to the United States and has been the greatest source of new immigrants to this country since the mid twentieth cent ury (Gonzalez, 2000). According to the Pew Hispanic Center the Latino population of the United States was estimated to be nearly 47 million as of 2008. Th e nearly 47 million Latinos in the United States thus constitute a population larger than that of eac h of the individual Latin American countries, with the exceptions of Mexico and Brazil ( Central Intelligence Agency 2009) My study is thus important because the effective inclusion of Latinos into the U S educational system and the provision of educati onal opportunities to Latino youth become incre asingly pertinent as the Latino population of the U S (and Latino influence on U S society) continue to expand.

PAGE 14

14 Population Growth and Demographic Changes in Morris County, 1945 Present Morris Countys population grew rapidly between the end of World War II and the taking of the 1970 U S Census. A predominantly agricultural county with a few scattered industrialized areas until the middle of the twentieth century, Morris County witnessed a massive wave of incoming residents starting in the late 1940s. Following national trends toward suburbanization, families with origins in n ortheastern New Jerseys urban areas moved west in search of better living conditions in the countys newer suburban developments. T he county grew at a rapid pace throughout the 1950s and 1960s reaching a population of 383,454 by the time the 1970 census was conducted. Thus by 1970 the county had more than doubled in population in the twenty years after the 1950 U S Census, when its population had been recorded as 164,371. It is important to note that during the generation following World War II, the rapid influx of new residents consisted nearly entirely of urban, middleclass, native born, nonLatino, white New Jerseyans who had relocated to Morris Countys new suburban communities ( Prosser & Schwartz, 1977). According to the United States Census Bureau, Morris Countys 39 municipalities had a population of 487,548 persons as of the bureaus most recent estimate from July, 2008. During the 1970s, Morris Countys population growth rate slowed significantly after two decades of explosive expansion. Despite the slowing of the pace of population growth since 1970, the countys populace has become increasingly demographically diverse. The g reatest contribution to the countys increased diversity has come from Latinos and immigrants from Latin America. According to the 1990 U S Census, Latinos accounted for only 4.7 % of Morris Countys population; by 2000, this figure had climbed

PAGE 15

15 to 7.8% and by the time of a 2008 census estimate, Latinos represented 10.9% of Morris Countys population (U S Census Bureau, 1990, 2000, 2008 ). Dover: Morris Countys Earliest Latino Settlement Alt hough the Latino population of Morris County has grown rapidly in recent years, Latinos have had at least a sixty year history in the county, particularly in the town of Dover. Dover served as a major demographic exception to Morris Countys primarily white, middleclass population growth during the generation following World War II. Dover had been a focal point of the countys industrial development prior to the Second World War. Following the war, Dovers industries, in need of more workers, began to attract economic migrants from Puerto Rico. This early Puerto Rican Di aspora community started out as a small, marginalized group within Dover ( Vazquez Hernandez and Whalen, 2005). In the 1950s, Dovers fledgling Puerto Rican community, lacking the financial resources to purchase homes, was settled primarily in inexpensive r ental apartments clustered in a few blocks around the towns main thoroughfare, Blackwell Street. This area around Blackwell Street became known locally as the Spanish Barrio. Essentially confined to the Spanish Barrio, the Puerto Rican community in Dover thus remained relatively small until the 1970s. In the 1970s, the foundation of the SpanishAmerican Credit Union of Dover and a shifting economy allowed Dover Puerto Ricans to finally begin purchasing homes in the town en masse. This in turn allowed the Latino population of the town to expand more rapidly and by 1990 the town had a population that was over 40% Latino ( Vazquez Hernandez and Whalen, 2005) People of Puerto Rican origin made up nearly all of Dovers early Latino community. From its Puerto Ric an roots, the Dover Latino community continued to

PAGE 16

16 expand up to the present day and has diversified in Latin American origins. Latinos became the majority of the towns population sometime during the 1990s and by the recording of the 2000 U S Census Dover was 57% Latino (U S Census Bureau). Although the Puerto Rican community of Dover remains prominent, Latinos of Colombian, Ecuadorian, and Mexican background, among others, have added to the diversity of Dovers Latino community. Dover Latinos with origins in Colombia now make up the most prominent group (Kug el, 2006). Dovers demographics are reflected in the municipally based, localized Dover Public School District. As the towns population became increasingly Latino in makeup, so did its corresponding public school district. Nearly 80% of students enrolled in the Dover Public School District were Latino as of the 20082009 school year, the most recent for which enrollment data are available. Furthermore, Dover, with 67% of its school population eligible f or free or reduced price school lunches, is an overwhelmingly low income school district as compared to other districts in its county. Overall, across Morris Countys other school districts, on average only 11.5% of public school students were Latinos and only 7.2% of all students were eligible for free or reduced price lunches during the 20082009 school year (NJDOE, 2009). New Jerseys Home Rule Tradition To better understand how a low socioeconomic status (SES), majority Latino school district developed in a predominantly white, middleclass county, it is necessary to briefly examine how New Jerseys state and local governments are structured and financed. New Jersey has 566 municipalities. Each of these 566 municipalities has its own local government. Nearly all municipal governments in New Jersey are responsible for local police and fire protection, trash and recycling collection, and the maintenance

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17 of municipal roads among other services rendered to the community. The functions of local government ar e largely paid for via the collection of municipal property taxes. Localized control as seen in New Jersey is known throughout the state as home rule. As part of the home rule tradition, each municipality in New Jersey has a corresponding local school dist rict. With few exceptions, each municipality in the state operates its own school district, regardless of the size of the population residing wi thin its borders (Salmore & Salmore 2008). Overview The Dover Public School District receives all public school students from the lowest income municipality in Morris County. Dover is also the only town in Morris County with a Latino majority resident population. Thus, the Dover Public School District has both the most socioeconomically disadvantaged student population in Morris County, as well as the countys only Latino majority student population. With this distinction, unlike other school districts in Morris County, the public schools in Dover have had to develop to meet the educational needs of a Latino communi ty with diverse strengths that faces unique challenges. Despite the disadvantages of minority and low socioeconomic status, Latino students in Dover typically perform better than socioeconomically similar Latino students on statewide standardized tests and graduate from high school at higher rates. The goal of this research will be to identify factors within the Dover Public School District that may be in fluential in these outcomes. Chapter two is divided into two sections and serves as a review of relevant literature. The first section focuses on the issue of localized school districting and how it can affect student demographics, school finance, and control of decisions regarding education within a community. The second section focuses on the treatment of Latino

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18 cultures in U S schools. The section begins by identifying an historical trend whereby U S schools have viewed Latino cultures from a deficit perspective. This is followed by the addressing of means by which schools seek to engage and include Lati no cultures. A specific focus of this section deals with language policy. The third chapter addresses the methodology used for the study of the Dover Public School District and presents my principal research questions. The fourth chapter presents findings related to socioeconomic status, school funding, and the treatment of Latino cultures within the localized context of the Dover Public School District. This chapter seeks to identify key community characteristics that may have contributed to the relative success of Dovers Latino students in comparison to statewide Latino students of similarly low socioeconomic status. The final chapter summarizes the findings and places them within the context of the literature. It uses them to identify policy recommenda tions that could be used in improving school funding equity as well as outcomes for low income Latino students.

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19 CHAPTER 2 LOCALIZED SCHOOL DIS TRICTS AND LATINO CULTURES As described in the introduction, the Dover Public School District (DPSD) is suburban Morris Countys only school system with a longstanding Latino majority student population. Socioeconomically, Dover is also by far the least well off district in the county. The district has three elementary schools, all with roughly 500 students each. I t has only one middle school and one high school. For the 20082009 school year, Dover Middle School (grades seven and eight) had 461 students, and Dover High School had 856 students enrolled. Throughout the district, roughly 80% of students were Latino and 67% were eligible for free or reduced price school lunches (NJDOE, 2009). In sum, the Dover Public School District is a small, low SES localized school district serving a predominantly Latino student population. Compared with other districts in Morris C ounty, Dover is of comparable size as far as student population. However, it is demographically and socioeconomically more similar to the large school districts of the states urban areas. This combination of factors makes Dover a unique school district within the state of New Jersey. This chapter has two sections. The first part of the chapter focuses on issues related to localized school districting and its interaction with demographic forces and funding mechanisms. The second section addresses means by w hich schools address the often unique educational needs of Latino students and the wider Latino school community. This section has a particular focus on language policy. Chapter Two serves to build a foundation for understanding how localized school distr icting interacts with the meeting of the needs of Latino school communities.

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20 Localized School Districting This section addresses localized school districting and its interaction with socioeconomic and demographic forces. Localized school districting has long been a primary characteristic of K 12 educational systems in the United States. This is particularly true in the Northeast and Midwest, where a preponderance of small, localized school districts has long been the norm. As shown in the introduction, N ew Jersey, which until recently had tens of tiny, nonoperating school districts as well as more school districts than municipalities, seems to take school district localization to an extreme. In fact, the states maintenance of roughly 600 municipally bas ed school districts seems to counter national trends since the World War II era that have leaned toward school district consolidation. For example, in 1930 there were 200,000 school districts with 1.5 million citizens sitting on local school boards. Conv ersely, today there are twice as many citizens (as in 1930) and fewer than 20,000 school districts with a few hundred thousand citizens s erving on school boards (Ayers, Klonsky, & Lyon, 2000, p. 34). Nonetheless, as will be demonstrated, not all regions of the United States have followed the national trend towards school district consolidation. Demographics In her article, Splintering School Districts: Understanding the Link Between Segregation and Fragmentation, Frankenberg (2009) described how school districting can interact with demographic forces to create either segregation or integration along socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural lines. In her study, Frankenberg examined a specific case of localized school districting as found in Birmingham, Alabama and its suburbs, where the school district of the central city is nearly entirely low income and AfricanAmerican and certain suburban districts are nearly monolithically white and middle-

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21 class. Frankenberg found that the formation of smaller, localiz ed school districts out of an all encompassing countywide district in the years following the 1960s Civil Rights Movement had contributed to socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic segregation among the twelve school districts that constituted t he Birmingham a rea as of 2006. Through the Birmingham case, Frankenberg also found that localized school districting schemes can contribute to municipal and neighborhood boundaries being seen as a frame of reference for home seekers. With this frame of reference, certain schools and school districts become associated with defined geographical areas, thus influencing home seekers decisions about where to live based on school choice. Under this type of districting scheme, cost of housing becomes a measure of community w ealth and certain groups become priced out of certain school districts. The ultimate result is that segregation along the lines of socioeconomic status (and very often cultural and ethnic background) takes place as a result of localization (Frankenberg, 2009 p. 898 905). Bischoff (2008) described the specific case of localized school districting as found in New Jersey stating, New Jersey epitomizes a fragmented political system with 616 school districts for just 8.5 million residents. In contrast, Flor ida has only 67 (county based) school districts for 16 million people. (p. 183). Much like Frankenberg found in Alabama, Bischoff found the preponderance of localized school districts in New Jersey to be a major contributor to school segregation along soc ioeconomic and demographic lines. Bischoff thus formulated a similar theory to that of Frankenberg, that school district boundaries . give access to one of the nations most valued services, and they signal other community characteristics, such as pr operty values, that may be associated with school district quality. The quality and reputation of a school district play a large role in formulating this common definition of a

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22 residential area. Consequently, these characteristics are heavily weighted in r esidential decisions (Bischoff, 2008 p. 188189). Unlike the aforementioned case of Birmingham, Alabama and its suburbs, however, New Jerseys localized school districting scheme and resultant socioeconomic and demographic segregation did not develop as a response to court mandated school desegregation. For the most part, municipal boundaries, and thus school district boundaries in New Jersey, had already been set prior to the states midtwentieth century urban white flight to the suburbs and the 1960s Civil Rights Movement (Bischoff, 2008). Funding As for funding schemes, localized school districting also has the propensity to create great funding inequities unless remedies are sought to create funding parity between school districts. Prior to the 19 70s, K 12 school funding was orchestrated almost entirely through local property taxes. Consequently, this very often led to localized school districts that corresponded to areas with wealthier residents being able to afford more for education spending whi le lower income districts were shortchanged. However, successful legal challenges about the fairness of such mechanisms has led to an ongoing trend since that decade that has been accomplished by diverting tax revenues collected locally and pooled into th e states general fund, and then redistributed back to the localities, often on a per student basis (Ahearn, Kilkenny, & Low, 2009, p p 1201 1205). The state of New Jersey represents an unusual case. Traditionally, New Jersey school districts have relied heavily on the collection of municipal property taxes for their funding. With regard to legal challenges questioning the fairness of such funding

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23 schemes as described in the article by Ahearn, Kilkenny and Low (2009), New Jersey has not been an exception. Following the states massive urban white flight and subsequent suburbanization, great funding disparities developed between the states lower income, primarily African American and Latino urban school districts and its middle and upper income, primarily white suburban districts (Gold, 2007). The firs t major legal challenge to the states localized school funding scheme, Robinson vs. Cahill, was argued in 1973. In Robinson, The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs that the states loc alized funding scheme was inherently unfair to lower income school districts where residents could not afford to be taxed at levels comparable to suburban New Jerseyans. However, the ruling did little to redress funding inequities when the New Jersey legis lature failed to designate redistributed funds for low income districts. Lack of progress regarding the states school funding scheme led 28 of the states lowest income, urban, majority AfricanAmerican and Latino school districts to file suit in the case of Abbott vs. Burke in 1981. Three Abbott cases were decided before the landmark Abbott IV and Abbott V led to the implementation of drastic school funding and programming overhaul mandates that called for redistribution of education funding beginning wit h the 1997 1998 school year (Gold, 2007). Much in line with the national trend that Ahearn, Kilkenny and Low (2009) described, the Abbott rulings have led to the redistribution of locally collected tax revenues for the benefit of low income students. U nlike the national trend, this redistribution takes place on a per district basis rather than a per student basis. The main beneficiaries of the Abbott rulings have been the primarily low income, majority

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24 African American and Latino districts that initiall y filed suit against the state in 1981. Since the implementation of Abbott funding and programming mandates, these districts, known since the 19971998 school year as the Abbott Districts, have reached levels of per student spending greater than those of m ost of the states wealthiest s chool districts (Schrag, 2003; NJDOE, 2009). School districts in New Jersey are based nearly entirely along the lines of municipality, thus the states school districting scheme can first be characterized as having large urban school districts that primarily serve students of lower socioeconomic status from minority backgrounds who live in the states largest cities. Conversely, the school districts of smaller municipalities are more nuanced demographically and socioeconom ically. Certain smaller school districts serve middle and upper middle class, predominantly nonLatino white students, while others have populations that serve more ethnically and socioeconomically diverse populations. What most of the smaller school distr icts in New Jersey tend to have in common, regardless of ethnic and socioeconomic composition, are smaller student populations and generally smaller schools than their urban counterparts. Almost none of these districts receive the same funding advantages as the aforementioned Abbott Districts. Consequently, lower income districts found outside of the states principal urbanized areas typically have per pupil spending below the state average. Goertz, Lauver, and Ritter (2001) found that the Abbott decisions did not apply to all New Jersey students, or even to all poor New Jersey students. The authors continued, b ecause the focus of litigation has been on only the 28 poorest urban (Abbott) districts, the fiscal situation facing many other poor

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25 nonAbbott and middle wealth districts in New Jersey has been largely ignored (Goertz, Lauver, & Ritter, 2001, p. 283; NJDOE, 2009). Local C ontrol Despite funding disadvantages, the typically smaller, nonAbbott, low income, localized school districts in New Jersey may have certain structural advantages. In a comparison of two different perspectives on local democracy in education, Mintrom found that small, localized districts allow parents and other stakeholders within the community to m ake decisions that are specif ic to the needs of the student populations which they serve. The author found this to be much less true of large urban districts which serve much larger communities where individuals are more removed from decisionmaking processes. Mintrom tempered this wi th his finding that Local control can create conditions under which discrimination occurs, and excessive reliance on local funding of schools can promote gross inequality in the educational opportunities open to the young (Mintrom, 2008, p. 332). A case study by Howley and Howley (2006) about a small, highachieving but low SES school district in the Midwest found small district size and localized control to be a factor in positive outcomes for students. In their research, Howley and Howley noted persistent findings that small districts confer advantages, especially to low income students (2006, p. 2) The advantages that they found with smaller school districts were as follows : higher achievement for poor students; a weakened link between poverty and achievement; lower dropout rates; higher rates of participation in school activities; and curriculums that are focused towards the needs of the community (Howley & Howley 2006).

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26 Furthermore, in their study, Howley and Howley distinguish their case study school district, Concordia, as a naturally occurring small school district. Because of localized school districting schemes, the Concordia School District has had a longstanding existence based around one, small, Midwestern community. This distinc tion is used so as to differentiate Concordia from recent school reform movements that seek to restructure large, urban schools. In making this distinction, Howley and Howley also cited that many of the teachers and faculty in the case study district are t hemselves from the local community, having attended and graduated from the districts schools. Through interviews, they found that this factor gave faculty and staff at Concordia a vested interest in the success of the school community, empathy for the students, and longstanding relationships with many of the school families. (Howley & Howley, 2006). This section described some of the advantages and disadvantages that are conferred by localized school districting schemes. The next section will address how Latino cultures are addressed in U S public schools. The section will focus on trends within the U S educational system toward the treatment of the cultures of Latinos, programming specified for the needs of Latino students, and the engagement of Latino parents and families in the educational process. Several case studies will be presented so as connect the next section with the concept of school localization. Addressing Latino Cultures in the Schools In culturally diverse schools, it has been demonstrated that greater success can be found when the culture of students and their families is embraced and valued by the faculty and staff of the school community. That is, as Nieto (2004) states, When students cultural and linguistic backgrounds are vie wed as a strength on which

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27 educators can draw, pedagogy changes to incorporate students lives. Nieto continues, this approach is based on the best of educational theory, that is, that individual differences must be taken into account in teaching (Nieto 2004, p. 146). In other words, in a majority Latino school, as in any other school, it is especially important to take into account the role that cultural and linguistic background have in students lives and to demonstrate that each is valued by the school community. Delgado Gaitan (2004) states that, too often, educators in schools with large ethnic and culturally different groups perceive the situation as a problem because they believe the stereotype that language or cultural differences interfere with learning (Delgado Gaitan, 2004 p. 15). Delgado Gaitan describes this view as a deficit model whereby differences in culture, ethnicity, and social class are viewed as a deficit (Delgado Gaitan 2004, p 15). According to Flores, who traced the history of the deficit view since the 1920s, the valuing of the linguistic and cultural diversity of Latino students has often been rather elusive in U S public schools where the vast majority of teachers have traditionally been nonLatino and from Englishspe aking backgrounds. Flores described a general trend in the U .S. educational system since the 1920s toward viewing the linguistic and cultural backgrounds of Latino students as handicaps and disabilities (2005). Today, even in schools wit h Latino majorities very often the vast majority of teachers are not Latino and are often dissimilar from their students with regards to social class and linguistic backgrounds. For example, roughly 90% of the teachers in the United States are nonLatino and white, while 40% of students are from minority groups. Furthermore, over a third of Latino children in the United States live in poverty while most teachers have had lower middle and middle class upbringings.

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28 Linguistically speaking, most teachers in the United States ar e monolingual speakers of English while there are nearly 10 million nonnative Englishspeaking students in the U S public educational system (Kloosterman, 2003). Professional S taff Despite what seems to be an often dichotomous relationship between the cultural, social class, and linguistic background of Latino students and that of the faculty and staff of public school systems, it has been demonstrated that such differences can be bridged. The following case studies demonstrate the practice of culturally and linguistically sensitive professional development tailored to the needs of local Latino communities. The two case studies show the ability of educators from middleclass, nonLatino U S cultural backgrounds to move away from a deficit viewpoint of Latinos linguistic and cultural backgrounds. This type of professional development enabled educators to focus instead on the strengths that Latino students and families from their respective school communities possess as a means by which to inform their pedagogy and interactions with Latino parents and caregivers. In a case study, Garcia, Trumbull, and RothsteinFisch (2009) found that with the help of professional development, teachers were able to bridge differences between their own cultural backgrounds and those of their Latino students with the help of a culturally focused professional development program. The researchers reported the results of a case study of a longitudinal action research project, The Bridging Cultures Project, which took place at the early childhood and elementary levels in the greater Los Angeles area. The researchers used a cultural framework of individualism and collectivism. The researchers described the culture of the United States and its public school systems as being hi ghly individualistic while that of many Latino families with

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29 students in the greater Los Angeles area schools were deemed to be more collectivistic. The researchers noted that no culture is bound to an all encompassing label and that overlap exists betw een the value systems of most cultures. The project sought to help elementary level teachers to better understand the cultural backgrounds, values, and expectations of the Latino families that constituted the majority of their school community (Garcia, Tr umbull, & Rothstein Fisch, 2009). The teachers who participated in the professional development project all were English/Spanish bilinguals and recognized the importance of language. These same teachers were also determined as having primarily individualistic value systems by the results of a test of their orientations toward problem solving. Through a program of professional development that helped to make the implicit cultural values of the Latino families whom they served explicit, the educators were able to gain a greater understanding of the cultural backgrounds of their students and developed various collectivist oriented strategies for working with the strengths possessed by the school families and students. Colombo (2007) presented a case study of a northeastern school district that implemented a professional development program that focused on helping teachers to better understand the Latino cultures found within their district. In Colombos case study of the Riverdale Public School District over twenty percent of students were predominantly low income Latinos from Spanishspeaking backgrounds. The school professional staff was overwhelmingly middleclass, non Latino white and from monolingually English backgrounds. Prior to their participa tion, most teachers who took

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30 part in the program viewed the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of Latino students from a deficit perspective (Colombo, 2007). The professional development program was facilitated by bilingual, bicultural members of River dales Latino community who were knowledgeable of both the school district and the districts Latino community. The program sought to build empathy among teachers for the experiences of Latino students and their families and demonstrate the strengths of Latino students and families on which teachers could build. One of the major components of the program that Colombo studied addressed language. The workshops had a field experience component where the monolingual English speaking teachers attended bilingual family literacy programs that were held in the evening at school sites within the Riverdale Public School District. At the literacy nights, the teachers witnessed Latino parents and students as well as other community members engaged in reading activities in both English and Spanish. The teachers, all of whom did not understand Spanish, reported that their inability to communicate in a Spanishdominant environment helped them to gain greater empathy for ELL students and nonEnglish speaking parents. Further more, the teachers reported that witnessing the bilingualism of their Latino students helped them to better see this ability as an advantage, helping them to better focus on the strengths of Riverdales Latino community (Colombo, 2007) The aforementio ned case studies provided evidence that how language is addressed when working with Latino students and families is of great importance. Many Latino students are from backgrounds where English is not the home language. Roughly 80% of the approximately 45 million English Language Learners (ELLs) in the

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31 United States educational system are Latinos from Spanishspeaking backgrounds (Kloosterman, 2003). Being that so many Latino students come from nonEnglish speaking backgrounds, schools attitudes toward the Spanish language as well as programs utilized for the teaching of English as a second language are both prominent issues concerning the education of Latino students. It will be shown that school language policies are expressed both through curriculum as w ell as by the manner in which public schools interact with the wider Latino community. Curriculum and P rogramming Ruiz (1988) described three paradigms by which schools in the United States have viewed languages other than English. These three paradigm s are: language as a problem, language as a right, and language as a resource. Historically, schools in the United States have often viewed language as a problem, seeking to teach students English as quickly as possible with little regard to the retention and maintenance of the students native language and cultural background. Conversely, schools that follow the language as right paradigm seek to help students learn English while at the same time allowing the use of students native languages for communica tion and instruction. Schools that follow the resource paradigm expand on the right paradigm; seeking to increase students abilities in their native language and valuing bilingualism (Ruiz, 1988). Types of ESL and Bilingual P rograms As a result of the 1974 Lau vs. Nichols Supreme Court Decision, language accommodations must be made to ensure that the educational needs of ELL students are met through both the acquisition of English and inclusion into the school community (Kloosterman, 2003). The two major categories of programs for these accommodations

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32 can be divided into monolingual Englishonly programs and bilingual programs that utilize the students native language. Twoway bilingual programs have a combination of ELLs and native English speakers. These programs utilize both English and the native language of the ELLs fairly equally and seek to develop bilingualism and biliteracy in both languages. Twoway bilingual programs require long term participation t o accomplish their goals and thus transient populations are not the ideal students for this program (Minaya Rowe, 2008 p. 2). Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) provides students with instruction in both their native language and in English. These programs slowly transition students to the use of increasing amounts of English for their eventual placement in monolingually English classrooms (MinayaRowe, 2008). Conversely, monolingual programs utilize only the English languag e. Among monolingual programs, s heltered English instruction provides students with an environment that focuses on content knowledge. In a s heltered English classroom, all instruction is in English but students are provided accommodations that make the content more comprehensible. English as a Second Language (ESL) provides students with instruction in English speaking and literacy skills. ESL students are generally placed in mainstream, monolingual English classrooms for all other classes, often with no additional support (MinayaRowe, 2008). Programs that utilize a students native language align with Ruizs paradigms of language as a right and resource and potentially consider a students linguistic background as a strength to be utilized in the educational process. In a study that controlled for socioeconomic status, Thomas and Collier (2002) found that ELL students who were educated in quality bilingual environments for a sustained period (at least 4

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33 years) were able to close the standardized test achievement gap with their NativeEnglish speaking peers (Thomas & Coll ier, 2002). Additionally, the development and maintenance of bilingualism can confer certain life advantages to students. Harlin and Paneque (2006) found that bilingualism allows for greater ability to communicate across cultural lines, greater levels of creativity in cognitive tasks, and greater marketability in seeking employment (Harlin & Paneque, 2006). Trends in Bilingual E ducation Educational policy in each state in the United States is largely dictated by each respective states department of education. Since the late 1990s, there have been ballot referendums in various states to ban bilingual education programs that utilize students native languages. In California, the state with the largest ELL population, Proposition 227 effectively banned s uch bilingual education programs in 1998, limiting ELL students generally to one year of Englishlanguage immersion support. Similar anti bilingual education referendums were likewise passed in Arizona (2000) and Massachusetts (2002). Voters rejected attem pts to ban such bilingual education programs in Colorado (2002) and Oregon (2008) (Mora, 2009). In analyzing recent movements by states to rid their public schools of bilingual education programs, Salazar (2008) found that, in the current political cl imate, district language policies and practices privilege Englishonly instruction citing a report that showed that over twothirds of ELL students are enrolled in Englishonly programs with no native language support (Salazar, 2008). Ma also found that nationwide the trend to limit language support for ELLs to oneyear English immersion programs raises significant civil rights problems in light of the existing body of educational research (Ma, 2009 p. 12). Through work with researchers at the Harvard Civil Rights Project, Ma also

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34 found that there is no ideal, onesize fits all program for meeting the educational needs of ELL students and found that schools should be given the discretion to implement programs that are geared toward the needs of their sc hool communities. Furthermore, though researchers with the Civil Rights Project could not identify a single program of instruction that could be deemed most effective above all others for all ELL students, they did agree that a single year of Englishonly immersion was insufficient for acquiring proficiency in English (Ma, 2002). Despite nationwide trends that are in opposition to bilingual education, the state of New Jersey stands out as being more supportive toward bilingual education programs. In an article titled NJ Bucks Tide on Reading for EnglishLearners, Zehr (2007) writes that New Jersey appears to be the only state that has written into its Reading First grant application to the federal government that native language instruction is required with some exceptions, for children who arrive at school with no proficiency in Englis h (p. 1). Unlike the aforementioned states, New Jersey has not faced legislative or voter referendum challenges to bilingual education as it takes place within the stat e. The state of New Jersey has required the use of bilingual methods in its public schools since 1976. Since 1976, all New Jersey public school districts with twenty or more ELL students who speak the same language must implement a bilingual education prog ram that utilizes the ELL students native language. If an overly wide student age range, geographical dispersion of ELLs within a school district, or the unavailability of certified bilingual teachers make the implementation of a bilingual program impossi ble, the district may apply for a waiver in favor of ESL instruction (Zehr, 2007). Statewide, 72 out of New Jerseys over 600 school districts had bilingual

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35 programs for the 20082009 school year. Nearly all of these school districts had bilingual programs for Spanishspeaking ELLs (NJDOE, 2009). Spanish for Native Speakers C ourses In addition to bilingual programs that utilize a students native language in instruction or seek to maintain and further develop academic skills in a students native language, some schools have implemented Spanish language courses that are geared toward native speakers of Spanish. Known as Spanish for Native Speakers (SNS) courses, these classes are typically taken at the upper grades and the collegiate level and can be util ized by both ELL students as well as students of Spanishspeaking Latino heritage with varying degrees of bilingualism between Spanish and English. SNS classes offer students the opportunities to take Spanish formally in an academic setting in the same way that native English speaking students study English language arts. Therefore, most commonly, SNS courses are taken as a means by which to maintain Spanish language abilities, expand ones bilingual range, and also to acquire academic skills in ones h e ritage language. (Kreeft Peyton, Lewelling, & Winke 2003, p. 2). Importantly, SNS courses help to demonstrate that Spanish is a valued language within the school community as they often deal with literature and other matters that are culturally relevant to the background and experiences of Latino students and families. According to Carreira, SNS instruction can help to narrow the achievement gap of Latino students by supporting biliteracy, learning across the curriculum, and bridging home and school cultures. Additionally, Carreira found that SNS courses can help to facilitate better integration of Latino students and families into the U S education system by utilizing students cultural strengths and backgrounds to advance the educational and social needs of Latino youth (Carreira, 2007).

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36 Beyond the C urriculum The involvement of parents in the educational process through relationships of mutual collaboration, respect, and understanding with school personnel is widely recognized as a key component by which to foster positive outc omes for students (Ramirez, 2003). Because of perceived cultural and linguistic deficits, Latino parents and communities have often been marginalized in their interactions with the school systems which their children attend. T his marginalization has often led to Latino families being unable to advocate on behalf of their sons and daughters, a detriment to Latino students (Gonzalez, 2005). Nonetheless, schools can successfully engage Latino parents and the wider Latino community to build partnerships for creating school environments that are respectful of the diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds of Latino families. Such schools are able to convey to Latino families that they are valued by the school community and are able to foster productive homeschool relationships via mutual collaboration. As Olivos (2009) argues, collaboration is facilitated when educators understand how they, as school agents, accept a Latino communitys culture, knowledge and power within the school context and how educators align their values and beliefs, as well as school policies and practices (Olivos, 2009, p. 109). According to Reyes Scribner, and Paredes Scribners study about high performing Latino schools in the Rio Grande Valley, in general, school staff, including teachers, administrators, and parent specialists in the high performing Hispanic schools, considered parent involvement an important way to serve the needs of both the school and the children. In these school communities, parental involvement was viewed as a key ingredient for academic success. Parents saw their involvement as helping to

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37 improve the school environment by providing role models for the children and showing concern for the development of the child. Likewis e, school staff identified the involvement of parents in the school as an element that helped to increase student achievement, strengthen relationships, create a community environment, and provide parent education (Reyes, Scribner & Paredes Scribner, 199 9 p. 41). De Gaetano (2007) conducted a study of two majority Latino, predominantly low income schools in the Northeast that were seeking to cultivate higher levels of parental involvement and engagement. The two schools took part in a program known as the Cross Cultural Demonstration Project which sought to foster cross cultural understanding between home and school. The project sought to accomplish its goals by including parents as volunteers in various instructional capacities in the schools, holding parent forums, and conducting bilingual meetings between parents and school officials. Throughout the process, parents became more aware of the importance of their roles as informal teachers to their children and the importance of their language and cult ure in the lives of their children. De Gaetano found parents increased awareness of the importance of their roles to be helpful in maintaining the involvement of the parents and in increasing the value that school personnel placed on parents roles within the school community (De Gaetano, 2007). Beyond purely home and school partnerships, Riggs and Medina (2005) discussed the value of quality, school based afterschool programs to the Latino community, in their case study of a Pennsylvania school distric t with a growing Latino population. The authors found that increased frequency of exposure to schools, may, in turn decrease apprehension or anxiety that Latino parents feel when approaching

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38 school personnel (Riggs & Medina, 2005, p. 473). Thus it was evidenced that afterschool programs have the power to serve as an intermediary in connecting Latino parents to the schools that their children attend. Furthermore, the authors found that culturally and linguistically sensitive afterschool programs that are academically focused have the potential for success in improving academic outcomes for Latino youth via homeschool partnerships (Riggs & Medina, 2005). With the value of parental involvement being evident, the issue then becomes how to gain and maintain the involvement of Latino parents in the school community. Delgado Gaitan (2004) identified key actions for educators and schools to take when they seek to meet the needs of Latino students and families. In identifying these key actions, she acknowledged that there are many ways to accomplish parent involvement objectives in Latino communities. Nonetheless, Delgado Gaitan then expressed that there are three major conditions and objectives that aid schools in accomplishing parent involvement goals which she labels as connecting, sharing information, and staying involved (Delgado Gaitan, 2004, p. xi). For the connecting objective, Delgado Gaitan stressed several points. First she noted that schools must reach out to Latino families and learn their cultures. In this outreach, schools need to make sure that parents and families can become comfortable with the culture of the school, which is often very different from what they may be accustomed to if their own experiences with school were in a Lat in American country where schools tend to be organized much differently. Furthermore, in making connections, schools must seek to communicate with parents in whichever language they are most comfortable with and mak e necessary accommodations for parents

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39 schedules. The sharing information objective is focused on the linguistic backgrounds of Latinos and how language must be used as a strength for fostering communication. The staying involved objective focuses on how schools can positively acknowledge the cultures of Latino families. By continually making positive acknowledgements of Latino cultures, schools can help Latino families to feel comfortable and welcome in the school setting, therefore fostering their continued involvement in homeschool partnerships (Delgado Gaitan, 2004). Finally, while this section discussed means by which schools can work with Latino students and families it is important that educators challenge the belief that there exists just one Latino culture that needs to be under stood (Olivos, 2009, p. 111). In other words, it is important to remember that while many Latinos may share a common linguistic background and certain cultural traits they should not be viewed as monolith ic According to Olivos, educators instead need t o think in terms of plural Latino cultures rather than a singular Latino culture. Furthermore, they must not make assumptions and should instead seek to understand the diverse experiences that make the individual (Olivos, 2009). Chapter Summary This chap ter provided a framework for the study. The literature reviewed here first considered the effects of localized school districting and funding mechanisms. This was followed by a review of pertinent literature regarding language policy and educational programming for Latino students and school communities. In the next chapter, I present the methodology used for studying the interaction of localized school districting and funding mechanisms within the Dover Public School District, a predominantly low income, m ajority Latino school community.

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40 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Chapter Overview My field research took place during August and September of 2009. During this period, I conducted ten semi structured interviews using interview guides approved by the University of Floridas IRB. To conduct the interviews, I traversed Dover and observed four out of five schools in the Dover Public School District as well as the Dover Head Start program and the Morris County Organization for Hispanic Affairs. In addition to field res earch, I utilized information from websites provided by the Dover Public Schools and other purveyors of educational services in the community. I obtained school data and statistics published by the New Jersey State Department of Education that is made avai lable via the agencys website. Interviews I conducted ten semi structured interviews with current and former educational professionals employed by either the Dover Public School District or local social service agencies that cater to the school distric t. These professionals represented a range of occupations from teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators, to education coordinators and liaisons for Dovers privately contracted after school program. Eight of the ten participants with Dover t ies had held multiple roles during their years of service with the school district. The interviews averaged about thirty minutes in length. Interviews where I met with the interviewee during their own personal time lasted longer, while those that took plac e during field visits were shorter due to work related constraints. As an additional note, all interviewees that are referenced throughout the rest of this paper are referred to by pseudonyms.

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41 Interview Participants All of the seven interviewees that w ere employed (or previously employed) by the Dover Public School District (DPSD) had served in multiple roles within the district. Of this group, five (Alicia Alvarez, Nicholas Avellino, Thomas Laskaris, Nora Lewis, and Karen Maslowski) had started in Dover first as students before returning as teachers. Four out of the five subsequently became guidance counselors or administrators. Each of these interviewees had also attended school in Dover and become employed there during different time periods. Nicho las Avellino graduated from Dover High School in the late 1960s and became employed there first as a Spanish teacher in the late 1970s and subsequently as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. He soon became the Director of Foreign Languages and B ilingual Services (though he typically taught at least one class throughout his career), and finished his career at Dover as an elementary school principal. He was employed directly by the DPSD until his retirement in 2001 (he subsequently worked as a Spanish teacher at a neighboring school district from 2001 until 2006, and has been employed at the County College of Morris (CCM) as an ESL and Spanish professor since then; he also occasionally does educational consulting for Dover. Karen Maslowski graduated from Dover High School in the early 1970s and returned to Dover to teach in 1979 as both a Spanish teacher and an ESL teacher, eventually succeeding Avellino to take her current position as Director of Foreign Languages and Bilingual Services in 1999. Thomas Laskaris graduated from Dover High School in the early 1980s and returned to the district at the end of the decade as a Social Studies teacher; he is currently a guidance counselor. Alicia Alvarez graduated

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42 from Dover High School in the early 1990s, returned to Dover several years later as a Spanish teacher, and is now also a guidance counselor. Nora Lewis graduated from Dover High School in the late 1990s and returned in the early 2000s first as teachers aide and later as a special education teacher. Of the other two interviewees directly employed by the DPSD at some point, (Michelle Rizzo and Deborah Nagelberg), both had held multiple roles within the district. Deborah Nagelberg, a New York City native, taught in Dover from 1979 until 2001, fi rst as a Spanish teacher, later as an ESL teacher, and then as a bilingual teacher. Michelle Rizzo, a native of a neighboring Morris County community, taught at Dover from 1996 until 2001, first as a Social Studies teacher, and subsequently as a Spanish te acher and bilingual Social Studies teacher. Rizzo and Nagelberg are both currently employed at the same neighboring school district (Rizzo as a Spanish teacher and Nagelberg as an ESL teacher). Three other interviews were conducted with professionals em ployed by agencies that provide educational services to the Dover community. Jane Ektis, a Dover native, currently serves as the Executive Director of Dovers Head Start Program. Martina Derricks is employed by the Morristown Neighborhood House, an organiz ation based in nearby Morristown that was founded in the 1890s with the purpose of helping newly arrived Italian immigrants to Morris County (the organizations focus has since shifted to Latinos). Five years ago, Neighborhood House partnered with the Dover Public Schools to establish academically focused and culturally sensitive afterschool programs at all three Dover elementary schools as well as at Dover Middle School. Derricks currently serves as site coordinator at North Dover Elementary School. I also interviewed Julia

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43 Enriquez, the Coordinator of Education for the entire Neighborhood House organization. Though neither of these women are from Dover, both Derricks and Enriquez were raised in Morris County. Participant Selection These interviews were all arranged using purposeful sampling (Cresswell, 2005). According to Cresswell (2005), purposeful sampling is a strategy whereby researchers intentionally select individuals and sites to learn or understand the central phenomenon. Furthermore, the goal of this sampling strategy is to interview individuals and observe sites that are information rich (p. 204). Following Cresswells concept of purposeful sampling, the interviewees were not chosen arbitrarily. In arranging the interviews, I sought to speak with individuals in touch with issues confronting the Latino school community of Dover. Avellino and Maslowski were selected because of their experience as supervisors of the Department of World Languages and Bilingual Programs; one or the other has run the department since 1977 (Avellino from 19771997 and Maslowski since 1997). Nagelberg and Rizzo were both called upon for the variety of roles which each has undertaken between Spanish and bilingual instruction. Laskaris and Alvarez were chosen because o f both their past roles as teachers in the Dover Public School District and their current roles as guidance counselors who serve as intermediaries between parents, teachers, and students. Afterschool coordinators Enriquez and Derricks were chosen for their intermediary roles between parents, students, and teachers. Organization and Coding Before I had completed my interviews, I developed a data matrix (found in the appendix section) based on three principal research questions related to localized

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44 school districtings impact on the Dover school community. The first question asked if localized school districting contributes to school segregation. The second question asked how localized school districting affects funding and the final question was concerned with how localized districting affects programming for students and the school community. I then used the data matrix to identify key information from the interviews that would be relevant to the study s research questions I recorded each of the interview s using a digital recording device and then transcribed the interviews upon completion. Next, I read and reread all of the transcripts to see how each fit into the criteria of the data matrix. Following transcription and initial review, I coded relevant pieces of the transcripts based on how they fit into the data matrix. I used a color coding system for this. I used green for interview data related to school funding and finance, blue for educational expectations and outcomes, orange for items related to the treatment of diverse cultures within the localized school community, and pink for the interaction of the wider Dover community within the localized context of the school community. After color coding the transcripts, I utilized codes to consolidate roughly eighty pages of transcripts into a fourteen page document aligned with the questions I had developed for the data matrix. This consolidated document was used as a guide in my analysis of the data. Site Visits Site visits were another important part of the research. I observed Dovers Head Start Program during normal business hours, observing some of the children interacting with their teachers, parents and other Head Start staff. I observed North Dover Elementary School and observed its afterschool program and some of the educational

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45 services provided there. I also observed the complex that includes both East Dover Elementary and Dover Middle School and then visited Dover High School. I observed all of the K 12 schools during after school hours and was therefore able to witness supplemental homework programs, extracurricular activities, and the interaction of the wider Dover community with the school community. New Jersey Department of Education Datasets and Websites Ano ther integral component of the research was examining various records and statistics published by the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE). The NJDOE publishes a wide variety of records about each of New Jerseys more than 600 school districts. These records are readily acc essible and available for download from the NJDOEs website. The NJDOE data allowed me to access information about school funding, per pupil spending, employee salary levels, and free lunch eligibility rates among other financial figures. Furthermore, concerning and student performance measures, I was able to access test scores and graduation rates I was also able to gain additional insight about programming and community interactions from the websites maintained by the Dover Public Schools, El Primer Pas o School, and Morris County Hispanic Affairs. The websites outline some of the educational, academic, and extracurricular programs and opportunities available to the Dover school community. Chapter Summary I was able to obtain interviews with people who have had a wide range of experience with the Latino community of the Dover Public School District and make useful field visits to educational sites in Dover. The seven interviewees currently working in the Dover community each have had unique experiences working with the district and represent work experiences with all levels of the preK 12 system found

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46 within the confines of the school district. Two of the three former Dover Public Schools employees that were interviewed, Michelle Rizzo and Deborah Nagel berg, currently teach in a neighboring school district and regularly receive former Dover students due to student transience between small suburban Morris County school districts. Nicholas Avellino, as an ESL and Spanish professor at the County College of Morris, also regularly receives students from the Dover community at the post secondary level and interacts with Dover teachers and administrators through educational consulting work. Participants were chosen by using a purposeful sampling method that soug ht interviewees based on their expertise and knowledge of Dovers Latino community.

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47 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS Chapter Overview This chapter presents findings for the research questions that were presented in the methodology section. The chapter is divided i nto three major sections. Each section is based on one of the three principal research questions. The final section is related to the last of the three principal research questions and is divided into three thematic subsections. The Socioeconomics and Dem ographics of Localized School Districting The first section of this chapter is devoted to findings related to my first research question. To recall, the first research question asked if localized school districting contributes to segregation based on soc ioeconomic status and cultural background and if so, how is the school community affected. The following findings shed light on an answer to this research question. Dover is the only Latino majority community in Morris County and this is reflected in its corresponding localized, municipal based school district (The map in Figure 41 demonstrates Dovers high proportion of Latinos relative to the rest of Morris County). As of the Fall Enrollment Survey conducted by the New Jersey Department of Education for the 2008 2009 school year, each of the three elementary schools in the Dover Public School District had student populations between 85% and 90% Latino. Dover Middle Schools enrollment was 76% Latino. Likewise, Dover High School had a Latino student population of 73%. For the entire Dover Public School District, there were a total of 2,914 students, 2,319 of whom were Latino. Thus Latino students

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48 constituted nearly 80% of all students in the Dover Public School District during the 20082009 school year ( NJDOE, 2009). During the same school year, all school districts in Morris County combined had a total public school enrollment of 80,297. Thus Dovers 2,914 students constituted only 3.6% of the countys total enrollment. All school districts in the county had a combined Latino enrollment of 9,284 students. Latinos thus constituted 11.5% of Morris Countys total public school enrollment. Therefore, the Dover Public School Districts 2,319 Latinos accounted for just under 25% of the countys total Latino public school enrollment despite Dover accounting for a much smaller proportion of the countys total enrollment. Furthermore, the DPSD was the only district in Morris County where the vast majority of students were Latino at all grade levels (NJDOE, 2009) Additionally, 1,934 of the Dover Public School Districts 2,914 students (66.5%) enrolled during the 20082009 school year were eligible for free or reduced price school lunches. Of this group, 1,442 (49.5% of the total school population) were eligible for free lunches while 492 (17% of the total school population) were eligible for reduced price lunches (NJDOE, 2009). To be eligible for free school lunches, a students family income cannot exceed 130% of the income level set as the federal poverty li ne; students with family incomes between 130% and below 185% of the federal poverty line are eligible for reduced price school lunches (U S Department of Agriculture, 2009). For Morris County as a whole, 7,552 students out of a countywide public school enrollment of 80,297 had eligibility for free or reduced price school lunches. Thus, despite having less than 4% of the Countys total public school enrollment, Dover represented nearly

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49 26% of the countys student population that was eligible for free or reduced price school lunches during the last school year for which data is available (NJDOE, 2009). Additionally, in 1975, the New Jersey Department of Education developed a system to measure the overall socioeconomic status of each of its 611 school dist ricts. This system is known as District Factor Grouping. Under District Factor Grouping, each school district throughout the state is assessed based on a variety of six measures and then assigned to a District Factor Group (DFG). The letter A is assigned t o districts with the lowest socioeconomic indicators and the letter J is assigned to those with the highest (districts with socioeconomic indicators between these two extremes are designated B, CD, DE, FG, GH, and I). The socioeconomic factors taken into account when assigning a New Jersey school district to a DFG include: percent of adults without a high school diploma, percent of adults with at least some college education, occupational status, unemployment rate, percent of individuals in poverty, and median family income. Every ten years, the state reassesses the DFG of each of its school districts following the results of the latest national decennial census. The Dover Public School District was reclassified from Group B to Group A following the results of the 2000 U S Census (NJDOE, 2009). Under the states District Factor Grouping (DFG) system for classifying school districts according to socioeconomic status further demonstrates the DPSDs status as a socioeconomic outlier in Morris County. As of 2009, there were 39 school districts in Morris County classified under the DFG system. Dover is the only school district in the county assigned to District Factor Group A, the lowest group. There are no districts within the county assigned to groups B or CD the next two lowest groups. Three

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50 districts are members of middleSES group DE and five are members of group FG. From the three highSES DFGs, ten Morris County school districts are in group GH, Thirteen districts belong to group I and six are in group J Overall, 29 out of the 39 DFG classified Morris County school districts (nearly 75%) belong to the three highest District Factor Groups (NJDOE, 2009). Thus the New Jersey Department of Educations datasets indicate that the Dover Public School District i s the only low SES school district and the only one with a Latino majority student population in Morris County. When one crosses the municipal border into Dover from a neighboring community it becomes apparent that the demographics of residents have suddenly shifted from one town to the next. Colombian, Ecuadorian, Mexican and Puerto Rican flags can be seen flying in front of homes and businesses and as adornments on vehicles parked on the streets. Along Blackwell Street, Dovers main thoroughfare, resta urants with names like Sabor Latino, Tierras Colombianas and La Sierra have signs that boast of comida tradicional On the same stretch of street, Casa Puerto Rico (formerly the Aguada Social Club) and Club Colombia cater to the social and cultural needs of Dover Latinos both new and old. From its nondescript warehouse like headquarters on Bassett Highway, the Morris County Organization for Hispanic Affairs is open for business, providing an array of social services from translators to rideshares for the benefit of Dover Latinos. On various storefronts throughout downtown Dover, fluorescent signs flash se habla espaol Meanwhile, the Salvation Army, the Episcopal Church, the Methodist Church and one of the Catholic churches all have signs that advertise aprende ingles, horario de clases Unlike other Morris County municipalities, this is a distinctly Latino community.

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51 Observations demonstrated that Dovers Latino culture is reflected in its schools, where bilingual signage greets visitors at the school house doors, Welcome/ Bienvenidos. The Spanish language can be heard prominently in the halls. In the Dover Head Start school building, the flags of Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador and Peru can be seen alongside self portraits of the children. In late September the North Dover Elementary School had a poster in its lobby that displayed the flags of the worlds SpanishSpeaking countries alongside the U S flag in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Reflecting the demographics of the municipality which it serves, t he vast majority of the students in the Dover Public School District are Latinos. The interviewees provided reasoning as to why a majority Latino, predominantly low income population took hold in Dover whereas the Latino populations of most other commun ities in Morris County remain relatively small, with none yet approaching a majority of residents. Being that school districts in New Jersey correspond to municipality, all of the interviewed educational professionals expressed similar views that localized school districting as found in New Jersey has contributed to the development of a low income, majority Latino school district in Dover as well. All of the interviewed participants spoke about Dovers Latino majority as a contrast to other school districts in Morris County. Six of the interviewees (both guidance counselors, the current and former Supervisors of Foreign Language and Bilingual Programs, and the afterschool program employees) also discussed the lower socioeconomic status of Dover and its school district in comparison to the rest of Morris County. Nicholas Avellino, the retired Foreign Language and Bilingual Programs Supervisor, described Dover as a community that was always mostly workingclass

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52 and thusly receptive to lower income populati ons before lower income Latinos and Latin American immigrants arrived. Avellino, himself a lifelong Dover resident, described the development of a Latino majority community in Dover as a long term process. The director noted that the Latino population grew in surges during certain time periods, but that overall, the growth of the Dover Latino population has been gradual and steady since the initial arrival of Puerto Rican workers in the late 1940s. The early Puerto Rican community in Dover was followed by people of more diverse Latin American origins, primarily Colombians, Ecuadorians, and Mexicans. The retired supervisor expressed that this gradual process allowed the community and its corresponding school district to adapt themselves to changing demographi cs over time as they each became increasingly Latino in character. Avellino and the other interviewees discussed features of Dover that have helped the town and its corresponding school district to cultivate reputations as friendly destinations for low inc ome Latino and Latin American populations. Important themes related to Dovers development as Morris Countys only Latino majority municipality and school district were the concepts of availability of services, namely commercial, social, and educational services within the community as well as the availability of affordable housing. Head Start Director Jane Ektis further commented that Dover has been attractive to Latino residents because of the abundance of social and commercial services that cater to Sp anishdominant Latinos. Everything that we do here is bilingual. The housing partnership, WIC (Women Infants Children) Hispanic Affairs, all have bilingual services as well, basically all of the community organizations here do, they basically have to. Th e director added that the town has many businesses that cater to the consumer

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53 needs of the Latino community. There are so many businesses that specialize in Latin American products with Spanishspeaking staff; the community is just very open. This observ ation is further corroborated by former Dover teacher Michelle Rizzo, and Directors Avellino and Maslowski who each described Dover as having an established network of Latinooriented social services and an economically important base of small Latinoowned businesses that are oriented toward the needs of the community. An additional component of Dovers attractiveness to low income Latino residents was the availability of affordable housing. Guidance Counselor Alvarez commented on the availability of aff ordably priced rental homes in comparison to nearby communities, where its often just too much money for them, the homes and apartments in nearby towns. This is further corroborated by former director Avellino and guidance counselor Laskaris who both commented that Dover is a predominantly blue collar town with greater availability of affordable housing as compared to other Morris County communities. Additionally, the Dover based Morris County Organization for Hispanic Affairs (MCOHA) provides free translation services and interpreters for renters who need to negotiate with nonSpanishspeaking landlords. Furthermore, former supervisor Avellino expressed that the expansion of Dovers Latino community over the years was fueled by the town and the school districts cultivation of reputations as places that are friendly to Latinos relative to other communities in Morris County, stating, I know a lot of people [Latinos from Dover] who dont feel comfortable in those other communities. Avellino expressed that because of the home rule tradition and localized school districting structure that characterize the entire state of New Jersey, Dover has had a much longer history of working with Latinos

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54 which has necessitated being more receptive and responsive to the needs of its Latino residents and students relative to other Morris County municipalities and school districts. While speaking about one of Dovers neighboring school districts, where he had worked as a consultant, Avellino explained that attempts w ithin that district to introduce educational programming geared toward a growing low income, Latin American immigrant community had been viewed with suspicion and sometimes hostility. There everyone wants to be better in money and that kind of thing, Avellino explained. Theres a perception that you have an immigrant community coming in, and you have to take money away from your own kids to spend money on programs for theirs. Avellino continued, then theres the perception that it may lower standards i n the schools, or that schools may be perceived as not as good as they once were. These factors are perceived as big negatives by them. Avellino further explained, They worry its going to bring down the prices on their homes. All of that is on the minds of the non Latino community over there. Avellino identified this hostility as having contributed to the continued growth of a Latino majority in Dover and in its corresponding school district from an already established base. Localization and Funding T his section is devoted to findings related to my second research question. To recall, the second research question asked how school funding works within the localized context of New Jerseys public school districts and how funding affects the Dover school community. This section first presents archival data about the Dover Public School Districts cost per pupil spending relative to averages for the state, Morris County, and socioeconomically similar districts. Using data from the New Jersey

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55 Department of E ducation as well as observation and interview data, the manner by which extant school funding mechanisms affect the Dover Public School Districts predominantly low income, Latino majority student population will be addressed. The New Jersey Department o f Educations Comparative Cost Per Pupil Guide revealed that the Dover Public School District is funded at a lower level than both the average and medians for the state of New Jersey as measured by cost per pupil spending. The state had a mean cost per pupil of $13,601 across all of its K 12 school districts during the 20082009 school year. During that same school year, the median cost per pupil for the states public K 12 school districts was $12,791. For academic year 20082009, cost per pupil in the Dover Public School District was $11,261. Thus, cost per pupil in Dover was 83% of the state mean and 88% of the median (NJDOE, 2009). Table 41 and Figure 42 show the lower per pupil spending in Dover as compared to the state mean over the last 5 years (NJ DOE, 2005 2009) Furthermore, Dovers cost per pupil of $11,261 during the 2008 2009 school year was the lowest of all K 12 school districts in Morris County. Nearly mirroring state means, the county mean for cost per pupil for its K 12 school districts during the 20082009 school year was $13,591. The county median cost per pupil for K 12 school districts was $12,738. Again, within Morris County, much like as in the state as a whole, Dovers cost per pupil was significantly lower (NJDOE, 2009). Addi tionally, during the same school year, cost per pupil in Dover was even lower than the mean for the Abbott Districts, a group of 31 mostly DFG A school districts with whom Dover shares similar socioeconomic disadvantages. Because of funding and programming mandates set in place by the Abbott IV and V decisions, mean per pupil

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56 cost for the 31 Abbott Districts was $16,447, well above the state average. Therefore, Dovers cost per pupil was 68% the mean cost per pupil for the Abbott Districts. Thus, using cost per pupil as a measure, Dover is funded well below the average cost per pupil levels of school districts statewide, nearby Morris County school districts in addition to the socioeconomically similar Abbott Districts (NJDOE, 2009). Nonetheless, Dover do es receive a greater share of its funding from the state than do the other K 12 M orris County school districts. During the 20082009 school year, t he other fourteen K 12 school districts in Morris County on average received 83% of their school funding from local sources while they only received 13% from the state. Conversely, Dover received 50% of its funds from the state and 41% of its funds from local sources. Dover thus received a much greater proportion of its budget from state funds than the other K 12 school districts in Morris County (NJDOE, 2009) Still the proportion of funding for cost per pupil that the Dover Public School District received from the state was much lower than what was received by the Abbott Districts. On average the Abbott Distr icts received 80% from the state and 14% from local sources to fund their cost per pupil expenditures during the 20082009 school year Additionally, Dover does not benefit from the same funding mandates that allow the Abbott Districts to guarantee preK f or all children who reside within the borders of the district as well as full day kindergarten, afterschool programs and summer schools (NJDOE, 2009). The areas outside of each of the Dover Schools that I visited were well maintained, with clean sidewalk s and building exteriors as well as manicured lawns and shrubbery. The interiors of each of the Dover Public Schools were visibly well worn with

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57 outdated color schemes, furniture, and fixtures, as all of the public schools in Dover were built between forty five and seventy years ago. Nonetheless, each school was well maintained, clean, and orderly. North Dover Elementary School, East Dover Elementary School and Dover Middle School, all of which were visited directly following the end of the school day, were nearly free of the afterschool debris that is often present in school settings. With all of the public schools in Dover it seemed that pride in ownership was taken. With the exception of the guidance counselors (who did not discuss the issue of the dist ricts finances but instead focused on the cost of higher education in New Jersey), each of the ten Dover educators that were interviewed expressed the view that the Dover Public School District, as well as affiliated programs like Dover Head Start and Nei ghborhood House, were underfunded relative to community needs. Some identified how budget cuts over the years have forced the district to make difficult decisions to cut programs. Others expressed dissatisfaction with Dovers exclusion from the Abbott funding and programming mandates despite the districts socioeconomic similarities to the Abbott Districts. The director of Dovers Head Start, Jane Ektis, identified the Dover Public School Districts lack of Abbott designation as having had a particularly negative effect regarding funding for early childhood education in Dover. Ektis explained, If you earn $200,000 a year and live in an Abbott District, your child is going to get free preschool. The director continued, However, since Morris County doesnt have any Abbott Districts we have a lot of very low income children in Dover and they dont get a penny. This has been a detriment to families in Dover, as Ektis further explained, Because of

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58 this situation, each year we have a waiting list of 50 to 1 00 families who we cant serve because we dont have enough funding. Furthermore, Ektis noted that Head Start is the only full day preK program in Dover and therefore is often the best option for working parents. These views were further corroborated by elementary school teacher Nora Lewis. Lewis stated that several years ago, the Dover Public School District had implemented its own preK program however, they only go from 8:00 until 10:40 or 12:00 to 2:40. I dont know the exact timing but its less than 3 hours. I know Head Start is a full day. Both former Supervisor Avellino and his successor, Supervisor Maslowski expressed that funding is a precarious issue from year to year for the Dover Public School District. According to both supervisors, the precarious nature of funding has negatively affected successful programs. Former Director Avellino described a goldenera in the mid 1980s when the district had the right demographics for receiving state and federal educational grants. The former direc tor stated, In the mid 80s if you wrote a grant you would get it, and I dont think I was ever turned down for a grant I wrote during that period, however, it was short lived. Avellino then recalled a Transitional English Biology and Earth Science curri culum that he felt had been extremely successful after having been developed as a result of a state grant. The science program had to be removed because after the grant expired we could no longer afford to fund it. The cost of having two teachers in the c lassroom was too much. This was just one of many cuts. Avellino explained. Maslowski was more general, and described the issue of funding as a major concern for the district each year. Were not an Abbott District but were similar to one as far as stude nt demographics. We got some increased

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59 funding already, but that was last year, Maslowski explained. The supervisor continued, Weve had to cut things before; last year the state ordered that we cut cafeteria services in favor of a subcontractor because they were losing money. Maslowski continued, Were kind of up in the air again for this year, were worried about the funding once again. Both of the former teachers were affected by funding issues while they worked in the Dover Public School District While teaching bilingual classes at Dover Middle School, former teacher Deborah Nagelberg expressed that toward the end of her tenure in the early 2000s she always had really big classes that typically had at least 25 students. Conversely, early in her career as a bilingual teacher, classes typically had 1518 students. Nagelberg indicated that Dover was unable to afford to hire an additional bilingual instructor as need increased. Furthermore, the other former Dover teacher, Michelle Rizzo, had to resi gn her position with the Dover Public School District because of personal circumstances that necessitated a greater salary. A wealthier neighboring school district met Rizzos need. Additionally, Julia Enriquez, the director of the Morristown Neighborhood House which provides K 8 afterschool programming for the Dover Public School District expressed that funding is frequently an issue for her organization. It [funding] never is enough to meet the needs of the community. With the cuts weve had lately it s been a real struggle, stated Enriquez. According to Enriquez, the recent economic downturn has forced the organization to increasingly rely on private donors as sources of additional funds. Echoing other educational professionals affiliated with the D PSD, Enriquez added that although her organization receives some funding from county,

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60 state, and federal sources that its never enough, but we do as much as we can with what we have. This section demonstrated how localized school funding mechanisms have affected the low SES, majority Latino Dover Public School District. The next section of this chapter will examine community factors which Dover educational professionals identified as being helpful to educational outcomes in their community in spite of the districts low socioeconomic status and funding deficits. Localized School Districting, Educational Outcomes, and Community Factors This last section is devoted to findings related to the final research question. To recall, the final research questi on asked how localized school districting has affected educational outcomes and school programming for the Dover school community. The question also inquired about how localized school districting has affected interaction between the diverse members of the Dover school community. This final section will first present data related to educational outcomes for Latino students in the Dover Public School District. The remainder of this section will be divided into three thematic subsections: Professional Staff Dedication, HomeSchool Partnerships, and Programming for Latino Students. Each of the thematic subsections will present factors which Dover educational professionals have identified as influential in educational outcomes for the districts Latino students. These thematic subsections are based on three principal groups found in the Dover school community with which this paper is concerned: professional staff, Latino school families, and Latino students. Each thematic subsection has its own unique subthem es. Nonetheless, the three principal subsections are united by an

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61 overarching subtheme that is related to the Dover Public School Districts orientation toward the linguistic and cultural diversity of Latino students and Latino school families. Outcomes fo r Latino Students As demonstrated by the previous data, the Dover Public School District is an overwhelmingly Latino school district in a county that is predominantly nonLatino and white. The DPSD is also a predominantly low income school district with levels of per pupil spending that are well below the averages for school districts in Morris County and the state of New Jersey. Additionally, the DPSDs per pupil spending is much lower than the average level of per pupil spending found among the predominantly District Factor Group A (lowest socioeconomic group), socioeconomically similar Abbott Districts. Not being a part of the Abbott Group, Dover does not benefit from the same funding and programming mandates that are guaranteed to Abbott Districts. Despite socioeconomic and funding disadvantages, Latino students from Dover have been performing better on statewide standardized tests than their Latino counterparts from socioeconomically similar Group A school districts. Dovers Latino students have als o been graduating from high school at rates comparable to the statewide average. The following data will demonstrate this. Table 42 provides a summary of statewide standardized test score data from the last five years for Dover Latino students as compared to all Latino students from the socioeconomically similar District Factor Group A. The test scores are for the Language Arts Literacy (LAL) and Mathematics sections of the fourth grade, eighth grade, and eleventh grade statewide standardized tests. On each test, a score within the range of proficient or advanced proficient indicate that a student has passed. With the ex ception of the 2007 fourth grade test, Dover Latino students outperformed Latinos from

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62 statewide DFG A school districts for each the LA L and Mathematics sections in the past five school years at each of the three grade levels. Figure 43 provides 5 year averages for each grade level on each test. (NJDOE, 20052009). Dover Latino students were compared with other Latino students from D istrict Factor Group (DFG) A primarily because according to the New Jersey Department of Education, one of the principal reasons for creating the DFG designations was for the purpose of having a mechanism by which similar districts could be compared in terms of their performance on statewide assessments. The department states without exception, the average student performance increases as one progresses through the DFG classes (NJDOE, 2009). Performance in Dover has been strongest among eleventh grad e Latino students on the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA). The difference between Dover Latino students and statewide DFG A Latinos also has been the most pronounced at this level. Over the past five years, eleventh grade Latinos from the Dover Public School District have passed the HSPA Language Arts Literacy (LAL) section at an average rate of 74.8% as compared to 59.7% of statewide DFG A Latinos. During the same period, Dover Latino students averaged a passing rate of 63.9% on the Mathematics section while statewide Latinos from DFG A schools averaged 46.4% (NJDOE, 20052009). The five year average pass rate for eighth grade Dover Latinos on the Language Arts Literacy (LAL) section has also been markedly higher than their Latino peers from oth er DFG A schools. Eighth grade Dover Latinos have had a pass rate of 65.8% on the LAL section over the past five years while Latino students from other DFG A schools have passed at a rate of 51.9%. The difference on the Mathematics section of the

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63 eighth gr ade test is less pronounced, with Dovers Latino students passing at a rate of 44.6% and statewide DFG A Latino students passing at a rate of 41.7% over the past five years (NJDOE, 20052009). Differences in average pass rates have been the least pronounced at the fourth grade level. Nonetheless, the average pass rate for the last five years for Dover Latino students has been higher than that of statewide DFG Latino students on both the LAL and Mathematics sections. Dover Latino students have passed the fourth grade LAL section at an average rate of 64.8% as compared to 59.8% for statewide DFG A Latinos. Likewise, Dover Latino students have passed the fourth grade Mathematics test at an average rate of 73.3% as compared to 67.3% for statewide DFG A Latino students (NJDOE, 20052009). Thus the last five years of statewide standardized test score data indicate that Dover Latino students have been outperforming Latino students from socioeconomically similar DFG A school districts. Dover Latinos have been o utperforming statewide DFG A Latino students most markedly on the eleventh grade High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA), an extremely high stakes test that is used as a prerequisite for high school graduation. Nonetheless, graduation rates in Dover (an d statewide) are higher than the pass rates for the HSPA because of the New Jersey Department of Educations provision of the Special Review Assessment (SRA), an alternative assessment that provides students with the opportunity to exhibit their understan ding and mastery of the HSPA skills in contexts that are familiar and related to their experiences. The SRA is administered under the supervision and discretion of teachers from each respective school district. The test is available in Spanish (NJDOE, 200 9).

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64 During the most recent five year period, graduation rates from Dover High School have been similar to statewide rates. Dover High School posted an 89.9% graduation rate in 2009, while the statewide graduation rate was 93.3%. This was the lowest Dover High School graduation rate for the past five years. Conversely, in 2006 Dover High School had a graduation rate of 98% while statewide the graduation rate was 94.2%. Table 43 summarizes graduation rates for Dover High School as compared to statewide r ates (NJDOE, 20052009). The educational professionals whom I interviewed indicated a variety of factors as contributors to the Dover Public School Districts Latino students success relative to statewide Latinos from socioeconomically similar District Factor Group A schools. Generally speaking, the educational professionals expressed that this success was attributable to several key factors that exist within the confines of the localized Dover Public School District: a historically dedicated professional staff, policies and actions that are conducive to the development of strong homeschool partnerships, and programming geared toward the needs of the districts predominantly low income, majority Latino student population. Data related to the factors that the educators cited as contributors to the relative success of Dover Latino students will be presented in the rest of this chapter under three principal subthemes: Professional Staff Dedication, The Home School Partnership and Programming for Latino Stud ents. Professional Staff Dedication The educational professionals whom I interviewed each identified key traits that pertain to the Dover Public School Districts professional staff that they found to have contributed to success for Dover and its Latin o majority student population. Overall, they found that the interaction of these faculty traits within the localized context of the Dover

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65 Public School District has been beneficial to student outcomes. It is important to note that educational professionals in Dover commonly identified several key faculty characteristics that have helped their schools Latino student population. The most discussed characteristics were under the Professional Staff Dedication theme were: generally high levels of faculty retent ion, a high proportion of faculty who are graduates of the Dover Public School District, and pedagogical creativity. Furthermore, several educators cited a long term trend among district professional staff toward increasing respect for linguistic diversity and Latino cultures that has been fostered by periodic professional development. Each of the ten professionals directly involved with the Dover school community identified the abundance of longstanding teachers and administrators that the school has on its payroll and low levels of teacher turnover as contributors to the school communitys success. Data from the New Jersey Department of Education (2009) corroborate the educators. Teacher mobility in each of the Dover schools over the past five years has been typically lower than the state average. Table 4 4 provides a listing of faculty mobility rates at each of Dovers public schools over the past 5 years relative to state averages (NJDOE, 2005 2009) Additionally, it is important to address the issu e of professional staff salary as a factor that is indicative of overall professional staff dedication. Aside from one interviewee, no mention was made of this issue. However, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) publishes average salaries for ad ministrators and teachers for each school district within the state. The NJDOE also publishes a statewide average for both administrator and teacher pay. The NJDOEs data indicated that Dover teachers

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66 and administrators have been consistently paid at rates that are below the statewide averages. Table 45 and Figure 44 show Dovers lower teacher and administrator salaries as compared to state averages over the last five years, a reflection of the districts lower spending levels (NJDOE, 2005 2009). These fi gures are noteworthy in that they demonstrate that educational professionals tend to continue to work for the school district in spite of lower salaries than can be found in other New Jersey school districts. Furthermore, in addition to generally low teacher mobility rates, each of the interviewees identified the shared Dover roots of many of their colleagues as an important component of professional staff dedication. Former Supervisor of World Languages and Bilingual Programs, Nicholas Avellino, described one of Dovers staffing patterns as y ou plant the seeds and it grows and people feel good about coming back and helping their community; generally in the Abbott Districts you dont get teachers from the community, Avellino, himself a Dover High School graduate and lifelong town resident continued, Dover has quite a number of faculty members and staff who live right in Dover still, or at least grew up here. Many have a great investment in this community. These views were shared by Avellinos successor Karen Maslowski. Maslowski stated, We have a lot of teachers and staff who are Dover graduates. I graduated from Dover High School and have spent most of my career here. Maslowski continued, Ive lived in the town my whole life and sent my children to Dover schools. Guidance Counselor Alicia Alvarez, a Dover High School graduate who has worked in the Dover Public School District for thirteen years described the importance of staff with Dover roots, Staff members who grew up here are better able to understand

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67 where the kids and families are coming from because we lived it too. Even though its years later, you have more of an understanding of what theyre going through. Her colleague, Guidance Counselor Thomas Laskaris, another Dover graduate, descr ibed it as, Ive been working here for twenty years now, and there are many school staff members who grew up in Dover and went to the schools, dont ask me to quantify it but it has to be something like a third. Laskaris continued, I think its good for the kids to see that many of us grew up here and that we can then serve as positive role models. He added, Our superintendent and assistant superintendent are both from Dover as well. Regarding Dovers high number of ELL students and families and staff ability to empathize, Laskaris stated, Personally, I definitely know the challenges of having parents that dont speak English or dont speak it well and I can definitely appreciate what a lot of the kids here are going through. The two former teacher s, neither of whom is from Dover, echoed similar sentiments, noting that the teaching staffs and administrations of their former schools in Dover consisted of a high proportion of longtime staff members, many of whom had attended the local school district as students. They both sensed that many of their colleagues with Dover roots felt invested in helping the community and school system to achieve success as its demographics became increasingly Latino. According to the former teachers, this sense of investm ent in the schools and community manifested itself in school leadership and affected teachers without childhood or family connections to Dover. Former teacher Michelle Rizzo stated, Don Castelluccio, my principal, he was from Dover. He was of Italian des cent but learned Spanish. He was always very open to providing as much service as possible to the Spanishspeaking community.

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68 Rizzo expressed that the high proportion of her colleagues who had attended the DPSD as students helped her to better relate to c urrent students and Dover school families. This view was shared by former teacher Nagelberg. Nagelberg also shared an outreach strategy that she adapted from some of her Dover born colleagues. Nagelberg stated that if she had to reach a parent who was diff icult to contact because of a work schedule conflict she would often go to that persons workplace and meet with them during a designated break. Martina Derricks, the site director for North Dover Elementarys afterschool program added that during her t enure at the school she has found out that many of the teachers and administrators whom she interacts with on a daily basis are graduates of the Dover Public School District. Derricks identified common Dover roots as influential in the dedication to school and community she sees among Dover teachers and staff who aid her in various ways with the afterschool program, whether it is through daily communication or assistance in tutoring students. People here really support each other, they definitely help each other out, its a very tight community, Derricks stated. The site director then directed me to speak with a Dover teacher who often tutors students in the afterschool program. The Dover teacher, Nora Lewis, has been working in the Dover Public School Di strict for the past ten years. Her father had been a vice principal at one of the Dover Public Schools and she attended school in the district through her graduation from Dover High School. Lewis, who is not Latina, described Dover as being like a family, and you dont have to be a part of the Latino community to feel that way.

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69 Former Supervisor Avellino also identified staff dedication to the Dover school community as a major factor that has helped Dovers Latino students to succeed. The former supervi sor added pedagogical creativity as a component of this dedication. We always were fortunate to have a lot of teachers who were up to the task, Avellino stated. Avellino recalled the many classroom observations he had made of teachers during his years as an administrator. In recollection, Avellino noted that he frequently observed that most Dover teachers often used several instructional strategies to reach diverse groups of learners throughout the course of a single lesson. Avellino noted that this pedag ogical practice was necessary because classes often had a variety of students who had experienced school in different contexts both in the United States and in different Latin American countries. With groups as varied as we often had, you had to have teachers who were willing to work individually with kids, in small groups, and with various methodologies. Avellino continued, f ortunately, we always had people who were willing to make the extra effort. Furthermore, both of the former Dover teachers indentified a trend among faculty members toward a greater acceptance of linguistic diversity and the Latino community throughout their tenures in Dover. I think definitely that a more positive attitude toward the importance of language and Latino cultures grew, Michelle Rizzo stated. This truly was generational. With the younger staff, there was much more of an embracing, while there was a certain resentment among elements of the older staff. Deborah Nagelberg corroborated Rizzos views. During her tenur e with the Dover schools, Nagelberg noticed that as time progressed that certain teachers would often volunteer to take the challenge of having recently mainstreamed ELL students in their

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70 classes. Nagelberg explained, Eventually certain teachers would ta ke all of the recently mainstreamed ELL students each year. Nagelberg continued t hese were younger teachers, people under 40. I think they saw it as rewarding and as an opportunity to use the power of diversity, really of having a diverse population where we had people from all over Latin America. Nagelberg also noted that professional development programs geared toward the entire faculty began to focus more on incorporating Latino students, particularly ELLs, into the whole school community. Nagelberg expressed this as a factor that helped nearly all faculty members to become more inclusionary towards Latino students, particularly ELLs. Professional development that is focused on sensitivity toward Latino cultures and linguistic diversity continues to the present in the DPSD. Current Supervisor of World Languages and Bilingual Services, Karen Maslowski, stated that the school has workshops during professional development days that are geared toward helping staff to better work with Latino cultures and linguistically diverse students and families. Maslowski noted the influence of localized school districting on the DPSDs Latino focus regarding staff recruitment and training. Maslowski stated, Our town is about 80% Hispanic, so we work with that popul ation much more than other districts surrounding us do. Maslowski continued, We always need people who can relate to the Hispanic community. The schools current professional development plan corroborates Maslowski. The Dover Public School Districts Professional Development Plan for the 20092010 school year emphasized helping teachers to better work with ELL students and nonELL Latino students. Based on responses from teachers regarding professional development from

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71 the previous year, the district planned to implement additional professional development programs for all teachers regarding strategies for teaching ELL students across disciplines. These programs and workshops were to be led by ESL and Bilingual Instructors from the district who are experts in working with ELL students. Furthermore, the professional development program plan stressed collaboration between colleagues in order to create and implement culturally responsive writing assignments (Dover Public School District, 2009). The fina l portion of this thematic subsection brought forth data related to the Dover professional staffs orientation toward language and Latino cultures last for a specific reason. This element of the Professional Staff Dedication thematic subsection was address ed last because it extends beyond the professional staff of the Dover Public School District. In the subsequent thematic subsections, the districts overall orientation toward language and culture will be shown as an important factor in both the fostering of homeschool partnerships and the development of a school curriculum that is responsive to the needs of Dovers Latino community. The Home School Partnership This thematic subsection addresses the importance of the homeschool partnership to the relative success of Dovers Latino students. All of the educational professionals were in agreement about the importance of homeschool partnerships within the Dover Public School District. The professionals identified this as a major contributor to helping Latino students in Dover to achieve success despite the obstacles of low socioeconomic status within the context of a localized school district with below average levels of funding. Each educational professional identified a variety of ways in which homesch ool partnerships are facilitated within the Dover community. Through

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72 the interviews, it became clear that strong home school partnerships are facilitated in Dover through homeschool interaction that is sensitive to the linguistic and cultural backgrounds of Latino school families. This interaction is further facilitated through Dovers small walkable size and its access to public transportation. According to the educational professionals, the states localized school districting scheme has contributed to the development of a school community in Dover where Latino parents are accepted and welcomed. In the early days (the late 1970s) it was often tough to get the Latino parents to come out, it really was, but we had to find a way former Supervisor Avell ino stated. Really, we were the only town in Morris County that had the proportions of Hispanics, the numbers, so we had to be proactive early on. As the districts Latino population continued to expand throughout his tenure, Avellino expressed that it w as increasingly important to ensure that the Latino parents were included as partners and allies so as to better serve Dovers students. According to Avellino and the other educators, inclusion of Latino parents and families as partners in the school commu nity has been accomplished through a variety of measures. Avellino first took the example of back to school nights. The former supervisor stated that by the late 1970s that the district always made sure that there were several Spanishspeaking teachers t o speak with Spanishdominant parents. By the mid 1980s, Dover made the back to school night programming more publicly bilingual so as to more fully include Spanish speaking parents. By that point, the superintendent would ask me to write her speeches in Spa nish. Avellino continued, Id record them for her. And she would listen to them and practice and then be able to read them for the Spanishspeaking parents, basically the same thing that she had said in English. Beyond back

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73 to school nights, Avellino stated that it also became important to invite the parents into the school and cultivate an atmosphere that was nonintimidating, informal, and inclusive towards diverse Latino cultures. One of the things that really helped were the festivals that we would have, the international dinners. They were always great things to get everyone to come together. Avellino continued, Latino organizations and restaurants from the town participated as well. We had representation from all these different countries. Av ellino continued, It was a way to invite the parents into the school into what would sometimes otherwise be a very intimidating environment. The festivals were entertainment, but helped connect school to home. According to Supervisor Maslowski, the bil ingual back to school nights and school festivals continue to this day within the Dover school community. Additionally, these programs have expanded to include monthly bilingual and Spanishlanguage parent advisory forums and workshops that are directed towards the educational needs of Latino families and students. The Hispanic parents come out in full force, theyre very much interested in finding out how to help their children, even if they dont speak English, sometimes especially if they dont speak English. Maslowski explained, We spend a lot of time at meetings emphasizing that if they read to their child in Spanish, or have their child become proficient in reading in Spanish, that theyll be able to read in English much more quickly. Maslowski emphasized that various parent forums hosted by the school each month give Spanishdominant Latino parents a forum in which they can express their needs and concerns in the language with which they feel most comfortable. Maslowski included that parents are gi ven choices concerning the content of forums and workshops and are asked for their input on various school decisions.

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74 According to Maslowski, the parent forums have been extremely beneficial to giving Spanishdominant Latino parents a voice in the school c ommunity. Maslowski stated, The parents have thanked us profusely in the past few years because they needed somewhere to go where they could speak in Spanish to somebody, and get some ideas and training for dealing with their children. Dovers focus on the needs of Latino parents is not limited to group settings but is extended to interactions between individual parents and the schools professional staff. As Spanish speaking supervisors of bilingual programs at Dover, both Maslowski and Avellino have been highly involved in working with Latino parents at a personal level. Both described how they sought to cultivate open and trusting relationships with Spanishdominant Latino parents throughout their careers at Dover. This has been accomplished both thr ough meeting with parents at the aforementioned programs and forums as well as through weekly bilingual informational mailings from the school district that encourage communication in order to cultivate relationshi ps with Latino parents. I get many calls from parents who are seeking advice or want more information about our programs. They come and see me if they have questions, because I do speak Spanish, and theyre welcome to call m e anytime Maslowski explained. Personal communication between Dovers professional staff and Latino parents has not been limited to the administrative level. The nonadministrative staff whom I interviewed all described Latino parents in the school district as being accessible and generally very concerned about the academic and social progress of their children. Through interviews, it was revealed that the district makes conscious choices in its

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75 staffing patterns in order to best facilitate dialogue between Spanish dominant Latino parents and professional staff. Each of Dovers public schools has a bilingual main office secretary who is in charge of answering and directing all phone calls that each respective school receives. Furthermore, the district prioritizes having a Spanishspeaking teacher in each grade level at each o f the elementary schools, on each teacher team at the middle school, and in each subject area at the high school. This staffing pattern is in addition to teachers who are responsible for Spanish language and bilingual classes. According to the educational professionals, this allocation of staff helps to facilitate communication between Latino parents who are Spanishdominant and the staff members who do not speak Spanish. Additionally, Guidance Counselor Laskaris and Supervisor Maslowski both spoke stron gly about the value of having academically oriented afterschool programs that are sensitive to the needs of low income Latino parents. Many parents cant provide their kids with advantages that kids in other districts have. Many students I work with dont have a place to study, so weve had to establish some after school programs and studying groups for students, Maslowski explained. Laskaris further described the situation, that because of work responsibilities and linguistic differences that the parent s are not always able to help the students with homework, so we offer various programs after school that help to take the burden off the parents. Furthermore, Dovers afterschool programs function as an intermediary that connects school and home. The af terschool staff members at the K 8 level interact with both Dover teachers and parents on a daily basis (as parents must walk to the school to pick up their children in the evening) and are thus able to help relay messages between

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76 teachers and parents. Acc ording to Julia Enriquez, the Educational Programming Director for Morristown Neighborhood House, the organization that provides Dovers K 8 afterschool programs, about twothirds of the organizations staff is bilingual in Spanish and English. According t o Enriquez, this allows the staff to better communicate with Spanishdominant parents and to aid them in working with Dover Public School District staff members who do not speak Spanish on occasions when the District is unable to provide a translator. Furt hermore, according to Martina Derricks, the site director for Neighborhood Houses program at North Dover Elementary School, the school site is open each day to parents who often come in to help the staff or to learn skills which they can use to aid their children with academics. This form of parental involvement was witnessed firsthand during a visit to the North Dover program, as a father, speaking in Spanish, drilled several children on multiplication tables. Several other parents came in and out of the program during my visit, thus demonstrating the openness of the environment. The preceding interview data i dentified the Dover Public School Districts sensitive treatment of Latino cultures and diverse linguistic backgrounds as key to the fostering of strong homeschool partnerships. As a final portion of the HomeSchool Partnership thematic subsection, it is important to bring forth data regarding public transportation and small size. As will be indicated by interview data, both public transportation and the small geographic area of the Dover community have been pivotal in the facilitation of the aforementioned culturally and linguistically sensitive interaction that characterizes the homeschool partnerships of the Dover Public School District.

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77 The guidance counselors revealed that public transportation is extremely important in Dover because many people in the community cannot afford car ownership. Both guidance counselors identified Dovers high level of integration into the countys and the state s public transportation systems, its abundance of taxi and car services, and the towns small, walkable size as compelling reasons that lower income Latinos often choose to live in Dover over other Morris County communities. They also identified these fact ors as helpful to the facilitation of communication between the school districts professional staff and low income Latino school families. The factors of transportation and geographic size help to facilitate communication in that they allow low income Lat ino families easy access to the schools which their children attend. The afterschool program coordinators added that they had found with some difficulty about Dovers reliance on public transportation. The afterschool program, run by the Morristown Neighborhood House, has operated in the Dover Public School District for five years. The afterschool programs parent organization is headquartered over ten miles away in Morristown. It had been excessively difficult for many Dover parents to attend various ev ening functions and parent workshops at the Morristown headquarters during Neighborhood Houses first year working with the school district. Upon receiving requests from members of the school community, Neighborhood House remedied this by moving all of its evening programming for Dover parents to its school sites within the Dover Public School District. This change allowed parents the ability to walk to their local schools for events, much as their children do in order to go to school during the day. According to the afterschool program coordinators, attendance by Dover parents at evening events increased markedly after the change was made.

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78 Jane Ektis, Director of Dover Head Start, also commented on transportation in Dover. The director stated that many people from the community often lack personal automobiles and therefore rely on the use of Head Starts facility for various parent meetings and educational programs such as evening ESL classes. Theyre able to walk here, so its much easier, she stated. D overs walkability is reflected in its public schools. According to Supervisor Maslowski, because of the compact geographical area which the school district serves, the DPSD has never required a school busing service and many parents, especially those with elementary age children, walk their children to nearby schools each day. This factor helps to facilitate daily interaction between home and school for many parents. Thus Dovers small, walkable size is helpful to the facilitation of relationships between lower income Latino families and the districts public schools. The small geographic size and transportation factors thus help the district in building homeschool partnerships that are based upon respect for the linguistic and cultural backgrounds of L atino school families. The final thematic subsection based on findings related to the third research question will address how localized public school districting affects programming for the districts majority Latino student population. Programming for Latino Students Interviews with educational professionals revealed views that localized school districting has given the Dover Public School District a greater level of autonomy in its ability to meet the needs of the students which it serves. This autonomy has been an impetus for the Dover Public School District to provide educational programming that is geared towards the needs of its predominantly low income, majority Latino student population. According to former supervisor Avellino, reflecting on Dovers historically

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79 large Latino population relative to the rest of Morris County stated, It has been a great advantage for Dover to have been able to come up with programs that work specifically for the benefit of our district. Avellino continued, I feel that under a countywide school system, the specific needs of Dover would have probably been swallowed up. This final thematic subsection will address how the Dover Public School District has implemented programming to serve the needs of the predominantly lowincome Latino students which the district serves. New Jersey Department of Education datasets from the past five years indicate that the majority of families with children enrolled in the Dover Public School District are Spanishspeaking. This is m uch greater than the state average, where just over 10% of school families statewide are Spanishspeaking. The data for home language can be found in T able 46. Additionally, most of the schools within the Dover Public School District have proportions of E nglish Language Learners two to three times higher than the statewide average. Thi s data can be found in T able 47 (NJDOE, 2005 2009) This being said, the districts orientation toward language policy is extremely important to this final thematic subsecti on. Bilingual Education and ESL Programming The Dover Public School Districts Bilingual/ESL Three Year Program Plan for 20082011 indicated that the district has developed numerous programs in order to meet the needs of its Spanishspeaking English La nguage Learner (ELL) population. Under the current plan, the district has a full time bilingual education program at Academy Street Elementary School for kindergarten students. North Dover Elementary school is home to full time bilingual programs for students in grades 15. East Dover Elementary school, which takes all sixth grade students in Dover, hosts a full time

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80 bilingual program for sixth grade students. Dover Middle School and Dover High School each have departmentalized (subject area), part time bilingual programs and sheltered English courses. Each school within the district also provides ESL classes which are grouped by English proficiency level (beginner, intermediate and advanced) at each grade level in grades 7 12. All students who are enrolled in bilingual programs must also take ESL as required by state law. The plan states 136 students took part in the districts fulltime bilingual programs, 146 took part in part time bilingual programs, and 148 students were in Englishbased sheltered instruction and ESL programs. Students enrolled in ESL/bilingual programs are reassessed annually and on an as needed basis before they enter the Englishmainstream school setting (Dover Public School District, 2008). The plan describes the districts first go al for bilingual programs as, to provide a full academic program in all content areas linked to the NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards. The district states that its second goal for bilingual programs is to provide students with a nurturing setting upon arrival and facilitate the transition from Spanish to English through intense English instruction as students adjust to a new culture, school, and academic setting. Bilingual programs within the district utilize a transitional approach whereby both Engl ish and Spanish are used in instruction and Spanish is used for clarification, explanation and discussion (Dover Public School District, 2008, p. 3 ). The interview with former Supervisor Avellino revealed that Dover began a curriculum for Transitional Bi lingual Education (TBE) starting in the late 1970s. The early program started with mixed grade classes but expanded in breadth over the years

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81 to include a TBE class for each elementary grade level within the district and subject area bilingual courses at t he middle and high school levels. The NJDOE mandates that each school district in the state have a bilingual program when twenty ELL students who speak the same language attend public schools within a district. Despite this mandate, Dover remains one of tw o school districts within Morris County with a bilingual program and one of only 72 districts statewide (NJDOE, 2009) Both Avellino and Maslowski noted that other districts with sufficient numbers of Spanishspeaking ELLs within Morris County apply for a waiver on bilingual programs each year. The bilingual education mandate stipulates that districts may apply for a waiver each year if a bilingual program would be unfeasible because of a geographically dispersed ELL population or student age range (NJDOE, 2009). In addition to TBE classes, the district also maintains ESL (English as a second language) pullout instruction, and content area sheltered English classes depending on the individual needs of students. Furthermore, bilingual education within Dover is not limited to the K 12 level. According to the Head Start Director, Jane Ektis, a full day TBE program is provided for all students at her school site in Dover. A half day preK program with a curriculum similar to that of Dover Head Start was initiated recently within the Dover Public School District. Ektis also mentioned that El Primer Paso School has provided a half day preK program since the 1970s. El Primer Pasos program seeks to build childrens skills in both English and Spanish through a 50/ 50 bilingual format, charging tuition on a sliding scale. The director added that both Head Start and El Primer Paso coordinate closely with the Dover Public School District as nearly all of the children that are educated in each of the schools ultimately go on to attend school in the local K 12 district.

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82 Native Spanish Programming In addition to addressing the needs of English Language Learners through a program of Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) and ESL, Dover also seeks to help students to mai ntain and improve their abilities in the Spanish Language. Under Avellinos leadership the district implemented a curriculum for Native Spanish courses at Dover High School the year after it began offering TBE classes. The Native Spanish program began at D over High School in 1978 with a single course and has expanded greatly in breadth since its inception. Avellino, who has consulted other districts in the development of Native Spanish curriculums, noted that only a few other school districts in Morris County today have the critical mass of native Spanish speaking students to have such programs, none with the breadth of classes that Dover can offer. According to Maslowski, Dover High School today offers several different tracks for Native Speakers of Spanish that are tailored to the varied educational backgrounds and Spanish expertise of the students which they serve. Furthermore, the school offers Advanced Placement (AP) Spanish Literature in addition to AP Spanish Language. Additionally, in the mid 1990s, Native Spanish was expanded to Dover Middle School. The Native Spanish Program at Dover Middle School is a multi tiered program similar to what is found in Dover High School. Thus a curriculum that addresses the diverse Spanish language abilities and needs of Dovers students is implemented in grades 712 across the district. Furthermore, both Maslowski and Avellino discussed a program that is conducted through Dover High Schools Native Spanish courses which they both identified as being extremely s uccessful. Through its Native Spanish courses, The Dover Public School District partners nearly every year with Repertorio Espa ol, a

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83 professional Spanishlanguage theater company based in New York City. With Repertorio Espaol, students in the Native Spanish courses are paired with professional writers from the theater company. Working with the writers, the students develop their own full length plays. The students then compete against other schools with similar Native Spanish courses to have their plays s elected to be professionally performed in New York City at Repertorio Espaols theater. Dover students have won the competition several times since the partnership was initiated in the early 1990s. Additionally, Repertorio Espaol has performed professionally at the Dover High School auditorium for the wider Dover community in front of full capacity audiences several times in the past two decades. Both Avellino and Maslowski see the partnership with Repertorio Espaol as being important within the majority Latino school district for the validation it gives to the Spanish language and Latino cultures both within the school and the wider community. Both administrators noted that they have witnessed this program inspire students to learn which has transcended itself to other academic areas and interests. Other Programming The academic focus that Dover places on Latino students is not limited to bilingual programs, ESL, and Native Spanish courses. Nonetheless, the supervisors, all three teachers, and both guidance counselors noted that Dovers ability to specialize in these programs has contributed to helping Latino students to excel in other academic areas. The districts strong and diverse offerings in ESL and bilingual programs help Latino English Language Learners to acquire the necessary skills to compete in classes that are conducted entirely in English. The DPSDs offering of Native Spanish courses allows students a linguistically and culturally validating learning environment which often

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84 inspires the d esire to learn in other fields. According to educational professionals, this combination has contributed to the cultivation of high standards and expectations for students across curriculums. Former Supervisor Avellino and Supervisor Maslowski described the facultys high standards as helping Latino students in the district to develop strong work ethics. Maslowski state d, Our students work hard, a lot really work hard and do well. Many of them dont have economic advantages but overcome a lot of these challenges and do pretty well on tests and acquiring English for the many ELLs. Former teacher Michelle Rizzo corroborated that curriculum was never dumbed down because Dover was a low SES school district or because of the high proportion of ELL students and that this positively benefited students in helping them to develop strong work ethics. Guidance Counselor Thomas Laskaris described the district as having high expectations for all of its students. Whether ELL or from an English speaking family, our goals are ultimately still the same; to get them up to the high school and to get them into the college prep track, and get them into a 2 or 4 year school after they graduate, Laskaris stated as he described advisement and expectations of students. Fu rthermore, though Dover Public School District personnel seek to maintain high academic standards so as to prepare Latino students for post secondary education, the district has recently taken action that acknowledges that higher education has often been i naccessible to many of its lower income Latino students. Guidance counselor Alicia Alvarez described a recently implemented dual enrollment college credit enrollment program that the Dover Public School District put into place with the cooperation of the C ounty College of Morris (CCM). Alvarez described Dover as

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85 traditionally having had a lot of very intelligent, capable students who did not pursue postsecondary education even though they had expressed interest in further study and had proven that they have the abilities to continue on to higher education. The guidance counselor spoke from her own personal experience when she stated that part of the reason for this is that many low income Latino families in the district are extremely debt averse. They look at the tuition prices and they dont know how theyll ever pay it off. Laskaris and Maslowski also identified this issue. Both counselors, as well as Supervisor Maslowski discussed the dual enrollment program as a major step that the district has tak en to help low income Latino students to overcome some of the financial burden of higher education. The County College of Morris (CCM) dual enrollment program offers college level courses in science and writing composition while students are still enrolled at Dover High School. Under this program, professors from CCM come to Dover High School to teach using the same curriculum that would be used for corresponding classes that takes place on the colleges campus. Through this program, students can attain a full semester of college credits at no cost. Alvarez, Laskaris, and Maslowski all stressed the benefits of the County College Program. The guidance counselors and the supervisor emphasized that the program has helped Dover students to gain additional c onfidence that they are capable of doing college level work. They also emphasized that the program can provide up to a semester of college credits at no cost to students and helps to encourage students to continue with further education. Both Alvarez and M aslowski found this to be especially important for many of Dovers Latino students, most of whom are the first from their families to have had the opportunity to receive post secondary education. Laskaris

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86 stated that Dover is only one of a few school distr icts in the county that offers such a program and that the district is looking to expand it to include more courses. The strengths of Dovers Latino students are not met without challenges. Though test scores among Dovers Latino students are generally higher than those of Latino students from socioeconomically similar DFG A districts, recent increases in the number of high stakes, statewide standardized tests are a major concern for Dover educators. Supervisor Maslowski stated, I think the biggest chall enge is passing state assessments, and theyre adding more and more each year in the State of New Jersey. The supervisor stated that the number of state tests that are administered is daunting for the Dover Public School District because of the high number of students in the district whose first language is not English having to take state standardized tests in their second language. The supervisor also expressed concern about the potential removal of the Specialized Review Assessment (SRA) a test that can be taken as a high school exit exam in New Jersey in place of the High School Proficiency Assessment. The test can be taken in Spanish and has been beneficial to latecoming high school age ELLs who have not yet acquired full proficiency in academic Eng lish. Former supervisor Avellino, and the two former teachers, expressed similar concerns about the increasing role of high stakes statewide, standardized tests. Nonetheless, Maslowski remains optimistic. The supervisor continually expressed that the dis tricts high proportion of Latino ELLs has allowed the district to specialize in providing services to that population. The supervisor identified this specialization as beneficial to some Dover Latino students performance on state tests.

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87 The supervisor explained, Even though studies show that it takes 57 years to attain academic English skills, we have to do it quickly. The supervisor then praised the teachers in her department, when we get a new ELL student, say in ninth grade, that speaks no English, they still have to eventually pass all the tests to graduate. Maslowski explained, so our bilingual and ESL department really work hard to get students learning English as quickly as possible. In this district they have to rise to the challenge. Ch apter Summary The New Jersey Department of Education datasets demonstrated that the Dover Public School District is disproportionately low income and Latino relative to the rest of the relatively affluent county where it is located. Observational and int erview data provided reasoning behind the development of a low income, majority Latino community in the midst of county that is mostly nonLatino, white, and middle class. Furthermore, archival data from the New Jersey Department of Education demonstrated that the Dover Public School District is funded well below the mean and median levels for Morris County, the State of New Jersey, and the similarly low SES District Factor Group A Abbott Districts. Additionally, interview data revealed that the Dover Public School District is funded insufficiently for the meeting of all community educational needs as identified by educational professionals affiliated with the Dover Public School District. Successful programs and vital services have been cut, the lack of A bbott preK mandate creates a waiting list for Head Start and similar programs each year, and teacher and administrator pay is consistently lower relative to the rest of the state. The final section of this chapter demonstrated that in spite of socioeconomic and funding challenges found within a low income, majority Latino school system, that the

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88 Dover Public School District has often managed to exceed state expectations for student performance as determined by District Factor Group. The educational profe ssionals whom I interviewed found that high levels of professional staff dedication, the fostering of homeschool partnerships, and the development of programming geared toward the educational needs of Latino students as having had pivotal roles in Dovers relative success.

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89 Figure 41. Morris County Latino Population by Municipality (The dark green spot in the middle of the map corresponds to Dover) Source: 2000 U S Census Data

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90 Table 41. Comparative Cost Per Pupil Comparative Cost Per Pupil 2008 2009 200 7 2008 2006 2007 2005 06 2004 05 Dover State Dover State Dover State Dover State Dover State 11,261 $13,601 $10,382 $12,598 $10,169 11,939 $9,774 $11,673 $9,167 $11,215 Source: New Jersey Department of Education (20052009)

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91 Figure 42 Comp arative Cost Per Pupil Graph; Source: New Jersey Department of Education (2005 2009)

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92 Table 42 NJDOE Test Score Data Dover Latinos and. DFG A Latinos Grade 11 HSPA Grade 8 NJASK/GEPA Grade 4 NJASK Partial Proficient Advanced Partial Proficient Advanced Partial Proficient Advanced 2009 LAL Dover 21.2 70.3 8.5 20.3 75.1 4.5 51.7 45.5 2.8 NJ DFG A 39.4 57.9 2.7 40.2 58 1.8 60.3 38.4 1.4 2009 MATH Dover 39 54.2 6.8 46 40.3 13.6 24.8 55.9 19.3 NJ DFG A 54.5 40.7 4.8 50.3 36.5 13.2 40.9 43.5 15.6 2008 LAL Dover 23.8 70.3 5.9 26.3 66.9 6.9 29.3 70.1 0.6 NJ DFG A 43.1 54.8 2.2 40.5 57.2 2.4 32 67.1 0.9 2008 MATH Dover 33.7 63.4 3 55.4 39.4 5.1 27.8 43.8 28.4 NJ DFG A 53.7 41.9 4.4 56.5 34.5 9 27.6 48.9 23.5 2007 LAL Dover 16.5 71.1 12.4 40.3 55 4.7 32.4 64.8 2.8 NJ DFG A 39.5 55.5 4.9 50.6 46.4 3 36 62.3 1.7 2007 MATH Dover 33.7 63.4 3 50.3 47 2.7 33.1 54.5 12.4 NJ DFG A 54.1 41.6 4.3 57.9 34.4 7.6 30 47 23 2006 LAL Dover 30.7 64.6 4.7 42.7 54.9 2.3 31.3 68.2 0.6 NJ DFG A 43.6 52 4.4 52 45.9 2.1 39.2 60.1 0.7 2006 MATH Dover 37 59.1 3.9 60.8 33.5 5.7 21 52.8 26.1 NJ DFG A 52.7 42.3 4.9 62.4 31.5 6.2 32.1 42.6 25.3 2005 LAL Dover 33.9 63.7 2.4 41.4 56.8 1.8 31.5 68 0.6 NJ DFG A 44.9 51.9 3.2 5 4.5 43.9 1.6 33.7 65 1.2 2005 MATH Dover 37.2 56.2 6.6 64.3 32.2 3.5 26.8 52 21.2 NJ DFG A 52.7 41.3 6 64.5 30.4 5.1 33 46.9 20 Source: New Jersey Department of Education (20052009)

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93 Figure 43 NJDOE Test Score Data: 5 Year Averages for Dover Latinos and DFG A Latinos High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA), Grade Eight Proficiency Assessment (GEPA), New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJASK) ; Source: New Jersey Department of Education (20052009) Table 43 Graduation Rates Hig h School Graduation Rates % Year Dover State 2008 09 89.9 93.3 2007 08 91.2 92.3 2006 07 94.2 92.3 2005 06 98 94.2 2004 05 93.2 91.3 Source: New Jersey Department of Education (20052009)

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94 Table 44 Faculty Mobility Rate Faculty Mobility Rate % b y School Year DHS DMS ASE EDE NDE State 2008 09 2.4 0 0 2.6 2.4 4 2007 08 4.9 26.2 0 8.8 0 5.7 2006 07 1.2 7.1 6.2 6.2 0 6.2 2005 06 2.3 0 5 0 3.7 6.7 2004 05 6.6 6.7 2.5 16.2 10.1 7 Source: New Jersey Department of Education (20052009) Table 45. Administrator and Teacher Salaries Dover vs. State Average Salary Comparison Title 2008 09 2007 08 2006 07 2005 06 2004 05 Admin Dover $96,874 $98,971 $93,630 $87,823 $85,906 Admin State $114,950 $111,311 $108,450 $105,960 $102,755 Teacher Dover $57,987 $56,412 $52,822 $50,487 $44,722 Teacher State $59,545 $57,242 $55,550 $53,871 $52,562 Source: New Jersey Department of Education (20052009)

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95 Figure 44 Administrator and Teacher Salaries; Source: New Jersey Department of Education (20052009)

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96 Table 46 Home Language by School Home Language by School Language DHS DMS ASE EDE NDE State 2008 09 Spanish 56.3 63.5 68.8 76.4 74.7 10 English 37.8 35 30.3 21.6 25.3 78.2 2007 08 Spanish 55.6 62.7 71.4 69.9 73.7 10.8 English 39.7 34.7 27.3 25 25.2 77.6 2006 07 Spanish 55.6 59.7 74.8 72.4 68.5 Unknown English 36.4 39.1 24.1 26.2 29.1 Unknown 2005 06 Spanish 54.5 61.8 73.1 71.3 68.3 Unknown English 40.3 35.6 25.4 27.7 29.4 Unknown 2004 05 Spanish 57 70.8 68.1 70 .9 68.6 Unknown English 41.1 26.9 26.7 26.2 30.7 Unknown Dover High School (DHS), Dover Middle School (DMS), Academy Street School (ASE), East Dover Elementary School (EDE), North Dover Elementary School (NDE); Source: New Jersey Department of Education (2005 2009) Table 47 Limited English Proficient by School % Limited English Proficient (LEP) Year DHS DMS ASE EDE NDE State 2008 09 10.5 5.3 5.8 1.6 9.3 3.9 2007 08 11.8 8.5 9.5 2.2 14.3 3.7 2006 07 11.6 11 10.2 Unknown 15.5 3.9 2005 06 12. 9 11.4 11.8 7.4 10.4 3.8 2004 05 13.7 13.1 11.3 10.5 10.6 3.8 Dover High School (DHS), Dover Middle School (DMS), Academy Street School (ASE), East Dover Elementary School (EDE), North Dover Elementary School (NDE) ; Source: New Jersey Department of Education (20052009)

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97 CHAPTER 5 OBSERVATIONS Interviews with educational professionals affiliated with the Dover Public School District (DPSD) added to archival data to demonstrate how localized school districting as found in the state of New Jersey has af fected a predominantly low income, majority Latino school community. The interviews revealed how the DPSD has been specifically affected by the states localized school districting and funding mechanisms. The interviews also revealed how the gradual growth of a longstanding, predominantly low income Latino majority within the confines of the Town of Dover has affected the responses of educational professionals in engaging the corresponding school community. This chapter places these issues within the contex t of the literature and makes potential policy recommendations for the improvement of K 12 educational finance and the engagement of low income, majority Latino school communities. Localized School Districting All of the interviewed educational professi onals concurred that New Jerseys system of localized school districting has led to the development of a predominantly low income, majority Latino school community within the confines of the Dover Public School District (DPSD). With only 3.6% of Morris Cou ntys total public school enrollment but 25% of its Latino students and 26% of its students eligible for free and reduced price lunch, the DPSD represents the segregation of much of Morris Countys low income Latino population into one school district (NJD OE, 2009) Several of the interviewees mentioned the greater availability of affordable housing relative to other Morris County communities as a principal contributor to this demographic and socioeconomic trend. As discussed by both Frankenberg (2009) and Bischoff (2008), small localized school

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98 districts have the potential to contribute to socioeconomic and demographic segregation as school district boundaries are used as frames of reference which homeseekers use when considering where to live. This affect s property values and thus certain groups become effectively priced out of certain communities and their corresponding school districts. Though interviewees acknowledged that New Jerseys localized school districting scheme has contributed to the segregati on of low income Latinos into the Town of Dover and its corresponding school district, they also recognized that this arrangement has conferred certain advantages for this group. Most notably, interviewees mentioned the towns small walkable size and connection to mass transportation as important features for low income Latinos in Dover, many of whom cannot afford car ownership. Furthermore, the towns concentration of Latinos within a predominantly nonLatino, white middleclass county has allowed Dover to focus its social and educational services to reflect the demographics of the community and likewise develop a base of Latinoowned businesses oriented toward the needs of the community. Localized Funding Several of the educational professionals who were interviewed expressed dismay with how funding has affected the Dover Public School District (DPSD). From the interviews, it was revealed that the current setup of K 12 school funding in the state of New Jersey has had a particularly negative impact on t he DPSD, a lowincome district that is not eligible for the funding and programming mandates that are allowed to the socioeconomically similar Abbott Districts. As discussed by Goertz Lauver and Ritter (2001), the district based redistribution of tax doll ars that focuses most specifically on the needs of the Abbott Districts has adversely affected low income nonAbbott school

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99 districts throughout the state of New Jersey. Interviewees revealed the realities of Dovers lack of benefit from the Abbott Decisi ons, helping to show the real life impact on an actual community. Interviewees discussed how successful programs have been forced to be cut, the precariousness of state funding from year to year, and the districts inability to meet all educational needs w ithin the community. Dover Community All of the educational professionals who were interviewed identified the states localized school districting scheme as having certain benefits for Dovers Latino community, particularly in Morris County which is over whelmingly nonLatino and white. The statement by former Supervisor of World Languages and Bilingual Programs, Nicholas Avellino, that It has been an advantage for Dover to have been able to come up with programs that work specifically for the benefit of our district. I feel that under a countywide school system, the specific needs of Dover would have probably been swallowed up, speaks to this. Avellinos statement fits well with Mintroms finding that small, localized school districts are better able to focus on meeting the needs of the specific student populations and communities which they serve (Mintrom, 2008). Furthermore, in making decisions that are focused on the specific needs of the community, it seems that Dovers administration and professional staff has typically been able to find ways to work with the communitys strengths, an important way of affecting positive outcomes according to Nieto (2004). Professional Staff One of the major themes revealed through the interviews was the Dover Publi c School Districts (DPSD) retention of dedicated, longtime professional staff, many with roots in the Dover School Community. Interviewees identified the districts cultivation of

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100 a familial atmosphere within the context of a small, walkable school community as helping to cultivate conditions that encourage former students to eventually start careers as members of the Dover faculty. Interviewees revealed that such faculty members are able to be more empathetic to students and families from the town because of their shared experiences. The interviewees also demonstrated that faculty members with Dover roots often feel that they have a vested interest in the school community and are in turn dedicated to facilitating positive outcomes for students. Their dedic ation in turn leads to their willingness to embrace the use of multiple modalities to reach diverse learners and their willingness to assist faculty members without Dover roots in understanding the community. This is similar to the situation observed by Howley and Howley regarding the low income, localized, small community of the Concordia School District (20 06). The case studies by Garcia, Trumbull and Rothstein Fisch (2009) and Colombo (2007) demonstrated that culturally and linguistically sensitive pr ofessional development can help faculty and staff to better relate to Latino cultures and better work with Latino students. Perhaps it is the dedication of Dovers professional staff, their desire to empathize with students and families, and their vested i nterests in the community that has led to the districts focus on implementing professional development oriented toward meeting the needs of Spanish speaking English Language Learners and bilingual Latino students. Home School Partnerships The district has made increasing efforts to engage Spanishdominant Latino parents since at least the late 1970s so as to facilitate stronger homeschool partnerships. The district seems to adhere to the principles espoused by Delgado Gaitan (2004) of connecting, shar ing information, and staying involved in that Dover

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101 educational professionals report that the district has a history of seeking to engage parents in a variety of ways that are linguistically and culturally sensitive (p. xi) This shows that parents and t heir cultural and linguistic backgrounds are valued. Events geared toward parents are bilingual in format and international school festivals allow for the celebration of home cultures in an environment that seeks to be informal and nonintimidating, so as t o foster relationships between home and school. The districts strategic placing of Spanishspeaking staff is focused on fostering communication between Spanishdominant parents and the school. Additionally It seems that the districts efforts to work with Dovers Latino parents are indicative of a school district that views parental support of the school community as an as set, much as the study by Reyes, Scribner and Paredes Scribner found with the highperforming Latino schools in Texas. Additionally, bas ed on observation and interviews, the afterschool program as run by the Morristown Neighborhood House seems to foster communication between home in school similar to what was found in the study by Riggs and Medina (2005) This seemed to be helped by the pr ograms bilingual staff and the informal atmosphere by which parents entered and left the program and provided assistance to the staff. Programming for Latino Students Interviewees acknowledged that Dovers Latino students face certain challenges but al so recognized the strengths that these students bring to school. Several school professionals expressed that high stakes statewide standardized tests are a major challenge for ELL students who have not yet mastered academic English. In her article on trends in ELL education, Ma noted that autonomy and discretion in decisionmaking is important for schools in developing programs that work for their students (2002). DPSD professionals expressed that localized school districtings effect of concentrating

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102 a dis proportionate number of Latino ELL students within the district has been cause for the district to be proactive in addressing the needs of these students through the development of a variety of bilingual education, sheltered English, and ESL programs that are not widely available elsewhere in Morris County. The variety of bilingual programs and ESL classes are indicative of a district that has been able to tailor its curriculum to the needs of its ELL students. Furthermore, Mora (2009) and Salazar (2008) di scussed the effective banning of bilingual education in several other states whereas Zehr (2007) conversely discussed the favorable climate which exists in New Jersey for this educational practice. Surely the legality of bilingual education in New Jersey coupled with the states localized districting structure has contributed to Dovers ability to make decisions that are better for meeting the needs of its Latino ELL students through a variety of instructional techniques. Clearly, there would be fewer options if bilingual education were banned in New Jersey as it is in several other states. Additionally, Dover is able to offer a multi tiered group of Spanish for Native Speakers (SNS) c lasses in grades 712. The district has been offering SNS classes since t he late 1970s and has developed a unique writing partnership with the Repertorio Espaol of New York City. This is indicative that the District values the bilingualism of Latino students as a strength to be developed and seeks to provide programming that i s relevant to students cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Carreira (2007) found that SNS programs which value students cultural and linguistic backgrounds are able to support English Spanish biliteracy and help to raise achievement among Latinos. Perhaps the secondary level SNS programs are partly why the statewide test score achievement is highest for the DPSDs Latino high school students relative to other District Factor

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103 Group A Latino students. Additionally, the DPSD sets high expectations and recog nizes the needs of its students with the implementation of both academically oriented afterschool programs and the County College of Morris dual enrollment partnership. Policy Recommendations My research does not allow me to make generalizations about all localized, predominantly low income, majority Latino school districts. However, it does raise issues about the fairness of public school funding mechanisms. It also brings forth issues about the costs and benefits of school district localization with r egard to low income Latino communities. First, the findings revealed that the DPSD is funded at 68% the level of the socioeconomically similar Abbott Districts, most of which also belong to the same District Factor Group (DFG) A, the lowest socioeconomic grouping for New Jersey school districts. While Abbott Districts receive programming mandates and funding mandates that ensure that they are funded at least comparably to the states wealthiest school districts, Dover is left out of this equation and is i n fact funded at 83% of the state average. This hardly seems fair. The state of New Jersey should explore the option of implementing a new school funding regime for meeting the needs of low income students. The example of Dover helps to make it obvious tha t many low income students live outside the borders of the states Abbott Districts. The state should consider a targetedspending approach that provides supplemental funding on a per student basis. Second, the Dover Public School Districts Latino students typically have outperformed socioeconomically similar District Factor Group A Latino students on statewide standardized tests as indicated by five year test trends. Dover school

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104 professionals revealed Dovers relative success to be attributable to various community factors that are generally not characteristic of the urban districts that mos t DFG A Latinos attend. First the Dover Public School District, a predominantly low income, Latino school district corresponds to a small, walkable geographical area that helps facilitate communication between home and school. This is not typical of most of the states other predominantly low income, Latino majority school districts, most of which correspond to much larger cities in heavily urbanized areas. Thes e districts do not necessarily have to disband into smaller districts in order to replicate some of the benefits of localization that the DPSD has enjoyed. Perhaps one strategy these districts could employ would be to ensure that each of their schools corr espond to a specific neighborhood. Still it seems that factors found in Dover, such as the maintenance of longstanding staff with community roots who are c ommitted to the school district would be difficult to replicate elsewhere. Third, schools need to focus on being sensitive to the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the students and school families that they serve. The case of the Dover Public School District and its predominantly low income, majority Latino school community illustrates that positi ve outcomes can be conferred when schools view students cultural and linguistic backgrounds as strengths. The DPSD has made a sincere effort to ensure that Latino school families feel welcome in the district and has actively sought their collaboration. This has been done through both the fostering of homeschool partnerships and the development of educational programming to meet the needs of Latino students since at least the late 1970s.

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105 Finally, given the praise that both the current and the former supervisors of World Languages and Bilingual Programs gave to the native Spanish program, it seems evident that this program has been successful in helping to increase the bilingual range of students and raise student achievement across subject areas. The Dov er Public School District should consider implementing Native Spanish at the elementary level if the funding to do so becomes available. Additionally, other districts with sufficient populations of Latino students of bilingual background should consider the implementation of such programs if they have not done so already. Conclusion In conclusion, my study was a beginning, primarily qualitative investigation into school district localization and the ability of one specific school district to respond to the needs of its predominantly low income, majority Latino community despite funding deficits. My study found that despite funding deficits, several community factors have worked in Dovers favor to help provide generally better educational outcomes for low income Latino youth than can be found among socioeconomically similar Latino students in other low income District Factor Group A New Jersey school districts. My study was in certain ways limited by the fact that only members of the school district profe ssional staff were interviewed. A follow up study on the Dover Public School District may seek interview participants from the wider Dover school community, such as parents and guardians. Future studies may investigate this topic using a more quantitativel y focused approach that could facilitate comparison between districts. My Inspiration In December of 2008, after seeing the film The Wrestler I made a visit to Dover, New Jersey, a town that played a significant role in my youth. The film was shot entir ely

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106 in New Jersey and I thus recognized many of the sites that were depicted onscreen. I was amazed to see the dramatic ending of the film take place at none other than the Baker Theater, an early 1900s venue located in downtown Dover that is today used for everything from wedding receptions to the showing of South American soccer matches. Inspired by nostalgia, the purpose of my trip to Dover that day was to see the Baker Theater in real life once again. When I arrived at the theater on Blackwell Street, t he marquee was not advertising the date of the next soccer match, concert, or wedding but was instead expressing congratulations to the Dover Public School District for winning a silver medal award from U S News and World Reports (I later found out that U S News took socioeconomic disadvantage into account in awarding these distinctions to schools.) The Dover Public School Districts winning of the award intrigued me. Growing up less than ten blocks from Dover, I can recall the town and its corresponding school district at times being scorned by outsiders for perceived shortcomings. Dover is a predominantly low income community where a majority of residents are Latino; the towns in Morris County that surround Dover are predominantly middleclass and nonLatino white. When I underwent a teacher preparation program at The College of New Jersey major topics of focus in many of the courses that I took were the roles of socioeconomic status and cultural background and their relationship to educational outcomes within New Jerseys public educational system. This was so much the case that the colleges education department required that its students complete two unique teaching internships; one in a school with students of predominantly middleclass and

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107 general ly white backgrounds, and another in a low income school with mostly minority students. Recollections to experiences from my youth on the day that I revisited the Baker Theater gave me the idea that perhaps Dover had certain community factors that were i nfluential in its winning of the school award. I frequently visited the town of Dover as I lived just ten blocks outside of its borders and my mat ernal grandparents were town residents who had lived in the town since the 1940s. As a child, I spent many school vacations at my grandparents home in Dover. From a young age, I received the impression that Dover was a caring community. My grandparents frequently performed small acts for the benefit of their neighbors. People in the neighborhood were always frien dly toward me. My grandparents rarely locked their door. At the start of my early adulthood, roles reversed and I became a caretaker to my grandparents as their abilities to function independently slowly diminished. Virtually every day during my final two years of high school I would drive to my grandparents house in Dover to take care of any necessary household chores or to take them anywhere that they needed to go. My position arose out of practicality; all of the adults in my family worked fairly long hours w hile I finished school at 2:00 each day, a factor that was especially important for taking my grandparents to their frequent appointments with physicians. Though we made an effort to do so, my family could not always expediently meet every need t hat my grandparents had. Many important tasks were handled by a small group of their neighbors, all of whom were young immigrants from Colombia and Ecuador. All of these people had their own family obligations and seemed to work multiple jobs with very lit tle personal time. Still, they took the time out of their

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108 lives to help their elderly neighbors, my grandparents. Perhaps these experiences further reinforced my earliest images of Dover as a caring community that belied the perceptions of critical outsiders. Both of my grandparents had passed away before I started my second semester of college. Typically working twenty or more hours per week while attending classes fulltime and living near my college in Trenton, my contact with the Dover community dec lined to an annual visit to the towns Colombian Festival and an occasional dinner at one of its Latinorigin restaurants whenever I happened to be in the area. Nonetheless, from my youthful experiences I retained an interest in the community that was spar ked again on the day that I revisited Dover and discovered that the towns school district was winning praise and accolades from a national magazine. It was from this context that I began my research.

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109 APPENDIX A DATA PLANNING AND CO LLECTION MATRIX Adap te d from LeCompte and Schensul (1999) Research Questions What did I need to know? Why did I need to know this? What kind of data answered the question? Where did I find the data? Whom did I need to contact for access? 1 Does localized school districting segregate students based on socioeconomic status and cultural background? How does this affect school and community? To understand how NJs localized school districting affects socioeconomic and cultural diversity within schools. NJDOE data, census data, int erviews with Dover staff, former Dover Staff NJDOE, U S Census Bureau, Dover School District, Neighborhoo d House, Head Start NJDOE data, U S Census Data, educational professionals from Dover School District, community organizations 2 How does schoo l funding work within a localized context in New Jersey? How does this affect the school community? To understand how NJ K 12 public school districts are financed. NJDOE data; Interviews with Dover Staff, former Dover staff NJ Department of Education, Do ver School District, Neighborhoo d House, Head Start NJ Department of Education data, staff from Dover District, community organizations 3 What are some of the positive and negative consequences that localized districting has on Dover? Programs offered to students and families? Interaction between diverse stakeholders within the community? To understand how localized districting may have benefits for the Dover school community as well as negatives. Especially concerning programming and interaction of community members. Interviews with Dover staff, former Dover staff, Dover Schools website Dover School District, Neighborhoo d House, Dover Head Start Dover Staff, former Dover staff, community organizations

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110 APPENDIX B ADMINISTRATOR QUESTI ON GUIDE 1. Desc ribe the student demographics at your school (race/ethnicity/language/income/ participation in free or reduced lunch) etc. 2. What do you feel are some of the greatest academic, social, and economic challenges confronting students from your school or school district? What are some of the greatest strengths that can be found in your student body? How do these qualities influence the leadership role you take as an administrator? 3. In general, how would you describe your interaction with parents? What types of concerns do parents from your district often have? Are parents from your district generally accessible? For what reasons might they be inaccessible? 4. In what ways do you think the reputation of the local public school district influences parents decisions to live in the community and whether or not to send their children to the municipalitys public schools? How does this affect your school district? 5. How do you find that the state of New Jerseys system of localized school districting affects your school and school district? Do you have any opinion of county wide school systems as found in many other states? 6. Do you think there are any ways by which New Jerseys system of localized school districting and municipality based school funding could be improved? If so, how? 7. How do you feel that the current plans of the New Jersey governor and legislature to change the mechanisms of redistribution of school funding to better meet the needs of economically disadvantaged students (regardless if they live in the states designated, economically disadvantaged Abbott Districts or not) may affect students in your district?

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111 APPENDIX C TEACHER QUESTION GUI DE 1. Describe the student demographics at your school (race, ethnicity, home language, twoparent or single parent households, family income, participation in free or reduced lunch etc). 2. What do you feel are some of the greatest academic, social, and economic challenges confronting students from your school or school district? What are some of the greatest strengths that can be found in your student body? How do these qualities affect your role as a teacher? Your pedagogical practices? 3. In general, how would you describe your interaction with parents? What types of concerns do parents from your district often have? Are parents from your district generally accessible? For what reasons might they be inaccessible? 4. Have you encountered language barriers with parents while working in this district? How was this addressed? Do you feel that there are sufficient numbers of faculty who can communicate with nonEnglish speaking populations? 5. In what ways do you feel parental involvement affects student behavior and academic performance? What types of challenges do you confront with students whose parents do not seem involved with their childs academic life? What about students with overly involved parents? 6. As a classroom teacher, do you feel that your districts level of funding is sufficient in meeting the educational needs of students in your district? Where might funding deficits be noticeable? 7. Do you feel that your district is able to provide the necessary support for students who are Englishlanguage learners? How does this support (or lack thereof) aid (or hinder) you in best addressing the educational needs of Englishlanguage learners in your classroom? 8. How do you feel that your districts level of cultural and socioeconomic diversity (or lack thereof) among students affects the overall classroom experience? The culture of the sch ool?

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112 APPENDIX D GUIDANCE COUNSELOR Q UESTION GUIDE 1. Describe the student demographics at your school (race, ethnicity, home language, twoparent or single parent households, family income, participation in free or reduced lunch etc). 2. What do you feel are some of the greatest academic, social, and economic challenges confronting students from your school or school district? What are some of the greatest strengths that can be found in your student body? How do these qualities influence the role you take in advising students? 3. n general, how would you describe your interaction with parents? What types of concerns do parents from your district often have? Are parents from your district generally accessible? For what reasons might they be inaccessible? 4. What factors do you typically take into account when advising a student at your school who seeks your advice about the type of academic program he or she should pursue? 5. In what ways might a students status as an English language learner (as opp osed to being a native or fluent speaker of English) affect your advisement of him or her? 6. What factors would you take into account when advising a student from your district who told you that he or she was considering attending a trade school after g raduation? The armed forces? How do you think that their parents would react? 7. In general, can you tell me about some of the post graduation plans of students in your district? Do many students attend private/out of state, four year colleges and univer sities? In state four year colleges and universities? Community colleges? Trade school? Join the military? Enter the workforce full time? 8. Regarding the previous question, what factors do you feel most influence students post graduation decisions? Why ? 9. Do you think that public higher education within New Jerseys college and university system is generally affordable for most students in your district? If applicable, how sufficient do you think the states Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) is in ad dressing the needs of graduates from your district (To be eligible for EOF, students must have family incomes of less than $41,300 for a family of four for the 20082009 academic year)? Why or why not?

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113 REFERENCES Ahearn, M. C., Kilkenny, M. & Low, S. A (2009). Trends an d volatility in school f inance. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 91(5), 12011208. Ayers, W., Klonsky M. & Lyon, G. H (2000). A simple justice: The challenge of small schools New York: Teachers College Press. Dover Publi c School District (2008). Bilingual/ESL threeyear program plan, school years: 20082011 Dover, NJ: Author. Dover Public School District. (2009). Dover public schools: professional development p lan, 20092010. Dover, NJ: Author. Retrieved December 13, 2009 from http://district.dover nj.org/home Bischoff, K. (2008). School district fragmentation and racial residential s egregation: How do boundaries m atter ?. Urban Affairs Review 44( 2 ), 182217. Central I ntelligence Agency. (2009). The World Factbook Retrieved April 1, 2010 from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/theworld factbook/ Carreira, M. (2007). Spanishfor native speaker matters: Narrowing the Latino achievement gap through Spanish language i nstruction. Heritage Language Journal 5(1), 147 171. Colombo, M. W. (2007). Developing cultural competence: Mainstream teachers and professional d evelopment. Multicultural Perspectives 9(2), 1016. Creswell, John. (2005). Educational research: planning, conducting, and evaluating q uantitati ve and qualitative r esearch Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc. De Gaetano, Y (2007). The role of culture in engaging Lat ino parents Involvement in school. Urban Education, 42(2), 145162. Delgado Gaitan, C (2004). Involving Latino f amil ies in schools: Raising student achievement through homeschool partnerships Thousand Oaks, CA : Corwin Press. Flores, B (2005). The intellectual presence of the deficit view of Spanishspeaking children in the educational literature during the 20th century. In P. Pedraza and M. Rivera (Eds.), Latino education: An agenda for community action r esearch (pp. 7598) Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbau m Associates, Publishers. Frankenberg, E. (2009). Splintering school districts: Understanding the link between segreg ation and fragmentation. Law and Social Inquiry 34(4), 869909.

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114 Garcia, S. G., Trumbull E., & RothsteinFisch C. (2009). Making the ex plicit implicit: Supporting teachers that bridge cultures. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 24(4), 474 486. Goertz, M. E ., Lauver S. C. & Ritter, G. W. (2001). Caught in the middle: The fate of nonurban districts in the wake of New Jerseys school fi nance litigation. Journal of Education Finance 26(3), 281296. Gold, Barry. (2007). Still Separate and Unequal: Segregation and the Future of Urban School Reform New York: T eachers College Press. Gonzalez, Juan. (2000). Harvest of empire: A history of Latinos in America. New York: Penguin Books. Gonzalez, Raul (2005). Standards based reform and the Latino/a community: Opportunities for advocacy. In P. Pedraza and M. Rivera (Eds.), Latino education: An agenda for community action research (pp. 165184) Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. Harlin, R. & Paneque, O. M. (2006). Good intentions, bad advice for bilingual families. Childhood Education, 82(3), 171 174. Howley, A. & Howley C. (2006). Small schools and the pressure to consolida te. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 14(10), 1 31. Kloosterman, Valentina I (Ed.). (2003). Latino students in American schools: historical and contemporary v iews Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers. Kreeft Peyton, J. Lewelling V. W., & Winke P. (2001 ) Spanish for Spanish speakers: Developing dual language proficiency. ERIC Digest 1 2. Kugel, S (2006, April 2). In Dover, the accent is Colombian. The New York Times Retrieved December 4, 2009 from : www.nytimes.c om Ma, J (2002). What works for the children? What we know and dont know about bilingual education. The Civil Rights Project Harvard University 1 19. MinayaRowe, L (2008). Options for English language learners. School Administrator 65( 10), 16 2 0, 22. Mintrom, M. (2009). Promoting local democracy in education: Challenges and prospects. Educational Policy 23(2), 329354. Mora, J. K (2009). From the ballot box to the classroom. Educational Leadership. 66( 7), 1419. New Jersey Department of Education (20052009). Department of Education Data. Retrieved January 6, 2010 from http://www.state.nj.us/education/data/

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115 Nieto, S (2004). Affirming d iversity : The sociopolitical context of m ulticultura l e ducation. New York: Pearson Ed ucation Inc. Olivos, E. M. (2009). Collaboration with Latino families: A critical perspective of home school interactions. Intervention in School and Clinic 45(2), 109115. Pew Hispanic Center. (2008). Latinos by Country of Origin Retrieved April 1, 2010 from http://pewhispanic.org/ Prosser, D. & Schwartz J (1977) Cities of the Garden State: Essays in the urban and suburban history of New Jersey Dubuque, IA: K endall Hunt Publi shing Co. Ramirez, A. Y. F. (2003). Dismay and disappointment: Parental involvement of Latino immigrant parents. The Urban Review, 35(2), 93110. Reyes, P., Scribner J. D. & Paredes Scribner, A (1999). Lessons from highperforming Hispanic schools: Crea ting learning c ommunities New York: Teachers College Press. Riggs, N. R. & Medina, C (2005). The Generacion Diez after school program and Latino parent Involvement with schools. The Journal of Primary Prevention. 26(6), 471 484. Ruiz, R. (1988). Orie ntations in language planning. In S. McKay and S. C. Wong ( Eds. ). Language diversity: Problem or r esource? (pp. 3 19 ). New York: Heinle Publishers. Salazar, M. C (2008). English or nothing: The impact of rigid language policies on the inclusion of humani zing practices in a high school ESL program. Equity and Excellence in Education. 4 1(3), 341356. Salmore, B. G. & Salmore S. A (2008) New Jersey politics and government: The suburbs come of a ge. New Brunswick, NJ: Rivergate Books, an Imprint of Rutgers University Press Schrag, P (2003). Final Test: The battle for adequacy in Americas s chools New York: The New Press. Thomas, W & Collier V (2002). A national study of school effectiveness for language minority students' long term academic achievement Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence. Retrieved February 12, 2010 from http://escholarship.org/uc/item/65j213pt United States Census Bureau. ( 1990, 2000, 2008). American F actFinder Retrieved October 10, 2009 from: http://factfinder.census.gov/home/saff/main.html?_lang=en

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116 United States Department of Agriculture. (2009) Nation al S chool Lunch Program 20 09. Ret rieved January 7, 2010 from http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/AboutLunch/NSLPFactSheet.pdf Vazquez Hernandez, V. & Whalen, C. T (2005). The Puerto Rican diaspora: Histori cal perspectives. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Zehr, M. A (2007). NJ bucks tide on reading for Englishl earners. Education Week 26( 18), 1 2.

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117 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Matt Trokan was born in 1985 in New Jersey to Thomas and Norma Trokan (Nowak). Trokan lived his entire youth in Morris County and attended public schools there. In his youth, he spent much of his time at his maternal grandparents home in Dover. He later attended The College of New Jersey where he majored in history. In addition to majoring in h istory, Trokan underwent a teacher preparation program to teach secondary level social s tudies. He graduated from The Colleg e of New Jersey in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and a stateissued teaching license. As of June 2010, Trokan will be teaching English in a Chilean public school as part of a joint program sponsored by the Chilean Ministry of Education and the United Nations Human Development Programme.