Disston Elementary School, located at Knorr and Cottage Streets, in the Tacony/Wissinoming neighborhood of Philadelphia, is a four-story brick building. The school, K through 8, has a gym, auditorium, and library. There is also a computer lab, consumer education classroom, and a music room. The floors are organized by grade levels, starting with the lower grades on the first floor and working their way up the building. The ground floor, or basement, is reserved for specialty classes, such as music, etc. The school, built in the early 1900’s, has very few modern improvements, mainly because it is a historical landmark. There are no elevators or ramps making it inaccessible to those with walking disabilities or are wheelchair bound. The school, which has approximately 800 students and 40 teachers on staff, is maintained well and kept clean. The staff members I encountered at the school were well informed and professional. The neighborhood is predominately middle class, but does include some low-income families. In addition, about 15% of the students are bussed to Disston from neighborhoods that are at or below the poverty level.
The cooperating teacher, Ms. Bledy, was happy to share her classroom as well as her experiences. She provided a pleasant atmosphere and gave me the opportunity to observe her seventh grade science, mathematics, and social studies classes, and fifth grade reading and English classes, which she also instructed. Her seventh grade classes consist of 29 students and her fifth grade RELA (Reading/Language Arts) class consists of 25 students.
In the 7th grade class, there are 26 students with average or near-average ability and three students who have been identified with reading and math disabilities. These 3 students attend special classes for those subjects and return to Ms. Bledy for science and social studies. Ms. Bledy adapts the content in science and social studies according to... [continues]
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