For this semester’s internship, I am assigned to Emerson Elementary and Lehi Elementary School, giving me a taste of two very different school communities! Over the course of this semester, I have observed the schools and their communities, and and have researched further details that contribute to the make up of both schools. It was very interesting for me to take notice of the similarities and differences between the two.
When comparing the two schools, which are both in the Mesa Unified School District, it is quite evident the difference in the boundaries feeding into the schools. Emerson Elementary stretches less then two miles both ways, while Lehi Elementary covers almost twice this boundary. This ultimately affects transportation to both schools. Emerson Elementary is immersed in a more run down neighborhood, where students either walk to school, or take a bus to school. On the other hand, Lehi Elementary is built in the farm areas of East Mesa, where a lot of the houses are of an older population. Therefore, all of the students are bussed in from all different directions.
The school statistics of these two schools fascinated me, as I have witnessed these standings just in the little time that I have spent there. At Emerson Elementary, a Title One School, the population is comprised of 52.7% of hispanic descent. Emerson has a student to teacher ratio of 20.1-1, and most recently in the 2015-2016 school year received a school letter grade of “C.” In addition, 67.1% of students at this school received free or reduced lunch. Lehi Elementary, a focus school according to its Title One status, is comprised of 62.1% of students with hispanic descent. This school has a student to teacher ratio of 13.6-1, and most recently received a school letter grade of “B.” Lastly, 77.8% of students receive free or reduced lunch.
Details of the Schools
The details of both of these schools were something I instantly noticed from my first initial encounters at the schools. Emerson Elementary, started in 1954, would be a school that I consider more run down. With hardly any color or patterns, the building makes a big square. Almost all of the classrooms are built in large portables, where it is very apparent that no significant remodeling has been done on the building. There is also one big chain gate that surrounds the school grounds. In regards to the music classroom, the class is shared with the Art classroom, therefore making it seem more cluttered then needed. The school has provided the music teacher here with several instruments, but nothing out of the ordinary or fancy. Lehi Elementary, started at its current location in 1978, appears more updated just by the outward looks of the building. Although there is not much color to the outer walls as well, the building is gated with clean iron bars, providing a secure feeling of protection on the campus. It is similar to Emerson Elementary as well that any revisions have evidently not been made for a very long time, as the walls are classrooms are built with brick. The music classroom here is nicer than the one at Emerson, as it is enclosed in its own building. This room is way more spacious, and has various instruments and technological tools that engage the students while teaching. Furthermore, upon asking my mentor teacher, both schools have handbooks, but he is not completely clear as to what both specifically entail.
If there is anything that I have learned from completely this first phase of my final project, it is that there are several components sometimes not taken into consideration that feed into the makeup of a school. It has been very interesting for me to take a step back from the teaching aspect of my clinical experience, and observe my surroundings at the two schools. I feel fortunate that I get to experience two different environments of a general music education classroom.