Factor Examples Cited by Research and Experience
Create and nurture a familial environment
  • Students were given respect.
  • Counselors, nurses, social workers and family liaisons worked together to ensure that students’ basic needs were met.
  • The sense of family was all inclusive among students, parents and school staff. Each staff member was highly valued as an individual.
  • Everyone who came in contact with students participated in ensuring their success.
  • Everyone on the campus was involved in the students’ learning process.
  • The school was considered to be a family more than just a system for learning.
  • School staff ensured that students knew they were held in high esteem.
Educate the “whole” child
  • Each teacher’s priority was the student’s total development, not only performance on standardized tests.
  • Emphasis was placed on ensuring positive academic achievement for every child.
  • Failure was not tolerated, expectations were not lowered.
  • Emphasis was placed on positive achievement rather than negative.
  • Teachers avoided stigmatizing students and categorizing or labeling them.
  • All accomplishments were praised and recognized.
  • Students were allowed to become actively involved in decisions relating to their school experiences.
  • Strategies such as cooperative learning and peer­to­peer tutoring allowed students to take possession of their learning.
Celebrate cultural and linguistic diversity
  • Cultural and linguistic diversity was integrated into school activities and curriculum.
  • Teachers and staff provided a school environment similar to that of the local community.
  • The home culture of minority families was respected and valued.
  • Students were encouraged to use their native language in order to communicate effectively.
  • Teachers utilized students’ native language to help them develop proficiency in the new language.
Assume responsibility for teaching
  • Teachers created their own assessment tools to determine which methods would contribute positively to higher academic achievement.
  • Academic success for every child was the highest priority when teachers developed lessons.
  • Curriculum was aligned with standardized test objectives.
  • Teachers experimented with creative activities in an effort to improve student success while maintaining high expectations.
  • Teachers practiced team teaching.
  • Once particular goals were achieved, higher goals were defined.
  • A stable environment was provided through continuum of classes.
  • Limited­English­proficient (LEP) students were not segregated from native English­speaking students.
  • Students practiced literacy development activities.
  • Schools created a program that assists LEP students with language acquisition.
  • Schools had a strong, integrated curriculum.
  • Administrative leadership was strong.
  • Campuses practiced shared decision making.
  • Schools advocated high morale and schoolwide support for students’ academic achievement.
  • Schools provided master teacher tutoring and reading, writing and math labs.
Communicate and involve parents
  • Parents were highly valued members of the school environment, and they knew they were an important part of the school family.
  • It was important to school staff that parents were able to communicate their views and concerns. Educational jargon was avoided and parents were not spoken to in condescending ways.
  • Teachers avoided forcing parents into traditional parenting roles.
  • Outreach to parents was extensive, ensuring high parent participation.
  • Schools maintained open door policies and created a welcoming environment, especially for parents.
  • The cultural and linguistic diversity of office staff enabled LEP parents to feel more comfortable and a part of the team.

Developed by IDRA from research conducted by IDRA, the Charles A. Dana Center, at the University of Texas at Austin, and Beverly McLead.