In fall of 2016, Taylor Spratt ’17 served as a research assistant in ESL /Refugee Outreach for Dayton Public Schools (DPS).
“On any given day, [Taylor was] shadowing newly-transitioned ELL (English Language Learner) students at Ponitz Career Technology Center, sharing a cubicle in the DPS main office, or back in Yellow Springs researching peer mentoring programs and inclusion practices that foster agency, socio-emotional well being and positive school culture…”
Taylor’s goal was to identify “best practices for welcoming and inclusion of newly arrived international students in the district.” This included developing an in-depth literature review “examining the literature that exists around peer mentoring/programming to increase positive inclusion of ELL/international students in schools-in terms of academic success, language acquisition, extracurricular involvement and social inclusion.” She also outlined her methodologies in exploring peer-to-peer programming that already exists in the district.
In order to gather information for her research and literature review, she spent time interviewing various individuals ranging from students to teachers to representatives at local organizations working with immigrant/refugee populations, as well as setting up focus groups. While working for DPS, Taylor was also provided the opportunity of participating in a mini Swahili for Educators course.
Taylor is presently continuing her professional relationship with DPS, facilitating a student-driven mentoring by project at Ponitz CTC. The project was developed out of the fall semester research, and aims to involve students in the cultivation of cultures of caring, in collaboration with Ponitz administration, DPS ESL and Wright State University. Through methodologies of participatory action research and interviewing, students will spend the semester identifying how to make Ponitz more welcoming and accesible to not only ELLs, but for all students. This data will then drive the student-lead development of a ‘Welcome Ponitz app’ to aid in the successful transition of new students next fall.
The opportunity to work with ESL/Refugee Outreach at DPS has taught Taylor much about applied community-research, which she plans to utilize after graduation in education, immigration justice, and/or civil rights.
*excerpts taken from Taylor Spratt’s blog assignment
Tanya Couch serves as the Career Communications Coordinator within the Cooperative Education Program. In this role, Tanya prepares students for post-graduate success, by assisting in career development such as resume building, interviewing skills, online profile development, and providing general advice and guidance how to pursue a full-time work or graduate studies opportunity.