My parent involvement strategy, The Instructional At-Home Plan (IAHP)®, produces a very high percentage of both male and female students achieving or exceeding measured literacy goals. Academic success is no surprise for myself, or for the parents who I partner with each school year. We expect student achievement, and systematically know how to make this happen.
As I celebrated the conclusion of one my most exciting school years to date, I again noticed a very surprising and exciting trend. For the second consecutive year, my kindergarten boys excelled at a higher rate and level when compared to the girls.
My students were 100% African American and 99% low-income. Early December is when this phenomenon was first observed. The boys, which included some who didn’t have the benefit of a preschool experience, appeared to have rapidly synthesized the early literacy skills. It was observed that they had moved from below to at or above reading level with an accelerated rate. This is especially noteworthy based on the established belief of young boys not maturing as fast as girls of the same age. This perceived lack of male maturity often becomes the genesis for what is all too often labeled as discipline and behavioral problems. My young male students for the most part were eager, curious, and filled with energy. Most young children require support as they become acclimated to the structure of a classroom and the school life of sharing with other children. This can become a real challenge for children, and for young African American boys it can be crucial to their academic success.
The Instructional At-Home Plan (IAHP)® empowers the parents and family by strategically placing them into the driver’s seat as it relates to the acquisition of foundational academic literacy and math skills. When the parents of my male students were provided with the academic skills, goals, and specific instructional techniques, they were able to help their little boys channel their energy and focus, not only to acquire the basic literacy skills but also extend them beyond the goals.
I have a theory as to what transpired. The parents were able to take the academic skills and pair them with at home strategies, which complemented and supported the energy and eagerness of their little boys. Once the boys acquired the academic disciplines, they really took off and began to soar academically. This is especially intriguing and significant as we look at both the achievement of African American boys along with the reduction of referrals for discipline related issues.