The immediate neighborhood around Frank Elementary is sort of run down, compared to the areas surrounding it. The school is located on Priest Dr. and the road that leads to it is very small and causes a lot of traffic, but it is very safe because of the reduced speed and limited number of lanes. The businesses that are around it are all very close to each other and are mostly Hispanic markets and food shops and auto shops, and they themselves are very old and are in okay shape but still look a little run down in comparison to other businesses in the area. The school is surrounded by houses on almost all sides, with some Tribe land with properties that block the school from the main road, and these are fenced off but make the school look not that welcoming. There is not a lot that goes on in the area, most of the noise that is around the school is from the traffic. The cars that are in the area tend to be older, just like the houses that can be seen from the school grounds and the road that I take when I get there. From looking at the houses that are in the area compared to the houses that are further away but still included in the boundary are worth a lot less ($60,000 vs $400,000) and there are a lot of properties in the area that are currently up for auction.
A lot of the students are from the immediate area and about an equal amount of them walk, take the bus, and are dropped off/picked up by car. They are almost always being dropped off/picked up by parents or guardians, and all of these students are observed by teachers as they are leaving the school. My mentor teacher helps with car pick-ups and monitors who each student is going with and knows what their cars and parents look like. From talking with my mentor teacher, I found out that there are a lot of students that come from broken homes or have something in their personal lives that she found shocking such as a lot of them having parents in jail or being adopted due to various reasons
Boundary and Population Stats:
The people that are in the area are mostly Hispanic, African American, and Native American. From seeing the students, talking to my mentor teacher, and from online research, the student body is 99% minority, with Hispanic making up the majority. My mentor teacher said that there are not a lot of people that want their children to go to this school, and will often try to get boundary exceptions to go to other schools because of the area that it is in. The boundary is very weird, to me, because the school is located so close to one border and spreads out, which is one reason I think that parents choose to send their children elsewhere.
School Programs and Resources:
The school offers free breakfast to every student, whether or not they are on free or reduced lunch, because it is their belief that students that eat breakfast are more likely to succeed. That being said, the majority of the students are part of the free or reduced lunch plans (free, reduced $0.40, full $2.50), meaning that their family income is low enough for them to qualify and there are a lot of students that bring their own lunches.
The school’s halls are all very welcoming and full of school spirit, displaying their motto of: Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be a Scholar! and the students class projects. Each classroom has its own bulletin board that they can put things on. Throughout the halls there are a lot of positive signs and banners for different colleges and universities (I think this is to motivate students). The administration almost always says the motto when they sign off from announcements.
The school is surrounded by gates and there are some security cameras in the halls so that they can keep an eye out and keep everyone safe, but the cameras are a bit old. The administration and other members of the staff walk around the halls sometimes, and monitor the students at recess, but the students are often alone in the halls when they are going to the restroom or they take the bathroom pass and walk around the halls themselves.
The district has a handbook for the students and families, for them to know the rules and resources of the district, and the Frank students have to have their parents sign and return a page to know that they understand it. It is available in English and Spanish.
The school has a dress code to minimize distraction for the students, and are fairly strict in enforcing it, but they have some alternative dress days and on Fridays they are allowed to wear school themed clothes.
The school is going to be rebuilt over the next few years, in the same area to keep the same address, but they are getting all new buildings and parking lot and once the new school is build the old building (built in 1929) will be torn down. The administration is keeping the parents and community updated as they are going through different phases.
The Music Room:
Frank is a Title I school, so there is a lot of funding for the extracurricular activities like band, orchestra, choir, general music, and other music clubs. There are a lot of orff instruments that are all grouped together that the students love, there are a lot of African drums, and recorders that are available to the students. There are also a lot of music symbols and puzzles on the boards that the students get to do and are quizzed on, and the teacher uses the SMART board a lot when they are learning songs to have the lyrics displayed. The students all have their assigned spots on a rainbow rug with squares in it, and they are very good about sitting in their own spots so that they are facing front and are paying attention. The school also has a lot of guitars that don’t get used (there is no longer a guitar club), but the teacher recently bought 4 keyboards to have a keyboard club 2 days a week for an hour before school to get some students playing and reading a staff. She also has a 4th grade choir that comes in before school sometimes to get them ready to join choir in 5th grade. The students know that there are a lot of other instruments like various hand percussion that are put away in the cabinets that they look forward to for different activities.