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labor in factories or work in some capacity with these industries. Many are also immigrants

from Mexico, some legal and some not, who have come to the city seeking a better life and

employment. While not at the poverty level, most students are eligible for the federally funded

free breakfast program and nearly half of the students qualify for government funded free or

reduced priced lunch. While the student body is 46.8% Caucasian, the diverse and

multicultured school population includes Latino (40%), African-American (10.7%),

Asian/Pacific Islander (1.3%), and Native American (1.2%) students. There is an average of 15

students for each teacher, and 36.7% of the students are formally recognized for outstanding

academic achievement. This school’s day consists of four 90-minute blocks of time. Students

take four subjects each semester. In addition, all students participate in bimonthly advisement

classes designed to provide them with the opportunity to ask questions and resolve issues that

require counseling and guidance. School-wide activities, often connected to civic or social

causes, are scheduled during the advisement period. As at many schools across the country, the

faculty at this high school is concerned with the scores students earn on standardized tests,

particularly in reading. As a result, there are periods during the day when students are required

to read silently in the hopes of improving their skills.

The string orchestra in this study has 8 first-year students, 11 sophomores, 5 juniors,

and 4 seniors. Most members are Caucasian; however, one student is African American, and 5

are Latino. A majority of the students who play violin and viola own their instruments.

Students playing cellos and string basses do so on instruments that are owned by the school.

These instruments are old and of poor quality. One student studies her instrument with a teacher

outside of school. The rest learned to play their instruments in the school orchestra. The

orchestra rehearses every day during the school day for 90 minutes and performs in several


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