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Re: another assault at Portola

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  • tag1022
    Thanks for the perspective, Pat. The High School academies are up, running and seem to be expanding, at least at ECHS. To better ensure their success, we
    Message 1 of 35 , Dec 29, 2009
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      Thanks for the perspective, Pat.

      The High School academies are up, running and seem to be expanding, at least at ECHS. To better ensure their success, we should broadly advertise them at middle school. Some kids that might avail themselves of the academies have largely given up by high school. Giving them something to shoot for might save a few.

      We should also look at facilitating transfers of kids into academies of interest. I doubt many middle school families know about the variety offered at different high schools.

      Cultural Geography, Uniforms, Open Court... have been centrally conceived, mandated and extremely ineffective at best. The lesson for the district is what causes so many policies to fail.

      Have we authored a truly successful policy at the central district level? If so, what is it? None of our institutions seem to be functioning. Can we restore purpose to SSC's, GATE or others in the litany of supposed oversight bodies? How do we create competence? We are all actors in a really bad play, and the bad reviews come in the form of an exodus of potential students. Trying to govern schools with these vestigial institutions is about as surreal as holding a PTA bake sale to buy a metal detector.

      We can't seem to capture the essence of what works and what doesn't. We appear to lack a central repository of lessons learned. We suffer from legacies of decisions made years in the past, when we should have dumped them long ago. Cultural Geography overwhelmingly fails to provide value worthy of a year of high school social studies, but yet it persists. Uniforms are mandatory on paper, but not on kids. Open Court routinely fails large portions of learners, but we must stick to the script. How can this keep happening?

      What is the root of our dysfunction. Is it the hodgepodge nature of our district? Is it the aspirational differences in our constituents? Is it institutional failure? NCLB set off to cure the deficits of the ghetto and barrio (oddly, not trailer park) and gave us a direction, but is it where we need to go? We could insist on different measures of progress, and establish our own standards. Do we accept the premises of the quantitative education researchers as to what our goals should be? Let's propose substantial alternatives to our current assessments.

      If we measure elements of physical and emotional security, we will start to see the bigger issues. Comprehensive assessments are available, http://www.wested.org/cs/chks/print/docs/chks_home.html . It sounds like we should already administer these surveys, but does anyone know where the data is?

      We commit our children to the common space of school, and deal with the consequences of divergent norms. Everyday, we try to wash away the materialism, banality and general meanness that the kids associate with normative values. Luckily, most are resilient, but it's just sad to undo unnecessary damage. Far too many get absorbed into devastating life choices because alternatives were not accessible.

      Let's also have contingencies to engage each tranch of the performance quintile from Far Below Basic to Advanced. Every kid should find something interesting in their school work. Right now, we seek performance for performance sake.

      Let's also get rid of mean or ineffective district employees. We can't afford them. Every disparaging comment causes damage, as does every lost year of instruction.

      We can provoke systemic change through improved understanding of the issues. I've always shied away from this stuff, assuming someone else had a better handle on it. If there is a higher level understanding, it's never filtered down to the schools my kids attended. If something nonsensical persisted, it was usually attributed to district policy, and deemed unchangeable. We can no longer accept it.

      Todd Groves







      --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, playeredu@... wrote:
      >
      > Having read several emails about what can be done to increase
      > the success of all our students at a given site....Most of the ideas have
      > been done over the past 30 years .....but check this out....Site Based
      > Management programs ...at Highland a few years ago....Is it still operating?
      > Gardens at Verde and Mira Vista have been in the past for sure...great
      > involvement of neighborhoods and students. Are they still functioning? School
      > academies at the High Schools give real alternatives to students....Richmond High,
      > DeAnza, Pinole were examples in early 2000? Are they still
      > functioning...hard to keep going if staff retires....finally, a secondary course that had
      > much success in encouraging student involvement in their schools was Family
      > Life Education in 70's and 80's....the units were vital to the interests of
      > the students...unfortunately I don't think Cultural Geography,9th grade
      > course, meets the ticket since the materials, films and updated syllabus never
      > were provided. However, some teachers have developed good units, but most
      > teaching assignments are made to new teachers with little training and
      > experience....I am very sorry that happen on my watch in 2004...Pat
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
    • tag1022
      Thanks for the perspective, Pat. The High School academies are up, running and seem to be expanding, at least at ECHS. To better ensure their success, we
      Message 35 of 35 , Dec 29, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        Thanks for the perspective, Pat.

        The High School academies are up, running and seem to be expanding, at least at ECHS. To better ensure their success, we should broadly advertise them at middle school. Some kids that might avail themselves of the academies have largely given up by high school. Giving them something to shoot for might save a few.

        We should also look at facilitating transfers of kids into academies of interest. I doubt many middle school families know about the variety offered at different high schools.

        Cultural Geography, Uniforms, Open Court... have been centrally conceived, mandated and extremely ineffective at best. The lesson for the district is what causes so many policies to fail.

        Have we authored a truly successful policy at the central district level? If so, what is it? None of our institutions seem to be functioning. Can we restore purpose to SSC's, GATE or others in the litany of supposed oversight bodies? How do we create competence? We are all actors in a really bad play, and the bad reviews come in the form of an exodus of potential students. Trying to govern schools with these vestigial institutions is about as surreal as holding a PTA bake sale to buy a metal detector.

        We can't seem to capture the essence of what works and what doesn't. We appear to lack a central repository of lessons learned. We suffer from legacies of decisions made years in the past, when we should have dumped them long ago. Cultural Geography overwhelmingly fails to provide value worthy of a year of high school social studies, but yet it persists. Uniforms are mandatory on paper, but not on kids. Open Court routinely fails large portions of learners, but we must stick to the script. How can this keep happening?

        What is the root of our dysfunction. Is it the hodgepodge nature of our district? Is it the aspirational differences in our constituents? Is it institutional failure? NCLB set off to cure the deficits of the ghetto and barrio (oddly, not trailer park) and gave us a direction, but is it where we need to go? We could insist on different measures of progress, and establish our own standards. Do we accept the premises of the quantitative education researchers as to what our goals should be? Let's propose substantial alternatives to our current assessments.

        If we measure elements of physical and emotional security, we will start to see the bigger issues. Comprehensive assessments are available, http://www.wested.org/cs/chks/print/docs/chks_home.html . It sounds like we should already administer these surveys, but does anyone know where the data is?

        We commit our children to the common space of school, and deal with the consequences of divergent norms. Everyday, we try to wash away the materialism, banality and general meanness that the kids associate with normative values. Luckily, most are resilient, but it's just sad to undo unnecessary damage. Far too many get absorbed into devastating life choices because alternatives were not accessible.

        Let's also have contingencies to engage each tranch of the performance quintile from Far Below Basic to Advanced. Every kid should find something interesting in their school work. Right now, we seek performance for performance sake.

        Let's also get rid of mean or ineffective district employees. We can't afford them. Every disparaging comment causes damage, as does every lost year of instruction.

        We can provoke systemic change through improved understanding of the issues. I've always shied away from this stuff, assuming someone else had a better handle on it. If there is a higher level understanding, it's never filtered down to the schools my kids attended. If something nonsensical persisted, it was usually attributed to district policy, and deemed unchangeable. We can no longer accept it.

        Todd Groves







        --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, playeredu@... wrote:
        >
        > Having read several emails about what can be done to increase
        > the success of all our students at a given site....Most of the ideas have
        > been done over the past 30 years .....but check this out....Site Based
        > Management programs ...at Highland a few years ago....Is it still operating?
        > Gardens at Verde and Mira Vista have been in the past for sure...great
        > involvement of neighborhoods and students. Are they still functioning? School
        > academies at the High Schools give real alternatives to students....Richmond High,
        > DeAnza, Pinole were examples in early 2000? Are they still
        > functioning...hard to keep going if staff retires....finally, a secondary course that had
        > much success in encouraging student involvement in their schools was Family
        > Life Education in 70's and 80's....the units were vital to the interests of
        > the students...unfortunately I don't think Cultural Geography,9th grade
        > course, meets the ticket since the materials, films and updated syllabus never
        > were provided. However, some teachers have developed good units, but most
        > teaching assignments are made to new teachers with little training and
        > experience....I am very sorry that happen on my watch in 2004...Pat
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
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