Friday, June 16, 2006

"Not there yet"

Just because teachers here at QHST are given the autonomy to create the programming decisions within our communities does not mean we should stray from the path of school reform we have emblazed upon. Where is the internal structure that we have been developing over the countless hours of PD? Should teachers be allowed to break up cohorts to suit their preferences? Should programming decisions being made to create advanced level classes? Is allowing students to choose regents and non-regents tracked classes aligned with our philosophy? (ultimately tracking math, art, and science)
Teachers choosing seniors and breaking up other grade level families is a philisophical error. Can a teacher do this? yes. But should they?

I can hear Brenda already yelling at me for this blog saying, "they are not there yet." (Referring to the level of philosophical acceptance of the teachers) What happened to the small group of teachers who are dedicated to a cohort of students in mixed ability non-tracked classes?

I hope the ISA Summer Institute refocuses us back to the mission we all agreed with upon our acceptance of a position in this building. These decisions do not need to come from the top down. They are stronger when internalized through the teachers who understand their implications.

Real school reform must come from the teachers believing in the change. No administrator can change a school. Teachers change schools. Our administration has empowered the teachers in our building to accomplish just this. Ultimately we have the power. What we do with our “power” will be remembered. We need to remain focussed on the students and keep the vision of the school we signed onto.

In the last few days faculty here at QHST have dropped the ball. It is not too late to step up to the plate and make a difference. I know change is scary. But retreating back to "what they did in my old school" is even scarier. (at least in my case) If the "old school" from whence most of us came was so great then why abandon it?

Always thinking of the students first and knowing that research has supported the Small Learning Community Model is the best way to service them is our desired end.


Ms. Mayo said...

With respect to Brenda saying "they are not there yet,"
how and when are they (we) going to get there? Once we give start making exceptions, not only have we dropped the ball...the ball is rolling, snowballing (sorry for the mixed metaphor).

Having been a part of school reform attempts at schools that were unsuccessful with the old model, I think it's safe to say that it will be easier to do it right the first time rather than wait to fail and then try to restructure.


Anonymous said...

I like the battle cry, if you will, of teachers having power to effect change in schools. Patti Smith sang it best,
"we can turn the world around
we can turn the earth's revolution
we have the power
People have the power ... "

But I think the powers that be have to take some responsibility. One teacher's dramatic passions are another's concept paper. If we believe in the vision, support us in implementing it.


W Brown said...

San Diego's school system is playing catch up right now by proposing "grade level families" ...Why do teachers in our school want to ignore the obvious?

Superfly said...

But I would like to have my cake and eat it, too! (pardon my cliche...)
Although I suppose Lori is right, once you start making exceptions they do tend to "snowball" and we lose sight of the goal which we, being the motley bunch that we are, have been fighting so hard to achieve.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with Ruth's comment. Decisions are better made when they are backed up by all parties involved. I don't think anyone on the staff has in their mind to return to a purely traditional way of doing things. We do, however, still need input from those of us who do have the concept paper ingrained in us to assist us in the decision-making process. We need guidance, so to speak and reassurance from above letting us know that the grassroots decisions we are creating do not interfere with the language of the document which is essentially the DNA of our school.
Matt W.