Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Its always interesting to read this blog. I work for a very large, traditional, old fashioned high school in another city that is one of the top public schools in the nation.We have schools organized the old fashioned way- by department. We have numerous electives- too many to mention. We have tracked classes, and both an amazing gifted track and vocational track where students graduate HIGH SCHOOL with an associates in nursing, electrical studies, mechanics- never go to college, and make much more than the starting salary teacher.

Your idea for a high school always sound interesting- progressive, 'new', etc.

Is it the only way?

I received the above comment in response to the last posting.

This is always a big question. Is our philosophical bend the only way? The answer is a resounding, "NO'. But "our way" is a valid way to run an educational institution. In the grand market place of ideas the NYC school system, of which QHST is a part, has so many schools with different philosophies. Schools that track, schools that test test and test again, schools that have vocational training, schools that highlight the arts, sports, or new comers to the city. This is the biggest benefit to working the a large system. I am in no way saying all schools should be one way or another. I imagine smaller systems do not have the luxury to allow for such diversity of teaching philosophies.

Is it the only way?


Is it the only way for QHST?


I hope the anonomous commenter rejoins the conversation.


Anonymous said...

Happy holidays.

Your high school sounds very exciting and creative. I was just responding to a tone where it seems that all traditional high schools are doomed for failure.

My school in Texas is very functional, and it sounds like your high school has many successes.

It is wonderful that we have much variety in our educational systems

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I wish NYC could offer vocational taining as well. Our "creators" are under the impression that all students are meant to go to college which is not only unrealistic but unfair to some of our students.

Options are good, choices are good, life is filled with many of them! You can't have all of one idea, some traditional settings work for some students, some can succeed with a more progressive plan.

I guess my point is, at year six our school needs to be transparent about the philosophies that are working and the ones that are not. Like a unit/project, a good teacher adapts to his/her students needs. An educational philosophy needs to do the same. Sometimes our lessons are great on paper but bomb in the class! You can have a traditonal setting, but be progressive in the actual teaching.

For example, you can have a traditional schedule with electives etc. but still have inquiry based learning and group seating versus "chalk and talk" with individual seating.

I also would like to ask the Texas teacher, why they go with the traditional setting. It seems to me that a progressive style of teaching goes hand in hand with small class sizes, here (NYC) we have a whopping 34 per class, is it the same there?

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