Parent and taxpayer response

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Monday, April 11, 2011

The Englewood Schools Tour: 4th stop Janis E. Dismus Middle School

Carmen MacchiaAbraham Alarcon
These two men represent the guiding team at Janis E. Dismus Middle School. Mr. Alarcon is acting principal.  Mr. Macchia is a retired Blue Ribbon principal brought in by Dr. Carlisle to help reorganize the school. It is curious that even though he is only acting principal his picture is the only one pictured on the homepage of his school's website alongside his goal for students in the school. Janis E. Dismus is already showing signs of change. They too have a reception desk as you enter. This area needs work and they should probably build a permanent reception desk in the same area. We visited the Middle School 2 times. I will not separate the visits now. We were not expected on our  first visit. It took place during the lunch periods so we did not see much more than the facility.
In the above photograph Dr. Carlisle demonstrates that he is on a first name basis with the people that he has delegated to guide the Middle School climate in a more productive direction. Even though he always wears a suit he demonstrates that he is willing to get down in the trenches with the worker bees and help solve some of the real problems faced by the Englewood School District. He has shown that he has willingness to learn. The ladies below had just finished serving lunch to the entire school and were a little perplexed as to why I wanted to take their picture. Employees such as these ladies very often undervalue the importance of their services.


On the wall outside the office is a collage of names. Beside this collage is a slogan that reads "Caught Being Kind". Students who demonstrate kindness towards others are singled out and given the honor of having their names included on this collage. This means that even if you are not an A student, you may be recognized for your strength of character and kindess towards others. I like that. Janis E. Dismus is headed in the right direction. It is going to be a long road one step at a time. 

Above is an area dedicated to the National Junior Honor Society high achievers. The Student of The Month area is above a case that I would like to see some athletic trophies in one day. The areas for both are much more formal than in the past. It is a more attractive display. Throughout the building there are signs of change. I must also note that this building is much cleaner than it used to be. Much cleaner.

Students created the "Helping Hands For Japan" mural to show solidarity with Japan because of the troubles wrought by the earthquake and Tsunami. Projects like these help students to develop social skills crucial to becoming caring nurturing human beings.
The most impressive change was the transformation of the Middle School Library. It is so refreshing to have an Educational leader who believes in the fact that every school in the District needs a library/media center. The very thought that a school system would allow the libraries to become such desolate places has been bothering a lot of residents for years. Many of us remember when this new approach to libraries was introduced to our system. We were powerless to do anything as we watched the heart of our school buildings fall into benign neglect. In a very short time new life has been pumped into this area.

Finally, the flag at the end of the hall is a magnificent addition to the hallway. Janis E. Dismus Middle School is well on its way in appearance to becoming a fantastic facility. There is a lot of work that must be done that cannot be seen with the eyes. We hope that the same rigor that was shown in changing the look of the school will be utilized to affect change to the curriculum and student achievement .