Parent and taxpayer response

JUST SAY WHEN ...TO ANYONE SAYING YOU HAVE NO SAY IN YOUR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION. We are Citizens for Public School Education. We are Board Watchers. We want a Board of Education that follows the Law, because following the Law works for everyone. The purpose of this site is to help close the controversial Achievement Gap that is the subject in many educational arenas. Teachers are invaluable when dedicated individuals and are entrusted to encourage, nurture, and teach each child to achieve to the best of his/her individual abilities. Principals, Superintendents, Business Administrators, Support Staff, School Board Members, Attorneys and everyone else in the district must be dedicated to making certain that teachers have whatever they need in order to perform at their best. Teachers must be willing to go the extra mile like millions have done before them. This blog promotes an active, accurate & objective telling of history that includes ALL cultures and their literary, cultural and historical contributions to building America. We are Board Watchers.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What is Transparency?: Parents Need in On the Planning

"There was a big banner on one side saying, "Welcome Academy Class of 2015!" and on the other there was a sign that read, "Welcome Back Academy Students!" and in the center hallway of the Castle//North there was a small sign saying, "Freshmen report to the auditorium". Now have we ministered to and nurtured the "whole child", when we demonstrate such obvious favoritism?

 (Do we need Sigmund Freud to decipher this one?)

Miriam Webster's Definition
Transparent -
1. adjective - allowing light to pass through so that bodies can be distinctly seen
2. (or a disguise; pretext, etc.) easily seen through
    ( of a motive, quality, etc.) easily discerned; evident; obvious.
3. (of a person, etc,) easily understood; frank; open.
Transparency -
the condition of being transparent.
a picture, inscription, etc., made visible by a light behind it.

Free Icy at School Supply
give away to honor
Darius Hunt
Did anyone get a pamphlet of any kind in the spring that listed course offerings at the high School? Did you get one from the North or even the South side of the campus? No, you didn't. You should have gotten one for Dwight Morrow High School that includes all of the programs on the campus including the Academy, Small Learning Communities, the Comprehensive High School and the Eagle Academy. You should ask for one. You should never allow another year to pass without one.

You should also have gotten one at Janis E. Dismus middle school. The entire school was just reorganized. Let us hope that there will be some adjustments made so that the labels will be discarded. Princeton and Columbia need not envy each other. Cut the gimmicks. The more you waffle the lower the pants fall.

The Document
Our children know when we do
good things for other people. 
Does anyone know what is offered in the High School as a whole? Does anyone know which department generally handles that information? Yes. Give that young lady with the degree in  School Guidance a Pie Award. If one does the research one learns that "best practice" for compilation and dissemination of course offerings falls under the auspices of the Guidance Department. The Guidance Department compiles a brochure or document listing descriptions of all available courses offered at the high school. Early in the year, each teacher is called upon to write or update the description of courses that they teach. This description includes textbook title, requirements and any special activities the students will be involved in during the course of the year. The dedicated student and parent might then have the opportunity to preview the materials and make more informed Decisions. It will empower the teacher, parent and student to face the challenges ahead.

Children know which Community
people are working for all
The document is divided by subject area. The responsibilty of guidance is also explained. Students generally learn which of the listed counselors will be advising them for the next four years. In Teaneck, this process and the booklet is called DECISION 2011 or DECISION 2012 depending on the year. 8th graders and their parents are presented with this information during spring registration. It is a big deal and a very exciting time for 8th graders. Guidance arranges a visit to the high school where students get a good look at the school so they will be less intimidated by the high school experience. Fine and Performing Arts and other Departments visit the middle school with performances and demonstrations to excite the 8th grade students about moving up and growing up.

Formerly offered great
programming for
Every course is already approved by the County/State. All courses that have not been approved are listed as pending approval. Early in the year, each teacher is called upon to write or update the description of courses taught. This description includes objective, textbook title, requirements and any special activities the students will be involved in during the course of the year. It is not a schedule. It simply lists courses, prequisites, graduation requirements, activities and programs available at the high school. All clubs, extracurricular and sports activities are described and the sponsors are listed. The student and the parent have a clear idea of all activities taking place at the high school. (Some people refer to this as curriculum, but it is hardly adequate as a real curriculum model. Real Curriculum contains much more detailed information and a timeline that spans a school year with materials, activities, objectives, and perhaps broken into units.) It is a road map for the teacher and those evaluating them and the students. There is tratnsparency and involves full disclosure to the persons affected.

Former Principal of High
School, Dorian Milteer &
A. Bickham
Englewood's Director of guidance is fully aware of this Decision process since he was involved in it for several years while working as a school guidance counselor at Teaneck High School. Englewood is very different. This writer is still trying to determine what role the School Guidance Counselor plays in the EPSD. It has become very obvious why parents are discouraged when attempting to help their children in the decision process. There is no hard copy brochure. There is no brochure on line. There is a list of courses.  There is no curriculum road map. There is no way finding system. It is no wonder so many lose their way.

Each of the Small Learning Communities within the DMHS campus needs its own way finding system that ends in graduation. Graduation requirements should be revisited to insure that there is equity when comparing all programs. Make all students read more books. I want to know who the teachers are in all programs. I want to know what degrees they have and how long they have been teaching. I want to know if he/she holds a Standard Certification in the subject being taught. I want to know if they are threatened by young men with their "pants on the ground".  Did you ever wonder why each teacher in the Academy is listed as teaching grades 9 -12? How easy is it to list each teacher by department and list what he/ she teaches? Full disclosure is needed in the EPSD as a whole.

What exactly are Small Learning Communities?
Follow this link and learn the purpose of a Small LearningCommunity. Does the model at DMHS follow any of the ones listed. Based on the strengths listed, how is the school doing? Does anyone care? Is this program offered to everyone? How does a student find out about these small groups of students learning together? Do they even exist? Does anyone have an idea what Small Learning Communities are? Surely 9th graders were told of the program. or were they? It seems that the communities only exist on the EPSD website and in reports to the state that make it possible to continue to collect state aid and grant money. Pay close attention. Has so much time been spent on prepping Academy students that this program has been neglected entirely? Were parents given any literature detailing the program's strengths or weaknesses so that they might make an informed decision?  How are the students selected? How many students are enrolled in the communities?  How many have graduated and where do they work or attend college? Has this program been assessed?

The warm and Fuzzy?
Career Clusters
Small Learning Communities?
Supporters of Small Learning Communities assume that teachers will get to know their students and respond to their needs better than in the larger comprehensive high school. It is believed that small communities will make it easier for teachers to share practices. They suggest that this sharing will encourage them to create a culture for sustained instructional improvement, which will enhance student learning. Is anything like this happening at DMHS? Is the Eagle Academy a success? Are communities within the A@E successful and how is this success determined? Have the Schools within a School at Dwight Morrow High School gotten the funds or attention needed to succeed? Mr. Glenn Garrison was very clear at the August 18, 2011 board meeting that the Academy@Englewood was the only program that the board promotes. What a kick in the teeth. Would DMHS students in the North building have received a better welcome back if the teachers and administrators were united in an effort to keep EQUITY in the education of Englewood's students? I think yes. Where is the transparency? Too much is hidden. Too, Too many questions need answers.

Whatever Happened to Our Comprehensive High School?
Dwight Morrow High School used to be a comprehensive high school. How much of this school still exists? We know there are no mid term and final exams. We also know that students have far too much freedom in the spring when it seems that there is no more learning or teaching going on. This begins early May, even at the end of April. Perhaps this is the reason the fences must be repaired to keep students in, because there is nothing going on to hold their attention or motivate them inside the building. We also do not know what is really being offered within courses and how these courses connect to the real world. I would like to know more about what my granddaughter and her friends will be exposed to in high school. Why are we even considering lengthening the school day when time on task is already severely lacking. It is not how much time, but how you use the time.

Mrs. Carolyn Hunt, the mother of
Darius is joined by
Community members.
The word transparency is thrown about willy nilly, but it seems that the definition is being changed to something entirely different. Are you beginning to read more? Are you gathering more information? Do you have questions? We must work together to make transparency real, to clear away smoke that is clouding our views. Join us at the school board meetings. We will ask them together.

September 15, 2011 at Grieco School. 7:30 pm open session. We look forward to seeing you there.

From...Transparency In Education - Report Card In Bangladesh by Shanaz Karim
Lack of integrity and unethical behavior within the education sector is inconsistent with one of the main purposes of education; that is to produce "good citizens", respectful of the law, of human rights and fairness (it is also incompatible with any strategy that considers education as one of the principle means of fighting corruption.)

                                             "How are the children?"