Friday, December 17, 2021

"I Want Dwight Morrow High School to Gleam Academically"

Friends, Raiders, and Englewoodians, please lend me your ears!
As many of you know by now, the Englewood elected BOE has selected Joseph Armental as principal of our flagship, my Alma Mater, Dwight Morrow High School. This measure did not pass on the first vote, but it has passed. Now we, as the beloved community who want our schools to live up to our real legacy of academic greatness, must be team players, with all oars rowing in the same direction.

The BOE has spoken. Joseph Armental and all of the administrators in our District need our support
. It is unfair to expect that the normalization of mediocrity and failure that has pervaded, persisted, and plagued us for years is going to dissipate in an instant—and we need to be forthright in our admission we have developed a culture of mediocrity and failure. Instead, we need a change of ethos that is the result of a shared desire for revolutionary change in our District.

For this, we must create strategic, mission-centered, data-driven plans, with benchmarks and dates, because we have very serious issues before us. We urgently need strong academic leadership on all levels.

We must find a way to infuse Mathematics and Language Arts throughout our curricula with all deliberate speed.
In this effort, we should note the immense connectivity between the Fine and Performing Arts and Mathematics, as well as all other disciplines.

The data that are before us beg our attention and concerted efforts.
We need to question very seriously the veracity of labeling a program as “Gifted” when 90% and more of the students are in need of remediation. Instead of fancy labels and slick talk, we need to emphasize the basics. Sports is a great metaphor for this. No team wins without a firm mastery of the fundamentals.

The same is true with any subject matter. Acquisition of the foundational behaviors is critical to sustained success. Continuing with the metaphor, teams succeed when the members practice and perfect their crafts to the utmost of their abilities and work together for a common goal (pun intended).

In order for us as a school district to reroute from this unwelcome path, we need everyone to take ownership of tasks before us. We must admit readily that no one person has all the answers or abilities, and we must never be hesitant to seek the expertise of those who are knowledgeable and have proven track records.

Additionally, we must cease our uncritical acceptance of premises that are current falsehoods. The data show that some of our notions about the promise of the extant choice programs to elevate academic performance at the high school are, at best, inconclusive. This is not to suggest the elimination of choice programs, but to suggest a continuous review of their viability and purposes for our District and to develop data-driven benchmarks for them.

More than I can express here, I want THE Dwight Morrow High School to gleam academically. Together, we can make this happen. “Once A Raider, Always A Raider!”

Submitted With Much LOVE—Lynette Adrian Bickham