99. RENEE AT THE ADMINISTRATIVE RETREAT, RENEE’S TEACHER EVALUATIONS, PROF. N. COMMENTARY & YOUR FAQ’S

Hello Dear Readers: As we at TWP prepare to end our summer vacations and get started on the new school year, I (Renee) look back on this summer fondly. Jenny’s Tommy and my Tyler did well in T-ball this summer with only a few scrapes. If you could only see those 5 and 6 year olds decked out in their “Braves” uniforms! (Funny, but it seems like EVERY team in our league has the same nickname or similar -No “Yankees”,”Mets”, Red Sox”, etc. Wonder why?HA HA) Tommy and Tyler’s afternoon swimming lessons at the club went smoothly but Jenny and I (momma grizzlies) INSIST on swimming with them when they go over to the deep end! Both boys are excited about starting Kindergarten this Fall but are “on notice” that trouble in school means more trouble at home. There will be NO opt-outs for either as Jenny and I both know their kindergarten teachers. Tommy better realize that his “momma grizzly” is in the same building and avoid any b.s. misbehavior. At presstime, the pre-year inservices for Jenny, Wendy and Michelle have all just been finished and our new school year is under way.

RENEE AT THE ADMINISTRATIVE RETREAT

Dear Readers: With the start of the new school year, all of the administrators of our county school district assembled for our semi-annual Administrative Retreat. And no -It was NOT held at the local country club golf course. Anyone who thinks otherwise hasn’t been out in the southern “heat wave” that has effected the entire region. Hey, one good thing is that those “golf-addicts” are spending a little less time on the links! HA HA.

9:00 a.m.: Around a dozen and a half central office administrators, principals and assistant principals convened our retreat at the main conference room of the high school. We look over our agenda and agreed to it without major revisions. Then, as in the case last year, questions arise about LUNCH plans! (I swear, most of these administrators think about “eating” as much as anything else!) No problem. Wendy’s new principal and I (the only lady principal/assistant principal tandem of the group) already arranged for BBQ sandwitches to be catered from a local eatery. Everyone was pleased -Problem solved!

We spent the next hour or so going over policy concerns and possible legal issues to watch for. And NO -School c.p. was not one of them. Rather, some of the topics discussed were special education policies related to placement and evaluation, school campus security and safety along with parent-school communication needs. Those three were the major issues that I contributed the most to while various other topics were as interesting as watching paint dry.

Special education meetings: I pointed out the need to better coordinate the multi-discipinary team meetings so more can be done at one school at a time. My idea: The special education supervisor for the county should work exclusively at one school per day and do ALL the meetings back-to-back with the parents and teachers of that school. My idea was well received by all -EXCEPT THE SUPERVISOR! (I guess she doesn’t like the middle school lunch menu, huh? Giggle)

School campus security: My only suggestion was that the local sheriff do more nightime patrols around the various school buildings to deter vandalism. Was told that the current system in place for patrols is being modified to do just that. Hooray!

Parent-school communication: I brought up the ?Matt episode” in which he and his older brother put each other’s cell phone #’s on the school registration forms. My idea: The first time a school calls a parent, we should call a work number FIRST and never rely on a voice mail setup. There was an interesting conversation on this and it was agreed that at least ONE phone # MUST be a 100% reliable means by which the school can reach a parent. Hopefully, if we can implement this policy, our ability to communicate with parents will be much improved.

11:00 a.m.: We all got to hear from our Chief Superintendent a presentation of the Obama Administration’s “Race to the Top” initiative. It is interesting to me that Delaware (V.P. Biden’s home state) was ranked #1 in the first round and Illinois (Obama’s home state) was also ranked very high. In the 2nd round of competition for federal $$$, our state is trying to improve our chances to rake in more money but I dunno. I am all for more $$$ for schools (We need it -BAD!) but prefer less federal mandates, requirements and dictats. Accountability is fine with me but I am leery of too much “Washington strings” when it comes to federal grants.

12:00 noon: Lunchtime and the catered BBQ sandwiches were delicious. No “take-home” leftovers though. Y’all should have seen some of our administrators load up their sandwiches -Mega-sized! And a few went back for seconds! However, the one lady principal and I refrained from gluttony with one BBQ pork sandwich each with cole slaw and baked beans. (And lemonade for drinks -Not beer if anyone has to know!)

1:00 p.m.: Our afternoon workshop continued with a discussion about problems in the prior year such as bad behavior on buses. Every year, the district has had to deal with this problem and will do so again -FIRMLY. Starting this year, students who continuously violate safety rules while riding the school bus may lose their right to bus pickups for the year.

2 to 3:00 p.m.: The last hour of our retreat-workshop was spent on the evaluation of teachers. Having trained for this last year, I will now be doing double duty: Teacher Evaluator AND Assistant Principal for Student Conduct/Discipline. And no pay raise either -Just more work!

Anybody still think this is a easy job?

FORGETABOUTIT!

 

RENEE’S TEACHER EVALUATIONS

As I mentioned in a previous post, TWP will be featuring in the PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE segments a new twist: I (Renee) will be professionally evaluating the faculty of the middle school where I am the assistant principal. At 31, I am the 2nd youngest staff/faculty member in the building. Also, I am the youngest administrator in the district. But, I have a job to do and evaluating the teachers is a part of that job -Even if most of the people I evaluate are old enough to be my parents! 😆

Range: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor and Not Shown.

Traits Evaluated: Voice Inflection, Poise, Adaptability, Self Control, Class Management, Articulation, Time Management and Lesson Planning.

These are just some of what I will be evaluating and readers will get a general summary of how the evaluations are working out in late September. Hey, I was “graded” the same way as a teacher myself and did very well overall. But standards are getting tougher in today’s education profession and teachers will have to stay sharp in their teaching skills. Ultimately, that will be for the better!

 

PROF. N. COMMENTARY

Our U.K. friend, Prof. N., has done it again! This commentary has out-done every other commentary we at TWP have ever attempted. Hey, I thought WE were supposed to be the “experts” on school c.p. in the U.S.! TWP definitely steps aside for this one below.

To “Rev”:

I well understand that on a a priori basis you are four square opposed to all paddling . However I do find your campaign a little skewed. You hurl vitriol the like of which this forum (network54) hasn’t seen for some time at the ladies in TWP , and treat them as if they were a residual small group of nuclear survivors living in a remote rural community far from the madding crowd.

You said, “So, it goes without saying you hate most Americans. Oh, I forgot you don’t live in America. Your country is the twenty mile radios which makes up your school district. Nobody’s opinion matters to you except the people who live close to you. “

Two things . firstly if they are so atypical of American family values, and I doubt that (certainly I’ve found their values and practices pretty comparable to a a lot of Southern middle class families I know, respect, and like), why bother attacking them with such venom? Surely you accept that their position in which a handful of kids get paddled very moderately,isn’t comparable with earlier times when paddling happened in every corridor and in every classroom, and sometimes far too severely?

Secondly, shouldn’t you be looking closer to home when it comes to targets. There are a huge number of explicitly Christian schools which use paddling and spanking as a first line discipline. not like the ladies, as a option to something much more damaging – exclusion (suspension).

So lets have a look at a case study. Here’s Briarwood Presbyterian Birmingham Alabama. OK they broke with your church in 1973, but are thriving with over 4,000 members. Linked to the church is Briarwood school, on two campuses , one by the Church ,the others some distance away which caters from pre school to Senior High. There are about 2,000 students. Academic standards are exceptionally high, and you check the full graduation class list, and destinations.Moreover inspection  shows teaching and leadership to be excellent: both parents and students rate it 5 star. I haven’t been able to trace a single negative student comment anywhere. Perhaps you can .

What causes those ratings? No I won’t be provocative and say paddling. happy.gif Rather demographics, social and academic selection , economic exclusivity , highly qualified staff and supportive parents, shared ethos, yes I might upset some of my colleagues with this one…. Christian moral and ethical values……………good premises, superb athletic and sports facilities…..need I go on?

But, I’m forgetting , as you’ve said before , I know nothing of US education , so you’ll easily correct a stupid Limey and tell me in what ways Briarwood is patently failing its community.

Here is a general link .

.briarwood.org/templates/System/details.asp?id=37045&PID=406201

and here is the main website

.briarwoodchristianschool.org/

The High School Handbook at

.briarwoodchristianschool.org/img.asp?dl=1&t=2&id=29974

and the elementary/pre school handbook

.briarwoodchristianschool.org/img.asp?dl=1&t=2&id=29975

Both show that paddling /spanking is a major form of punishment, indeed the usual second line after detention (no detention until grade 7) . for some more serious offenses it first line Less choice available , of course, in elementary as the ladies have shown elsewhere.

Now if you get rid of spanking/paddling what are you left with ? Suspension, ISS (older kids only ?) or OSS. But you’ve left us guessing on your support or otherwise for that. Is ISS/OSS safe or does it pose psychological and social problems if used excessively? What parameters would you suggest? How do you deal with special needs and discipline problems?

As you can see given the system most staff will at one time or another be faced with administering corporal punishment. Are they ALL abusers? Will you condemn the Superintendent, the three Principals and other leaders of these schools (certainly some of the best qualified I’ve seen, check the resumes ) and the Church Ministers in the same forthright terms as the Ladies of TWP? Will you say it ? This school is a center of abuse?

These are your more conservative Calvinist brothers, and though you have doctrinal differences, even your own Church doesn’t overtly condemn corporal punishment ( see the church policy document in 2009 ‘Turn Mourning into Dancing’). The nearest the Church seems to go is to say it can be ‘risky'(p22) and calls for further academic study.

Schools like Briarwood seem to challenge your general thesis square on , leaving you falling back on moral/ethical positions. Fine, I can respect that, but those need to be supplemented with an action program for effective discipline .

Nature abhors a vacuum.

Students take advantage of it .

On “Nashia”:

Look , sure, Nashia obviously was no intellectual angel, but did she deserve to be sent into the criminal justice system ? If not what options would you have suggested? I’ve asked you before , but you stay silent .Real world problems need real world solutions.

If she had been sent to the authorities, and ended up in court , don’t you reckon she’d have hated the Principal who did that and wrecked her future career? Or would she have thanked him/her? That could well have been the first step on an escalator to youth incarceration, and have you ever visited inside those type of facilities? I have.


Have you ever sat on a committee which has the power to end a students career? I have chaired at least a dozen , and I’ll tell you its a awesome responsibility , and you exhaust absolutely EVERY possible alternative before you press the destruct button. Surely you conscience tells you every student deserves that ?

But you know the real issue? The real damage to student education is done by truly well meaning liberals who wring their hands ,sob genuine tears , and always follow the administrative rule book . Why? Because they wont make choices or intervene decisively. The law must take its course. Today High School Robocop, tomorrow Judge Dread?

“Rev.”, pass the bowl of water and towel , time to wash your hands.

-Prof. N.

YOUR FAQ’S

Why the use of dossiers on students last year to determine seating arrangements in the new school year? Shouldn’t you give students a “fair” chance to start the new year with a clean slate?

Let us at TWP put your fears to rest. Their is no “dossier” system used by teachers in our schools as far as we know. We DO coordinate seating patterns for our classrooms FOR the educational benefit of our students. Examples: Students who do not get along are separated as are student pairing that are troublesome. Also, students with hearing or sight impairments are placed in front desks. It may seem arbitrary and undemocratic to assign seating but it is done for the educational benefit of the students. When the students learn and achieve, its a win-win for all.

What are the titles/topics of the graduate thesis projects TWP is working on?

The four of us at TWP are working on individual thesis projects which most appeal to our unique interests. TWP will never give the exact titles because those thesis papers will be published after approval and scoring by a committee of college faculty members. A list of GENERAL themes is as follows:

RENEE: AN ANALYSIS OF VARIOUS COMMUNITY/SCHOOL RELATIONSHIP MODELS AND THEIR IMPACT ON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT LEVELS.

JENNY: MEASURING LONG TERM ACHIEVEMENT GAINS FROM INCREASED SCIENCE INSTRUCTION AT THE ELEMENTARY LEVEL

WENDY: MODELS OF PARENT/TEACHER INTERACTION AND THEIR IMPACT ON EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT IN EARLY CHILDHOOD.

MICHELLE: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF EARLY INTERVENTION STRATEGIES FOR AT-RISK STUDENTS ENTERING KINDERGARTEN.

What js TWP’s position on merit/incentive pay for teachers? The firing of incompetent teachers?

😆 PREPARE FOR MAJOR LETDOWN!

We at TWP have NO problem WHATSOEVER with paying better teachers more -All four of us could use the extra $$$! As to firing “incompetent teachers” -We are for that too. One Major caveat though: We DO believe in “due process” in this matter. The reason is that we do NOT want teacher’s careers destroyed for reasons other than “incompetence in the classroom as a teacher”. That is why there are “teacher tenure ” laws in place: To protect ALL teachers from petty politics and nepotism that was rampant in education a century ago.

The children that you have paddled -How do you know they aren’t ruined for life and hate you for what you did to them?

🙄 Oh, brother! Makes us wonder if some folks read only the titles to our posts. We recommend the CLOSE ENCOUNTERS series early this year as examples of how our former pupils regard us. Also, all of us make an extra effort to talk with a student who we paddled earlier in the day. These little “chat sessions” have always worked out in re-setting the teacher-student relationship. These sessions always seem to “clear the air” and we make sure the student understands why the punishment happened and that we disliked having to punish them. This has ALWAYS worked for us and the students have never shown resentful towards us later.

Will TWP give an update on Miranda, Barbie, Matt and the others you paddled last year?

We will update on a few of the cases cited above.

Miranda: Our ex-goth girl graduated from the middle school and is now attending the high school as a 9th grader (Freshman). Since her only paddling, she has stayed out of major trouble and has done a 180 degree turnaround. This spring, Miranda made the junior honor society. I am so proud of her! She gave me a big hug on the last day of school and told me, “I hope to be elected to a class officer position next year!”

Matt: I was actually a little miffed at Matt for “bragging” about the paddling I gave him. Matt swears he ONLY told one person! Yeah…right! Half the school is probably more like it. Anyway, a day doesn’t hardly pass without a student which I am referring to I.S.S. pleading FOR swats from me instead so they won’t miss ….(pick a sport) practice. Brother…I sometimes get the feeling the students resent me when I turn them down (every time). As to Matt himself -No major trouble since and he is also starting 9th at the high school.

Barbie: Our “brawling cheerleader” not only managed to stay out of trouble but made amends with Cindy. The most ackward part was that Barbie is a teen at my church. I promised her that I would not tell a soul at church about the paddling. Barbie was relived and later ask me to be at her June confirmation. I made a special effort to be back from my family’s vacation for the ceremony and afterwards, I was the first person she hugged! (O.k., by now the reader should conclude that I am a “hugger” type personality.) But when Barbie asked me if I wanted to help chaperone the teen trip to a National Youth Conference, I declined. Hey, I need time-off from teens already!

Cindy: The feisty one managed to stay out of trouble the rest of the year and, like the three above, is now at the high school. Cindy confided to me one-on-one, “I’d rather take three swats from you than what momma does…She doesn’t stop at just three.” I told her that I hoped she had learned to resolve problems without resorting to brawling. Cindy said she learned her lesson. I was glad to hear that!

That is all TWP has to offer on “updates”. I (Renee)  do not have anything else at this time but will keep readers up to date if anything new develops.

 

(Editor’s Note: It is my intent to re-start the weekly schedule of this blog but may not be able to for next week. I’ll keep readers posted if anything changes -Otherwise, next week will be the next post.)

 

COMING NEXT:

RENEE vs. THE “OL’ BALL COACH”

&

RENEE CHRONICLES: THE COLLEGE YEARS pt. I

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: