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Being A Brighton Teacher

It is the last week of school and as I put on my bright yellow-gold Brigthon t-shirt with burgundy lettering, I thought about how many months I had this shirt before I wore it to school. I really can not explain why I did not wear the shirt since purchasing it last fall because on Fridays most of the teachers wear a Brighton t-shirt. I remember the many Thursday nights I looked at this shirt hanging in my closet and thought I just can not wear it yet. It was not that I was not proud of my school, but ...


Growing Our Own

In my first entry, I wrote about my choice to work at Brighton was based on my belief that we need to recruit our strongest teachers to our most needy schools. I still believe this, but realistically I realize we need to consider other options. I now see the need as some would say “ to grow our own”. The reality of recruiting teachers to schools labeled failure is very difficult. I know we have a need for highly accomplished, veteran teachers. However as one teacher responded to my previous entry on recruitment, established teachers do not easily pull up stakes ...


Sense of Urgency

Last week, I had the privilege of presenting at a conference in the northern part of my state. This not only is a beautiful part of Alabama, but the schools in this area are outstanding. During my presentation I stopped several times to ask the teachers if they were involved in some of the efforts that are ongoing at my school. Their responses were no to most of what I asked. As I looked out at this very energetic group of teachers, I felt a twinge of jealousy. This group looked as fresh as they did when I spoke to ...


Keeping Good Teachers

Last week, I wrote about recruiting teachers to my school. This week my thoughts are turning to how do we keep good teachers in my school or any hard to staff school. One word comes to mind - support. As I reflect on this year and the support that has been given to our school, it is a very mixed bag. From our State Department of Education, we have been given significant support. As a result of our school’s label of low-performing, our State Department of Education sent a Peer Assistant to our school. This veteran teacher has been ...


Recruiting Teachers

Testing is over and we are now looking to next year. Like every year, we are losing teachers. Some are going because circumstances have changed in their lives; marriage, divorce, and family needs. Some may be leaving because they find this work very stressful. I understand the need for some to leave and I would never encourage anyone to stay who felt it was time to go on. Now the problem is how do we get accomplished teachers to come to our school? Recruiting in hard to staff schools is a major issue across our country. I am a part ...


Testing Time

It that time of year-testing time! My fever blisters have returned, my principal has very dark circles under her eyes, our testing coordinator’s face is drawn with anxiety, the teachers’ faces show deep lines of worry, and the students have rarely smiled during the last two weeks. This is my first testing experience in a school where our test scores determine so much of our future. During the past two weeks, I have watched the tension and the effort of the entire school as grades 3-8 go through a battery of tests. The students did a wonderful job and ...


A Few “Bad Apples"

I had really planned to address the issue of teacher quality later on in telling my story. However, since this has come up on the comment page. I would like to share what I have learned this year. What I have seen at Brighton is like any school, there are teachers at different levels of their career not only in terms of years of service, but in expertise. I really like Kappa Delta Pi’s book,Life Cycle of the Career Teacher because we are all at a different stages in this journey. It is my contention that in order ...


Brighton's Children

I am often asked how the children of Brighton feel about their school and what they know about our school having the label of low performing. I spend most of my time in the K-4 building and I really do not think many of the young children have any knowledge of this label. The older children I am sure know of Brighton’s reputation. I was told that years ago when Brighton High School was closed quite unexpectedly, one student told someone from our district office he planned to drop-out because he knew he did not have the background to ...


A New Day

A New Day As I continue to share my journey, I realize I have had very few positive things to say about my first year at Brighton. To be honest, I felt there was not much to smile about during the first semester. In fact right before Christmas, one of our teachers told me I had lost my smile and they needed it back. This truly broke my heart. To add to this pain, my principal told me that the teachers did not want me at Brighton. As harsh as this seemed at the time, I needed to understand that ...


Conversations and Accountability

I can not tell you how much I have enjoyed reading the many comments to my last post. I so appreciate your words of encouragement and I am especially grateful to hear form those of you in similar situations. It has taken me longer to write this week as I mull over a verbal response I had to my last post. I was asked, if I acknowledged there is a need for accountability than how do you not label schools? I remember the day my principal shared the just released test results with our faculty. The results were not what ...


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Recent Comments

  • Christine Reed: Betsy - I too choose to work at a school read more
  • Martha Foster: Betsy, I have not read all of your entries, perhaps read more
  • Rhonda Phillips: Betsy, Like others, I feel in a small way that read more
  • Kim Hendon: Great job Betsy and all the Brighton teachers! The poor read more
  • Lisa: Betsy, I have followed your trials and tribulations throughout the read more

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