Labeling A School Joe’s comment to my last post is a perfect intro as I continue the story of my metamorphosis. If any of you are of my generation and remember the cartoon Mighty Mouse, you will understand I came to my school with the Mighty Mouse attitude, “Here I come to save the day!” This created much resentment for my being there in spite of what I could bring to the school because I really did not have a clue about what it meant to work in a school labeled failure and the teachers knew it. My first ...


In a comment to a recent post, I was asked “What assumptions about how schools succeed made you believe that you could make a difference in a "failing" school? My answer is the same reply I a gave a very savvy third grade boy at my school who asked me, “Why are you at our school?” I told him I fell in love with your school when I first visited two years ago and I want to help your school be the very best it can be because you deserve the best. I believed my eighteen years of experience in ...


Normally, I do not sleep the night before school starts because I am so excited about starting a new year. This year, I did not sleep the night before because I was so worried about how school would actually open the next day because I felt we were so ill-prepared. I quickly realized there were very few routines and procedures in place from record keeping to starting the day. In a meeting with the teachers, I referred to our district policy on student transportation and I was introduced to a phrase that I hear too often, “This is Brighton and ...


Brighton School has been under the mandates of School Improvement for the last four out of five years. For two years, the school has offered school choice as an option. As a result, we have lost about eighty students a year to other schools. Supplemental Services have been added and this year the first phase of restructuring the staff began as a new principal was hired. There was great difficulty in finding a principal for the school and it was ten days prior to school starting before a principal was in place. The teachers and the community became very frustrated ...


Several years ago, I went with my son's church on a mission trip to rural Alabama. Even though I had been a teacher in a Title I School for many years, I was not prepared for the poverty I saw that summer. When I returned to my classroom in August, I looked at my students and I realized there was one role as a teacher I had neglected and that was the role of being a voice for children, especially children in poverty. This information became my burden and I knew I had to do something with this new knowledge. ...


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