Last week, Fairfax County changed its grading policy to adopt a “ten point” scale. In other words, instead of needing a 94 for an A and a 64 to pass, under the new system 90 or better bags an A and a 60 gets you over the hump. The school board finally deserted its flimsy rationale that it was “setting a high bar” in the face of pressure from sharp-elbowed parents concerned that their children were somehow disadvantaged in the college admissions process, especially compared to applicants from neighboring school districts like Arlington and Montgomery that use metric scales. (At ...

In another corner of Teacher, editor Anthony Rebora is moderating a forum right now asking teachers a timely question: On January 20, Barack Obama will be sworn in as the nation's 44th president, in an event that is expected to draw unprecedented numbers of people to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. How do you plan to address the inauguration in your classroom or integrate it into your lessons? Is your school making any special arrangments to allow students to watch and talk about the event? What do you hope students will get out of coverage and discussions of ...

Here’s some stuff about building a book Annie Lamott never told us in Bird by Bird, her quickly classic writer's autobiography. Fortunately, I’ve got Andrea from Long Island to help me craft a marketable proposal. Over spring break, I knocked out a chapter outline listing the sections and what I want to put in each one. The organizing device is a metaphor, a suitable approach for a guy like me who has a license plate on his jeep that says METAAAA. To keep you in suspense, or at least keep you reading this post, I will cagily withhold ...

I’m not going to write you a resolution, cause you asked for it… which is why I am posting this on December 31st, instead of tomorrow. Here’s my new year’s news: I’m going to write a book. Oops, I said it (again). Last time, in this space, was the auspicious pause before the school year when teacher resolutions are generally made (“Lull Before the Storm,” August 21, 2007). On the verge then of starting my third and I did not know then final year at High Tech High, I talked about various topics including the perennial ...

I was gifted when gifted wasn't cool, or at least before it became de rigueur for every middle class kid with a parent on the PTA. My mom was a committed advocate of special programs for kids identified as "gifted and talented" when I was in elementary school in the late '70s and early '80s, to the point where she moved my twin brother and I to three different schools over the course of our primary career in order to follow Fairfax County's local full day program. We developed the social skills of army brats, and got what I recall ...


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