The question of what can be done to help boys succeed is, in fact, a question that could perhaps yield lower rates of detention, suspension, and expulsion--and higher rates of academic success across both genders.

Dartmouth undermines the hurdles our most motivated students jump over by casually disregarding the value of the exams, and of AP courses on the whole.

Regents Week always stands in my mind as an example of system-wide redundancy, inefficiency, and impracticality.

Readers offered a lot of constructive feedback about CCLS-aligned curricula handed down from the national level. I wanted to address some of those suggestions here.

Could we make a national database of CCLS-aligned unit plans?

It occurs to me that, as a campus, we have innumerable fire drills--but we have no drills covering what we'd do if a shooter were in the building.

It's unrealistic to stipulate that, because teaching is an art, there should be no assessments or pre-requisites to certification.

Will a rigorous exam bring respect to the teaching profession?

So, I assigned a project to all my students, which I've been busily scoring over the last week as I try to compute their marking period grades. The assignment was for Lord of the Flies, and there were four different options: (1) Write a 13th chapter for the book (there are currently only 12, but the book ends with--I think--plenty of unresolved issues); (2) Draw a graphic novel of the book; (3) Analyze William Golding's use of Biblical allusions in the book; or (4) Compare the "adventures" of the protagonists (who are stranded on a deserted island, for the uninitiated) ...

So, after being discussed in terrified whispers for several weeks, the thing teachers and students most feared has finally happened: The NYCDOE has decided to take back three days from our beloved "mid-winter recess," a February vacation we get every year when the presidents' birthdays are collapsed into one celebratory week off. Now, instead of lasting from the night of Friday, February 15th through the morning of Monday, February 25th, we have to "give back" the 18th, 19th, and 20th for classroom instruction--effectively turning a 9-day break into a 4-day weekend. The horrors! (My students: "WHAT? How can they cancel ...


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