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View Diary: some observations from a classroom (124 comments)

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  •  Do you know why this is a charter school (13+ / 0-)

    Serving these kids and not a traditional public school?

    My oldest son is attending DC's comminity college down near Union Station. He is one of the few white kids in the school and he is often asked why he goes there. When he explains that we live in DC and that the local school superintendent allows for high school dual enrollment, they wonder even more. They all think a white high school kid should be in private school. Stereotyping is so prevelant in DC it sometimes makes it impossible for anyone to see people as individuals. I have a feeling that will be the most important part of your job, helping kids comfortably be themselves without worrying about the expectations of those around them, especially when the expectations are of failure. Respect for yourself is very hard to teach a kid in puberty; it's a lesson best learned younger but it's never impossible to find it. I look forward to reading more.

    •  fair question (15+ / 0-)

      the particular small group of charter schools started with a focus on kids already in the criminal justice system at the high school level.  The mission has expanded, in part because of my first principal who now overseas academics.  I remember at her request a few years ago having the person who was going to take on AP government at the high school level come out and spend several days with me, watching, picking my brain, copying lessons and materials.

      There is some flexibility in how one can teach, even though the school still must meet the performance standards required of DC Public Schools.  This is a non-profit, which raises extra outside money to be able to keep class sizes small (I have 65 on my roles in four classes), to have extra adult help in the room, and to have teachers do things like home visits for some kids.  That flexibility and small class sizes gives us some ability to meet the great needs of our students. Why the same approach could not be done in a regular public school is a somewhat complicated problem, and it would not be fair to blame the teachers union when many of the issues are administrative and within the control of the school system.

      To me it is irrelevant whether or not it is a charter, so long as it is not a for-profit entity, officially or indirectly.  I am here in large part because of the people I already knew, and then because of how impressed I was by the others on the staff when I visited near the end of last year exploring the possibility of working here.  Trust me, the dedication to the kids is amazing.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 07:46:51 AM PST

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