I had no idea

I guess if I really though about it I would have really understood what we are dealing with but I guess I didn’t. What I mean is our 18 year old or older students dating younger students. I guess this was something that happened recently and the mother withdrew her 15 year old child because she was dating a student we have here who is 19. Yes, we want to help students finally get to wear that cap and gown but it isn’t good to have 19 year old students on campus with 14 and 15 year olds.

And I hear no matter what, a 17 year old cannot date a 13 year old because there is 4 years difference in their ages.

Sherman Indian High School Cemetery

It was a little emotional to me today to go the school cemetery  for cleanup. Realizing that there is so much history at the school and seeing the students working hard to maintain and clean the cemetery just really struck me as another page in the saga of how these students are part of a conquered people. They have generational trauma, still to this day. I know I would feel very driven to do justice to those buried there if they we my ancestors who died at the school I was attending.

I also know that I am right, in fact my whole family is right, to opt for cremation. I already have an emotional time around the holidays. Dad, Mom, my younger brother, Craig  and now my last Uncle Bob are gone and I remember them well and often. Visiting a grave never appealed to me as a way to honor their memory. I think it is better to remember them as life goes on and you are doing something which reminds you of the wonderful times.

NCLB Rantings

A great injustice to our schools is found in the NCLB act and the
pressure it puts on the schools to improve based solely on a once a year score
and a few other data points. Yes, there is some validity to the scores, yet
these are not authentic assessments tied directly to the curriculum, for that
student and for the content, which he or she has learned that year. The act
does not account for students who have learning gaps. Scores for calculations
are used to devalue teachers efforts in the classroom because students don’t
reach proficiency. The act narrows the number of students to a few compared to
the whole in how achievement is calculated. Therefore, it does not look at the
programs at the school in a comprehensive manner. In fact, I recommend the
accreditation process, conducted by regional associations, be the main way that
schools earn an evaluative score. The accreditation process is thorough
and all-inclusive of much data, it is a collaborative self-observation and followed with a visitor observations.

When it comes to teacher evaluation, there is no measure of the
hours and hours of classroom work where teachers spend time in
remediation with students on a daily basis. Many of these students are far
behind in the curriculum and yet a teacher must work the miracles to bring them
up to proficiency in the short year or less this teacher has with them.
Additionally, administrators tie teacher evaluations to a one-time proficiency
score.

For high schools, there are other factors, which are significant
injustices and do not address student achievement across the board. For
example, to calculate AYP for our schools, only a cohort of sophomore students
are part of the AYP calculations each year. We can be doing all the right
things for all the students at our school, the other three grades scores can be
through the roof fantastic, yet this does not factor in the calculations.

We learn in our trainings that authentic assessments are better
for our students. Are they not better for evaluating a school? The
accreditation process conducted by a region association account for this and
therefore, the accreditation team looks at all aspects of the school to
evaluate how effectively the school is working on an improvement plan. The team
looks at data, more comprehensive data than just scores from one test, and data
which when collectively analyzed and presented by the school in a
self-appraisal, examines student achievement from all angles. The school and
then the visiting team gather data from all stakeholders in various
collaborative sessions.

All these factors I’ve discussed, students who are far behind in
their learning, teacher evaluations based on test scores, only scores for
selected students used in calculations of AYP, and tests that are not authentic
assessments, when put together under the umbrella of NCLB, lead to an unjust way of evaluating schools. I suggest we use regional accreditation as the means of
assessing a school. The accreditation process is an authentic and broad
self-study, conducted at first by the school, and then verified by observations by a
visiting team of professionals who are in the business of education.

CynthiaDeMone

11-9-11