Tonight, just for fun, I asked my youngest daughter (4th grade) if she had to give her school a grade what would she give it. “An A+!” she said enthusiastically!! When I asked her why, she said, “The teachers are awesome and we get to do lots of cool stuff!” Then I told her some people think her school is an F! “Those people are dumb. Have they even been there?” she replied. Unfortunately, the answer is probably not.
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The truth is, I couldn’t have asked for a better school experience for my kids despite the fact that my 6th and 8th graders go to a middle school that got a “D” on the just released “rough draft” accountability ratings from the state and my 4th grade daughter’s school got an “F” in one of the categories. They have had some of the best teachers I have seen anywhere, and I should know, I have spent the last 22 years of my life in schools of all shapes and sizes. They have been challenged and they have grown and learned more than I could ever imagine.
It is hard for me to believe that those with very limited knowledge of schools could have the audacity to create a system that they can’t even explain and give grades without providing promised support. If a teacher did that to his/her class we would consider it poor instruction at best and gross negligence at worst. If you think I am being overly dramatic, you didn’t spend the last two days like I did talking to principals and educators and trying to explain that places they put their heart and souls into were deemed not good enough.
Enough politics. My real point in writing is that I am thankful for some of the things my kids have learned in these so-called failing schools. Our District and schools strive to provide a dynamic learning experience and that is exactly what they have done. My kids learned to dance. Yep. No one in my family can dance a lick, but when your friends are part of the after school dance club that is so popular that they have one for every grade, you sign up and show your stuff! They learned to read and debate. Have you ever seen a “Battle of the Books” competition? It is intense. You have to read and work as a team to determine your answers as you compete against other teams. They have
been in plays. They have built robots. They have learned to solve a Rubik’s cube. Learned to play chess. My daughter was a magician in a talent show. My son and his friends traveled to a global problem solving completion for Destination Imagination. My oldest was part of a team that placed second in a STEM competition at Bell Helicopter and she writes her own blog. They have collected things for Angel Tree gifts and later realized it was for friends at their school. They have been so lucky to have the care and guidance of so many wonderful educators. This is not a bragging list about my kids, it is meant to point out that NONE of the things above (and countless others) would they have ever experienced without their schools.
What they have learned in school I couldn’t have taught them.