Educational Philosophy

I wonder what would happen if school board policies were mandatory reading for taxpayers? My first hope is that a massive revolt would force an entire rewrite to get rid of the crap and transcribe it to something we can all easily understand. My second hope would be that we stop arguing over the small stuff and focus, as a larger community, on the bigger stuff. Until that day happens….

 

Just highlighting a little gem I think we all often forget. Be careful to note the details to which the policy attempts to embrace the students, the staff, the teachers, the parents and the community; note the need for collaboration at many different levels, both within and without the schools; note that which you think is totally awesome and that which you think we are failing at:

http://policy.microscribepub.com/cgi-bin/om_isapi.dll?clientID=1388632&depth=2&infobase=champaign.nfo&record={29}&softpage=PL_frame

120 EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY

The Board of Education of Champaign Community Unit School District No. 4, as legal officials of the state of Illinois and duly elected by the people of the District, feel obligated to the students of the District to see that their educational needs are met in the best possible manner. The Board, the administration, and the staff of the District will exhibit leadership in all endeavors toward the improvement of our educational program and facilities.
The Board of Education believes that the educational program should provide each student with the opportunity to develop to his/her fullest capacity in the areas of academic, physical, and emotional needs, regardless of race, sex, handicapping condition, socioeconomic status, or academic aptitude.
The Board of Education endorses the following goal statements for the District:

1. To develop an educational program that provides as solid a foundation of both academic and career knowledge and skills as the abilities of each individual will permit, which aims toward the development of each student’s potential with respect to college admission or vocational competence, and unmistakably reflects sincere concern for the human qualities of the individual;

2. To establish a physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually healthy environment for teaching and learning;

3. To effectively communicate and have a mutual understanding among staff, students, parents, and community so that all may work in concert to achieve an outstanding educational program;

4. To make appropriate recognition of and efficient use of community resources;

5. To continue efforts to recruit and retain a highly skilled and committed staff and to promote the professional growth of this staff;

6. To provide a sound, long-range plan designed to meet future needs;

7. To make the best use of the District’s physical plant;

8. To advise and inform the public of district activities and seek their advice;

9. To provide the highest moral and professional leadership; and

10. To maintain priorities consistent with the educational goals and philosophy of the District.
Approved July 11, 1988

Unity in Action Magazine : Jan 2013 issue

The latest “Unity in Action” magazine has come out, with two short but good articles to read ([note: the software used to browse the magazine is a bit kooky, not unlike the NG epaper]). The first is about government and us voters taking responsibility for those we vote for and holding our government accountable, of making your voice heard and perhaps most significantly, focusing on community. This is very much like the “Letter to the Editor” I wrote last month. Good stuff! The second article is an interview with “Big D”, a poignant and succinct account about coming out of the prison system; his last statement really hits home – “The issues with felons is something that is really destroying our community.” I feel for this guy, and others like him. I have known a couple convicts and tried to work with them on re-entry issues, and the system is totally screwed up; most often, it is easier and more lucrative for felons to go back to a life of crime. We have totally failed that segment of society.

 

Why is this on a blog about schools? Because I firmly believe schools are not silos, they are not independent of the society, the culture and the community around them. We have to be cognizant of all the players and all the moving pieces. If we build better communities, we build better schools. If we build better schools, we build better communities (the last is from the Unit 4 PR stuff). And trust me, you don’t want the alternative.

Two items: Upcoming Board "retreat" and expansion of classes

I was informed that the Board has set the date and time of their next retreat, which I am told is open to the public.

When: June 21st, 8:am – 12:pm

Where: Mellon Center (??)

In the past, Board Members have told me that these retreats are very helpful and they got a lot of out of them. In fact, Greg Novak had this to say of the last retreat:

BEST   –  BOARD   –   MEETING   –   EVER  !!!!      Got a great view of the district and its issues and strengths from an experienced outsider it was the Superintendent – seven board members – no one else – serious and open discussion (in open session no less) of issues facing the school district today – including lack of district engagement with the community.

I have never been to one before and I am not sure if many members of the public have been either. It is not exactly the most convenient time for those of that work, but the same goes for the existing Board Members as most (if not all) of them will have to take time off work.

Not seeing anything on the District homepage yet, but I would expect them to post a formal, if brief, agenda.

Secondly, concerning all the new classrooms and teacher shuffling going on, Trevor has finally come out and laid out the cards:

http://will.illinois.edu/news/spotstory/unit-4-prepares-for-influx-of-students/

However, I would still like to hear more from the district. For instance, Robeson is getting a ESL class. What about all the support structures that go along with ESL? Where are the new teachers coming from? This makes me wonder what else is happening beyond the mere mention of “adding classes”. Another thought I have, it seems just a tad odd that these decisions were discussed and completed internally with little communication with the public. And perhaps little communication with the Board? I have heard a number of parents who were affected by these changes; for instance several Latino parents were told they were moving to Robeson. They were not asked, they were not included in any of the decision-making. The picture that was painted to me was that this was quite abrupt and disruptive for those affected. To give the District a little credit, I give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they were in a rush to make some big decisions. Certainly, they need to do something about the larger Kindergarten and First Grade classes. I am hoping that in the future there is a bit more of a collaborative effort between the District and the community to address larger issues like this.