It's "Glee" for all students

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by TeacherShelly, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    This article is about a school where I applied. I only applied to five schools in driving distance from my home because I LOVE this kind of school. So cool (IMO). What do you think?

    It's "Glee" for all students
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I think the last paragraph explains it all nicely: "There's still the belief that stuff like this matters," McMahon said, waving his arm across a crowded cafeteria filled with gleeful, singing children. "I believe in this style of learning, where kids learn to be good people as opposed to kids who can take tests. This type of learning builds leaders."
     
  4. JustMe

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    Oh, and the required parent involvement is something I've never heard of...fascinating, really!
     
  5. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Many of our Magnet schools require parent involvement, as do some of our charter schools.
     
  6. TeacherShelly

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    Some schools "require" parent participation, although technically they can't actually require it. School is free to all. There is large amounts of peer pressure to do it at the ones who "require" it, though. If it's impossible, the parent can do database work or publicity or something from home.

    The thing is, when the parents are forced to get to know all the students in the class and each other, the sense of community blossoms beyond imagination. My girls went to K at a school like this, and honestly, I never wondered if my kids would be safe if I was a few minutes late because everyone was watching everyone's kids. I loved that closeness we all had.
     
  7. DaveG

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    "This school isn't for everyone," King said.

    "We feel the veiled or indirect pressure to do more with academics," King said.

    Those statements pretty much sum it up for me. While I appreciate elements of their approach and the inclusion of creative arts, it did appear (from the article at least) that other subjects and academic skills were being sacrificed. The principal seems to recognize this, however.

    On a side note, very interesting that the author of the article used the term 'holistic' (relating to the spiritual philosophy of holism) rather than wholistic (relating to all parts of a person).
     
  8. TeacherShelly

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    I totally agree it is not for everyone. For one thing, kids who cannot self-regulate at all will not be happy there. It is best for kids who can manage some choice, increasingly so throughout the years.

    It is also not for those who measure their success by test scores alone. I find an API score of 880 is nothing to sneeze at. If a perfect score would be better, regardless of the impact on other areas of human growth, then this would not be a good school for your child.
     
  9. MissCeliaB

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    Around here if parents fail to do their involvement hours the child is sent to another school in their attendance zone. School is free to all, but not all students qualify to go to magnet schools, or for transfers, so if terms of the contract aren't being met, that spot is given to a child on the waiting list.
     
  10. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I'm really impressed with this idea.

    So many of my parents don't want to be at all involved. I recently got yelled at—and I do mean yelled at—for contacting a parent about her daughter failing three terms in a row. She made it very clear she didn't want to be "bothered about grades". Seriously. I truly almost started to cry on the phone—not for me, but because of what the poor girl must deal with. Okay, so I probably don't want this mother in the classroom or on a field trip or what have you, but if we could just manage to increase parental involvement a little I think it could be the beginning of a slow transition to more involved families. A tradition of sorts.

    Okay, sorry...back to the original topic! :)

    Regarding the comment about feeling pressured to do more with academics, that doesn't at all mean they are not committed to academics...only that the pressure is there to do more. And isn't this the case in the majority of schools?
     
  11. TiffanyL

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    Keep in mind that the best way to slowly get parents involved, however, is to support them as well as their children. Many of students' parents come with difficult backgrounds and/or their own negative experiences regarding school.

    There will be more success with the parents when we don't pass judgment (not anyone here...just in general) and don't take a punitive approach.

    I was P at a school where parent involvement was mandatory. The approach taken was punitive....their kids were threatened with having to leave the school, phone calls were made to harass the parents who did not have enough hours. I realize this was a requirement for attending the school but it was still a public school....which, in my opinion, should be available to ALL children, not just those with involved parents.
     
  12. TeacherShelly

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    Unless things changed, the parent participation mandate was not technically really a mandate - rather a principle of the school which those who chose to attend should embrace as well. One parent outright refused to do her hours in the classroom and told the P that she didn't have to. It caused a lot of resentment from the teachers and other parents. The kids got to do so much more because there were many adults available all the time. Parents taught electives and special interest classes. They went on really elaborate field trips. The in-class work was more personalized for each kid's interests and passions. So that mom's kid got all that without her giving 3.5 hours per week.

    My school is so much like the one in the article, except parent participation is a privilege, not a requirement or a right. I know that might sound absurd to some, but our community is highly motivated to participate in their children's educations. Teachers have about as much help as they could use and so they pick and chose how to use parent help. Helicopter parents are the reason for the "privilege" point of view. If any parent could come help whenever, those would come and hover over their child anticipating their every need ("Here's a pencil, sweetie! Nice sharp point!") and getting critical over every perceived slight by other students.

    But that's not the point! The school in the article is focused on the growth of every human aspect of the students. The idea of the singing made me so happy. I told my P about it and we are going to try an optional song meeting for the school. Teachers could choose whether to attend or not - and our P would play his guitar and lead the songs.
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

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    The word holistic simply means 'having to do with the whole', from the Greek holos 'whole' (as in hologram 'picture of the whole', because one can view the object in the round); there is no necessary connection to a spiritual philosophy.
     
  14. TeacherShelly

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    Thank you for this.
     
  15. TeacherShelly

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    JustMe, yes! Considering that this school does not prep students for standardized tests, but rather teaches the content standards in multiple ways, it's impressive that the API is so high. It's an 8 out of 10 on Great Schools ...
     
  16. TiffanyL

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    Such a tough situation.....I'm sure resentment built among the other parents who were putting in their hours. But...on the other hand...how wonderful for that child to be in a school where adults cared about him/her. Not sure what the answer is.....I would have also allowed the child to stay.
     
  17. TeacherShelly

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    I know, it was tough I'm sure. The child was allowed to stay - it would not be possible to throw the kid out because of something that can't be required. The resentment was toward the parent for actively trying to get into a lottery based school, pretending to be all aboard for the philosophy, and then not supporting one of the key premises once her kid got in. But, some people ... (and I do not know her side of the story!) I only remember this at all because people say they can't attend certain schools because they work and can't participate the way SAHMs can.
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

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    I for one am not remotely surprised.
     
  19. DaveG

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    Just to nitpick, in modern English and in philosophy, we use 'wholistic' as having to do with the whole. Holistic means the same thing, but is most commonly associated with the philosophy of holism - the idea that the world is interconnected and we are more than the 'sum of our parts'.

    Nothing more than an interesting observation given that the school had been considered 'hippie-esque'.
     
  20. TeacherShelly

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    Huh. I always thought wholistic was just a misspelling of holistic.

    From the Online Etymology Dictionary:
    Wholistic
    1941, from holistic crossed with whole.

    Holistic
    1926, coined, along with holism, by Gen. J.C. Smuts (1870-1950), from Gk. holos "whole" (see safe (adj.)). In reference to the theory that regards nature as consisting of wholes.
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

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    What it is, I think, Shelly, is a classic example of linguistic differentiation: first the word holism was appropriated by the "hippie-esque" belief system to which DaveG alludes, and then perhaps some proponents of the original sense decided to respell the adjective in order to safeguard the concept they intended from the taint of the belief that they scorned - and behold: wholistic.

    The citations one sees, however, do indicate that holistic in its original sense is alive and well - I don't think I've ever seen a reference, for example, to "wholistic scoring", though the phrase "holistic scoring" is fairly common.
     

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