Friday, April 20, 2007
I visited another 'Dream School', this time a High School, the Americans also have Middle School, so this was Years 9 to 12.
The basis for the reform still remains a mystery, they weren't the worst performing schools and unlike Reconstitution, where there was a push from the Afro-American community in Bayview-Hunter's Point for reform, this wasn't the case with 'Dream Schools'. The school board didn't hold meetings with staff, they found out in December 2004 they would have to apply in March 2005 for their own jobs.
Over 50% of staff left, many of them were veteran teachers who just felt disrespected. Out of the fifty new staff that started over half were first year teachers (NQTs).
There wasn't any real change in contracts and unlike the elementary (primary) schools they weren't forced to work extra hours. The Principal quit in May and the School Board was forced to appoint someone who was a first time Principal.
Test results have fallen dramatically and walking through the school there were giant banners everywhere, 'Rock the Tests'.
The 'Dream Schools' bear all the hallmarks of Superintendents (Chief Education Officers) trying to make their mark, leaving and then the teachers picking up the pieces.
I briefly met the Principal, one of those high powered people with shoulder pads to match, within seconds of meeting her she'd managed to patronise and condescend. Can't win 'em all, I'll have to go back to the vegan restaurant - I'm sure of a welcome there.