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December 8, 2006

High School Redesign Notes

As Arlene has reached out to the community for suggestions about the Redesign of the high schools, let me share a couple of thoughts:

  1. It's too late. The students that are behind in 5th grade rarely catch up. The 2/3 combinations are by far the worst academic combination for elementary students, yet we continue this practice to save money, and to save SAGE. I understand the pull out combination system is a great way to deal with cost and transient students....but does it really help? Can't we negotiate with the Union to allow 4 year kindergarten? This is really annoying that we have to bow to the Union for the sacrifice of the lower income students.

  2. The middle school years has a great resource of teachers. My children have had teachers that felt students are undergoing hormonal warfare and felt they should teach less so as not to upset the students. As I quote a teacher my child had in a "Charlie Brown teachers voice", "Less is more and as long as they learn a couple of concepts during the year I feel I have done my job". This fortunately is not the normal approach my children have received. Most of the Jr. High teachers have been focused on preparing the students for Memorial. I wonder if this is the model for most of the Jr. High Schools throughout the district?

  3. The district currently has the highest number of National Merit Scholar graduates in the state, I would assume we send hundred of students to college each year and those that are from higher income families do well. I wonder if the problem is less racial gap and not more economic gap. Please follow the link to the following Newsweek article released by the North Carolina Democratic Party.... This is an article about how North Carolina kept their struggling students, drop out prone students and low income students engaged in high school by offering them an option to attend a local community college (MATC) and receive not only their HS diploma upon graduation but also an associate degree in an area of interest so that staying in school had meaning....and graduating means getting a real job. Currently all we can offer students that graduate from high school is they will have a diploma and they can essentially get the same jobs in this area with or without that diploma....with an associates degree they can make more than their teachers in computer repair, Xerox repair, IT, health associate degrees and others. Please think about raising the standards and the options for the struggling students, not lowering the standards for the top tier students. This IDEA and a proven method could benefit the entire community and raise the standard of living for lower income families. Please read this article.

Posted by Mary Battaglia at December 8, 2006 7:01 AM
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