Posted by: bwoof | September 17, 2009

Comp Ed

Today I attended a meeting which included several high schools and even more elementary schools. Our common denominator is that we have been judged by some sort of formula to have a higher percentage of needy students when compared with other schools. To create a sense of equity we are called Comp Ed Schools, a.k.a. compensatory.

I also learned that IB ibdoesn’t really want students to have to pay for this extra enhanced learning opportunity. Oh no…it’s meant to be equally accessible for all. That’s compensatory thinking for sure.

There are, of course, many ways to define needy and I’m not sure of the fine print that governs our dubious designation. However, I’m sure that many students in our catchment are needy.  And Comp schools get a bit of extra  help financially and sometimes even in staffing in order to provide better opportunities for those who maybe don’t have as many resources to start with.  

Many schools reported an increase in the stress factors that can so often interfere with learning: mental illness, poverty, family discord, and conflict. While I’m not interested in being an alarmist I, too, have a gut feel that we’ve got more on our deck than we might have had even a few years ago.

My day, almost all of it, was spent dealing with fallout from the problems listed above. I reserve the right (if not responsibility) to have hope, but I’m tempted, oh so tempted at times to give up on certain kids.

But then I stop and remember that miracles happen, miracles like ____ who today could have been the poster-girl for a turned around life. When I first met her the eyes were dark and fiery and angry to the max. She was disinvited from our school more than once. Violence and tension marked her limited strategies for coping. She was despised by peers for excess ‘drama.’  

Today she was focussed, hopeful, and determined.  She’s planning to have her own ___ shop someday. And she’ll get there, and I might just have to find a way to be her first client.

Grateful for:

  • IB and the call to excellence
  • reaching so many families by phone late in the day to check up on their students
  • the six or so boys who agreed to put on a glove and pick up garbage on the front step today. It’s amazing what a one-minute blitz can do to upscale the school ambiance.

Curious about:

  • where do you send a student to sleep for the night when all the couch-surfing options are exhausted and there’s no bus fare money to get to the place if it was there in the first place
  • why does diabetes make people’s vision go blurry? And what do you say when a someone who needs to earn credits can’t see well enough to read?
  • is there a way to have some courses run all year long and have others run semester by semester? Will eSIS get too cranky or will it let us be creative?

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