My Friends: rwebb, lgwalker, gigivaldez, ssteacher, edUKtor, caroljones, Gillit, tiffanie, bsmith, rphillips
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rwebb Final Student Response - Subscribe
High School- Don't plays favorites. Treat everyone the same and give them the same opportunities. Many teachers have pets and allow them many opportunities that other do not get.
If our schools take precautions to keep the school safe, we should trust them and feel that our day-to-day routines are not changed.

Middle school - Pay attention to all of the students. Give help on work they don’t understand. Let them pick where their seats. All of the outside doors are locked to the school and the classroom. They are locked now, but they were not until the recent shootings around the country.
Mood: mortified

rwebb Subject questions Oct 25th, 2006 9:30:20 pm - Subscribe
High School student - We have a few Gothic students and Mexicans. We also have groups that are mostly Gay, and the rich kids that are based on part of town they live in. There are Church groups that hang out together, and those that play the same sports.

The coach would play the kids that went to their church over other kids on the team.

Middle school student - There is a group that hangs out with just their church. There is a large group of Mexicans and a very small group of Gothic. There is also a group of kids that their parent are all about the same on who they will let their kids hang out with because they trust them. A group of Mexican girls and Football boys hang out with at lunch. A group of people that talk about Aliens.

All of the non-popular kids usually get picked on and the Jock and cheerleaders get treated much better. They find that the Geeks get annoying because they talk too much.

rwebb Responses From Students Oct 13th, 2006 8:20:21 pm - Subscribe
Ryley: High School Female.
"The only thing that has happened is that people have called me rich"

Sailor: Jr. High School Female.
"Some of the Mexican kids call me rich girl and don't think that I should go to the gym and play with them. Now they look at me different. I guess that over time they have accepted me more and now it's OK."

These are the responses that where stated to me. I believe that many of our white students get discriminated against because our school is 65% Hispanic.

All of the identities are protected.
Mood: unstable

rwebb The Heat Is On Apr 26th, 2006 2:28:46 pm - Subscribe
There are several questions that I believe need to be answered. What is the weather forecast? Do we have any fans available? Can they work in an area of the school that is cooler just for the day or until the unit is repaired? As a last resort give the staff the afternoon off and let them work in the cool of the morning. They also need to realize that they are paid by the hour and need to clock out. This will prevent any questions later.

Next, you need to get on the phone with the head of the maintenance department and schedule the unit to be repaired as soon as possible.

If any other employees are to work on this particular day they need to be notified of the situation and any decisions that were made.

rwebb Barbara Shouldn't be Promoted Apr 26th, 2006 2:17:02 pm - Subscribe
In this case, it is nice to have a concerned parent. I would have to check with the legalities of not promoting a student to the next grade. One question is once the grades are turned in are they final? I believe they are, but I also believe that a parent should have the opportunity, if warranted, to keep a child back to make sure they know the content.

That leads to the next issue. If the grades are final and you promote the student, then we need to look at possibilities of remediation to help this student catch up. If special education is appropriate, this is another avenue that needs to be explored. This is a problem that the "no child left behind" protocol is trying to fix. I'm not sure if they are approaching it in the best way, but it is being addressed. Social promotion can be remedied by looking at the test scores vs. the students’ classroom scores. If there is a problem it will be with the teacher and not the student.

Mrs. Nelson now needs to be addressed on the issue of the test scores not reflecting the performance of the student in her class. Yes, it may be embarrassing for the student to repeat a grade, but I believe that if they can be helped. If a teacher is keeping a close eye on the borderline students then he/she will be able to correct of the learning difficulties before they go too far. Teachers also need to be reminded that they are not doing students any favors when they pass them onto the next grade.

gigivaldez The Heat Is On Apr 25th, 2006 8:24:46 pm - Subscribe
I would make a call to the maintenance director and ask him to handle it. There's not much I can do other than that. If the custodial staff doesn't work, they don't get paid. I hate that they would have to work in a hot building, but if I decide to work some during the summer I would have to endure the heat as well, I guess.
Mood: neutral

gigivaldez Barbara Shouldn't Be Promoted Apr 25th, 2006 8:07:55 pm - Subscribe
I appreciate that a parent would even voice that their child should not be promoted because usually teachers find themselves trying to convince the parents that their child needs to be retained. I definitely need to talk to Vicki and have her explain Barbara's passing grades. As a principal I should have copies of failure notices if any were sent out and I should be able to bring up Barbara's report card grades for the year. Being that she is a third grader, I would also need to look at her TAKS scores. If Barbara meets the requirements for promotion, then I would meet with Mrs. Marshall and Vicki to see if there is something we could do to help Barbara in 4th grade. Does she possibly need testing after the proper intervention steps? Is summer school a possibility? If the grades are not up to par and Barbara truly should not have been promoted, then I would suggest the same options to Mrs. Marshall. (summer school, testing...) We want to do what is best for Barbara so she can experience success. I would address the district's promotion policy with Vicki and make sure she understood the importance of
retaining students and passing them on.
Mood: baffled

gillit Barbara Shouldn't Be Promoted Apr 25th, 2006 5:08:40 pm - Subscribe
The first thing that I would do is to ask the secretary to see Barbara's record for myself. I would review the test scores as well as look into her grades in Mrs. Nelson's class. Before contacting Mrs. Marshall I would meet with Mrs. Nelson to find out about this situtaion. Barbara possibly could be an extremely hard working student and Mrs. Nelson was trying to give her the benefit of a doubt. Barbara might be a poor test taker and was doing extra work in Mrs. Nelson's class. With No Child Left Behind it is going to be hard to promote those type of students due to accountabality issues. I would explain this to Mrs. Nelson and tell her I appreciate what she is doing to help the students but that we must also make sure they are going to be prepared for the next grade level. I would then have a meeting with Mrs. Marshall and Mrs. Nelson and try to come up with a plan of action that everyone could be satisified with and that Barbara's best intrest was top priority. This might include summer school or tutoring during the summer.

gillit The Heat is On Apr 25th, 2006 4:58:52 pm - Subscribe
This scenerio bothers me in the fact that I have worked for eight years in a school that does not have air conditioning and I find it hard to believe that someone can not perform their job if they do not have it. The first thing I would do is to get into contact with the head maintance personal to see if they can fix this problem. If they could not I would then work with the maintance personal to get in contact with the company that we do bussiness with. I would then meet with the head custodian and inform him of what I had found out. I would also let him/her know that even though the air conditioner is not working that they still need to get their job done. If they wanted to work in the mornings and evenings when it was cooler that I didn't have a problem with this that. It is their descision, however I still expected for them to get the job done. People work outside daily in the heat doing more physical labor so I have a hard time showing alot of sympathy.

rphillips The Heat is On Apr 25th, 2006 4:34:35 pm - Subscribe
After talking with the head custodian, I would tell him that I would meet with him at 9am this morning. During the meeting, I would empathize with him on working in the heat. I would ask him if there had been a work order issued for the air conditioner. Our first priority is to get the air conditioner working. As far as the other item of not working when the school gets hot, I can understand his feelings about not wanting his crew to work in this condition. However, there are things that must get done every day to ensure that the school is in working order when school starts. My first thought would be to determine when the air would be on before making any rash decisions. However, I also realize that this problem might not be remedied too quickly. If the head custodian was insistent about the heat, I would offer the idea of working at night or even split hours. Split hours would mean to allow the crew to come in early and work for 4 hours and then come back latter in the evening and work for 4 more hours. I would not care when the work was done just so that it was done. However, if this was not agreeable, then I would tell him that the other alternative was to work in the heat. And, since he was the head custodian, he needed to let me know by lunch on what his crew was going to do. I would let him know how much I appreciated their job and the pride they took in keeping this school in proper order.
Mood: spunky

rphillips Barbara Shouldn't Be Promoted Apr 25th, 2006 4:20:03 pm - Subscribe
I would first talk to my secretary to make sure of the clarity of the message. I would not want to start any problems if there was some type of miscommunications. If the message was correct, I would then proceed to call Mrs. Nelson into my office for a conference. I would let Mrs. Nelson know what the situation was. I would ask her why she was promoted in view of her test scores and grades. There could be the reason that Barbara is a hard worker and tries extremely hard for her. I would let the teacher know that I do understand if this is the reason. I know that she might have gave her some extra credit on assignments for effort. However, if Barbara is having this much of a problem now, just think of what the ramifications could be in the future. I would also let her know that it would be easier on Barbara right now to hold her back that to wait till she gets older. I would also let her know that I was not angry or attempting any type of reprimand, but that we as a team need to look at what is best for the student. With having discussed the options, I would ask what Mrs. Nelson wanted to do. I would let this be her decision because I do not want a teacher to think that I am undermining their authority. I would deeply hope that after our conversation that she would determine that what is best for Barbara is to retain her for a year. If Mrs. Nelson did not think that was the right answer, we would talk some more. After determing the best needs of Barbara, I would call Mrs. Marshall in for a meeting. I would discuss with Barbara's mom the basic idea of the meeting with the teacher. I would let her know that Barbara had worked really hard for Mrs. Nelson that she felt compelled to give her extra credit for effort. With this in mind, it has been decided to retain Barbara in the current grade for another year. I would thank Mrs. Marshall for being concerned for her daughter's well being.
Mood: inquisitive

tiffanie The Heat Is On p. 146 Apr 24th, 2006 2:59:34 pm - Subscribe
I agree that the custodian and his staff should not continue to work until the air conditioning is fixed. Maybe they could relocate to a different campus until further notice. I would contact the contracted air conditioning company to set up a time for them to come out. I would also let central office know of our situation just in case the problem becomes a real money issue and to let them know that the maintenance staff has been relocated to help out with different campuses.

tiffanie Barbara Shouldnt Be Promoted p. 145 Apr 24th, 2006 2:58:10 pm - Subscribe
Initially I would ask the mother to speak to Mrs. Nelson. I think this would give the parents an opportunity to express their concerns about the promotion. It would also allow the teacher to provide reasoning behind her decision. I would hope through discussion and through looking at the evidence the parents and the associated teacher would make the appropriate decision. I would then follow up with Mrs. Nelson to determine how this event (if the child should be retained) could be kept from happening in the future.

eduktor The Heat Is On Apr 24th, 2006 11:15:33 am - Subscribe
I would agree with the head custodian that it would be very difficult to work without air-conditioning. I would be facing the same issue myself if they didn’t fix the air conditioners soon, since administrators work most of the summer also.

I would ask him if he had spoken to the maintenance director about this problem. If not, that is whom he would need to contact. Our maintenance director would know what company to work with to get the air conditioners repaired, and he would have the authority to tell the custodians whether to go home or work on another project in another area of the district. Even if the maintenance director is out of town on vacation, he should be available on his cell phone.

eduktor Barbara Should Not Be Promoted Apr 24th, 2006 10:58:01 am - Subscribe
My first step is to check the online local promotion policy. According to our school district policy:

“In grades 3-5, promotion to the next grade level shall be determined by the following criteria:
1. An overall average of 70 on a scale of 100 based on course-level, grade-level standards (essential knowledge and skills) for all subject areas and a grade of 70 or above in language arts and mathematics. 2. Performance on the reading and mathematics TAKS exams must be met according to locally accepted passing standards.
3. Locally accepted passing standards considered acceptable for promotion shall be:
a. Panel recommendation performance on the TAKS reading and mathematics tests; or
b. Perfomance Level at 1 Standard Error or Measurement (1 SEM) on the TAKS reading and mathematics tests, provided the student passes the respective class and the principal and teacher recommend promotion."

It seems strange to me that the secretary would be pulling Barbara’s files and looking at her grades without consulting me first. If the secretary is very professional, this could be good. If she were trying to solve the problem herself, this would be another issue I would need to deal with. Also, I would like to know if Mrs. Marshall has been talking to the teacher about Barbara’s grades throughout the year, or if she just waited until the end of the year to ask the secretary about this.

I think the first thing I would do is call the teacher, Vicki, and find out what kind of communication she had with Mrs. Marshall regarding Barbara’s grades throughout the year. I would want to see Barbara’s TAKS scores also.

If Barbara has met the requirements for promotion, then I would meet with Mrs. Marshall and Vicki together and see if we could find out what Mrs. Marshall’s concerns are and come up with the best solution for Barbara. If there is still room available in summer school, then that might be the best way for Barbara to keep up with her work and continue on to the next grade.

If Barbara has not met the standards, I would want to know why she was promoted. I would want to do whatever we could to make sure this didn’t happen again. I would still want to see if we could get her into summer school. I would find out what we would need to do to follow our policy and keep her in the same grade, if that was what was needed. If retention is needed, then we also might need to do some testing to see if Barbara is having some issue that we need to help her with to help her succeed.

ssteacher The Heat is On Apr 23rd, 2006 8:20:40 pm - Subscribe
No cool air in the middle of the summer months would not be a pleasant situation. I would have to contact the head of maintenance for the district and the superintendent and have someone called to come look at our cooling units and find the problem. In the meantime I would ask the custodians to think of any jobs that need to be done outside. Another option is to bring in as many large fans as posssible to help the situation. Perhaps working a split shift would also help...allowing the custodians to leave during the hottest part of the day. Board policy states that "All buildings shall be properly ventilated and provided with an adequate supply of drinking water, an approved sewage disposal system, handwashing facilities, a heating system, and lighting facilities, all of which shall conform with established standards of good public health engineering practices." I am not sure if having to provide a heating system includes having a cooling unit or not...I would have to call to be sure because I would not want to be in any conflict with policy!
Mood: hypocritical

ssteacher Barbara Shouldn't Be Promoted Apr 23rd, 2006 7:56:52 pm - Subscribe
There are several factors that I must consider when responding. First, what kind of parent is Mrs. Marshall? Is she the type of parent that makes allegations and complaints on a weekly basis? I should also take into consideration any other incidents with the teacher, Mrs. Nelson. Do you have lots of complaints on her or is she an outstanding teacher? It is difficult to believe that a teacher would pass a student just because...but passing ALL students regardless is a practice that some teachers are guilty of. I would hope that I wouldn't have this situation, but if so I must react accordingly. According to board policy listed below, the teacher should have documentation showing what grades were raised to a 70 after reteaching occurred. (Students not mastering the essential knowledge and skills receive reteaching and then a reevaluation of whether they have mastered the knowledge and skills. To document this, any nonmastery grades below 70 shall be recorded in the grade book with a slash to document nonmastery of the essential knowledge and skills (i.e., /64). A student must attend an assigned tutorial session or sessions before any reassessment occurs. The second assessment grade shall be an alternative assessment. This grade shall then be placed above the slash with the alternative assessment grade being no higher than 70. Only the higher of the two grades shall be used when averaging grades.) This documentation will help in talking to the mother and explaining the reteaching that happened and how the grade recorded was the higher of the two. The fact that Barbara was promoted regardless of achievement test data shows that she is on grade level in reading. If she were not, she would have failed the Reading portion of the TAKS and would be retained regardless of what grades Mrs. Nelson had given her in the classroom. I have to think then that maybe the mom is referring to the math portion of the test. It is a concern to me as principal that a student can pass all year long and then fail a standardized test. I hope this is an uncommom occurance and not a situation where everyone is passing the course but lots of kids are failing the test. This would show that perhaps we have a problem with assessments in the classroom being too easy.
Mood: cruel

bsmith The Heat is On Apr 21st, 2006 3:32:57 pm - Subscribe
I would have maintenance come to check the air conditioning. I would contact central office to get a summer work order turned in to repair the air conditioner. I would agree that the school would probably be too hot to work in, but that I would get the matter addressed as soon as possible. Often times, if maintenance can not fix something, a local company is under contract with the district. The air conditioner needs to be repaired before school begins anyway and should not be a problem to get repaired. Be sure central office is aware of the problem before calling any outside company.

bsmith Barbara Shouldn't Be Promoted Apr 21st, 2006 3:27:16 pm - Subscribe
If the parent is initiating the child be retained, the parent can request the child to be held back. I would let the counselor speak with the parent about the pros and cons of retaining a child. If the child is a young 3rd grader, one year of maturity and reinforcement could be beneficial. I would ask the diagnostician to check to see if there had been other concerns previously about Barbara. I would ask the parent to please give the counselor and the diagnostician time to determine if there really is a concern before considering holding the child back. Barbara might have learning difficulties that could be addressed with S.E. or dyslexic programs.

caroljones The Heat Is On Apr 21st, 2006 11:18:57 am - Subscribe
Well, my first reaction might be why I was recieving this call so early on a summer day, maybe it is not during my vacation! One of the fun parts of the job.
I would tell them to contact the maintanence supervisor for the district or the department head who makes these decisions for the district. If this type of support system is not in place, then I would have them contact someone in administration who can make the call to get the system worked on. If the situation calls for suspending the work until another day, I guess that will have to be done. Maybe some fans could be brought up and placed in the areas in which they are working until the system is fixed.
Mood: fine