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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Slightly more articulate anger and frustration. (Only slightly, though.)

The closure isn't immediate. It's just that next year, we won't exist. One of the TWO highest performing schools in the district of 20+ schools will not exist. It's due to budgeting issues. Which is understandable, except again for the fact that if they're going to close a school it seems that it would make more sense for one of the many underperforming (nearly failing) schools to close instead of our school which was one point away from the 2nd highest performance level (out of 6 levels). I know that many of the schools in my district are, if not bad exactly, at least VERY different than my school. My school is very invested in (the ever popular edu-term) the PLC model. And we seem to pull it off quite well. Most of the other schools, the underperforming and failing schools, have poor school-level administration and a staff that does not work together and communicate in the way that I am now used to and wholly rely on. If I hadn't ended up at such a strong school I wouldn't be as concerned and instead may think of this as a fortuitous opportunity for change. But, I am so happy with where I am and I was so miserable student teaching (due to a lack of communication and support all around the school). I don't want to go backward. I don't want to risk being miserable again. I don't think I could stand it for a whole year.

In theory the proposed changes have not technically been decided on yet. The board still hasn't voted. However, I have no hope that it won't be passed. Money talks. Cutting our school will get them some more money. They have some reasons why they chose to cut our school instead of others. Clearly, I still think the school performance level should hold some weight. In a district where something like 15 of the schools are failing or near failing, and only two school are really doing well, why cut one of those two successful schools?

But cutting a succeeding school, the disrict will then be telling our students that they must choose one of three other schools to attened, all of which are performing two or three levels lower than the school they currently attend.  

Also, due to open enrollment, we have a large number of students coming from around the district to attend our school, because it is a strong school. In fact, a note was recently sent home to parents of one of the near failing schools telling them that, due to their poor performance status, they may send their children to one of the other schools in the district. My school was suggested as one of these where they could send their children. We have already had new enrollments from that near failing school.

(And I should mention that I don't love the term "failing" when referring to a school. Because of course there are some good things happening and the school isn't truly a failure in all respects. However, it would get messy putting it in quotes each time I write it. Also, I'm trying to make a point in compairing those "failing" or "near failing" schools to my school.)

I really don't love this city and the only reason I was planning on staying was because I love my school, I adore my principal, and I appreciate and respect the people whith whom I work.  

Without that, I would be unhappy. This city is kind of soul-sucking. It's polluted and very conservative and doesn't have very many independent stores. It was the school and the people at the school keeping me here. Without a reassurance that I would get to keep at least some of that, why bother staying? It may sound extreme and defeatist, but this whole moving to the Southwest thing was an experiment. I alway said that, if after a year I don't like it, I can always move back to the Midwest - to home state or college state or somewhere else where the snow falls.

And, maybe I will move. Maybe I won't.
If I move, maybe I'll look for a new teaching job. Maybe I won't.

I don't know. And I'm not sure how to decide.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry! This sucks on so many levels.

I know this post is a few weeks old - can you rally teachers and parents and appeal to the board? Or higher up?

I bet the board was thinking they could close the "good" school and that would result in sending the "good" teachers and kids to the "bad" schools, and this would make the "bad" schools "better." Which is, more than likely, not going to work at all.

Then again, if you hate the city, and the fates have intervened in this way, this may be a sign telling you to move... either to another city in the Southwest, or back home... or elsewhere.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Not Quite Grown Up... said...

We (teachers and parents) did attend a board meeting a few days after we found out about the closure. Apparently, we only angered the board. The board is now inexplicably angry at the principal because of the staff and parent support at the board meeting.

And regarding moving or staying - Ugh, I know. And that's what I have to decide. Should I just go with the flow and move, or should I stay on and possibly end up being transferred to a school I don't like? And then possibly end up being uprooted AGAIN next year due to more budget cuts. The smartest choice, truly, would probably be to leave. But I don't want go through the whole application process again so soon. It's fun but stressful. (But then again, if I think I should move on, and the only reason I am thinking of staying is out of laziness, then that is no good and I should move on. Oh, I hate decisions.)

8:29 PM  
Blogger organized chaos said...

Oh my. I have nothing to complain about. I feel for you and I cannot believe that you angered the school board by standing up for your school. That is absurd. This is one of the huge problems with education- they punish well performing schools by taking away money (or in your case, taking away everything) and then get upset when they are approached.
I also feel your struggle of whether or not to go to another school and risk being miserable. I've been at one of those miserable schools and it is terrible. At least, now that you've worked in both you can ask the right questions during an interview to weed out which school you want to be a part of.
Good luck!

5:12 AM  
Blogger Troy said...

(I know this is an old post but it got me thinking)
Don't let the school board bully the school supporters. Make it clear that if they are going to close your school they are in for a fight.

What is the board going to do? Close you twice? :)

2:35 PM  

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