WHO'S ZOOMING WHO?
I'm interested in the continuous improvement of all of the schools in District 2 that are zoned for Washington and Douglass High Schools. This means we use data as a flashlight to see what we can do differently; this means we don't use data as a hammer to beat people up.
There are 15 schools in District 2 (including North Metro GNETS); however, 23 schools make up the Washington and Douglass clusters.
There are 7 schools in the Washington and Douglass clusters that have received grades of F on the state school report cards every year since 2012. No District 2 schools have a current grade of A or B.
When reviewing the data found in the state school report cards, please remember there are hard-working people at each of the schools and the district must have policies in place that remove roadblocks and barriers to improvement.
What's the story behind the numbers?
What are the numbers telling us?
What must we do?
And how are the children?
HOW DO YOU ROLL: DATA AS A FLASHLIGHT OR DATA AS A HAMMER?
Toxic school and district cultures that use data as a hammer are long on accountability and compliance and short on root cause analysis and support.
Healthy school and district cultures that use data as a flashlight know there are powerful stories behind the numbers. Behind the numbers are our children and their stories. These stories tell us what's working and what isn't working. These stories help us support and celebrate. These stories humanize the work of schools and districts. They can lead to improvement if we will only listen to the wisdom found in each story.
These questions are important ask any time we look at data from schools and districts:
1. What's the story behind the numbers?
2. What are the numbers telling us?
3. What must we do?
4. And how are the children?
What's the story of your school?
Are you listening?
Are we learning?
I grew up in Dothan, Alabama.
I spent a lot of time with my paternal grandparents.
They played a big part in raising me.
Two values I hold dear go back to them: integrity and transparency.
AN ENDORSEMENT FROM THE HEART
Everyone's scrambling for endorsements. So far, mine are from my former students and one national leader. I'm thankful for earning each endorsement.
And it's endorsements like the following one that remind our campaign team to keep focused on what matters.
My nephew sent this text on September 3:
"In light you being a pretty proficient Uncle and helping me stay on track for high school and college, I'm going to make a donation to your campaign. You will be able to influence the end of my academic generation and give rise to the beginning of a new one. I believe that."
And today, my nephew made a donation along with this note:
"May you bless our school system with progress, and a new set of standards to abide and goals to reach for. One. ✌ T. Bostic"
WALKING THE TALK
I went to a community meeting tonight that came about after a local store owner was murdered a few days ago.
There were informative presentations by law enforcement and a city council member. Folks from neighborhood associations raised questions and some candidates talked.
And I saw what I've seen again and again: well meaning talk without a clear plan of action.
People seemed content with it all.
It's time to write the vision and make it plain.
Our children are waiting.
Are you ready?
CAREER AND TECHNICAL (aka vocational) EDUCATION
Don't ever discount the power of Career and Technical (aka vocational) education!
As a high school student in Dothan, Alabama, I stopped taking honors courses my junior year and enrolled our local vocational center taking a class for half of the day. My counselor was stunned and couldn't figure out why I wanted to take vocational courses. The assumption was my "gifted and talented"-ness meant I could not reasonably choose to do something with my hands or something considered to be non-academic. Also, at the time, the schedule was such that if I chose anything vocational, I could not participate in the limited gifted options they had (and I had the challenge of testing well, asking "too many" questions, and not always making "good" grades).
I could not get into my first choice course (culinary arts with the incomparable Chef Lamar Black) so I went with my second choice: Graphic Communications. I learned the then emerging technology of computer design as well as how to operate a Heidelberg printing press. Year after year, I see so many times when I draw upon the lessons I learned in the course. This platinum record and my school board campaign images are a few of the many things I've created because of what I learned at DVC (the Dothan Vocational Center; now the Dothan Technology Center). We are diverse and are fully capable of the fullness of learning. Vocational education is for all students of all backgrounds. Let's get back to an oldie and a goodie.