This has been a hectic day here. Firstly, Ann Richards passed away. I heard her speak a few years ago in Wilmington, DE and she was hysterically funny, smart, and inciteful. We need more women like her going into politics. People not afraid of who they are nor of speaking their minds.
It was Back To School night for the middle school this evening. The transition to middle school is always rumored to be tough, but James seems to be doing well so far. His school is a public middle school in what is probably best characterized as a semi-urban, semi suburban, semi-rural district. It sits on the state line between PA and DE, and many professionals have moved to the PA side of the state line to take advantage of the great public schools, balanced by migrant farm workers working in the mushroom farm business, and just normal people living in the small town. the district is diverse, but the teachers are a knock-your-socks off group. They are universally bright and clearly engaged in teaching. They seem to truly love their jobs, and I think that’s 90% of the battleright there.
I made a point of touching base with James’s teachers, particularly about his illegible handwriting. All were more than helpful, and agreed to keep in touch. I felt like we got off to a good start, and that’s what I need in the beginning of the school year.
I was surprised and pleased by the emphasis across the curriculum on stressingo organization for students and learning how to learn. they want to teach the kids to be independent, but have some smart, fail-safe supports in place. For example, each class keeps a class log. Ina notebook, one student (on a rotating basis) has the responsibility to act as class secretary that day, writing down what happened during class, while 2 other students are the class note takers for that day. The daily agenda and class notes are then put in this binder and are available for kids to check if they missed a class or missed a day because of appointments, absences, etc. The school also has 3 principals- one for each of the three grades, and the guidance counselor and principal of each grade rotates with them through their three years in the middle school, meaning the principal and 6th grade guidance counselor will be responsible for 7th grade next year and the eighth next year- a truly enlightened way to let the administrators really get to know the kids under their care.
So despite all the awful things we are constantly hearing about education, there are some public schools out there that are really doing a good job and being designed with thought and purpose- Good news for parents everywhere.