Friday, March 11, 2011

More Explanation of Turnaround

I cannot take credit for writing a portion of this blog, a friend at my school wrote it and I felt that I would be unable to write it anybetter than she did, so I am as the education community calls it; "borrowing" her words for my blog.
Many of you know that we have some major problems with the education system in this nation. We could all agree that the economy really stinks too. I have watched the news many times and see how changes are being made in other states seemingly far from Nevada that seem "crazy" to me. We have watched chaos unfold in some situations where people respond to these changes in so many different ways. It's always seemed so far away.

That changed this week. On Tuesday, we were summoned to a mandatory staff meeting after a full day of proficiency testing. We (Chaparral staff) filtered into our meeting room and were told that Chap is becoming a "Turnaround School." You can search the web and find many descriptions of it and its reasons, but to summarize, Chaparral can apply for $800,000 for our school if we do the following:

1) remove and replace our principal
2) remove the entire staff (teachers, administrators, support staff etc) and require that we reapply for our positions at Chap or transfer to another school.
(The new principal chooses those of us he wants to remain at Chap - up to 50%.)
3) turn in the application for the federally supplied funds and HOPE we get them.

That's right, this amazing upheaval may be for nothing. We can't be sure until after we comply with the requirements and go through the process.

Some of my coworkers are taking this much better than others. Everyone had a dozen or more questions and feared for our jobs in this trying economy. According to our union, we all should be able to get a position somewhere in the district. While in our logic, it appears that we will just swap places with another school who takes this process, the District sees it as the way to possibly secure the money needed to function. Our students have not taken to it very well either. They marched yesterday to the District building to meet with the School Board.

I love that our students love and appreciate what we the teachers have done. In the three years that I've been a teacher at Chap, I have seen milestones of growth. However, our scores are still low, higher in many ways, but still low. There are speculations and rumors about why our school was chosen. But the bottom line is that even in this frustrating time, our principal still reminds the staff to follow the contract agreements and for the students to choose proper outlets for expressing themselves as well.

I just want to say that even though this particular situation is not ideal, I do feel that it gave several of my students an oportunity to experience their 1st amendment in action and to see that the community is behind them in many ways. I also believe that stanting up for a worthy cause and having their voices heard, by not only eachother, their teachers or the people at the school, but also by the community, the news stations, and their school board.

Even though the school board was unwilling or unable to reverse their decision to make Chaparral a "Turnaround school" we the people of Chaparral Empowerment High School hope that we have affected change in the hearts of our students, the way the community views us, and maybe have affected the hearts of the Clark County School Board Trustee's and hopefully they will see that there are schools out in their communities that are more than just numbers and stats on a peice of paper; but that they have heart, ties, and loyalities to their school.

I saw a sign that I think tells it best but I didnt get a picture, but heres what it said:

Chap = Family
Turnaround = Divorce
Divorce = Discord

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