Friday, June 02, 2006

Friday 6/2/06

Wednesday afternoon I attended a BOE "Policy Governance" meeting. Here the Board went through some of their parameters in assessing the district and Dr. Garcia. It was a good chance to actually work with the other Board members, catch some of their passion for the job and begin to understand where they are coming from. The Policy Governance Manual has become an important play book for the Board and they refer to it frequently as they assess items that come before them. They regularly go through the manual to ensure that it covers every part of the system and that the Board is routinely reviewing every aspect of MNPS.

Yesterday morning I attended the first part of the annual MNPS "March Off". It's formally known as the "Educational Leadership Team Meeting" and was held at the Allen Arena at Lipscomb.

Dr. Garcia spoke early on and stated that MNPS had a goal, like nearly every other school district in America, of being 'the best district in America". And then he pointed out we haven't had any measure to use to let us know when we'd met that goal. He offered a measuring stick that included two numbers.

1. The graduation rate which he suggested needed to be defined a bit differently than it has been in the past and is currently utilized by NCLB. Paul Changas presented a slide that had a formula for calculating this and I gave him my card so he could forward it to me. I'll publish that as soon as I get it.

2. The number of students going to college. Dr. Garcia said that statewide 38% of Tennessee students go to college but that number drops to 26% in their second year at college. He said the rate for MNPS students was unknown but he would like to see a goal of 80%. He wanted us to encourage every MNPS student to aim for college just like Hume Fogg, MLK, FRA, Harpeth Hall, and his own parents (and many parents) do and did. I came away understanding him to say we should not automatically push students into vocational skills based on prejudices regarding color, economic standing or neighborhood. Dr. Garcia said "They all need to be prepared so they can make that choice."

This was something the Board had discussed at bit on Wednesday and BOE Member George Blue was the first to "Amen" Dr. Garcia's comments and I agree. I understand that even those who planned to go to college don't always make it. Life happens and paths are taken. A person's worth is so much more than their educational background. Success isn't necessarily tied to parchment. But we need to encourage these children to set their goals high and get as good an education as possible while they can so they are as prepared as possible for what life will bring.

Thursday evening I attended the Inglewood Neighborhood Association meeting and I was pleased to hear the Litton PTA President encourage our association to help keep Isaac Litton Middle school a viable neighborhood school. An immediate concern is the condition of the school. It was slated for improvements but those were delayed in deference to building Cane Ridge High School in Antioch. The INA Board decided to explore becoming a PENCIL partner of Litton's. Another citizen, a member of the Stratford PAC, also spoke about their group and their need for community involvement. She was encouraged to communicate with the INA Board and the neighborhood, specifically through their e-list for now, about their activities and needs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree that students should not be "pushed" into a vocational path based on a teacher's/administrator's opinion. Nevertheless, I believe that students and their families need to have better information and choices for whatever path they wish to take. I have seen far too many students and parents who set college as the goal, but don't understand that passing high school classes and acquiring basic skills are a prerequisite to that goal. I've also seen a lack of respect among educators and administrators for vocational classes, as if someone who can wire a household electrical system is somehow inferior to a person with an english degree. The system should set higher goals for its graduates, but college should be one choice, not the only one.