Wednesday, June 09, 2004

I've been on HBO...

My school "graduated" last night with a fancy cocktail party and video screening in the HBO building. What did we graduate from? We were founded through a partnership between a non-profit organization and our (former) school district (now region); now that we've successfully completed two years, the non-profit declared us a model school and celebrated our work. Of course, we're going to be working just as hard next year but without any extra money (they gave us a small start-up budget above the regular state funding, and small stipends for the extra work involved for staff members)... but it was a nice party and I really have nothing to complain about.

Earlier this year, they sent a videographer to our school to make a short piece for a film about this year's three model schools. I discovered in watching the film that I look about 17 years old! Good grief, it's a miracle the kids respect me! It came out nicely, though. The theme echoing through all the interviews - students and teachers - was that our work is about the kids, and we have great kids... They also gave us several beautiful photographs for our school, showing our children engaged in their classwork... there are some pretty images of kids in my science class doing the experiment with marbles.

***

Before the celebration, we had a busy day. It was a "clerical half-day," so the kids went home around noon. My principal sent four of us to Brooklyn to a meeting about the School Development Program, a whole-school reform process out of Yale, which we are going to be adopting next year. The idea is to consider all aspects of child development in structuring our curriculum, interactions with families and children, etc. They were a bit vague about the details, partly because it was a sales pitch and they're giving away nothing for free, partly because it is tailored to the needs of the individual school. We were in one of their schools, and it was a beautiful and peaceful place. All the children we met were very polite. I'll tell you more as I learn!

When we returned to the Bronx, we worked on our Comprehensive Education Plan (CEP), a document that the state requires each school to write and revise yearly, assessing needs, setting goals, reporting progress, and planning specific steps towards the following year's goals. This is our first year doing this, given that we are just becoming a "real" school (rather than a program within a larger school), and it's initially a scary document, although I think it's pretty reasonable once you get started (and will be even easier next year, after we have some data to report).

***

I love Patty Griffin! I don't have her new CD, but I've been listening to 1000 Kisses a lot lately.

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