Building a new school

Will Paris get a new school? Will we become part of a county-wide school combined from the several districts in the area? Good ol’ PHS will be 100 years old next year. I guess a new building is inevitable.?. Our juniors in English III are working on their dream high school. They are busy–in teams–interviewing, planning, proposing a dream school from a student perspective based on what they find out from their research. I am very excited about the project, both about their findings and about the process in which they are engaged. Asking the students to be involved? GREAT IDEA!!! We need to get everyone’s perspective on what makes a good school and I think Mrs. Sherer and Mr. Doughan have found a great resource right under our noses…..ask the students….Brilliant!

We have surveyed alumni(we are doing a phone survey of the class of 2007 starting next week), but the current student population has not really been engaged in any large way except for through Student Council and in this ongoing project. Student thoughts and ideas often get lost in the discussion of school change. We have not included them enough in the process and that needs to change! We might see a suprising transformation if we demonstrate that we value their opinions! The English III project will provide those students with relevant, engaging and worthwhile experiences. By engaging our students, they will develop more meaningful connections with our staff. I believe too many of our students are disengaged from their learning – and a growing number feel alienated. Something needs to be done. More of the same will not work. As professionals, we need to work hard on the problem of relevance. As we work hard on expanding and refining our teaching repertoire, the students will notice and value will be added to their experience. Students need to be given more ownership of their classroom experiences. They need to be invited to talk about what makes learning difficult, what makes them give up, or settle for just getting by. We need to expose students to an ‘atmosphere of hope’, where they believe what we’re doing here matters for their future. We must also engage parents in the same way. What are your thoughts?

One thought on “Building a new school

  1. As an elementary teacher I hear over and over from parents that their kids want to come to school because we are “always up to something.” I believe that is kid speak for relevant instruction. Engaging older students may be a somewhat different task, but I believe no more difficult than engaging a youngster who doesn’t want to be there either. I can tell you that my own children often did not feel engaged after elementary school, other than their parents expected them to attend and do well. Only change in the attitudes and the challenges provided by the teachers will change those kids for the better. Without a change in the attitudes of some (certainly not ALL) of the educators, no change will happen for those students either.

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