Saturday, November 2, 2013
A Good School But Storm Clouds Are On The Horizon. - School #5
I was sent to a school that once was an exclusively a vocational school but over the last decade or two saw this school evolve into a rigorous academic school. The joke is "that at one time this school attracted the auto mechanic now it attracts the mechanical engineer". This school, like most large high schools have very experienced teachers and reasonably behaved students. The school over the years has become predominately South Asian with small minorities of East Asian, Hispanics, and Blacks. Sopme of the programs are screened while others are not.
The school is overcrowded with over thirty students in every class. The school has suffered budget cuts and even with the overcrowding , had to excess two teachers and not replace five others who left the school. The students complain that the shop rooms have out-of-date technology and that due to budget cuts when things break down they are not fixed. The school has self-contained special education classes and it seems that a minority of these students were transferred to the school from the small school complex just to the south. The small schools apparently send their self-contained special education students to the school I was in. One real problem is that the incoming freshman class seems to be academically weaker and more badly behaved then any group before them in the last 20 years. The staff believes that's the result of all the closing schools that force the remaining large high schools to pick up these low performing students. Many senior teachers told me they will be retiring in the next two years as they see big trouble down the road.
This school, like all the large comprehensive schools in Queens get their share of over-the-counter students and the teachers complain that the small school complex to the south don't seem to get any. The Administration is not good as the Assistant Principals and Teachers don't see eye-to-eye, especially on what's required by the Danielson framework. For example the AP's want the teachers held responsible for the hallway bulletin boards when it's the administration that is responsible for the hallway bulletin boards. Another example is that the AP requires that a detailed lesson plan be part of the observation requirements as they don't understand the difference between a lesson plan and lesson planning in Danioelson. A word to the APs, its about the lesson and how its implemented not what's on a piece of paper!
Overall I enjoyed my time at this school and there is plenty of parking with only Tuesday bring a small problem. I would certainly feel at home if I was to be offered a position at the school