Friday, November 8, 2013
Making It To College - School #6
The school I was in this week was a small school. However, unlike the Bloomberg small schools, the Administration worked hard to make me feel welcomed and the experienced staff treated me as one of them. As you can guess this small school was created before Mayor Bloomberg was the Mayor and is very different from the many other small schools that I have been traveling through. This school did not replace a large school but was created as an extension of a college located across the street. The students were well-behaved and there was a real connection between the students and teachers. More importantly, the class sizes were small 20-25 for most classrooms.
The school is screened with only high 2's and 3's with no discipline problems selected and are accepted to the college when they graduate. Few, if any, over the counter students are assigned to the school. There are no self-contained Special Education students or English Language Learners in the school like most of the small schools in Queens. The school is somewhat diverse with 75% being Latino with minorities of Asian, White, and Black students making up the rest of the student population. The curriculum is somewhat limited as in all small schools and Social Studies teachers teach Physical Education and Health because many of the students take college freshman courses in history at the college. Unlike many schools, this school did not have any hidden vacancies.
This school is one of the handful of schools that do not give Regents but requires a student portfolio instead. This allows the teachers more flexibility in teaching the courses. The teachers do not seem to be concerned with the Teacher Evaluation System and the Danielson Framework as they believe the Administration wants to fully collaborate with the teachers and being there and experiencing how the school worked, I believe there is reason to believe that's true. This school truly is collaborative and the "students do come first"
There are some drawbacks to the school. The limited curriculum, the location if you are coming from the east (traffic is terrible) and the lack of free parking in the area. I also don't like the idea of a mini semester during January when students can get extra credits, sounds like another form of "credit recovery". No Chapter Leader at the school as nobody wants the job. Finally, I don't like the first name basis between students and staff.
Overall this is a good school and I would be proud to work there, if offered a position.