Leaving Finland

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Lake Jyvasjarvi I have never lived anywhere for 5 months other than Jyvaskyla, Finland. As my Fulbright journey concludes, there is so much to still digest. It will take months, if not years, to truly assimilate all the learning. Before I left Southern California, I wrote about the what I would miss the most from home and what I  looked forward to experiencing in Finland. It is safe to say I met my goals. Top 7 Goals 1. Discussing Education Helsinki Workshop Through professional development programs, Fulbright Finland connected teachers with scholars and researchers, for the purpose of putting inquisitive minds together. The Making Democracies Resilient to Modern Threats seminar provided participants with fascinating research and presentations. 2. Nordic Model Bus station in Espoo What does an efficient and earnest country look like?  It looks like Finland. Yes, people pay higher taxes, but get so much in return. I for one appreciated the well-maintained ro

To Write or Not to Write








image from laamschampions.org


Teachers at this South Central Middle School are conflicted about writing a proposal to manage
our school. Thanks to NCLB, we are deemed to be a "struggling school", even though our test scores have gone up every single year in the last 5 years. Now, thanks to the Flores-Aguilar plan, our school is up on the auction block, for anyone to bid on.

Should we write a plan? Just who is we? The union? The teachers? The instructional leadership group? The arts department?

Teachers are educators, not business plan writers. Nor, do we want to be. We want to teach. We are in the midst of a new school year, are getting to know our students, and are excited about new projects and initiatives we are trying out this year. We start at 7:30 am and literally do not stop with all our teaching, team meetings, parent conferences, in-services, faculty meetings, department meetings, until 4:00 pm. Then, we try to have decent time with our families. We don't want to write a plan. We want to lesson plan.

We wonder why we even have to write a plan, when this is what people in Beaudry have been paid three times our salaries to do over the last 10 years. Where are those plans? Why didn't they work? Was anyone held accountable for that?

Three years ago, we wrote a comprehensive plan that combined our single plan with the high priority school plan. It took a massive effort from a team of teachers, coordinators, coaches, and administrators who missed significant time from the classroom (reluctantly) to complete this required task. For a bureaucratic document, it turned out pretty darn good. Our plan guides everything we do as a school, and our results show it. Why reinvent the wheel?

The cynics in our school doubt we will even be considered for a takeover due to our progress, and due to not being a shiny new school in PI5+ status. They figure there are not enough organizations out there to handle the capacity of managing 250+ schools, and certainly not many who have the "perseverance" to work in a challenging neighborhood such as the one in which LAAMS is located.

According to the Superintendents most recent email, we have just weeks to submit a proposal. Unfortunately, we do not have a Megan Reilly on staff to handle the numbers for us. So for now, the teachers are sticking to what they do best: being there for the students, and changing lives, one student at a time.

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