Sunday, March 8, 2009

What is good and right about schools today?

We are constantly barraged with books and posts about what is wrong with schools today and what we need to do to fix and change our schools. What if we take a moment to look at what is right about our schools.

Think about the school you work in or a school you went to,
  • what about the institution really "works/worked"?
  • what does/did the school do really well?
  • what do/did the faculty do really well?
  • what is/was most effective about the administration?
  • what are you most proud of?
I believe that, in all of the schools where I have worked and where I have attended, the first priority of the faculty and administration has been to provide the best education possible to all children. I am extremely proud to be part of this true and honest commitment to doing what is right for students. It is the common thread that connects me to great educators around the world.

Perhaps we can learn more from what we are doing right, rather than from focusing on what we need to change. These are my thoughts. I hope you will share yours.

image source: Success from kevinthoule's photostream on Flickr


Anonymous said...

Thanks for re-centering the focus... one great thing about my school is the collaborative and sharing nature of the people there. It is easy to tell that every person at school, from the assistants to the teachers to the custodial staff to the cafeteria staff to the administration are there for the kids. I believe that if we keep the kids as our focus, everything else will fall into place.

Anonymous said...

There are many wonderful "right" things about schools today. One great thing about my school is the respectful way teachers and students interact with each other. "Good day, can I help you, excuse me," etc. are phrases I hear every day in abundance. Another great thing is that most of the staff seems to be smiling.

Cathy Wolinsky said...

I just read the results of an IT survey responded to by 585 schools and I am reminded that one thing we are doing right in my district is that we have three full-time teachers who are Instructional Technology Integrators for 1400 students K-12.

mysteryshrink said...

It's the teachers. People who care about kids and know their methods. I am constantly reminded.

Angela said...

What a great topic for a blog post--you've just inspired me. There is so much that is good and right about the schools that I am working in this year. The greatest thing I recognize, though, is courage. The teachers and administrators that I work with are willing to take smart risks, and they are willing to ride out the storm of adjustment that ensues as a result. They are good role models for me in that way. Great prompt!

Michael said...

At Eagle Rock School:
1-Tremendous respect between staff and students.

2-A core group with a "can do" attitude.

3-Enough resources and a beautiful setting.

4-Rituals and routines that support community building.

Rob Letcher said...

The schools I work with do an amazing job at leveling the playing field when it comes to technology. As online public charter schools, they provide the exact same educational opportunities regardless of the district or town they live in, or their socio-economic levels. Key to this is the 1:1 computing model and a standardized curriculum that provides a baseline of content that every family can rely on.

Adrienne said...

Wonderful question to post, Liz! Here's my list:

-teachers who care
-evolving curricular models that are challenging the status quo
-evolving and innovative teachers who care that are challenging the status quo
-dedicated learners who, despite lack of parental figures, resources, and many more other unfortunate circumstances, show up, work hard, get things done, and LEARN against all odds.

Fran Lo said...

What's good?
We're a small school, and we talk to each other all the time about students - this keeps kids from "falling through the cracks."

We focus on essentials. As a parochial school, our funding is half that of public schools, yet our kids write better, read better, do better math, understand science and social studies. We teach the skills and the knowledge they need, don't teach to a test.

We have terrific parents who support us.

We have terrific administrators who support us when parents don't. And who don't put up one second with kids who can't behave appropriately in a classroom filled with other kids. said...

I've kept up with comments on this post. Great idea to have energy going to. After being in the schools today with some long time teachers, I want to say that those teachers who've stayed with the dream even after they've mastered the work, they're one thing that's great about schools.

Alisha C said...

At the school where I am a teacher, we are all supportive of one another. We have a high expectations environment for the students and faculty.

Evan Lenz said...

School is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Wonderful, well-meaning people are caught up in a system that is fundamentally obsolete and anti-freedom. It's hard for a fish to question water.

Here's an alternative (and ironic but sobering) take on what schools are good at, written by a long-time schoolteacher, worth reading and reflecting on if you haven't done so before:
The Six-Lesson Schoolteacher