Saturday, January 31, 2009

Simple ideas that work

A good restructuring requires many changes. No one change is going to be the magic bullet. As an example, one idea suggested in the book, Whatever It Takes by Dufour, Dufour and Eaker, is to require every student to participate in an extra curricular activity. Impossible in an urban school where students work or take care of families after school, and teachers can't be contractually obigated to supervise that many extracurricular activities.
In schools that work, and districts that work, the impossible is made possible. It takes coperation between teachers, unions, and the schol district. Research shows, difnitively, tht students involved in their schools beyond the schol day have better attendance, and feel more invested in their schools.
In our school, we could devote Tuesdays for one hour after school to extracurricular activties. This could be done instead of having staff meetings on Tuesday. So, the teachers union would compromise by agreeing to an extra hour of student supervision each Tuesday, and in return we wouldn't have any after school meetings. In the book, they had one full day a month be devoted to a students extra-curricular, so students who absolutely could not come for one hour on a Tuesday could still participate in the big monthly extra-curricular day.

Not a perfect plan, and it wouldn't solve everything, but it is backed by research and shown to work. As I read more, I will have more ideas.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great example of why you ask teachers for ideas: more than likely teachers have been thinking of better ways of meeting the needs of students from their very first lesson on their very first day.

    We all know that not every idea that gets brainstormed makes its way to fruition, but the beauty of brainstorming and trusting teachers is that some really good ideas will come alive. The result will be engaged students and an invested work force.