The word is official, Cleveland schools are back on the Academic Watch list.
Am I surprised? Not at all.
From my view point in the classroom, not much has changed beyond the way students are dressed to come to school, and the addition of extra security guards (the private Tenable Security Company) to keep an eye on the exits and entrances in the morning. Oh, and let's not forget the metal detectors.
When Dr Sanders came to Cleveland he spent a good part of the first year listening to the community, and he acted on their concerns. Safety and security are improving, and the students come to school appropriately dressed. New programs and specialty schools are springing up all over the district. All good things for sure.
Maybe now it's time to ask the folks who are directly involved with the students what would help us do our jobs. Ask us where we see the need for improvement.
In my building, the one big problem last year was staffing in key academic areas. Unfortunately, there were several teachers with long term health issues, which resulted in a revolving door of substitute teachers. Without regular teachers in the classrooms, learning just isn't going to happen.
The other major problem related to staffing is the annual fiasco of scheduling at the start of the school year. Teachers are shifted from one building to another from the month of August through the middle of October, to adjust for changes in student populations. In turn, the master schedule in each school must be adjusted, which means student schedules get changed. This results in first quarter chaos which has become business as usual in Cleveland. Twenty years ago I was advised by a veteran colleague to delay putting names in my grade book until the end of the fall quarter, since the class lists would change almost daily until after the final ADM week counts were submitted. Two decades later, I still pass that same good advice along to new Cleveland teachers.
Well, that's my two cents this morning.
If anyone wants to hear the other 98 cents worth of my observations, all you have to do is ask.