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2064. arkymalarky - 11/16/2019 1:54:11 AM

It's one of the main reasons I liked being in small schools. There are bad admins there too, but they don't dominate the dynamic like they can in larger schools and I always felt like I can run my own classroom and ignore the rest of it for the most part. What happened to your principal situation? Is the person going to be staying?

2065. arkymalarky - 11/17/2019 5:40:29 PM

Should have said rural not small

2066. Ms. No - 11/18/2019 5:46:40 PM

Our previous principal -- who'd been here since the school started in one capacity or another -- finally just got burnt out and took a position with the county overseeing curriculum for the Dept. of Corrections.

The new principal sort of snowed us in her interview. We knew she knew a couple of people affiliated with our school. What we didn't know was the extent to which she had been coached and given the "right" answers. Now we're trying to figure out if she's a liar, a district patsy, or just a moron intent on using us to further her own career.

I'm leaning toward all three.

She came into a Linked Learning Certified school -- a career pathway school that provides College Prep a-g instruction through the lens of the health and medical sciences AS WELL AS CTE. We get grant money for being a college prep that offers a legitimate CTE pathway.

And now she's trying to dump our CTE classes and offer a bunch of random electives as well as add AP in order to "attract students" and boost enrollment.

Except AP courses don't serve our student population very well. Dual Enrollment -- which we offer -- does.

And if students don't take the prescribed CTE electives in our catalogue, there isn't any reason for them to come to our school in the first place.

It's like if you took an Academy at one of the comprehensive high schools and put it on its own campus. Reverse that and look at us if we were on a comprehensive campus -- students in our pathway would be required to take specific electives to be in our pathway...or they wouldn't be in our pathway.

We know she's getting pressure from the District to push AP --- but we're already getting extra FTE just to graduate our kids. She's not going to get additional FTE on top of that just to offer electives that kids could get at the comprehensive school.

She's the principal at a school that has been developed and run by staff whose curriculum is being used nationally for health and medical sciences pathways. If there's a medical pathway school opened in the last 10 years, they use some form of the courses that we wrote.

And she's trying to figure out how to make that stuff optional so she can offer what the other general ed high schools offer.

What she doesn't understand is that our maximum physical capacity is 500 students. We don't have the facilities nor will we ever have enough students to run like a comprehensive. We won't have football ever. We won't have ROTC ever. We won't have band or color guard or engineering team or multiple different career academy paths because we are a SMALL SCHOOL.

It's just infuriating. And depressing as hell because the core group of teachers who built this school are ready to walk. If she takes even one of the CTE courses away, there isn't any reason for anyone to stay because we won't be a certified pathway anymore, and there's no use doing all of the extra work we do just to be told that we need to be like the other high schools.

2067. Ms. No - 11/18/2019 5:47:23 PM

and I'm ranting again and my first class is starting so I've got to go.

I'm sure I've repeated myself, but I'll take a look later when I've got time and I've calmed down.

2068. arkymalarky - 11/18/2019 6:08:03 PM

That's terrible. And it's terrible that a principal can single-handedly do that. Does she not have an authority over her that she has to get this approved through?

2069. Ms. No - 11/18/2019 9:41:30 PM

She does --- and they both hate our school. Well, okay, not hate, but our Area Supe has always ranted against small schools ever since he was a principal at one of the comprehensives. He sees them as a waste of resources. Our District Supe thinks we're a vocational school and is trying to do away with CTE programs. He's also on the warpath to make sure every kid in our district is A-G eligible and on the way to a 4-year college --- Which is ridiculous and elitist and patently impossible. That's going to be his "legacy." Just another idiot trying to build a resume so he can run for higher office.

So, neither of the PTB above our principal want our school to exist as it does and so they've given her mandates or at least strong suggestions about what she needs to be doing to satisfy them. Since she's a brand new principal (she was a VP at a comprehensive in charge of student relations after being a counselor in juvie) she's going by the book.


She formed a curriculum committee and the first thing she did was want to address the Mission and Vision of the school.

Uh, yeah, when you're creating a school from the ground up that's what you do --- or if you enter a school that doesn't have a clear mission or vision -- or if the curriculum doesn't support the mission and vision -- or if something about the mission and vision is detrimental to student success.

None of which is true at our school. She's not qualified to address changes to our mission and vision because she doesn't really know what they are --- nor has she ever bothered to ask. She just assumed we didn't have one.


2070. arkymalarky - 11/19/2019 7:48:02 AM

Sounds like you're about to go to battle and I must say I do not envy you. Once PTBs decide to target your school it very rarely ends well. I absolutely loathe the attitude some education people have about small schools. Research Supports them but people talk about economies of scale which is idiotic. That May apply when you're talking about bolts but not people. But what they do is make their decisions, start implementing them, and when they get push back they have packaged arguments they toss out. You're pretty much defeated before you start. And being small or high poverty or high minority makes you very vulnerable. What's happening to the Little Rock schools is a case in point right now. They learned a long time ago not to target a certain type of school or District all at once so they pick them off one at a time now.

2071. Ms. No - 11/20/2019 1:10:02 AM

Yep -- and they've been actively picking at us for the last couple of years. Previously they made a lot of decisions that didn't serve us as a small school, but they were always happy to trot us out to show us off. The current District Admin is actually opposed to the entire concept of our existence.

So, I'm trying to think about what I will do when I have to move to another school again. I think I'll be better prepared, especially since I'm now working on an exit plan that should give me a lot more options within the next two years or so.

2072. Ms. No - 11/20/2019 6:01:59 PM

If I weren't so lazy, I'd go back through this thread to see if I'm just extra angry/whiny/bitchy this time of year --- it is, of course, traditionally the lowest point for morale during the school year.

At any rate, I am resolved not to be so negative all the damn time. A new colleague of mine called me out on it last night --- gently, but publicly -- and I nearly burst into tears. Not because she was right (she was) but because that's how taut my emotional bowstring is right now. It was also especially timely since I had just commented to another friend earlier in the day that I've got to quit running my mouth and complaining all the time.

It doesn't fix anything and it just spirals into despair and makes me no fun at all to hang out with. Making a list of things you want or need to fix is fine. It helps to also make a list of things you don't like that you have no power to impact so you can quit obsessing over them -- yes, I'm avoiding all the impeachment talk if I possibly can. Once I've got a list I can make plans or just shut the hell up about them and save the energy to address them at a later date.

I tell my seniors this every year -- don't just complain, bring a solution.

2073. Ms. No - 11/20/2019 6:14:33 PM

In positive news, I went to an awards dinner for Champions of Mental Health last night. Good entertainment, pretty good food, but most importantly I made three new contacts that I can pass along to one of my students for her Senior Project.

She's focused on the lack of mental health services used in the black community. Some of it is stigma - common across all demographics. Some of it is accessibility -- can't afford it, can't get to it. Some of it is cultural - turn to the Church and pray it away (not a great treatment for bipolar disorder of schizophrenia) A lot of it is that black people don't really want to go to white therapists.

Duh. That's such an obvious thing, and I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't think of it, but I'm certainly going to use it as a teaching example in future.

It got me thinking about how I would feel if all my health care providers were men. I'd never go in for a physical again in my life unless I thought I might be dying.

How would most white people feel if all their doctors were black? Or how would most men feel if all their doctors were women?

2074. Ms. No - 11/20/2019 6:19:34 PM

And now I'm wondering how many non-black mental health workers are really able to give excellent care to black patients. Not because they're racist, but because their frame of reference almost guarantees a deep ignorance about what it means just to wake up black in America.

Hmm....okay, lots of pondering to do and nobody to have the conversation with at present.

2075. Ms. No - 11/20/2019 6:33:30 PM

And every time I open my mouth about any of this stuff I wonder who might get offended. I don't mean here, but I'm so aware now of how often well-meaning white people get it wrong just because we don't know any better.

I mean, do my black students really need a middle-aged-white-lady telling them how awful slavery was? And why is that the only real history we tell about black people? I mean, it's important to know, but if we only ever talk about how some kids ancestors were disenfranchised, victimized, and abused, we're still framing their narrative from a white perspective.

Alright, really have to go now --- gotta go teach.

2076. arkymalarky - 11/21/2019 9:47:45 AM

Hate I missed a chance to visit. Mose can be the same, and she has pretty much quit looking at things big picture, which has helped her more than anything. But being a librarian makes that a lot easier to do because you have a lot of control over your world.

I'm having to work more on my positivity now that I'm retired, especially in the Trump era. The hate and racism isn't offset by me going to work and seeing a positive diverse social dynamic every day. And I'm not doing anything social or mentally stimulating. I'm so busy, and a lot of it is great--getting the house ready to be grandma over holidays right now, spending a lot of time with my parents--but I don't have time to get into things I would like to do.

2077. Ms. No - 11/21/2019 5:33:56 PM

Yeah, I know that feeling ---- meetcha in the Cafe to chat house stuff!

2078. Ms. No - 12/10/2019 2:25:40 AM

Now she's gone and changed the school logo without notice or input from anyone.

Why? Who the fuck knows. No mention of what was wrong with the old logo other than "some students" said it was too elementary school.

Uh, okay, it's great to get student input, but why didn't we talk to all our students and not just the two who hang out in the office all day with her?

And if we're going to make a new logo, then it still needs to represent our school ---- not look like all the other logos of all the comprehensive high schools who have designed their logos to represent the "fierce fighting spirit" of their football teams.

We don't have a football team. We have kids who want to be doctors and nurses and health policy wonks. Yeah, our mascot is the jaguar, but maybe let's not choose an image that looks like we're going to rip out your throat then shit you off a cliff after.

And how about putting the actual name of our school on it as we're known in the community rather than some long convoluted abbreviation that nobody recognizes?

Fer cryin' out loud.

Oh, and somehow this wasn't made clear to us in the interview, but her credentials --- both her "counselor" credential and her administrative credential were earned at the same time......in June of 2018.

Yep. that's right. Her certifications were all earned at once barely a year before she took the job here.

And it turns out that she never actually worked as a counselor. She was a coordinator of student services.

She didn't do college planning, she didn't do transcripts, she didn't even do emotional support for students in crisis ---- except for the rape victim she suspended because the girls' presence was "causing a disruption on campus."

Talk about a snow job. We've been had and I'm pissed about it because there really wasn't any way for us to know any of this stuff about her.

She never should have even been allowed to apply for the job. Never should have made it through the paper screening.

Just goes to show what getting coached before-hand can do for you.

We're pissed as hell.

She also keeps talking about how easy this job is blah blah blah. Right, because she isn't actually doing the job that needs to get done. Our former principal left the school in tip-top shape because she knew it would be a bit before someone came in and she was setting things up for us to be able to live without a principal for awhile.

I wonder how easy she's going to find it with a staff that doesn't respect her or have to listen to her. There's only one teacher on campus who isn't tenured, so she doesn't have a whole lot of recourse.

Which is just shitty. I hate that we might be reduced to "who can make whom more miserable faster."

We just want her to take her toys and get the fuck out.

2079. arkymalarky - 12/11/2019 10:53:46 AM

What a mess. Hopefully her superiors will get rid of her. In my whole career I had one situation similar when the principal left a few weeks into the school year after finding out he wasn't going to get the open superintendent's job even though he was qualified and the person appointed was not. They moved a teacher up to principal and it was disastrous. We're lucky we didn't get sued and he's lucky he didn't get arrested. He had zero control over anything and it was a madhouse for that whole year because they never got anyone to fill the job. It was every teacher for him or herself.

2080. Ms. No - 12/14/2019 1:32:36 AM

Is every industry like this, or is education some special kind of backwards?

I mean, truly, how can so much of it just be so damn wrong-headed. I never met so many well-meaning but wrong-headed people as when I came into education.

2081. Ms. No - 12/14/2019 1:41:14 AM

In better news, I did go and talk to her. It was good, but less than satisfying. She's more than a little passive-aggressive and it's hard to know when she's saying something but really meaning something else that we're both supposed to understand, or when she's saying something that she actually means.

At least I'm not on her shit list, but she's just kind of......not bright. She's one of those people that can check all the boxes but not figure out whether something else actually needs to be done. She's not much of a critical thinker, but she's a rule follower because she comes from a corrections background.

So she went through her online programs or whatever and regurgitated what they made her read or lectured to her and they gave her a credential.

That's a lot what happens in this region with advanced certifications.

Seems like it should be a lot harder, but they keep churning out morons who weren't good enough to teach but are somehow now qualified to run schools.

2082. Ms. No - 12/14/2019 1:41:53 AM

Not that teachers necessarily make good administrators, but if you're going to be in charge of guiding instructional practice, you should have more experience than what somebody told you in an online course.

2083. arkymalarky - 12/14/2019 6:07:08 PM

Was going to say it tongue-in-cheek, but I think it's probably true at least here, administrative credentials and degrees in education are easy to get because so many coaches moved up into ministration because it is been so male-centric until fairly recently and coaches mostly the only male teachers on a school campus. Maybe a math or science teacher, but they didn't want to move them up because those positions were harder to fill. And unfortunately, even now a lot of women don't move it up because they're competent that because they schmooze like men have often done to get management positions. They just entered the Good Ol Boy system. Or were married someone who got their foot in the door which is what happened at the last job I worked.

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