In the Lou

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Dec 08 2008

Academic stimulus plan

In a district with a $20+ million budget shortfall, I find the below not only nonsensical in terms of moving students forward toward making significant gains but just odd: Principals, Please convey the following information regarding the new Academic Stimulus Plan to your staff no later than Friday noon. It will be addressed in the…

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Aug 01 2008

MAP Results: My schools rocked the test

I’m currently in Chicago for a training on AVID for school, but this article appeared in the paper today. It discusses how, on the whole, middle schools were the best performers in the state. In particular, three St. Louis Public Schools’ middle schools were the best performers in the region. Among them… my school! St.…

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Mar 05 2008

The definition of unfortunate

I’m a good sport. But getting hoodwinked out of a day off twice in one year is a bummer. I got a wake up call this morning at 5:53 a.m. My friend at school was calling to let me know that we were having another snow day. This was good news minus the fact that…

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Mar 04 2008

A week without teaching

Even though it was 70 degrees and sunny on Sunday, it is snowing like the dead of winter in St. Louis today. In fact, this is our biggest storm of the year. More than 8.5 inches has already blanketed the airport, the place of our official readings. Eating Ted Drewes while wearing short sleeves seems…

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Dec 17 2007

Supposedly Happy Holidays

Deck the halls. Fa la la la la. The holidays are a time of cheer for everyone. I wish I could insert one of those screeching sound effects like would happen right now if this were a television show. Then I, your narrator, could come on and prepare us for a story that differs. No…

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This morning, I nearly had a teacher-freak because I had diligently planned a performance event for students. They were to create atomic models of one element. I admit that I did assume that they knew one part, but even when I stripped the assignment back down to the bare minimum, the students were floundering and…

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Aug 22 2007

I’m sweating the good details

Half-days for three days of the first week of school makes for a low stress week. SLPS made the advanced call today.

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Aug 21 2007

Really hot diggety dog

I think this can be summarized as “AWESOME” SLPS Announces Early Release Day for Wednesday, August 22 St. Louis – Superintendent Diana Bourisaw announced today that students in all St. Louis Public Schools will be released early on Wednesday, August 22, due to excessive heat. The dismissal time for schools will vary, depending upon each…

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Jun 15 2007

Please put it in writing

Thursday afternoon, I received an unexpected letter in the mail. I received my placement letter for next year confirming that I would return to my original middle school. It’s not the assignment that was unexpected. What’s unexpected is that St. Louis Public Schools is organized enough to get the placements finalized within a month of…

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For better or worse the new Special Administrative School Board took control of St. Louis Public Schools today and the St. Louis Board of Education is essentially a defunct operation. A judge yesterday failed to enforce a motion for an injunction. On my way into a meeting at school this morning, the news reports were…

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Tick tock. The takeover clock chimes its bells on Friday. I don’t think anyone is turning into a pumpkin, though. This morning, the state commissioner of education, Kent King, denied the St. Louis Public Schools’ request to revisit the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s ruling to strip the city Board of Education of its…

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Jun 10 2007

He visits my inbox

The below email was forwarded to the entire staff of my school by someone at the school. Someone sent this using school property while at work getting paid for his or her public-sector job.

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My hat goes off to the people who have the loud voices of this school system — the school board members. They present a survivalist political savvy necessary if they intend to actually stop the impending state takeover of the district. This past Tuesday during the school board meeting, board-member Donna Jones introduced a resolution…

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Jun 01 2007

And so the first chapter comes to an end

Thankfully, today with students went by without too much fanfare. By that I mean things were kept relatively quiet and calm. Yesterday, I went to lunch with my best teacher-friend. We had joked how we might be of the few who go outside at the end of the day to wave goodbye. At the top…

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May 29 2007

The best bulletin board ever

No matter what happened today, my day was complete. I have such the ear-to-ear grin that I was able to snap a picture of the aforementioned bulletin board in Mr. Analogy’s room. You really need to click on the picture to see what is written under the words “THE ONE.” Oh this is too good.…

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I feel safe in generalizing that most people have the pleasure of suffering through being exposed to economics through a required introductory class in college. For most, this is a first chance at the four-hundred person lecture hall. For me, it was a 25-person torture* session with the man who was leading the data-driven exposé…

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I’ve regretted all year having fallen short on creating the “Science Star of the Week” board. I just never did it, and then it would slip my mind for a long time, and then I would think about it and not do it because I’d feel it was “too late.” At least now I’m resolved…

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Apr 26 2007

Two strikes on St. Louis

My Thursday in St. Louis is deserving of two frustrating sighs. The first objectionable occurrence was the St. Louis Public Schools’ Board of Education’s approval of Resolution 04-17-07-12. The resolution is as follows: The Board of Education Authorizes authorizes Tuesday, May 29, 2007, a full class day for the students of St. Louis Public Schools;…

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Mar 11 2007

Sugar coating is overrated

I think sugar coating all things in life gets a little old. Yes, it’s a great world when all things have something good to them, but I think we lose perspective if we’re not willing to admit the truth in some situations some times. In case it’s not clear, I’m about to purge the some…

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Mar 03 2007

A public, non-empty promise

I promise to start writing again. I think I’ve been partially avoiding writing so as not to have to face some the issues going on in life right now. I think I’ve also been in a lazy mood, excusing my absence from writing with prioritization of other things like catching up on TV shows. Very…

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Feb 20 2007

Something good is in the water

I think that someone has dropped some sort of foreign substance into the water supply of Jefferson City, Mo. The substance, though, is causing intelligent decision making.

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Feb 16 2007

Big change on its way to St. Louis schools

Yesterday, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to implement a take-over of the St. Louis Public Schools district. This is, as you can imagine, big news.

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Feb 03 2007

Oh where oh where have I been?

I’m ready to resume writing this week. I needed to internally process some things around me in life, so I took a break (including a 16 hour night of sleeping last weekend). I actually did write a nice long post more than a week ago, but it was accidentally deleted when my internet connection went…

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Dec 11 2006

Thou shalt deliver us from teacher hell

I’m so excited, I couldn’t even wait till the end of the week… This morning, we arrived, and officially, we had no working copiers in our two buildings. Both of our copy machines were broken with permanent errors, and our Risograph (high-speed printing press-like machine) was out of ink. We were stuck in a rut…

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Nov 13 2006

Escape from oppressiveness

I’m slightly delinquent in writing this week. As such, the vibrancy of some of last week’s goings-on have started to slip away. Thus, I’ll keep it to three short snippets. Appalled I’ve noted that many students are suspended right now. We keep getting an interesting parade of parents coming through, interrupting class at odd times.…

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a Teach for America science teacher in St. Louis

St. Louis
Middle School

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