Nov 04 2013

Jeff

Any high school can be quickly divided into sects. Roll into the south side of Chicago, and every kid is tagged by a gang. Zoom out to the suburbs, and things look a lot more like that show Glee. You have traditional lines between athletes, preps, and emo/goth kids. Then you have the teens who belong to band, choir, and drama clubs. In my hometown we also had a strong journalism program. Grosse Pointe South’s newspaper is called “The Tower” and for nearly two decades its cult-like staff was hand-selected by a man named Jeff Nardone.
Jeff got a degree from Michigan State University in the late 80s, taught in East Detroit for a few years, and then landed his job at Grosse Pointe South. He got married and had twin boys. Like many, Jeff got divorced and remarried, adding a wife and daughter. He was an avid baseball fan, and…

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Aug 14 2013

There’s no place like home

Parental involvement is the one of the most important elements in a child’s education. If a parent is more involved with his/her child’s school experience, then that child is more likely to leave school with the tools s/he needs to succeed in life. In kindergarten, that means that if a parent is more involved with…

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Aug 07 2013

Teacher evaluation tools

Today I hit SEND on the final versions of our new report cards. This means our three-, four-, and five-year-old programs are streamlined for the first time during my tenure. One thing I tried to keep in mind while developing our new syllabi, assessments, and report cards is that they need to make sense to…

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Aug 05 2013

Steps and Lanes

Today I signed my agreement to officially return for a third year at my school. As a small center, we’ve had a pretty tight budget every year, but we were fortunate enough to see a slight pay increase going into next year. But my agreement also led me to some questions. Now that I’m in…

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Last September, Michigan had 1,529,887 students enrolled in 883 public schools. The state manages 549 “Local Educational Authorities” (LEAs) that are loosely governed by 56 “Intermediate School Districts,” (ISDs) (1). After this week, the number of LEAs will be smaller by 2, as the State of Michigan moved forward with the dissolution of the Buena Vista School…

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Jul 25 2013

Tenure reform continues in MI

When Michigan passed its teacher tenure reform bill in 2011, the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness was formed to propose a new teacher evaluation system. Yesterday the MCEE released its recommendations calling on the Legislature to pass one of four model teacher and administrator evaluations that would rank individuals as “professional,” “provisional,” or “ineffective” based on classroom…

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Jul 21 2013

Honey, I’m home: Reflection on Detroit

Thursday marked the first time in months that I’ve been in my hometown of Detroit. Ironically enough, Thursday also marked the city’s historic filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Everyone knows that Detroit has been transformed over the past century from the industrial capital of America to a symbol of American decline. As experts have said…

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Jul 17 2013

Be the solution

WaPo’s Valerie Strauss, a frequent critic of “ed reform,” recently posted an interview with Rafe Esquith (a la Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire). In the interview he talks about his new book and his views on ed reform. When asked about TFA, he hits on what I believe to be our fatal flaw: Most…

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Jul 16 2013

Paging the unions

One key challenge of urban education is the high teacher turnover rate. As I’ve mentioned before, 46 percent of new teachers will leave the profession within five years. Arguably, that number is higher in urban districts where we teachers face larger socio-economic obstacles. Thus, one of the major criticisms of Teach For America’s mere two-year…

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Jul 12 2013

Denouement

A few weeks ago, I got into a back and forth with a friend about charter schools. She accused me of being too general in my distaste for them, and blasted me for not taking a more nuanced approach to education policy. After responding to a barrage of comments on my open letter the past…

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About this Blog

I'm an educator, Kalamazoo College alumnus, Democrat, and proud Detroiter! Views here are my own.

Region
Milwaukee
Grade
Early Childhood

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