Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Me in Community (Repost)

Recently, I got a letter that my son’s school failed the state test. Not a state test, the state test: the Maryland State Assessment Test or MSA. The test that decides funding, staffing, academic performance: the test. It’s a report card, a ‘how does the school compare to other schools in the state’ and equally as importantly, a ‘how does your child compare to other students in the state’ marker.

Each year, my children perform well, very well to be precise. Some years their schools do not.

This year, my daughter’s school passed the statewide test, my son’s did not. The letter from his school is nicely worded. It says something about under performing and reevaluating. It’s very positive, but the bottom line is that something is missing between teaching and learning: something just doesn’t work.

Four years ago, I got the same letter before my daughter was supposed to go to the same school. That year, I opted out and was able to transfer her into a performing school.

Today, the program that made such a transfer possible is defunct, and so though my son exceeded the state expectations, I can’t just bail out. And, I’m not sure I want to. There is always the option of private or charter schools. So my son, who is in gifted and talented classes, is not there out of lack of options.

My son has made lots of friends at this school, so like it or not we are vested in the community.

Problems and all, it feels nice to belong to a community.

His school plans to make some changes some academic, some administrative. I plan to make some changes too. This year, I plan to be not just a member of the PTA but a participant. I am looking for opportunities to volunteer around my schedule and my comfort level. I am considering leading a journaling workshop to help get kids excited about words again.

Whatever I do, this year, I plan to affect change.

This year, community begins at home.

It doesn’t end there.

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