Tuesday, August 29, 2006

First Day Thoughts...

OK, today was the kids' first day back to school. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit nervous for both of them, especially my oldest one. Last year was the year from heck for this kid and I am very nervous that last year won't be left in the past, but upon picking them up from school I was informed that it was a good day, followed by a smile!

My youngest also announced that today was awesome, just short, which brings up my first question for this post. Why is it that the older kids had a full day of school today, but the elementary kids only had a half day? Aren't some of the elementary kids watched by their elder siblings after school? If so, wouldn't it have been better for either the older kids to have had a half day or the elementary kids to have had a full day? Just seems kind of odd to me.

My second thought/question refers back to an article at Toledo Talk from August 26th, you can read the article and peoples comments HERE

The article talks about the consistency of enforcing uniforms in the schools. I don't know about the rest of you but over the past 2 weeks or so I've had a minimum of 15 pre-recorded messages from the vice principal of my oldest child's school reminding me about the things that were going on and in EVERY message was a reminder about the dress code and a notice that all kids must be in uniform INCLUDING black or brown dress shoes, that no tennis shoes were allowed. As I sat this afternoon waiting for my middle schooler to come out of the school I watched the other kids, specifically how they were dressed. I got a bit of an attitude as I seen better than 50% of the kids come out of the school in white or other colored tennis shoes, as well as collarless shirts and shirts that were untucked. I seen the same thing last year, and I am fairly sure that it will continue through the entire year just as it did last year. As the article at Toledo Talk states, there simply is no consistency for the uniform code. One child can wear something that isn't acceptable and get away with it, but another child can wear the same thing and not get away with it.

In case you're wondering, I am not a parent that feels my kids should push the uniform code to see what they can get away with, I make them both adhere to it, simply because it's a rule, and even though I don't like the rule and they don't like the rule, it is there for a reason and the right thing to do is follow it as it is written. But it does bother me that I went to the expense to purchase the things that my kids were told they had to have, even if it meant buying doubles, while other kids go about doing what they want to simply because they or their parents don't give a hoot about the rules.

So, how did everyone else's first day go?
Thanks for reading

Sunday, August 27, 2006

13 ABC Bridges Program

Although I am a news junkie, I'm totally unfamiliar with this program, but I happened to catch it today and it was quite interesting.

Today it was hosted by a woman by the name of Doni Miller. The show was directed at the group of concerned parents that are asking students to boycott school at Scott High School the first five days of school as well as important days that attendance is taken for determining the amount of state funding the schools get.

The first half of the show Ms. Miller was talking to John Foley. Mr. Foley was explaining that he does understand where these parents are coming from but that for students to purposely miss school on the days they are being asked to miss will only serve to hurt the school district.

The second half of the show Ms. Miller was talking to a man by the name of Francis Dumbuya who, from what I understand, is leading the group of people asking for the boycott. Mr. Dumbuya was explaining his feelings about why this boycott is necessary and went on to explain that there are more than 6,000 days of school missed by students because of suspensions and B.I.C. days.

Now, I am in no way trying to undermine the reason for this show, but when I heard how many days are being missed because of students being suspended in/out of school I was just blown away! It just makes no sense to me that that amount of days is even possible! I know we're a fairly large sized school district, but that is ALOT of suspensions!

Anyway, I just thought I'd touch base about this show. I'm sure that it's not always about TPS, but you can be assured that I will be tuning into this show weekly! It airs on 13 ABC at 12 noon. Check it out if you can!
Thanks for reading

Monday, August 21, 2006

What are your thoughts?

In this post Continuous Improvement Lisa Renee made the comment about how she feels the way the state grades the schools is like trying to put a peg into a hole whether it fits or not. That got me to thinking about this whole testing system and the kids.

When it comes time for the kids to do the achievement testing the schools try to prepare them as well as they can. I remember when my youngest was in the 4th grade, her school had special tutoring and programs in the weeks leading up to the testing that the kids could participate in. Most of it was during school, but some of it was also afterwards. They really seemed to work with the kids to get them as ready for the tests as they could, but one thing that they stressed to the kids was that the kids didn't need to get stressed out over the testing either. After the tests were over, they had like a celebration party for the kids, just to congratulate them for a job well done.

I believe that alot of people think that there needs to be a different way of grading the schools. I think that if it were possible, the schools should be grouped together according to enrollment, if it's not already. I also feel that there should be an A, B, C, D, E rating. If you're doing continuously good, that's great, but it still doesn't make alot of sense. If our kids do better in school, do they get a grade of "continuous improvement"? No, they get a letter grade. I think it would make it a bit easier on everyone if you could just look at the school and see the letter grade. If necessary, make a side note of "continuous improvement, excellent, efficient", etc. I as a parent think this would make reading these reports alot easier.

So, tell me what you think. Am I totally clueless here, if so, let me know.

**********Second Topic**********

I figured I'd lump this all into one post since this is also an opinion one. I seen on the news tonight that the board voted 3 to 2 against putting a levy on the ballot in the fall in order to give the teachers raises. I was in the middle of making dinner so I missed everything that was said, except the vote. I did see that it was the normal 3 against the normal 2. Sadly, until there are different board members, I see the board votes continuing to be those 3 against those 2. There has to be something that can be done to change this because those that are voting aren't being hurt by this, it is those things that are being voted for/against that are hurting. Do our teachers deserve raises, ABSOLUTELY!!! I honestly don't know alot about tonights meeting or the whole story about this vote, so if someone else does, please feel free to post about it or email me if you would rather remain anonymous.

Have a great night, hope everyone is enjoying these cooler temps!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

To those who come here...

I just wanted to let you know that if there is anyone who reads this and is also involved in TPS that would like to help out with this blog, feel free to contact me. My only "requirement" is that you have to either know someone I know that can "vouch" for you or you need to have a proven "track record" with another blog. I'm not necessarily looking for someone that agrees with me because maybe a different opinion would be great for this blog. I'm also not just looking for one person, the more the merrier and the more people involved with this blog, the more topics we can cover! Anyway, you can either leave me a message here on the blog or you can email me through my profile!
Thanks for reading!

Continuous Improvement

Well, I must give credit where credit is due. From what the local news is saying this morning TPS once again ranked in the "Continuous Improvement" area for the 3rd year in a row. This is great news for our schools and our kids. I do credit Dr. Sanders, but I also give alot of the credit to the teachers AND the kids! As a parent I know how stubborn my own kids can be and that once they set their mind to do something (or not doing something) there's almost no way of changing it. The teachers and staff have done alot of work with these kids to get them motivated and I think we all should thank them for this. I'll post more after work when the "official" report has been read!
Thanks for reading


OK, so the district itself is ranked "Continuous Improvement", which is really good, at least we're not going backwards! But I went to ODE's website and looked at the report cards for most of the schools in the district. I read there, and also heard here on the local news that we have several schools that are in "Academic Emergency", one of which is one of my childrens schools. To protect my children I am not going to name the specific school, but I will say that this comes at no surprise to me what so ever!

In the many dealings that I had with said school last year it became more and more apparent that this school wants nothing to do with a child that may need a little extra help. It actually took me better than half of the school year, and the threat of involving my lawyer, to get a meeting with the SAT team to try and help my child. There are many teachers that I came in contact with last year that were helpful with my child, but there were others, as well as those in charge of the school, who wanted nothing more than to simply tell me what I wanted to hear at the moment then not follow through with it when I was not present. They would then turn around and take their frustrations with me as an involved parent out on my child. I feel that the principal, vice pricipal and dean of said school are very prejudice against children that struggle, whether it be educationall, emotionally or financially. A childs race does not play a factor in their prejudice because I seen it towards students of every race. It just felt as if they simply did not want to deal with a child that was anything less that perfect and would simply call the parents and send a child home, which would cause even more problems for these kids.

I was very disappointed to see that the same principal, vice principal and dean are in this school this year as I had hopes that they would bring in some fresh faces to try and help this school out, but that does not seem to be something that is going to happen. I must admit that I really dread the thought of this child going back to this school, but I will put my best foot forward and have told my child that I expect the same from them so that we don't have a repeat of last year. My only hope is that my child is allowed to start with a clean slate and not have last year thrown back at them.

So, what are your thoughts about TPS's report card and your childs schools own report card? If you haven't seen them yet, you can find them at this link
District Local Report Cards
Just go to the district box and scroll down to Toledo, or you can scroll down to Lucas in the county box. Check it out if you haven't already, then tell me your thoughts!
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Uniforms again

I'm sitting here watching 13 ABC news and I see that TPS has put the lovely uniforms into the High Schools now. Why does this not amaze me? Who in the world do they think they are kidding? I know that there are many people out there that think these uniforms are a good thing, but I'm sorry, I personally do not! I feel that they are an invasion on childrens choices. I think that a child uses how they dress to express how they are and that it is wrong to take this away from them in a public school setting.

Look at Springfield School district. They tried this uniform code in the late 90's and it didn't last one full school year, and there were many parents in favor of it there, but they knew it was wrong. How long will it take for TPS to realize it is wrong?.

Yes, I do agree that there are way too many kids that push a normal dress code to the max, but that falls back on the child AND their parents. Too many parents let their kids walk out that door in the morning knowing that they are wearing something they simply shouldn't be wearing, but rather than argue with them, or have their kid be the "uncool" kid, they just ignore it. Just like the males who wear their pants with their underwear sticking out, and the girls who wear their jeans with their thongs sticking out, it's gross and it's WRONG, but it's not up to the school to deal with it, it is up to the parent. And as I said, too many parents don't want the argument, so they say nothing.

Am I a perfect parent, NO WAY! I make mistakes, but I also take the time to make my children accountable for what they do and who they are. I do not take the blame for my child, I make them take the blame and pay the price for what they do, it's what you have to do to help teach a child to be responsible. Too many kids these days simply are not held accountable for their actions, the parents try to argue it when they know what their child did was wrong.

As a parent I am putting out a challenge to anyone and everyone (INCLUDING myself) to stand up for what is right and have that argument with your child because you know what they want to do isn't right, but they want to do it just to be "cool". Step in and show them that although it's something they want to do, it's not the best choice and help them understand what the best choice is. Do this just once, and I think that we'll all see the argumentive situations decrease just a little. Stop ifnoring and start changing. I'm sure it won't be easy, especially for me, but I'm going to try, no matter how minor it is. Please, if you do this, let me know how it went, and I will do the same!