Tag: Private Schools

How One School Pivoted After Campus Closure

 

I’ve been working long-distance for a small K-12 California school since 2006, and I’ve always appreciated the leadership–but wow, have the principal and faculty outdone themselves since school campuses were closed weeks ago, due to the virus. I could sense in the days preceding the closure that he felt some stress, and I was told that developments with the virus were weighing on him. It concerned me–none of us could predict what was coming and what it might mean for our school.

Then the principal’s letters to parents and staff started coming in: campus is closed until thus and such a date–no, it’s actually closed longer. Here’s the plan–no, here’s the new plan. There was a first phase of online learning with teacher training to buy time, and then everyone settled into a second phase with clear, uniform procedures. All of this was accomplished via positive e-mails and a weekly parent letter; sandwiched between a paragraph of encouragement and links to resources, each parent communication carefully explained any new developments so there were no misunderstandings. Regular social media photos feature young students beaming from their computers at home, seniors posing with certificates, teachers handing out weekly packets to families in cars. Anyone would think it was the best thing that ever happened to the school, and in spite of the uncertainties, extra pressures all around, and financial stress (I actually don’t know how much longer they can keep me on), there have been some upsides to it.

NH Dem on House Education Committee: “F*** Private and Religious Schools”

 

Tamara Meyer Le, a New Hampshire State Representative who serves on the House Education Committee, posted in a recent (and now deleted) public Facebook post, “[Expletive] private and religious schools.” Le deleted the post after Ricochet’s friend Michael Graham of New Hampshire Journal publicized her post. Michael writes that he has made multiple requests to Le for comment but she has not responded to him.

In an October 20th Facebook post, the Seacoast progressive and member of the House Education Committee used the profanity in a diatribe on her public FB page regarding her 8th-grade daughter’s friends applying to private high schools. “And then it happened. The Sunday afternoon my 8th grade daughter who is getting A-/B+s in 8th grade had to learn – while her friends were applying to private high schools – we would not be,” Le wrote. “Private and religious schools do not have anti-discrimination policies that protect students with disabilities.”
“[Expletive] private and religious schools,” Le concluded. Several of her fellow House Democrats ‘liked’ her comment, including Reps. Casey Conley and Heidi Hamer.

My own New Hampshire state representative, Glenn Cordelli (R-Tuftonboro), serves on the Education Committee with Rep. Le and tells me that “her comments reflect her views about private schools.” He also says that Le has in the past “introduced legislation to include private schools in anti-discrimination statutes” because “she believes they discriminate against kids with disabilities because they do not accept all kids.”

The Grant That Found Us

 

I’ve written previously about grant-seeking and its challenges for a small school such as my employer. Now comes the rest of the story, as last June, a generous grant offer arrived in my inbox. We almost turned it down.

The offer would fund a new Reading Room for our school, paying $17,500 to help provide an attractive, quiet place for students to read. The brochure showed examples of how other schools had transformed an area of their campus with furniture, decor, and books. The funds specified the project, the square footage required, and the procedure. Besides that, there were some annual reports to submit. We hadn’t thought of a Reading Room project. Nor did we have the space to allocate for it. Or did we? We exchanged e-mails with the coordinator, at first saying we didn’t qualify, and then, responding to encouragement from the organization, agreeing to have the coordinator visit our campus and take a look.

Member Post

 

One of the improvement goals of the small school I work for is to pursue grants to fund needs for library, science lab, and technology. These can be costly endeavors difficult to fund from the general budget. Well, there’s sports too, I suppose. Uniforms, weight room, ball fields, locker rooms, equipment—these are important in the life […]

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Member Post

 

In light of Donald Trump’s recent appointment of pro-voucher Betsy DeVos to head the Department of Education, I wanted to offer a different perspective on the idea of school vouchers. Good schooling, especially private schooling, is not an individual right–just as a top-notch medical plan is not a right to be guaranteed to every individual. Education and medical […]

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The Trouble with Private Schools

 

shutterstock_50734714Let me first establish my bona fides in order for you, the Ricochetti, to understand that this is a cri de coeur. I was homeschooled K-12, am a proud alumna of Hillsdale College, and for many years taught in private classical schools (I now have a position that supports school choice and excellent curriculum and teachers). I loved the kids and I loved my subject. It was a privilege to open up the virtues and vices of the classical world to my students and to challenge their minds to understand the thoughts of Cicero and Plato.

Here is why I left teaching: I began to despair that real K-12 education was possible in the 21st century. Was it because a) the children were glued to their screens? b) too much testing? c) the Common Core standards? d) administrative burdens? e) uninvolved parents?

None of the above. It was because of helicopter parents. Their fear of failure was crippling children’s ability to learn. There were often excuses for low grades and frequently explicit pressure to change them. These were parents at conservative, Christian, private schools. We teachers were not strangers to the end-of-the-year conference in which an administrator would sit down with the teacher and parents and facilitate a “compromise” in which the teacher would raise the student’s grade in exchange for getting to continue their employment. Over time, many teachers learned not to give Fs (or even Cs) to any students lest they be subjected to vitriol in their inboxes or in person, and vicious gossip about them to other parents.