Meeting the Folks and Facing the Music

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This week’s adventures in Chicago Public Schools included a Local School Council Meeting and report card pick ups.

Earlier this week I got to sit in on a Local School Council meeting at a CPS school where the curriculum is changing to a “Wall to Wall IB” (International Baccalaureate)  program. About ten tenured teachers lost their jobs in what seems like a breach of contract. The meeting was incredibly intense with Chicago Teachers Union representatives present as well as with teachers voicing their anger and concern to the administration. While parents seem to have varying opinions on the curriculum change, the faculty I saw seems to be of one mind—that this “change” is being used as an excuse to overhaul teachers.

It was unfortunate and unsettling to hear that after fifteen to twenty years of service (these teachers were rated “satisfactory” when they were evaluated) a teacher could be so unceremoniously let go. It was also unfortunate to see such a lack of trust between teachers and administrators. I sincerely hope this situation gets resolved for the teachers at this school.

Meanwhile in my happy student teaching experience, I spent my day yesterday meeting the families of some of my students at report card pickup. As the story goes, my cooperating teacher and I only met with a couple of the parents we actually needed to meet—you know, the students with poor attendance, failing, acting out in class, etc.—but the parents we did meet were lovely. It’s really great to see where the students come from  and know that they have a home base that cares for them. I think it also was good for the parents to see how invested we are in their children. It was also really sweet to see how impressed they were with their child’s artwork, even the artwork that I didn’t think was so great for one reason or another!

The picture above and below is of student artwork. I taught the Art 1 students how to make a figure sculpture using aluminum wire.  They first learned how to draw the correct proportions of the human body, then we worked on how to transfer that concept from a 2-D drawing to a 3-D figure. They had to put their figure in an action pose, making sure to bend the legs and elbows in the correct places to keep the figure in proportion. Voila!

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