Statistics and crime map…
Jun 07 Published in Remembrance, Reflections by Purple
This is a continuation of my journal from my 2001-2002 school year. Please read the previous posts to give this entry context.
Thursday – May 30, 2002
My students did really well on the Gates test. The vast majority of students went up. I don’t really attribute that to my teaching, since last year a lot of students went down. I had Scantrons that more closely matched the test. That I feel sure was a factor. Since our old sign out sheet for the tests was packed away, I had no idea which form of the Level E test I gave them in September, so I may have given them exactly the same test. That could have been a factor. Finally, I bribed them with extra credit for everyone who went up a grade level. Of course, I think I made the same offer last year, and it didn’t help. In sixth period everyone went up except for Raymond, who stayed the same, and Popo, who went down. He didn’t finish the test. Sheridan, Roberto!, Chad, Amanda, Elizabeth, Rosa, Lupe, Diana and Pedro went up enough to earn extra credit. Mindy was stuck on the East Coast in September, but her score this time was 10.5.
“It’s no wonder I went up,” Lupe said. “This is the first year I ever read a complete book.”
This statement no longer shocks me or pleases me. I hear it all the time. Like the test itself, the comment takes me back to one of my points at the beginning of the year. I think way too many teachers read the book for the students, or rely on reading aloud and discussion, and the students arrive as freshmen in high school never having read a book on their own! We need to stop doing this and to start giving students more ways to read on their own.
I walked to the Cocoanut Grove from the neighborhood above the Boardwalk. Some homeless guys at the bottom of the cliff gave me some good hoots. As I approached the roller coaster, I started taking orientation shots with one of the disposable cameras. I ran into two of my students from last year on their way to their jobs at the Boardwalk. They were startled and pleased, as I was. We chatted.
When I was outside the Cocoanut Grove, I took photos of the marquee. I was in time to catch the guy putting up the letters. Very cool shots. A man exited Cocoanut Grove and hammed it up like I was taking a photo of him. Then he looked up at the marquee. “B?” he said to me. “I knew a family named B. Up in San Francisco.”
“The family whose father recently died?” I inquired.
“Yes,” he said, rattling off the names of the family.
“That’s this family,” I explained. “She’s retiring.” Then I thought he must be one of the family acting like a stranger to pull my leg. But no. He’d gone to school with my department chair’s sister, and hadn’t been in touch with the family for twenty years. He was at the Cocoanut Grove to plan his daughter’s wedding reception.
I took his card and invited him to stick around to say hello to the family.
The whole affair started off on an upbeat note and continued smoothly. As the haze burned off, the room got hot. A few people started fanning themselves, and all of us were too bashful to get up and try the windows. When the ceremony was over, someone pushed one open and in rushed a refreshing breeze off the ocean. It took no effort at all and wouldn’t have disrupted the event, so I felt foolish that I hadn’t tried the window when I noticed the first person starting to wilt.
But, that was the only glitch. The flowers, the food service, the displays, the presentations and honoring all went grandly. I feel a big weight off my shoulders.