Statistics and crime map…
Dec 12 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.
Friday, Dec. 7, 2001
We wrapped up our mythology unit with readers’ theater presentations of Daedalus and Icarus, Persephone and Hades, Arachne and Athena, Prometheus and Pandora, and Echo and Narcissus.
During class, Elizabeth grabbed the side stomach. Her face blanched and the class stopped. She didn’t want to go to the nurse, although I was a little worried she might have appendicitis. She felt hot. My stomach had been queasy the day before, so I imagine Elizabeth was just getting a garden-variety flu. She said that she hadn’t eaten. The girl has no body fat to live off of, so I asked if anyone in the room had some candy. But Elizabeth didn’t want any. She stayed and performed with her group.
Amanda dropped by before school again. Besides the nine children, stepdad and mom, her home also includes an uncle, the stepdad’s brother. “He sleeps in a trailer.” And an aunt, sister of the mother. One of her older brothers has a baby, but I don’t know whether the baby lives with them or with its mother.
During class, I was asking Xochitl if she remembered her father. She said yes, that he died when she was about eight. Raymond piped in, “That’s the same as my dad. He died when I was ten.”
Raymond’s dad died in a car accident, crushed by a semi.
The Last Real Week, Dec. 10 – Dec. 14
The highlight of the oral book reports was Elizabeth saying, “I really, really, really liked this book.” The book was The Princess Bride and I had recommended it to her. The biggest disappointment was the number of students who didn’t read and/or didn’t prepare reports—Xochitl, Soledad, Angel and Rosa. And this is a good class! In my fifth period over one half of the students did not do the report and it’s a major grade.
Rosa had apparently read a book and had brought some dolls to serve as a visual, but not even the class’s coaxing and encouragement could persuade her to stand and deliver. I was touched by the love and support the class showed her.
The requirement of book reports is introduced with the initial letter home. I hand out book lists. I have copies of Holes and The Time Machine that students can borrow. I have constant reminders, including a Powerpoint slide, which I frequently have on the television screen. It shows a picture of a girl flipping the pages of her book and says, “Are you reading for your book report?” I hand out and go over the criteria. Students are shown the rubric on which they’ll be evaluated. With Rosa and Angel, I regret that I didn’t get in touch with their reading teacher. One of my goals was to collaborate with the reading teachers, and I just haven’t made that happen. Yet.
Mark talked to me about a class change. He needs to arrange to have P.E, sixth period, so he can begin weight training for football. He wanted to know if he could move to my fourth period class. I hope the change can be arranged. I adore Mark. However, my fourth period is officially full.
If Mark goes, we’ll have only five boys in sixth period. Of course, a new student or two might enter the class. Sheridan could be moved to Accelerated English, but I heard there’s no room from one of my colleagues who was looking to move up two of his students.
On Thursday we had a faculty meeting to be introduced to our representative from the Pulliam Group. The Pulliam Group is a consultant who will help us through the Immediate Intervention/Underperforming Schools Program II/USP. However, we learned that we are no longer II/USP, but rather HPGSP, or maybe we’re both together. The HPGSP designation means there could be money, to the tune of three million dollars, if we can jump through the appropriate hoops and raise test scores.
Someone stuck a copy of a newspaper article in our mailboxes about a new contract for teachers in Palo Alto Unified School District. A parcel tax of $293 annually on residential and commercial properties would fund raises and reduction of the size of fourth and fifth-grade classes. The starting salary would be $43,000 and veteran teachers will be able to earn $87,643. Here I am with a master’s degree and maxed out on the salary schedule at $60,000. Still, I feel fine about what I earn. It’s probably my background in poverty. I live in a comfortable, beautiful house in highly desirable Santa Cruz. I feel very lucky and blessed. But I wouldn’t want to be starting out in this expensive area with the beginning salaries Pajaro offers. The salaries haven’t changed much since I started, when a beginning condo could be purchased for seventy-two thousand. The same place would cost more than three times that now.
End of the Quarter Results
A nice bell shaped curve. Along with standards, however, comes the idea of mastery by all. It’s a pleasant concept, but so unlike life. We know people who are happy and successful and others who are down on their luck; sometimes the people switch places. But life isn’t all cream. Everyone doesn’t float to the top.
Soledad is probably failing because life at home has been stressful and she’s still sick after all these weeks. I’d make a referral to Healthy Start, but her parents have already taken her to the doctor.
Becky plays too much. On exam day, she and Rosa brought their Christmas gifts for each other to class—sexy underwear from Victoria’s Secret. Rodolfo held Becky’s gift aloft, and then Becky displayed the pair she’d purchased for Rosa--blue thong bikinis with Superstar across the front.
Xochitl and Roberto. Sweet Xochitl and Roberto. Both were represented at Open House. They have family support, but they need academic support. They need to be attending tutorials.