Posted by Elaine, a resident of another community, on Sep 24, 2009 at 10:42 am
I agree with Drew regarding funding resources. The part that bothers me the most is that the district's administration doesn't have any great plan to use resources to improve curriculum for all the students or assist teaching. Here is one example - look at the "GOAL" Program that is offered at Graham M.S. (it is on their website). The principal took away the concept of honor roll. Now it is a program that rewards all the students that make 4, 3 and even a 2 GPA. It also rewards those that raise their GPA .5 above their previous GPA so in essence, a student can earn an F and raise it to a D+ and receive rewards!
The rewards are in the form of a free tshirt, privileges, prizes, food events and fun field trips (non academic kinds like ice skating, bowling, playing at Shoreline, etc.) There are so many things wrong with this on so many levels!
First, they have now lowered the bar on honors - almost anyone in the school can obtain this recognition with little effort. In fact, I heard that many parents said their kids were demotivated to obtain straight As now since you can get as low as Cs with minimal effort and still qualify for "fun".
There are only a handful of students left at the school when all the students that qualify for the field trip leave - does the humiliation of not qualifying for this program really provide incentive to those kids to improve their grades or does it just cause further resentment?
Secondly, they are rewarding students by taking them out of school for these events. How many times have you heard the district tell us that there aren't enough teaching hours to improve scores?
Can the money be better spent? You bet it could. Last year I heard over 20K was spent on these rewards for the students. How do our tax dollars of this $20K really help our students and improve learning?
And the worst thing is that the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent bless this program. We hear about budget cuts and needing more money and this is what they are using valuable funds for last year. This year the principal is asking the PTA to help fund this program. It is time for parents to question just how the money is being spent for our students and how it really benefits them - in the long run, not just for fun.