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A failure to communicate

Original post made on May 8, 2012

Adults could do better when it comes to making middle school students feel valued by the community, according to the superintendent of the Mountain View Whisman School District.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, May 8, 2012, 2:36 PM

Comments (12)

Posted by Johnathan, a resident of Jackson Park
on May 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Kids need to feel valued?
Did Christopher Columbus need mollycoddling to set out on a voyage of discovery? Did Daniel Boone need his nanny to hold his little hand to help him blaze his Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap in the Appalachian Mountains and into Kentucky? Did Neil Armstrong need a nursemaid to help him take his first steps on the moon? I think not.
Whatever happened to the pioneer spirit? Are we raising a generation of mewling babies who can't make a decision for themself?
We should teach kids that respect is earned. Go blaze your own trail and earn respect.


Posted by gcoladon, a resident of North Whisman
on May 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm

gcoladon is a registered user.

@Jonathan,

Do you have any children? How old? Just curious.

Greg


Posted by Sabrina, a resident of The Crossings
on May 9, 2012 at 2:54 pm

This sounds like an excellent program. The middle school years can be a severely isolating time for young people. I know that, for girls, it has been proven that having adult female mentors helps them learn to see life from a much healthier perspective than they would if they only had contact with other girls.


Posted by Margaret, a resident of Willowgate
on May 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Johnathan,

I'm not sure we want our kids to emulate Christopher Columbus so precisely. Have you ever read about the second half of his life? It's an eye-opener.


Posted by Jim Doughty, a resident of Gemello
on May 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm

For more than 10 years, I had the opportunity to work with young children in my apartment block -- the kids who needed a fresh perspective to complement what had been offered by their parents. In that process, I earned the trust of these young people -- they could come to me with their tales of teen-age angst. On the surface, these tales could have been viewed as teen=age fantasies. I took them seriously and listened to them without judging them for what they were feeling. In many cases, I was able to help these young people see a path to the reality of a situation -- a path that worked for them. In that sense, I was a facilitator who could help opposing camps find a way to understand [and just maybe accept] the views of their elders.

Through all of this, I had to keep in mind the needs of these young people -- recognition, respect, understanding and acceptance. Now that these families have moved on and I no longer have communication with them, I have to wonder just how I can connect with young people who need an anchor. It generally does not take an awful lot to help them see their way to solving what they might initially see as an insurmountable challenge. Just hear them out, emphasize with them, let them know that you are in their corner and that they have a right to how they feel about a situation.

I would appreciate anyone who has knowledge of how to make this connection to contact me through this newspaper.

Thank-you
Jim Doughty


Posted by Martin Omander, a resident of Rex Manor
on May 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Thumbs up for what sounds like a great program!


Posted by Johnathan, a resident of Jackson Park
on May 10, 2012 at 1:35 am

gcoladon: No children, but I spent a few years as a summer camp counselor for disadvantaged children. I taught them to do things for themselves, how to become independent and go beyond what they learn in school and home. Thomas Edison, for example did not learn how to invent the incandescent light bulb, he had to go above and beyond what his parents and teachers taught him. Edison who was kicked out of school by his teachers for being "addled", but went on to become successful!

Margaret: Granted, Columbus was never a role model, but he was brave enough to go on a voyage of discovery when all children were taught by their school and parents the world was flat.


Posted by MissMuffet, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 10, 2012 at 10:31 pm

The "developmental assets" movement passes a quick inspection but not serious examination. All sounds plausible, so who can be against it? But no one has a study that shows results from the measuring of the assets and the work to increase the allegedly deficient assets.

Be careful of these people.


Posted by Powell, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 11, 2012 at 8:52 am

Mountain View has drunk the Developmental Assets kool-aid. It's too late to stop it.


Posted by parent, a resident of Waverly Park
on May 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm

The Developmental Assets program is a good thing, but I wouldn't count on this district to make anyone - teachers, children, parents - feel valued.

Do kids receiving special education services feel valued when the district office decides to cut the hours of their classroom aides by 25 percent?

Do parent volunteers feel valued when the superintendent eliminates all the district parent advisory committees?

Do kids or the MV Police Dept feel valued when the district just says "no" to the DARE program because they don't want to take the time out of the school day?

Do parents who attend board meetings feel valued when they speak against rebuilding facilities that were just underwent major renovations in the last 10 years, and the board votes unanimously to move ahead with the project anyway?

Do teachers feel valued when the CFO goes room to room, telling teachers to unplug their mini-fridge or microwave to save the district money? (some teachers eat lunch in their room and many teachers serve food on occasion)

Should students feel valued when the district pays hundreds of thousands of dollars to architects and political pollsters when that money could be spent on programs and services to benefit children?

Do science teachers feel valued when the district makes plans for new science labs without consulting these teachers to ask them what they would like to have in their new classrooms?

The list goes on and on. The best thing that parents can do is familiarize themselves with the Developmental Assets concept and find ways to provide these conditions for their children without relying on MVWSD administrators.


Posted by Middle School Parent, a resident of another community
on May 12, 2012 at 6:51 pm

My kid goes to middle school and I am impressed with the number of activities. So far this year he has been in LEGO robots, rocketry,
Destination Imagination, and Computer Club. He also plays a
musical instrument. My only suggestion is they need more activities for girls so my daughter will have some activities after school besides just chorus.

All I heard from sites like greatschools.org was negative connotations but my kid and I have had a positive experience
in the real world.


Posted by Middle School Parent, a resident of another community
on May 12, 2012 at 7:00 pm

And my elementary school girl just went to NASA, did Lego robots
with Google volunteers, and extracted dna from fruit. There is
some cool STEM activities going on at school. Maybe you just
don't know about it.


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