Class Dismissed

November 01, 1989 2 min read

Spurned by his adopted hometown, Lowe returned to Dayton, Ohio, where he grew up, to perform his community service. None of it was in the schools.

What’s In A Name?

Lack of school spirit had nothing to do with it. But when students at Pendleton (Ind.) Middle School had to cheer on their sports teams, they cringed. Chanting the school’s initials--"P-M-S, P-M-S’'--was embarrassing since the letters also stand for premenstrual syndrome.

Tired of being teased--by everyone from the opposition to the local radio station--Pendleton’s athletes recently asked the school board to solve the long-standing problem. By a 4 to 3 vote, the school’s name was changed to Pendleton Heights Middle School, making the initials a more dignified PHMS.

But How Many Chose Dukakis?

A recent poll of 6-year-olds by Playschool, Inc., found that only 9 percent of the kids picked George Bush as the teacher of their dreams, putting him in last place with Roseanne Barr. Bush and Barr finished close behind Michael J. Fox (10 percent), and were within striking distance of Bill Cosby (19 percent). But they were all left in the dust by Big Bird, who gained a clear mandate with 53 percent.

We Harley Knew You, Mr. Norenberg

Some people will do anything for attention. For a high school principal familiar with the challenge of bringing the opening-day assembly to order over the din of rowdy, inattentive students, that axiom was inspiration. The Associated Press reports that Stanley Norenberg, a 57-yearold administrator at the Adel-DeSoto High School in Adel, Iowa, started this year’s welcoming assembly by roaring onto the stage on a large Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Clad in a black leather jacket, a black helmet, and goggles, he circled the stage three times and then parked to reveal his identity. The students, who were surprised and speechless, gave him their undivided attention--and then their riotous applause.

Meanwhile, On The Coast

Teachers at Serrano Intermediate School in El Toro, Calif., figured students might pay more attention at an assembly on school rules if they got the word via rap music. Thirty teachers wearing baseball caps, rolled-up jeans, leotards, and sunglasses chanted such verses as: “If you keep getting tardies, the price you’ll have to pay is an after-school detention or school on Sat-ur-day.’' Rap music blared over the loud speaker while the finger-snapping teachers did their thing. Students’ reactions ranged from “cool’’ to “stupid.’'

An All-Star With The Kids

Kevin “K.J.’' Johnson is one star basketball player who knows that a school does a lot more than give future pros a chance to develop their outside shooting. For the past three years, the stand-out guard for the Phoenix Suns has spent a day at St. Leo’s Elementary School in Oakland, Calif. He devotes most of what has come to be called “K.J. Day’’ to talking to each class about the importance of academics and encouraging the students to be good citizens. Each year an 8th grader receives the Kevin Johnson Award for Academic and Athletic Excellence. Says Johnson, “I like to let them know that, sure I’m a basketball player, but there are other things more important and longer lasting.’'

Worth Repeating

Education consultant Denis Doyle makes the point that for a successful business, the most important customer may be the one who left. A company will goto great lengths to determine the reason for the dissatisfaction and will often adjust company policy accordingly. Schools, on the other hand, typically know almost nothing about their dropouts.

A version of this article appeared in the November 01, 1989 edition of Teacher as Class Dismissed