Education

Odd Days, Skip Days, and Ski Masked Board Members

By Scott J. Cech — January 07, 2005 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

If you’d gotten used to the long winter break and found yourself desperately looking for another excuse to take off from work, you might have considered celebrating Sequoia High School teacher Ron Gordon’s “Odd Day,” which was observed (of course) on 1/3/05. Gordon, who teaches not math but driver’s ed at the school in Redwood City, California, suggested toasting the occasion with Odwalla juice and watching “The Odd Couple.” If Gordon’s name sounds vaguely familiar, you may remember him as the same man who celebrated “Square Root Day” last year—2/2/04—by cutting radishes and other root vegetables into squares and urging his students to drink root beer out of square-shaped mugs.

If you’re a student living in any of the 50 states that have so far failed to recognize Gordon’s holidays, you might have to resort to less mathematically justifiable means of skipping school. Like playing hooky. Or acing state standardized tests. The latter method is now a matter of policy in the Lone Star State, where the Texas Education Agency recently made it easier for schools to let kids who do well on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills miss 10 days of school. The idea is not only to reward good students, proponents say, but also to allow teachers to spend more instructional time with struggling ones. Not everyone gives the notion a passing grade, however. “No matter how much they know, you can teach them more,” said Mary Strickland, who teaches math at Kimball High School in Dallas.

Also under consideration in Austin is a bill that would bar administrators from moonlighting for companies doing business with their own school systems. Yvonne Katz, who abruptly resigned this past fall as superintendent of Houston’s Spring Branch Independent School District, apparently did just that, recommending that the school board sign a multimillion-dollar contract with a company without disclosing beforehand that she worked for the business. One might assume that alert legislators might have made such an obvious breach of ethics part of state law long ago, but maybe other priorities took precedence—the legislature is also weighing the merits of a bill to stop schools from flagrantly beginning classes earlier than the week of August 31.

Also to be filed under “School Board Caught Off-Guard”: The famous “mystery candidate” who, without campaigning, somehow beat a heavily favored, well-financed PTA leader for a seat on the Orange County, California, school board has finally shown his face. Or at least part of it: Dressed all in black, wearing a ski cap and sunglasses, and apropos of nothing, Steve Rocco told audience members at the new board’s first meeting, “We are living in a time of secret organizations, living in a time of corruption, and, most of all, living in a time of dictatorships.”

We’re also living in a time of rushed—if not entirely skipped—breakfasts, though one school near Boston is making a dent in the secretive antemeridian conspiracy. John Thorberg, food service director at Lincoln Elementary School in Melrose, Massachusetts, has begun serving freshly prepared breakfast not only to students but also to their parents. Thorberg estimates that about a quarter of the school’s 412 students and up to two dozen parents filter in starting at 7:30 for coffee, French toast sticks, bagels, ham, muffins, milk, fruit, and other delectables—all for just a dollar per head. “It is so much easier than doing breakfast at home,” said Debbie Walz as her daughter Kasey, 9, and a friend drank apple juice and spooned yogurt. Despite the low price, Thorberg says he’s managed to cover his costs, and now other Melrose schools are clamoring for a similar breakfast club. No word yet on whether he plans a dinner menu.

Sources for all articles are available through links. Teacher Magazine does not take credit or responsibility for reporting in linked stories. Access to some may require registration or fee.

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)