Education Opinion

Ups and Downs

By Roslyn Johnson Smith, Ph.D. — October 31, 2007 2 min read
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Up – Yesterday we had a wonderful “informance” at the school to celebrate Jazz Awareness Month. Renowned jazz saxophonist, arranger, and producer Harold Batiste joined The Next Generation jazz band to entertain, inform, and teach 170 students about the music that was born in New Orleans. The 76-year old musical genius answered questions posed by second, third, and fourth grade students. The Jam session included Adella, Adella, the Storyteller, who read the book Jazz on a Saturday Night (2007), by Leo and Diane Dillon. It was a magical moment as the musicians punctuated the story with their musical interludes laced throughout the tale. Jessie McBride, the band leader lectured about types of instruments, learning to read music, and the history of jazz. The program was arranged through one of our former teachers.

Down – One of our eighth grade girls was recommended for expulsion yesterday. She committed a serious infraction and included three other students in the activity. The parents of two of the witnesses and the “lookout” were very cooperative as they faced the consequences for their participation. The guilty student offered an explanation for her crime when she said, “Everybody in my house does this.” It must be a pretty sad place to live.

Up – 55% of the parents came to Report Card Conference Day. The activity was held at 4:30 p.m. to allow parents to come after work and permit teachers to leave before the sun set. More parents will be allowed to schedule individual conferences this week.

Down – One of the fifth grade boys was recommended for expulsion today. He had a weapon in school. When it was discovered, he threatened to bring his whole clan to the school to turn the place out. His grandmother, a very nice lady, is doing all she can to help raise a very angry student. I can’t believe we had two serious offenses in as many days.

Up – We interviewed for two more charter schools today at the State Department of Education..

Down – I had to drive 80 miles to the meeting and it was raining. I don’t like driving and I hate leaving my house when it’s raining. After the meeting, I had to rush back to New Orleans to get to the school for a meeting by 3:00 p.m.

Up – I did a presentation for the new staff members this afternoon to explain the goals of our charter school and the differences between this program and more traditional school settings. I think I was able to give some encouragement to a few of the teachers who are struggling with a student body that includes students who are overage, chronic behavior problems, and several grades behind academically.

Down – My friend Paulette was supposed to come to my house so we could collaborate on a special grant proposal. We were going to do it last night, but I had work to do to prepare for the charter school interview in Baton Rouge. It was too late and I was too tired to collaborate tonight.

Up – She understood. We’ll try again tomorrow.

The opinions expressed in Starting Over: A Post-Katrina Education are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.