Phi Delta Kappa Newsletter - PDF by xyd75631


									                             Phi Delta Kappa Newsletter
                                      West Georgia Chapter, 1303
                             Volume 24, Issue 1                                                      January 2010
     Executive Board
                                     PDK chapter meeting on February 23, 2010
    Shawn Tobin, Principal                      Someone Must Survive to Tell the Story
    Central High School      There remains an experience of incomparable see the great events of world history
                             from below; from the perspective of the outcast, the suspects, the maltreated, the powerless,
Past-President                      the oppressed, the reviled in short, from the perspective of those who suffer...
    Gail Marshall, C&I                            to look with new eyes on matters great and small.
    University of West GA                       Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Letters and Papers from Prison
Vice President/Membership              Growing up in a time and place where men were planning and doing unthinkable
    Ron Reigner, C&I         acts of torture and the annihilation of millions of civilians, Tosia Schneider lived a simple and
    University of West GA    isolated life in Horodenka Poland. As a teenager she was caught up in the Holocaust destined
Vice President/Programs      to die like every member of her family. Her survival from the ghettos of Poland and the
    Phyllis Snipes, MIT      German work camps can best be describes as an “Act of God’s grace.” Telling her gripping
    Judy Butler, C&I         story of her survival is the fulfilling of a promise she made to her mother. The last words of
    University of West GA    her mother to her were “Someone must survive to tell the story.”
                                       We are grateful to have Mrs. Schneider share here story of her journey of survival
Treasurer                    through the bitter winters in Poland with no warm clothes or shoes, little food, disease, and
  Judy Cox, C&I              brutal German officers bent on the annihilation of her family, friends, and her Jewish
  University of West GA      heritage. Many have been touched by her retelling her accounts of the atrocities committed
Secretary                    by man upon millions of children, women and men. As a survivor of the most tragic events
                             ever known to humankind, we are grateful for her courage and commitment to confront these
   Ros Duplechain, C&I
                             most hateful and evil acts.
   University of West GA
                                       Mrs. Schneider will retell her story for our PDK meeting on February 23. This will
Chapter Advisor              be a unique opportunity to meet with Tosia Schneider and learn important lessons about the
                             events that lead up to the Holocaust so that it will never happen again. We will also have the
   Robert Morris, EDLF
                             opportunity to explore what is in our natures that will make us instruments of torture and
   University of West GA
                             destruction or missionaries dedicated to alleviate the suffering of others. We will also
Foundation Representative    examine the role of educators and what we doing or not doing that can foster such extreme
    Geneva Crownhart, C&I    behaviors out of people. Join us for this unique opportunity to hear her voice of concern for
    Jose Luis Ortiz (FORL)   our need for diligence to see that we stand up and confront those would in any way take away
    University of West GA    our freedoms and passion for a teachers who will also become a witness to students of events
                             that should never be forgotten.
   Tom Peterson, EDLF
   University of West GA

Webmaster                                                                          We look forward to hearing Mrs.
  Fenqjen Luo, C&I                                                                 Schneider and hope you are able to join
  University of West GA                                                            us on February 23 at 6:00 in Z6 at
                                                                                   University of West Georgia. You will
Newsletter Editor
                                                                                   pay for and pick up your dinner and then
  Dawn Putney, MIT
                                                                                   join us in the dining room.
  University of West GA
                                                                                   For questions about the presentation
Table of Contents
                                                                                   contact Tom Peterson.
Tosia Schneider – p. 1                                                   
Shawn Tobin – pp. 2-4
Dr. Sethna – p. 5
Horace Mann – pp. 6-7
Special feature:

Conversation with our West
Georgia Chapter President
Questions were pooled for this year’s
Chapter President Shawn Patrick Tobin to
consider and respond to. His remarks and
comments represent thoughtful responses
from a local educator who is serving in his
first year as principal at Central High School
in Carrollton, Ga. We appreciate his candid
responses and his willingness to serve as our
President for the 2009-2010 year.

PDK Question: Now that you have taken over as principal at CHS, and ½ way through your first
year, what were some of the initial obstacles you faced taking this position?

         The greatest obstacle I encountered upon being named principal included myself and the
never ending challenge of time. I had prepared for a principal position for ten years. I created a
journal in 1999 in which I recorded my plans to create a superior school. The journal integrated
my personal thoughts and research based programs which incorporated applications for academic
achievement, protocols for a safe and orderly school and techniques to generate strong
community relationships. After writing into my journal for ten years, I had an overabundance of
plans and was impatient to employ each plan. I immediately comprehended that my plans would
require greater communication than I was accustomed to, buy-in from the faculty if these
programs were to be successful and an exorbitant amount of time to implement and monitor.
Rather than implementing my recorded one-hundred programs and policies, I concentrated on a
manageable three. This permitted me to allocate quality time communicating my proposed
programs with the faculty and earmark my three top preferred ideas. The challenge I discovered
was selecting my top three preferred ideas to implement. Upon conferring with teachers and the
administration team, I was able to narrow it down to three.
         I have always considered myself as someone who manages his time in an efficient
manner. My friends who were principals had cautioned me that my life would promptly
transform when I became principal as numerous people would demand my time more than I
could fathom. Within days I realized that this warning was a reality, and that I must formulate a
specific plan to ensure that the majority of my time be focused upon academic and curriculum
affairs. Otherwise I would expend unnecessary time on trivial issues Rather than be a manager of
a school my objective is to be the instructional leader of the school. I am privileged to have three
extraordinary assistant principals who manage the school while I have valuable time for
academic and curriculum matters. Each Saturday I devise my schedule for the upcoming week
and consider how I can optimize instruction with meetings or visibility in the classroom. I use
Microsoft Outlook Calendar to schedule my appointments, with precise times allocated for
classroom observations or for conferences for instruction. This scheduling practice allows me to
be intertwined with both students and instruction. I place my daily schedule outside my door
each evening before the start of the following day so everyone is aware of what I have scheduled,
rather than having insignificant topics commanding my schedule.
PDK Question: AYP (Annual Yearly Progress) is viewed by many as an obstacle and by others
as “a great indicator”, what your opinion of AYP?

        Like most educators I believe pieces of Adequately Yearly Progress (AYP) are necessary
while other sections are particularly challenging. I have been an educator for twenty-two years
and remember the early part of my career in which educators taught to students as a whole rather
than as individuals. This often resulted in some students comprehending the curriculum while
others would fall further behind academically. Truthfully, many teachers did not adhere to the
state mandated Quality Core Curriculum (QCC) and instead relied upon their textbooks as the
curriculum. Other teachers designed lessons that lasted weeks that they believed students would
enjoy and had no correlation to the state curriculum. Additionally, during my early career most
schools had self-contained classrooms for students that were in special education, believing these
self-contained classrooms would catch these students up academically. Instead these classrooms
typically did not prove to be effective as they were rarely exposed to the appropriate grade-level
        AYP has served as a catalyst for positive change as educators are now required to
concentrate on specific data related to all subgroups and their academic performance, rather than
looking at the entire student body’s performance. Since students are required to pass all their
Georgia High School Graduation Tests in order to graduate, we no longer have self-contained
classrooms for special education students at Central High School, as we are mindful that each
student must be exposed to the identical curriculum as every other student. Teachers have moved
away from dependency on textbook teaching to one that is focused upon the Georgia
Performance Standards (GPS) curriculum. We are able to identify our at-risk students with data
produced from AYP. With the current environment of AYP, we now construct academic plans
for our at-risk students who might have difficulty passing the GHSGT. Unfortunately, academic
plans did not transpire proceeding AYP and have mandated our school and all others to rightfully
concentrate on individual student needs and deficiencies. Additionally, AYP has also forced
schools to contemplate the different learning styles of each student and the pace in which
students can comprehend material. This in and of itself is a great result of AYP. The data
produced from AYP is a great indicator of how each individual is performing and provides a
basis for school improvement.
        As soon as No Child Left Behind was first announced, many high school teachers and
administrators applauded as we were informed that in a few years we would not be receiving
students at the high school level unless they passed the CRCT administered in the eighth grade.
When the benchmark year approached, the rules changed, and students could request waivers to
go to high school although they had failed the CRCT two times. The challenge afforded to high
schools included the enrollment of freshman that were already two to four grades below reading
and mathematical levels that had failed the CRCT. AYP is a real challenge for schools that have
high transient populations as it is difficult to prepare students for the GHSGT when the student
may enroll and withdraw in a matter of weeks. Additionally, teachers and administrators spend
an inordinate amount of time preparing students for standardized testing throughout the year for
AYP. There is constant fear that we are spending too much time focusing upon reaching minimal
competencies for AYP at the expense of accelerating our average and “gifted” students.
        The general public doesn’t understand the complexities of AYP and oftentimes regards a
school as deficient or superior depending upon the results of AYP. Unfortunately, I have heard
rumors that some schools in the state of Georgia have discovered ways to discourage at-risk
students from enrolling at their school. Additionally, some schools designate time and resources
to verify the residency of at-risk students and swiftly remove that student because that student
will negatively impact their AYP results. This practice results in students being perceived as an
asset or liability in relation to AYP rather than as people.
PDK Question: Phi Delta Kappa’s annual Gallup poll has for 25 of the last 29 years identified
discipline or discipline related issues as a top problem facing educators. From your perspective is
discipline still one of the top issues facing schools and educators?

        I have worked for four different school systems and in six different school buildings.
Every school I have been employed with has had its own unique discipline concerns. My first
administration job I was notified the school was out of control, parents were pulling their
children out of the school and twenty three teachers left that school because of discipline
concerns. I constructed a three day discipline unit with detailed expectations and consequences. I
met with all social studies teachers during the summer and provided training on our school-wide
discipline plan. During preplanning I met with the leadership team and faculty to discuss
logistics of our discipline plan. We had a plan, we had buy-in and we had a common cause.
Students received the three day instruction and were test over our rules and policies. Teachers,
parents and students understood that with consistent enforcement of rules and positive rewards,
students would be provided an orderly and disciplined school. By February, word had spread,
and students that earlier were home-schooled or had transferred desired to return. The point in
my story is that discipline really is not complicated and can be achieved at any school if you
have the right resources – administration that supports teachers and provides necessary
enforcement of rules, teachers that are visible, established school protocols, students
comprehension of the rules you expect them to follow, establishment of caring relationships
between the school, students and parents and providing positive consequences for appropriate
        Discipline at Central High School is not one of our top issues as I have outstanding
assistant principals and teachers that have built strong relationships with our students and
parents. The rare time discipline comes to the forefront is when attorneys get involved with
disciplinary tribunals. Unfortunately I have seen an increased involvement with attorneys since
the beginning of my career. I believe schools that complain about discipline do not have an
appropriate discipline plan in place and lack consistency.

PDK Question: Mr. Tobin, you’ve been a classroom teacher, an assistant principal and now a
principal, which did you enjoy the most and why?

        Each experience had its own unique rewards and challenges. As a teacher I felt I had the
closest relationship and greatest impact on students. I was in my own world and in control of the
majority of my day. I loved teaching and discovering ways to improve the acquisition of
knowledge for students. I was conscious that it was my job to ensure students were exposed to
the curriculum even when my door was closed to the outside world. As an assistant principal I
enjoyed working with teachers having difficulty with instruction and implementing programs to
improve the school environment. I enjoyed the minute details of preparation for supervision
duties such as pep rallies, football games, prom, discipline protocols, providing the most orderly
and safe environment, etc. I have enjoyed being principal the best, as I thoroughly enjoy
organizing academic initiatives for school improvement. My favorite component of my job is
when a vacancy occurs or placing teachers in the correct teaching position. I have had the
opportunity to hire five people and believe they have already had a tremendous positive
influence and impact with our students. I love having the opportunity to work with teachers and
spending quality time with students and community members. As principal I am able to be
proactive in my approach to the implementation of programs that oftentimes I did not have as an
assistant principal. I love being held accountable for programs that are implemented while under
my watch. As principal I have time to meet with teachers and listen to their expertise on ways to
improve our school. The hours are longest as a principal but probably the most rewarding of any
job in education I have thus far.
UWG Chapter Fall 2009 Meeting
President Beheruz Sethna was the
keynote speaker for UWG’s Phi Delta
Kappa Chapter meeting Fall 2009.
Pictured here are Ron Reigner (left),
in charge of chapter membership and
Shawn Tobin (right), the chapter’s
president with Dr. Sethna (center).

The University of West Georgia’s local Phi Delta Kappa Chapter held its first meeting of the
year at Central High School where the chapter’s President, Shawn Tobin is principal. Over
Thirty Kappans and guests welcomed Dr. Beheruz Sethna as he analyzed and reported on “A
Decade and a Half of Progress” at the University. Dr. Sethna reflected on a variety of changes
that have taken place over the past fifteen years. His perspective was that as the University’s
planning was very much systematic and geared toward creating a campus that is friendly and
accessible to a variety of student needs in an ever changing world. Dr. Sethna brought to the
meeting a framed document of the University’s formal Plan for Change developed shortly after
he became UWG’s president. The document hangs in his office and he said he occasionally
revisits it to see how well his presidency is living up to its general plan for development. Sethna
noted the new building construction including the Technology Learning Center, the new Campus
Center and the University’s Coliseum, as well as this year’s opening of the Athletic Complex,
which includes the new Football Stadium and the new Greek Village. Dr. Sethna also pointed out
the changes of road and walkways that have created a much more friendly atmosphere for the
campus. Of the changes Dr. Sethna pointed out probably the most important to him were the
programmatic ones, the ones that focused on the development of the State’s only Honors College
and the University’s Advanced Academy where high achieving high school students from
Georgia and throughout the United States can come to complete their high school academic work
while at the same time gain college credit. Dr. Sethna takes little credit for all of these changes,
he points to the University’s faculty and staff and how they are the real reason things have been
going so well at UWG. Dr. Sethna did describe one of his hopes and a possible dream for the
distant future. That is that a medical college would be established at UWG. Of course the road to
having one could be a lengthy one, but one that could bring much prestige to the West Georgia
region. Dr. Sethna’s epithet, as he describes it, will be as far-reaching and as impacting on UGW
as he can make it.

                 New Members and Returning Members
                                 Craig Mertler – Professor at UWG
                          Kathleen Mertler – Program Coordinator at UWG
                              Joyce Lambert – Carroll County Schools
                               Shawn Tobin – Carroll county Schools
                                  Brittany Hajzak – UWG student
                                  Whitney Walker – UWG student
                               Cathleen Doheny – Professor at UWG

                         We welcome our new and returning members!!
Special Feature
               Horace Mann’s One and Only TV Appearance*
        Davey O’Letterman of the Tomorrow Show was being briefed on his forth-coming guests
for the interview segment. He yawned and asked, “What’s the topic this time?”
        “It’s on education, chief,” said the head briefer. “We’ve got some great guests lined up
for you. For instance, Fertility Wright. Who authored The Public Schools: Madhouses or
        “Best-seller list?” asked Davey.
       “Of course,” said the head briefer. “New York Times, nonfiction number three.
Published by Blantant and Squeezenickle, the publishing company which used to be a magazine
and now owns IBM, General Motors, and U.S. Steel.”
       “I remember now,” said Davey, “The jacket shows a public school teacher knifing a
student. Right?”
       “That’s right, Davey,” chorused the briefers. Davey’s familiarity with book jackets never
ceased to amaze his staff. “Where’d she get the name anyway?”
       “We’re trying to research it out,” said the head briefer, “Her daddy was an
anthropologist. Maybe it’s got something to do with his work.”
        There were usually two guests per night but not more had been said, so Davey ask “Who
else have you got for the show?”
      There was an embarrassing silence which was finally broken by the head briefer
“Another great choice, Davey, Horace Mann.”
       “And who in the hell is Horace Mann?” “I never saw any book jacket on him.”
        Each of the sub-head briefers waited for someone else to speak. The head briefer said
reluctantly, “We don’t have much on him chief, We got him from a new agency, Heavenly
Bodies Booking Agency. A really creative outfit—they answer the phone with a blowing of a
trumpet before a Mr. Gabriel gets on the line. They promised to send us a puffsheet on Horace
Mann but they didn’t. Sorry, chief.”
       “We’ll get by,” said Davey O’Letterman resignedly. “We always do somehow.”
        When the participants gathered for the Tomorrow Show, Horace Mann turned out to be
an old-fashioned looking fellow in midnineteenth-century clothes. He carried 12 bulky volumes.
       The interview with the education celebrities followed the part of the Tomorrow Show in
which an elephant trainer had an elephant step on Davey. So Davey was out of breath when he
got back to his desk. He was glad to have Fertility Wright explain at length the brutalization of
children in the public school. The program was almost over when Davey got around to Horace
       “Horace,” said Davey, “I see you have some books with you.” The audience roared with
laughter for Davey O’Letterman was a famous wit.
        “Sir,” said Horace Mann, “it is my privilege to present you with my 12 annual reports as
secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education from 1837 to 1848. In them, I urge the
absolute right to an education of every human being who comes into the world and the
correlative duty of any government to see that the means of that education are provided for all.
In fact sir, as I pint out in my tenth report, every state is morally bound to enact an code of laws
legalizing and enforcing infanticide, or a code of laws establishing public schools!”
        “You believe in compulsory public education?” asked Fertility Wright in amazement.
        “I do,” Mann added. “Through free universal public schooling, virtue will prevail over
vice. Universal education will be the great equalizer of human conditions, the balance wheel of
the social machinery, and the creator of undreamed wealth. Through public schools we will
extirpate ignorance, violence, disease, poverty, crime, and intemperance. Indeed, madam, it may
be that even modest dress will accompany the blessings of universal free public education.”
        Davey decided it was time for audience participation. A listener arose and went to a
nearby mike. The member of the audience said, “Horace, I represent the common man, and I
don’t think you quite understand modern times. Your public schools are in trouble. Somehow
things have gotten fouled up. Now some of the unenlightened forces which you mentioned seem
satisfied with ineffective public schools for the common man. And some of our brighter and
most enlightened people are close to giving up on the public schools. Some of the common men
have decided that the kind of public schools we have are not worth supporting. What do you say,
        “Keep the faith,” said Horace Mann.
        “I don’t know,” said the common man. “I just don’t know.”
      “Achieving better public schooling is a difficult task in any era,” said Horace Mann
comfortingly. Pointing an admonitory forefinger at Fertility Wright and Davey O’Letterman,
Horace Mann said, “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”
       After the show, Davey O’Letterman said to the head briefer, “No more celebrities from
heavenly bodies Booking Agency. That Horace Mann must be some kind of a nut.”
         *[This article was adapted from an original much longer article in the Kappan by William Van Til titled
“Horace Mann’s Only Appearance on TV”, vol. 54, No. 6, February, 1973. Van Til was my major professor, a great
writer and great wit himself—I thought this timely adaptation would fit nicely into our newsletter, R. Morris]

                              image retrieved January 13, 2010 from
       Chapter Website

 West Georgia Chapter
 UWG, Dept. of EDLE
    1601 Maple St.
 Carrollton, GA 30118
  Attn: Robert Morris

Mission of Phi Delta Kappa: to promote quality education, with particular emphasis on publicly supported education, as essential
to the development and maintenance of a democratic way of life.

Code and Creed:
I dedicate myself proudly to my profession in the belief that universal education is the foundation for our society's strength. I will
strive through
          To seek accurate knowledge in the art and science of education;
          To utilize such knowledge for the improvement of teaching; and
          To share new truths with fellow workers.


          To help children and adults become more effective members of our society;
          To perpetuate and to improve educational standards; and
          To foster free and equal educational opportunity for all.

       To assume an influential role in education;
       To stimulate in others the qualities of leadership; and
       To guide learners toward worthy academic, economic, moral, social, and spiritual competence.

To top