Phi Delta Kappa Newsletter West Georgia Chapter, 1303 Volume 24, Issue 1 January 2010 2007-2008 Executive Board PDK chapter meeting on February 23, 2010 President Shawn Tobin, Principal Someone Must Survive to Tell the Story Central High School There remains an experience of incomparable value...to 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. Historian 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 curriculum. 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 behavior. 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 Jails?” “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 Mann. “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, Horace?” “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 http://images.google.com/ 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 Research 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. Service 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. Leadership 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.
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