Wednesday, November 9, 2016

QUOTES from a SUBVERSIVE BOOK: Big Picture: Education is Everyone's Business



ADVISORIES


I saw this question, asked as if I would get a reply: “Why do these people at school care so much?”
I wonder now why I would ask such a silly question. The answer was shown to me every day at The Met. I had a family at school. The same stu- dents were in my advisory for the full four years. We built a close bond with each other and with our advisor, Charlie. (It would have been awkward to call him “Mr. Plant,” like students do at traditional schools. It just wasn’t The Met way.) All of us referred to our advisor by his first name, and our advisory was “Charlie’s Angels.” We would have dance sessions together, celebrate birthdays, do mock trials, and reflect on what we accomplished over the course of each week. It was a support network that couldn’t be broken. I felt comfortable letting my advisory know about what bothered me or how I felt, and our relationships with each other grew throughout the years.
My family is amazed at how I am still involved with The Met. I am in col- lege now, an alumna from the first graduating class, and even today, I get phone calls from Charlie, letters, care packages, and even access to my old school. I feel that I am always welcome there.
I sometimes wonder where I would be now without the support I got from my high school. I was fortunate enough to have people who believed in me. My attitude changed toward myself and toward others. At The Met, I learned that to make my learning real, I had to do something. And I did.
The Met gave me the opportunity to shine. The people there saw me as a kid with potential. In a traditional school setting, I would have been given low scores . . . or I might have even failed out. Truly, I think that The Met helped me develop the strength to persevere through the hardships I’ve faced in my life. It feels good to know that there, I mattered as a student and as an individual, and that the people cared too much about me to leave me behind.
Mareourn Yai
The Met, Class of 2000
Lesley University, Class of 2005




=============== 


pages 62-66   SKIP TO THE BOTTOM

Hello students

1.  if you want to be published on Amazon, reply to one of the questions listed in the tinyURL.com/postmanquestions    or just send me an email message.


2.  here is a sample of how I blog about student responses.


Thank you for giving me your email addresses.

TODAY, I ask you to click on DAVID BROWN






If you want to join the revolution happening at High Tech High (which is almost a PARENT to Oxbridge), then visit these youtube videos

Oprah and Bill Gates at High Tech High

please click


==============  


If you want to be part of the book, the third edition of the book, then visit www.TINYURL.com/boiseworkbook2  and see what the questions look like

here is a list of "JUST THE QUESTIONS"


here is the book that Dennis Y gave me in 1997.

Here is the info that got my attention.  Chapter 12


3. Try listening to your students for a day or two. We do not mean reacting to what they say. We mean listening. This may require that you do some  role-playing. Imagine, for example, that you are not their teacher but a 
psychiatrist (or some such person) who is not primarily trying to teach but

who is trying to understand. Any questions you ask or remarks you make would, therefore, not be designed to instruct or judge. They would be attempts to clarify what someone has said. If you are like most teachers, your training has probably not included leaning how to listen. Therefore, we would recommend that you obtain a copy of On Becoming a Person by Carl Rogers. The book is a collation of Rogers's best articles and speeches.

Rogers is generally thought of as the leading exponent of non-directive counseling, and he is a rich source of ideas about listening to and understanding other people. You probably will not want to read every article in the" book, but do not overlook 'Communication: its blocking and facilitation'. In this article Rogers describes a particularly effective technique for teaching listening: the students engage in a discussion of some issue
about which they have strong feelings. But their discussion has an unusual rule applied to it. A student may say anything he wishes but only after he has restated what the previous speaker has said to that speaker's satisfaction.

Astounding things happen to students when they go through this experience. They find themselves concentrating on what others are saying to the point, sometimes, of forgetting what they themselves were going to say. In some

cases, students have a unique experience. They find that they have projected themselves into the frame of mind of another person. You might wish to make this special listening game a permanent part of your weekly lessons.



YOU HAVE A REMARKABLE TEACHER>  .... he is my mentor and I learn everytime I talk with him.

He has made an error.  He replied to me, "Students won't read books."   So I'm attaching a second book, the book about Advisories.


ADVISORIES

A letter about Advisories form page 54

I saw this question, asked as if I would get a reply: “Why do these people at school care so much?”
I wonder now why I would ask such a silly question. The answer was shown to me every day at The Met. I had a family at school. The same stu- dents were in my advisory for the full four years. We built a close bond with each other and with our advisor, Charlie. (It would have been awkward to call him “Mr. Plant,” like students do at traditional schools. It just wasn’t The Met way.) All of us referred to our advisor by his first name, and our advisory was “Charlie’s Angels.” We would have dance sessions together, celebrate birthdays, do mock trials, and reflect on what we accomplished over the course of each week. It was a support network that couldn’t be broken. I felt comfortable letting my advisory know about what bothered me or how I felt, and our relationships with each other grew throughout the years.
My family is amazed at how I am still involved with The Met. I am in col- lege now, an alumna from the first graduating class, and even today, I get phone calls from Charlie, letters, care packages, and even access to my old school. I feel that I am always welcome there.
I sometimes wonder where I would be now without the support I got from my high school. I was fortunate enough to have people who believed in me. My attitude changed toward myself and toward others. At The Met, I learned that to make my learning real, I had to do something. And I did.
The Met gave me the opportunity to shine. The people there saw me as a kid with potential. In a traditional school setting, I would have been given low scores . . . or I might have even failed out. Truly, I think that The Met helped me develop the strength to persevere through the hardships I’ve faced in my life. It feels good to know that there, I mattered as a student and as an individual, and that the people cared too much about me to leave me behind.
Mareourn Yai
The Met, Class of 2000
Lesley University, Class of 2005
page iv.

Page 62 to 66

The Advisory System
I used to think that creating an advisory system was the core of my vision for changing the way schools are structured. I now see there are a
61
Atmosphere and School Culture
The Big Picture
number of critical things that must be in place if we’re really committed to creating effective learning environments for kids (see this entire book). But I am still committed to the idea that an advisory system is the best structure to improve a school’s atmosphere and culture and make an already small school feel even smaller and more personalized.
George Wood talked about advisories in his piece on Thayer in Schools That Work. Here’s an excerpt I love:
Don Weisberger, a special education teacher at Thayer, describes the sys- tem’s effect this way: “Advisory in one word is communication. It makes the school smaller. . . . [Students] know someone’s there for them, they are not getting lost among all the other students. . . . In advisory we don’t talk at kids, we talk with kids.”11
There are many variations on the advisory system, from the way we did it at Shoreham-Wading River, where kids met with the same small group of students and adult every morning to “check in,” to the way we do it at The Met, where the entire school is divided into advisories of small groups of kids (I like 14) and one adult who stay together much of the day through all four years. I know that the way we do things at The Met is unique and may not be possible in all schools. But I also know that setting up a system where students have a consistent environment where they are able to truly connect with a small group of kids and one adult can radically change their entire schooling experience. It was a shy and awkward but very bright kid who told a visitor to The Met, “I have 14 friends here. At my old school I wouldn’t have had any.” That was his advisory. An incredibly strong community of 15.
The advisory also becomes, as a lot of Met kids have described it, a second family. (Or, for some, their first true family.) At this critical time, just when most adolescents are pulling away from their own families, the high school advisory and the advisor can take on some of the roles that are necessary, literally, for the kids’ survival.
On a practical level, an advisory system provides a way to use a school’s resources more efficiently. It increases the range and kinds of communication among students and staff, and by spreading out the counseling function, makes problems more manageable and better solu- tions easier to come by. But most obviously—and most importantly—an advisory system includes an adult advisor who becomes that one true advocate every student (and every student’s family) deserves. As the (at least) one adult in the school who really knows the kid as a person and as a learner (as “the whole child”), the advisor can make sure that all the other school structures are meeting that kid’s personal and educational needs. With an advisory system, parents know exactly who can tell them how their kid is doing; they don’t have to chase down six or eight differ- ent teachers, each of whom only knows a small, subject-specific part of the big picture of their child’s education. It is no surprise that most par- ents lose interest in “parent participation” as their children reach middle school and, especially, high school. There are too many people to keep in touch with and none of them knows their child very well. With an advi- sory system, parents can be certain not only that one specific person at school is looking out for their child, but also that that one person is put- ting it all together. At a family meeting one night at The Met, one of our moms got up to introduce herself and her husband and added, “We’re in Sam’s advisory.” We, she said. The whole family was in the advisory, not just the kid. The sense of ownership and belonging she was expressing over the school and her child’s education almost made me cry.

When everyone—parents, children, and teachers—knows that the advisory is the number one priority in the school, it reinforces the notion that it’s the child that’s important, not single subject areas. In my experi- ence, having advisories affects everything, from reducing vandalism to increasing parent participation to decreasing dropouts.
The power of the advisory system has always been obvious to me, which is why we developed the entire Met structure around it. I started using advisories when I was at Shoreham-Wading River Middle School in the ’70s. Every staff member was responsible for a group of around 13 to 15 kids for a small part of the day and responsible for keeping up with them individually throughout the year. Everyone had an advisory, includ- ing the school nurse and the custodian. This system stayed in place for many years after I left Shoreham. When Joan Lipsitz visited there in 1984, she noted, “When teachers are asked what the most important aspect of their school is, they invariably point to the advisory system. As one teacher says: ‘If everything else were traditional, we would still have teachers really knowing students and being advocates, helping with everything confronting them as they become adolescents.’”12 What this says to me is that the advisory system in its most basic form really could work anywhere, if people believe in it and value its ability to ensure that every kid is known well by at least one adult in the school.
It was the advisory system that really saved me during my first year as principal at both Shoreham-Wading River and Thayer. There were so many issues to deal with, but every time something happened and I had to figure out what to do, I was able to call on the advisor and learn more about the kid involved and his or her situation. At Shoreham, we had a kid, Jake, who kept misbehaving on the bus. I thought the answer might be to remove Jake from the soccer team to show him that there were con- sequences to his actions. But talking with his advisor changed my mind. I learned more about this kid, about how important being on the soccer team was to him, and about how much it had helped him improve even to this point. Once I knew this, figuring out how to continue to improve his behavior was much easier.
As principal at Thayer, I had my own advisory. Spending my mornings with those kids just talking about their lives and their learning was the best part of my day. It was the most significant way I was able to use my time to get at the heart of what my role as principal was and how I could best support my staff and students.
I love advisories the same way I love integrated curricula and extended periods. When I got the chance to start a school from scratch (The Met), I still relied on the advisory structure, but I expanded it and my thinking to get at the real core, which is building relationships with kids. It frustrates me how few schools use the advisory system today, in whatever form, despite its documented success and obvious benefits. But then I think about what happened one year at Shoreham-Wading River, when three of our children and three of our teachers were invited to speak in another school district. These other teachers were think- ing about adopting an advisory system as a way to reduce discipline prob- lems and decrease vandalism (as Shoreham’s advisory system had been proven and reported to do). One of our kids told us later, “Those teachers said there was no time for an advisory system.” She then asked us, “No time to talk with kids!? Isn’t that the main thing about being a teacher?”



Those teachers, like too many, saw the concept of teaching as being strictly about subject matter, not about knowing who kids are, how they learn, what they want to learn, and how they feel. If a school is truly focused on creating an atmosphere that is best for kids, then an advi- sory system might not be necessary. But if a school needs to institute a structure to help put the focus on kids, then advisories are the best option.
As much as I love advisories, though, I have learned that advisories alone aren’t enough to change our education system. For example, even if every school in the United States started using advisories, most would still have to deal with a standardized curriculum. Today, teachers who are working hard to cultivate powerful, supportive relationships with their students (with or without advisories) can’t fully leverage these relationships to help students become better learners because all the other traditional structures of education, including the size of their schools, get in the way. 


Happy reading.


Steve McCrea
you can follow me on Instagram.com/manyposters