Three weeks remain in the 2009-10 school year an we have just finished testing. We expect to see significant growth over the year before and we expect the schools down the street will have gotten even more growth and we will be reminded that the schools down the street did it right and we are somehow not as efficient or effective or committed or skilled or blessed or insightful or something.
In the meantime, we also moved the ball down the field on our plan to implement more multi-age classrooms and transform our teaching. We are preparing to return to a curriculum that inspires our children to think and create and spring out of bed in the morning and race down the street to El Milagro because there are things happening here that are worth learning. In the post-test celebration our students danced on the playground and I was reminded how much I miss seeing them find their rhythm.
Along the way we even challenged ourselves to find a solution to that stubborn dilemma that all teachers face in June: what to do with the kids that aren’t ready for the next grade. Retain them? Socially promote them? Transfer them to the schools down the street that have all the answers?
We decided that no one zeros in on student needs like we do. We decided that we wouldn’t have to retain or socially promote kids that weren’t ready… if we just get them all ready! And since kids learn and develop on their own time , we decided we would give each struggling learner their own timeline and gameplan for promotion… and multi-age classrooms allow us to do that.
So much is happening at El Milagro… even in the face of opposition and cynicism that we are somehow cheating or taking short cuts. If you read this blog you know… we are totally focussed on finding a better way. So we dip, even for a moment, into the fires, searching for that wisdom that even those schools down the street might learn from us.