Non-negotiables for Successful Schools
Compiled by Elaine Gallagher 1. Small, safe, personalized schools. No school should be larger than 500 students. This is one of the recommendations from […]
Compiled by Elaine Gallagher
1. Small, safe, personalized schools. No school should be larger than 500 students. This is one of the recommendations from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to assure that students become known to Directors, not just as a number.
If you have more students, divide your school into sub-group Units of 500 students, maximum. If your school has 600 students, organize two 300-student Units. Each Unit, has its own Director, rules, expectations, and extra-curricula programs. One General Director receives reports from each Unit Director, with whom he/she meets monthly to note student/faculty progress.
2. High expectations. Every student graduates ready for college, university or a good job.
3. Local control. Critical decision, like hiring/firing and curriculum customization are done at the school site, not by external owners or a school board. Teachers and principals are empowered to try new things.
4. Parent participation. Parents should be required to volunteer 35 hours per school year. (lunchroom, playground, reading aloud, listening to students read one-on-one, peaking to a class about his/her career, etc.)
5. Maximize funding directly to the classroom. Money is spent on hiring great teachers, supplying technology and materials needed, healthy lunches, sports, art, music, computers, and field trips. Money is not spent on bureaucracy.
6. Extend the school day. Keep the school open until 5:30 p.m. daily to provide students with an after-school safe place to have sports, arts, music, games, and computer time, and to be of a service to the parents who work, so children do not go home to an empty house. Extra hours are NOT an excuse for assigning homework, but to expand and challenge students’ abilities in various areas.
Teachers who work afternoons get paid extra. Students are served healthy lunches: no junk food, no sodas, no candies, no processed snacks. Monthly menus are provided.
7. HOMEWORK is NOT necessary. 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. is a FULL work day! Let the children be children as long as possible. What’s the rush? Let them go home relaxed, and ready to have «down time» with family…NOT to complete more work!
RESEARCH DOES NOT SUPPORT HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS BEFORE HIGH SCHOOL. Studying for a test or reading to prepare for class discussions are acceptable, with FREE WEEK-ENDS and NO MONDAY EXAMS!!