Sunday, March 23, 2014

What is quality? Green bagels, shopping carts and plastic porn stars


Monday was St. Patrick's Day.  I found a green sweater at 
the bottom of my closet and the assistant principal served green bagels.  It was the high point of the week. The rest of the week was the dreaded quality review.  I am not sure that the whole experience  has anything to do with quality or even review for that matter. 

But they think it does  The powers that be, come in and measure our quality- with a rubric.

It has a lot to do with how things look.  So we spent a lot of time putting up bulletin boards with their own rubrics.  When we were finished with the bulletin boards someone suggested we decorate our classroom doors with information from the college we attended.  Upon request, a school aide came around and wrapped the entire door with bulletin board backing  paper in the color of our choice and then we were supposed to make the door both attractive and filled with useful  information.  Not having my own classroom, I was spared. The young resource room teacher who struggles hard to figure out what to teach, filled the door with three dimensional bumble bees (It least it started out 3D, the fan- folded wings, that protruded from the door were plucked from the bodies of the poor bumble bees throughout the week). Apparently bumble bees were the mascot of the California college she attended (one can only imagine how useful that information was to immigrant NYC students who could barely afford living at home and attending the local community college).

I  was being my negative self about the whole door situation to one of the math teachers.  I was pontificating about how smaltzing up the hallways before  the reviewers  came, hardly indicated that there was any quality to be reviewed.

"Sure, he said but didn't we all decorate our houses for the holidays?," he asked.

I never decorate my house for the holiday.  Not my tradition.  And does a decorated door indicate a thriving, happy family behind the colored lights?

It is my tradition to acknowledge the holidays .  The cashier at the supermarket noted that my shopping cart contained the triangular cookies for the Jewish holiday of Purim as well as corn beef and cabbage. I was being negative at the supermarket as well and had complained to the manager that, it was impossible to find a cart in the parking lot but upon finally locating one I filled it with multicultural calories-  which raised my blood sugar.  And I would have forgotten all about the shopping cart hunt, had not some  kid stopped me in the hall on Monday and told me I got him trouble. 

"I don't even know you'" I responded.
"But you told the manager there were no shopping carts left in the parking lot." he said, "and its my job to collect them."


I found a  New York Times piece, The Story of Bridie and Mo on the opinion page., I am still not sure what the writer's opinion was, (I guess I don't meet the Common Core Standards for close reading), but I liked the writing and it certainly was at least as St Patricky as green bagels.

We read through the piece in resource room.  It spoke of the neighborhood in Dublin, what had long been a sooty, rundown port of 19th-century warehouses had become one of the most modern and desirable neighborhoods in Europe — all luxury apartments and upscale hotels bathed in theatrical lighting, a glossy prairie of glass and steel. "It could have been Redhook, in Brooklyn, Donna smiled, she liked shopping there.   The writer goes on to describe the doll house, the six year old gypsy girls were building. Jose  liked the line,a mattress on the ground with a naked Barbie doll lying facedown in the middle of it, like a porn star down on her luck. I liked the word describing the brisk wind, skirling in from the sea.  I don't even know if skirling is a word but if the New York Times printed it....

Perhaps the piece was about the contrast between the have and have nots when Ireland was in boom years, perhaps it was about the loss of those boom years to Ireland.

Perhaps I should figured it all out before I shared it.  But maybe good writing isn't always about making your point in five paragraphs, with a clearly supported claim, three paragraphs of supporting evidence, and convincing succinct summary. Maybe good writing is about made up words and metaphors that link naked plastic toys to porn stars. Maybe quality can't always be measured by a rubric and a checklist.

The week ended.  The reviewers left.  They will deliver a verdict. Will it change our future- who knows?

Friday morning, the Resource Room teacher in the other room was discussing Russia, Ukraine and the Crimea. Evan, wanted to know why they got to discuss the Ukraine and we read articles about Irish Gypsies.  Evan felt like he had skin in the game, he had already enlisted in the army.  

We were only a little bit into the discussion of that whole mess when the bell rang.
I guess I need to find something to read about that part of the world tomorrow.  

Maybe quality isn't always that easy to measure.
Its hard to know what it really is. Its hard to figure out how one really provides a quality education.

Its much easier to just paste the wings back on the bumble bees.











Saturday, March 1, 2014

May I have your attention please?

Vagina.
Do I have your attention?

I had the attention of the second period resource group when I said it.

Two sections of resource students crowd into our little room, second period.  I don't mind.  I kind of like it,  The other resource room teacher is the Dean/basketball coach.  I haven't actually collected hard data, but it certainly seems like his presence has decreased rudeness, disrespect, and general ennui.

It still gets a little noisy.  Friday, the semester was in full swing.  We were in the process of completing a whole week without a major snow event, something that hadn't happened all winter- and looks not to be in the cards for next week.  Everyone had assignments or tests and the level of concern which had been hovering around none at all, was raised.  Jose was trying to study for a math test- I don't know what Jose learned, but I learned the Spanish word for slope- pendiente-, Jennifer was working on a worksheet on intersecting planes, (which involved every cardboard box in the room) and B.J. was revising the beginning of an essay on Dracula.

Not exactly an essay, he had to respond to a piece of literary criticism, that claimed Dracula was a "reflection and rebuke of Victorian society." He had to explain how reading the essay would help understand the novel.
Which B.J. found hard to do, even after looking up what rebuke meant, three times. B.J. was frustrated

The group kicked in.

Evan and Christy had had his English Teacher last semester and assured him she thought she was teaching college.  Nina, who spent the last snow day, learning all about denial of rights, was able to explain satisfactorily what the Women's Suffrage Movement was about, Jennifer happily pushed aside the rectangular prisms, (tissue and shoe boxes) and rephrased the definition of rebuke. Jose took the opportunity to practice reading English aloud, read the beginning paragraph and did something, he hardly ever does; he asked for the meaning of a phrase.

"What is a chastity belt? Miss," 

So I told him, "its what men, usually husbands or fathers, put around women so a man can't get to her vagina."

Now, I've taken lots of courses on effective classroom management.  I've learn to say, "when you hear my voice, clap three times."  I've been told to hold two finger up.  I've read that lowering my voice to a whisper, works better than raising it to a yell.

What no one ever told me was that if you say the word,vagina, once, fairly loudly.  Everyone stops, looks and listens.

I mean everyone, even the students on the dean/basketball coach's side of the room.

I don't know if years of experience gives me the ability to manage a class effectively.  I don't know if all those years give me confidence, I don't even know if it makes me not care about getting in trouble, but I can tell you when a chubby, middle aged women says vagina loudly, people listen.

Now that everyone was focused on B.J., we could get his answer done.  Jennifer, helped him unjangle his thoughts and compose complete sentences.  Evan assured him which catch phrases, high expectations, teacher was looking for,Christy spelled Victorian and Nina helped Jose graph lines with different slopes so I could help B.J.

And then the bell rang, everyone was off to the next class.  We didn't even get real chance to discuss how one urinates wearing a chastity belt- though the question was raised. Its supposed to snow again on Monday, so school will be open or closed but either way there will be no crowds.  I suppose the whole thing will be forgotten by the time we are all together again.

Until the next time I need their attention.

Vagina, vagina, vagina.

  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Beautiful Day

Thursday was a beautiful day.

I know that because the new chancellor of schools told us so.

On the other side of the Resource Room a group of teachers gathered to watch the the news conference where she and the mayor defended their decision  to open schools. I was on the business end of the Resource Room.  Nina had a ten page paper to write and snow or no snow we had no time to waste, (but more about that later).

I spent a restless night, checking my phone for  the school closed text that never came. By 6:30 am I was on to the bus, where the bus driver explained how hard it used to be to drive the route on snowy days, and how his first wife didn't even care about how stressed he was when he got home.  The new buses, had more gears, and chains on the wheels and we made it straight up the icy hill in record time, since there was no one waiting on the bus stops to delay our progress.

The new chancellor and new mayor who have been in office for exactly 6 weeks and who  had to make their fourth decision on calling a snow day,  explained why they opted to open school.  The transportation was running, Macy's was open, and at the exact moment the news conference was being held it had stopped snowing.  Which in the chancellor's opinion, qualified for a beautiful day.

Al Roker, our local weatherman, turned national weather man, was half a world a way in Sochi covering the winter Olympics.  Apparently, his daughter, who attends the high school of Fame, (the movie) fame- which is an authentic, if not typical New York City high school, was not.   In Sochi the weather was 66 degrees, Katerina Witt, was reporting in a bathing suit from the beach because in fact, there it was a beautiful day.  Those of us, like Al Roker's daughter who were  stuck back in New York City were wearing far more clothing and Al was mad that schools were open.

Al Roker criticized the mayor, the mayor criticized Al Roker, it snowed some more over night.  And Friday the schools were open again.

But this is a story about Nina and her ten page paper.  Which was why I had to go to the other side of the Resource Room and tell them to keep it down- some of us were working.

Nina failed social studies last semester.  I had become increasingly concerned that Nina was depressed as the semester wore on.  Her usually ebullient attitude had soured and she refused more often than not, to let me help her do anything.  I called the appropriate offices, I called her aunt, I tried to talk with her and nothing seemed to help. She failed  gym and social studies and  the college counselor refused to take her application to the community college.

With the new term underway, she began to wake up.  I helped her get some assignments typed, and met with her aunt for the annual conference.  And she began to perk up a bit.

 Why, she wanted to know, did everyone ask her if she was okay? Nina asked me during the conference.

"Maybe," cause you don't act okay.
"After my mother died, people always asked me if I was okay," she continued.  "why would they ask me that, I held my mother's hand when she died and promised I would be okay."

I would have spent the next period, crying but the assistant principal kept calling and telling me to get the paper finished, faxed and filed.  I dried my eyes and brought it up to the assistant principal.

I told her the story, as I handed it in, like Nina, I felt a bit better after talking about it, I left the assistant principal's office as she reached for the tissues.

Nina negotiated with the social studies teacher.  He assigned a ten page paper on how some groups have been traditionally denied their right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,"   and the movements, and laws that were the results of such discrimination. Nina had one week to research it and write it.   Nina reads and writes with speed and accuracy of dyslexic who has not caught a lot of breaks in life.  While the rest of the school played staff- student basketball games, watched new conferences and generally complained about being in school on what should have been a snow day Nina and I slogged through the paper.

We had nine pages done at the end of the day.  And together we finished the bag of chocolate I had brought in for Valentine's Day.  The assistant principal offered me a ride home, but I was busy talking to the guidance counselor about why he thought I should develop a strategy to have Nina learn how to write the paper on her own, without my help,  so I missed my ride.

I took the bus home.  Strangely enough, same bus driver as the morning ride picked me up.  Another uneventful ride, this time even easier since it was downhill, and now raining instead of snowing.  His second wife worries about him, he assured me, he called her at the end of every run.

That's the moral of the story, isn't it?
Bus driving, paper writing and navigating life is much easier when someone worries about you.
Even on a snowy day.





Monday, January 13, 2014

Siri Takes a Midterm

Siri was doing pretty well on the midterm review.
Yeah the Iphone Siri.
True- we’re still not supposed to allow students to use their cell phones in class. Hey- the city discipline code says they’re not even allowed to have them in school. 
I read in a blog this weekend, that a teacher, I like to follow, had decided she was going to confiscate them when she saw them.  I am not sure about her reality, but I live in one where the sentence “Let me have your cell phone,” works about as well as, “Scotty beam me up.”
So most of the time I just beg students to put them away before the roving assistant principal comes around and then student and me are both in trouble.  But the assistant principal’s 97 year old mother  died, and Friday morning was the funeral- so she and the other administrators were otherwise occupied.
I had not planned to give a mid-term to the self- contained class. Of course -that is in direct contradiction to everything I’ve heard in this week’s professional development about rigor and parallel curriculum - but so what?   I figured I had to give a test at some point, but I hadn’t actually gotten around writing one when I opened my email on Monday and saw a note from the assistant principal of the special education department,  that we needed to bring our midterms to her office to be filed.   I planned to ignore it, but by Wednesday I decided I would cobble one together.  Then as long as I was writing a midterm, I would write a midterm review sheet. 
Friday morning I gave out the review. Most of the students, I am happy to report, went through our attempt at an interactive notebook and  perused their foldables for the answers.  But not Darian.  Darian joined the class late and doesn’t come to school that often.  It interferes with his selling marijuana business.  Darian often tells me he makes more in week than I do in a month.  I have no way  knowing but he does have a much better phone than me.  Siri was most cooperative, and generally faster than even the most complete of the interactive notebooks.
“Siri, what is a complementary angle pair?”  Siri responded immediately that it was a pair of angles that added to 90 degrees, and threw in a picture for good measure?
“Siri, how do you find the slope of a line when given two coordinate points?”  Siri returned  the slope formula with instructions on how to implement it within seconds?”
Darian did encounter difficulties when he asked for the definition  of a linear pair?  He couldn’t get Siri to understand his pronunciation of linear.  Siri kept coming back with some information about ears.
Okay- so I understand that what a good teacher would have done – would have been to tell him to put his cell phone away and use the resources in the room, but I was caught up in the efficacy of his plan.

“Why don’t you ask, what’s the meaning of life?”  I suggested. 
Darian did.  Siri told us that was a good question, maybe the ultimate question, but didn’t get more detailed than that.
Back to the worksheet.
By the end of the period, Darian had completed the sheet. Pretty accurately I might add. 
The other self-contained geometry teacher stopped by my room later in the day.  She had administered the exam and was depressed by the outcome.
“I don’t know what the point is?” she asked.  I go over the same thing over and over and over and over again, and they still don’t remember it.”
I know how she feels.  I feel the same way. I’m frustrated too, why do we teach geometry to people who can’t tell time on an analog clock?  If you can’t manipulate a ruler and a compass do you really need to know the triangle sum theorem?
We are told that with the right amount of rigor, high expectations and multiple entry points we should be great geometry teachers.
But can that really be true?
I don’t know---maybe I should just go ask Siri.

(or maybe we should just be replaced by Siri, she never got frustrated even, when Darien  could not pronounce linear!)


We’ll see how Darian does on the exam tomorrow.  The assistant principal is back from the mourning period. He’ll have to put the cell phone away.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Living and Watching Movies in the Industrialized World

Our two week winter break was interrupted on Thursday for a return to school.  Fortunately, Mother Nature had a blizzard in store for us Thursday night into Friday, so our new mayor and school chancellor got to open their term by declaring schools closed.  I returned to the warm corner of the sofa in the den and continued my trip around the world through the magic of  movie streaming.  This week alone I have been to South Africa, Tibet, Israel, Brazil and others.

But at least for a little while on Thursday I was back in my corner of world, trying to wake up enough and get the few students who braved the Artic-cold to wake enough to engage in that teaching learning-thing we are supposed to do

By mid afternoon, with the snow already beginning to fall, Marilyn was the only student in the Resource Room.  She’s not my student, she’s assigned to the other Resource Room teacher.  Marilyn was a mom at fourteen and lives with her mother and the babydaddy.   Marilyn and the baby were born in the United States, the mother and babydaddy were not.  I think about which country should spend the next two hours on my wide screen TV, Marilyn thinks about what country she and her family can live safely in.

Marilyn needs to pass the History Regents.  Despite all those worries and responsibilities at home, Marilyn works hard, and does fairly well, but the language dependent Regents are a challenge.  The other Resource Room teacher, a whiz, at maintaining files of study material whips out packets of, well, study material, especially for the history exam.
“Industrial revolution, what word that you know do you see inside of it?”  she asks Marilyn.  And then adds, the word is “industry, so when you see Industrial Revolution, think -machines.”
And I, never one to mind my own business, must add that it so much more than just machines. I ask Marilyn to imagine what it must have been like three hundred years ago on our own farms (or the landlord’s farm-more likely for both our ancestors),trying to raise the food, weave the cloth and protect our families without the help of supermarkets, department stores and central heating.  I talk about, how people left the farms to work in cities, how large factories caused certain countries to think they owned others just to gather the raw material needed to stoke the machines, how large textile factories required large plantations and large plantations required lots of workers and the idea of declassifying humans as humans so they could work on the plantation for free. The Industrial Revolution changed everything I add.  Marilyn listens intently and nods.  I cannot tell if she finds me interesting or useful, or if she is just being respectful.

On the car ride home, I thought about how I had not even mentioned the story of the moths in England, that we talk about in the Living Environment Course.  The moths the color of soot were able to survive by not getting noticed by predators in the sooty environment of 19th century England, and therefore were able to go forth and breed more sooty colored moths- a story often used to illustrate natural selection.

In the early morning Resource Room, the two students who showed and I read a article from the New York Times by Nicholas Kristoff.   It is one of my standard operational procedures  to share true stories about how hard it is for people elsewhere in the world to obtain an education.  I figure that should make one less inclined to squander one’s free available one. (data does not definitively support this conclusion)  The Kristoff story was about a young woman who preferred being beaten with an electrical cord by a family who sent her for few hours a day of schooling in the capital while keeping her in indentured servitude for the rest of the day, to living with her own mother and many siblings far from an available education.

We ended up talking about birth control and how hard woman have it, how difficult it is to survive in a destitute country far from the factories and machines of the industrialized world.

And then the blizzard struck.

We all retreated to our central heated homes, in cities, far from the subsistence existence of our ancestors.  For better or worse we live on the Industrial side of the Industrial Revolution. We live in a world of machines.

Here is a list of movies I watched on the machine that produces it 10 feet away from my sofa if I figure out the right sequence of bottoms to press.  Unless otherwise noted they are available on Netflix Streaming.

Master Harold and the Boys     South Africa (based on Athol Fugard’s play, Apartheid and family drama plays out in a Capetown Teashop- dated but good)
Tsotsi                                             South Africa (More recent Athold Fugard story about the struggles of the very poor and very rich in post Apartheid South Africa)
Himalaya (Michael Pallin’s 2004 Travel Series) (Stunning travel show with Monty Python humor mixed in)
A Bottle in the Gaza Sea          Israel and the Gaza Strip (teenage angst between Israeli and Palestinian youth)
Sounds of Sand                          Africa (not specified) (When the travel is for survival vs.  stunning scenery, although the scenery is starkly beautiful viewed from a home with running water)
Free Zone                                    Israel and Jordan (A young Natalie Portman illustrates her Mideastern roots-angst)
Lillyhammer                               Norway (The Sopranos move to the North)
Matchmaker                               Israel (Bittersweet story of Holocaust survivors looking for love and the meaning of life)
La Sirga                                       Colombia (Surviving on the outskirts of war and the 21st Century in Colombia)
Shun Li and the Poet                 Italy (recent young Chinese Immigrant and not so recent Slav immigrant search for friendship on the Italian waterfront)
Unfinished Sky                          Australia (Afghani refugee and crusty outback farmer find their lives intertwined)
The Middle of the World         Brazil (available through Freegal- poor family of seven bicycle from northern Brazil to Rio De Janeiro in an attempt to find work)

The First Grader                       Kenya (Old man enrolls in the finally free school system to learn to read)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Cuckoo Teacher

I am a cuckoo teacher.
I know this because Alisha told me.

Friday was the last day before break. It was the last day I taught under the Bloomberg regime.

Thursday three administrators and a dean visited the fourth period self contained geometry class.Well the dean actually didn't come inside. He just stood outside the room while two girls yelled at him. I put the poster over the window in the door. We were working on perpendicular lines and slopes. Even I know that two girls cursing out a dean is more interesting than perpendicular lines and slopes, but hey I got the message that we are supposed to teach bell to bell.

Teaching bell to bell means that if you are going to be paid and subsequently evaluated on your teaching than that's all you should be doing in between the bells that signal the start and end of the period. As the break approaches the whole concept can be extended to teaching right up to the moment the last bell of 2013 rings.

Yeah right! Thursday's class went something like this, two girls yelled continously at dean for ten minutes in front of the classroom door. I placed poster chart paper in front of the door window- therefore cutting off the visual if not the audio signal. One administrator came in and told me not to place anything over my window- ostensibly so he can be assured I am actually teaching between the bells I took down poster. Second administrator comes in and asks why I was holding the poster chart paper, which was blank, since I did not choose to write any notes on it while it was hiding the hallway show. Oh- I told her I only used it to block the view of chaos. Oh- she says- if there are problems in the hall I should call the dean and not cover the window. (The problem in the hall was the dean but I hardly saw the point in mentioning that- I was teaching.) She closed the door with the window now completely unblocked. A minute later the principal walked in, I expected another discussion about covering the window. I was wrong. He only wanted to know where our garbage pail is so he could throw out a plastic soda bottle he found in the hallway.

And I'm supposed to teach continuously.

I am tired of slopes and perpendicular lines. We have been working on them for a week. I am still not convinced anyone actually gets the relationship. This is the class that still needs to discuss which axis is the x and which is the y. This is the class that has difficulty placing a ruler between two points and holding it steady to connect the points to create a line. I spoke with the assistant principal for special ed the night before at a holiday celebration and after a couple of glasses of wine confessed that I doubted the concept that enough rigor was enough to make members of this group master the content of high school geometry while I totally ignored the skills and talents that they did possess, (Kindness, humor, tenacity and creativity – all aspects of the class makeup – all not particularly useful in mastering the Common Core college preparatory geometry standards) She said, but if it helped them receive a high school diploma then that would help them in life. She said it with little conviction, she too had had a few drinks. (The conundrum here is that I will pass out passing grades, its easier than writing a justification for large number of failures, which we euphemistically call “scholarship reports”- but it will not help my very needy students to obtain the high school diploma, because there are all sorts of obstacles, mainly the Regents or exit exams in all the subjects that they cannot surmount).

On Friday I pass out coordinate grids with instructions on how to plot a Santa Claus. The paraprofessional works very hard on hers. The rest of us chat.
Alisha tells me I am a cuckoo teacher.
I rise to the bait and ask why?

And Alisha enumerates. I sing, I dance, I hop around (I was hopping around the floor tiles the first day we did slope- this to illustrate the concept of rise and run). I lay on the floor. (Fred was agitated one day, came into the room and said he was going to lay someone out flat, I laid down on the floor and said- oh you mean like this? Fred sat down and started to copy the notes- agitation under control).
When someone says “I'm bored,” I do the The ol' soft shoe (give me the old soft shoe that any girl can do, a one, a two a doodly doodly do) that Ms Bee taught me a half century ago when I took tap lessons. Giovani comes to class twice a week, settles in and immediately says “Miss, I'm bored,” Just to check that it still works.

Maybe Alisha is right.
I am a cuckoo teacher.
I keep trying to teach geometry.
From bell to bell.

Though its tough to compete with the show in the hall.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Discipline or not?

Bernardo came to resource room, a rare occurrence, to tell me he wouldn't be there for a few days since he was probably going to be suspended.

We have a new method this year to deal with behavior issues suspend, suspend, suspend.  If you are wearing a hat you get suspended, if you take your cell phone out you get suspended, if you have  a major or minor fight you get suspended.  If you curse out a teacher you get....

well maybe you get suspended.
Maybe you don't.

Being disrespectful to teachers is not a huge infraction apparently, not like walking around the school with a hat on is.

So Bernardo told me the story.
It was a long story.  They all are.

Mr.  (now I'm having a problem here- I'd like to insert the name of a forest animal, because that would be the teacher's name in translation, but for some reason most of the forest animals I am coming up are real names of teachers in the school- which is condition I find fascinating and when I share that opinion with colleagues I get the kind of looks that makes me think I will never really fit in.)

Back to story.
Mr. Forest told him to move his seat,  And the long and short of it was Bernardo didn't.

So I called the dean who said, she had just gotten off the phone with Bernardo's foster mother who shared the fact that Bernardo had stopped taken his medications because he wanted to join the army and you couldn't join the army if you are on meds.

You can't join the army if you can't read, didn't graduate high school or can't move your seat when a superior tells you to- either, but that conversation with Bernardo is still in the future.

If I thought the dean's office was uncaring and inflexible, it was just because I hadn't spoken to that dean.

She explained sadly, that she didn't really want to suspend Bernardo, but a) he would need to be removed from Mr. Forest's class for a week, b) he would need a place to go fifth period and c)someone would have to talk to Mr. Forest about why Bernardo was not going to be suspended.

I went to talk to Mr. Forest.  Mr. Forest attended the high school in the days when the school was populated mostly by second and third generation families of European immigrants who worked in the blue collar trades NYC had no shortage of then. I wouldn't doubt he was the first member of his family to graduate college.  He is a well liked teacher with few discipline problems, but one who looks back wistfully,  to the days when the school was a respected institution instead of building that is persistently on the list of schools in need of improvement.

Mr.  Forest was one of the people who complained loudly about what was perceived as a lax discipline policy last year.  So it was with great trepidation that I approached him.

I told him how Bernardo had been abused by his father and ended up in foster care.

"My father, was everything to me," Mr Forest recalled, "I want to be everything to my son.  Let the dean make whatever plan she thinks is best."

The plan.

Bernardo did not get suspended.  He apologized to Mr Forest and promised to move his seat next time.He had to attend my fifth self-contained math class for the week instead of going to Mr. Forest's general ed one.

On Wednesday afternoon I heard Bernardo reporting to the other kids in the resource room that I had been banging my head against the wall during fifth period.  I can't recall the exact incident, But I do recall banging my head against the wooden closest, (so much more comfortable than the hard plaster walls.-  Fifth period math has been going less than smoothly this week). He is happy to return to Mr. Forest's class next week.

Oh and by the way- Bernardo didn't curse out Mr.  Forest.  That was some students in Teacherkarps class.  They were not suspended. She told me about it on the car ride home Friday.

I will go negotiate with the dean about them  on Monday.

I am an equal opportunity negotiator. (Busybody?)

PS:  We had a discussion on Friday about the new suspension policy.
"Why do they think giving us a week off is a punishment?"  Evan asked.

I pressed the group for what they thought would be an appropriate policy and got no concrete answer.
I think the answer is an engaging curriculum, which is what we have less and less of every year.

But what do I know?  I'm just a  white suburban soccer mom.