Tuesday, December 11, 2007

how small is too small

I think that the last couple of posts deserve some clarification.

IS Prep is extremely small, even for a school in its first year of operation. Our register is only in the double digits, and our student to teacher ratio is approximately 7:1. At any given time, one will generally find 2-3 teachers in a classroom. Some are in the classroom for professional observation (our first year teachers observe at least five classes per week), while others are in the classroom for delivery of special services. Coaches are also prominent in the classrooms during the day. Even the guidance counselor pushes in throughout the week to provide character education and conflict resolution strategies.

My position entails working with just about every class, every day.

I guess due to this small community, we're particularly close to our students. My colleagues talk "kid" all of the time.

Which kid isn't turning in homework?
Which kid seems despondent?
What am I going to do about this kid's difficulty grasping a thesis sentence?

It's just the way it is right now. Believe me, I'm not running around the school crying about kids that we lose from time to time. But I do feel the loss, as does the rest of the staff.

NYC brings up an excellent point. Administrators do seek out weaknesses. But I'm fortunate that my principal is far more concerned with the teachers that seem (or are) disconnected from our students. Will IS Prep make it as as an effective school? I think so. The real issue we face as a school is managing the stress that comes with the multiple responsibilities the staff assumes in addition to teaching.

Is this the right place for me right now? I think so. Am I busting my ass? Oh, yeah! But being part of the development of a new school, and heading the development of a new department of special education, is a challenge I'm comfortable with. Can a school really develop into a "community" of students, parents, and staff? From what I'm discovering, it can. But the one variable you really have to control for is each stakeholder's intent of purpose. You really need to believe that what you're doing is the right thing, for the right purposes, and for the right outcomes.

There was a point to this post. I'm just too damn tired to remember what it was.


17 (really 15) more years said...

I understand your point- that your school is essentially a family, and that losing a family member leaves you all with that sense of loss. In such a small environment, a good administrator would clearly be concerned if a staff member were too disconnected from the kids.

I work in a small school also- nowhere near as small as yours, but small by NYC standards. We know all the kids, and when one is acting out of sorts, many teachers will make the effort to get to the root of the problem.

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