School calendar control should stay in local hands

A couple of bills were introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly last week that acknowledge a reality that seems lost on some state officials. Full Story
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Jackson County

Cullowhee, NC

#21 Mar 12, 2009
Wiley Coyote wrote:
<quoted text>
Jackson, it is not obvious to me that a professor's kid, or a doctor's kid necessarily belongs in the the "high" group. That's an erroneous assumption that the schools apparently make. The point is that it depends on the "motivation" of the student, not who his or her parents are or where they are employed. If schools are distributing kids based on their parents' employment, then a massive mistake is being made all around!
You are right - the parents employment shouldn't matter and it should be focused on student - but it isn't totally. There are a few kids in the "high" group who aren't among the socially elite, but not many. I think they put a few in that group so they can say they aren't totally basing it on socioeconomic status, but for the most part, they base it on who the parents are. I've just learned to accept it and try to help my son as best I can. I don't do the PTO thing. It's not that I don't want to be involved but it tends to be controlled by a group of moms who don't work and who have time to go in there and try to take over. Not for me. I get involved in other ways as best I can.

Since: Nov 08

The Mountains of WNC

#22 Mar 12, 2009
Jackson County wrote:
<quoted text>You are right - the parents employment shouldn't matter and it should be focused on student - but it isn't totally. There are a few kids in the "high" group who aren't among the socially elite, but not many. I think they put a few in that group so they can say they aren't totally basing it on socioeconomic status, but for the most part, they base it on who the parents are. I've just learned to accept it and try to help my son as best I can. I don't do the PTO thing. It's not that I don't want to be involved but it tends to be controlled by a group of moms who don't work and who have time to go in there and try to take over. Not for me. I get involved in other ways as best I can.
Jackson, what's important is that you're there for your son, which I think that you are. You need to also monitor what he's being told by the school personnel. These folks have a way of demeaning kids, which I do not understand why they feel the need to do this, unless it makes them feel important. Please pay attention to who's talking to him, about what, and what is said. If you feel it's demeaning in any way, go to the school and call them out on it. Part of the problem is that parents are not doing that, and some of these school personnel are getting away with "murder." No child should be demeaned or put down in any way by any school employee.
peachcat lvr

Hendersonville, NC

#23 Mar 12, 2009
Bumblebee wrote:
Yes I agree with you Wiley Coyote, but it does hold some truth for Jackson County. I also believe that if the kid isn't as motivated, it is up to the "system" to help motivate the kid. Lets say the child is in a bad home situation and the parents don't push the child, should that not come from the "system"? I mean just because this child does not have the motivation, and does not get it from the home he/she does not need to be labeled and placed in a "low" group. I think it is high time that we listen to the students. Who is really there for them? To hear what they have to say about how they are being taught. We automatically listen to the adult in situations, that the child is not "motivated" or can't learn, when it could be the "system" isn't working for them. Maybe they can't learn the way the teacher is teaching them, maybe the teacher can't adjust to the student. I say let the students grade the teachers or even put web cams up so the parents can go and see that their child is behaving and the teacher is teaching the way she should be. I hope that this somehow finds it way to the school board and the new "drop out" person that Jackson County has hired. Its already to late for some of our local kids, but hopefully it will help some of our future ones!
Bravo! Web cams in the classroom would do wonders for the teachers. I was a teacher assistant in Clay County Schools. I was left in the classroom for hours and a couple of times for all day without seeing the teacher. She had more important things to do like talking to other teachers in the hall, lounge, classrooms, and media center in front of the TV. When she was in the classroom, she was a bully to the students. She told one little boy he was dirty. The little fellwo went home and told his mom. The next day mom came to visit. The teacher stop bullying that child but moved on to another one.

I remember one day one student was hurt on the sidewalk. I told the teacher he was kicked by another student. The assistants were not allowed to give time out to students that was up to the teacher alone. She did nothing. The principal did nothing. He was in the hall with the teacher when I told her about the incident. I took the students to the classroom by myself. I sent student to secretary to get a bag of ice. The little fellow still complained. I told him in front of the class to go home and show his parents and check for bruises. Well he did and his parents called before the principal left the school. The child had a bruise as big as a grapefruit on his leg.

Parents need to talk to their children and find out what is going on at school. Parents can also go and sit in on the class of their child. The school will tell you no but it is your right and they cannot stop you.
Jackson County

Cullowhee, NC

#24 Mar 12, 2009
Wiley Coyote wrote:
<quoted text>
Jackson, what's important is that you're there for your son, which I think that you are. You need to also monitor what he's being told by the school personnel. These folks have a way of demeaning kids, which I do not understand why they feel the need to do this, unless it makes them feel important. Please pay attention to who's talking to him, about what, and what is said. If you feel it's demeaning in any way, go to the school and call them out on it. Part of the problem is that parents are not doing that, and some of these school personnel are getting away with "murder." No child should be demeaned or put down in any way by any school employee.
You are right. To my knowledge, he hasn't experienced any demeaning comments this year, but a couple of years ago, we had a situation with a teacher that was awful! For the first time in all our years at Cullowhee Valley, the principal, teacher and myself had to sit down. The conference wasn't pleasant, but this is what it took to calm the situation.
Bumblebee

Mountain Home, NC

#25 Mar 12, 2009
peachcat lvr wrote:
<quoted text>
Bravo! Web cams in the classroom would do wonders for the teachers. I was a teacher assistant in Clay County Schools. I was left in the classroom for hours and a couple of times for all day without seeing the teacher. She had more important things to do like talking to other teachers in the hall, lounge, classrooms, and media center in front of the TV. When she was in the classroom, she was a bully to the students. She told one little boy he was dirty. The little fellwo went home and told his mom. The next day mom came to visit. The teacher stop bullying that child but moved on to another one.
I remember one day one student was hurt on the sidewalk. I told the teacher he was kicked by another student. The assistants were not allowed to give time out to students that was up to the teacher alone. She did nothing. The principal did nothing. He was in the hall with the teacher when I told her about the incident. I took the students to the classroom by myself. I sent student to secretary to get a bag of ice. The little fellow still complained. I told him in front of the class to go home and show his parents and check for bruises. Well he did and his parents called before the principal left the school. The child had a bruise as big as a grapefruit on his leg.
Parents need to talk to their children and find out what is going on at school. Parents can also go and sit in on the class of their child. The school will tell you no but it is your right and they cannot stop you.
I am so glad you agree with me. I have been saying this for several years, but not saying it to the right people I guess. I am sure the "system" would not agree either, but it would benefit everyone. Because I know sometimes the students are to blame, but not always!! and it seems you have been witness to that. I would love to be able to go and sit in the class room with my child, but I work and there is just no way for me to be able between having doctor appointments and other things that are beyond my control to be able to take the time off to do this. I also think when they have "teacher work days" the system should send them to motivation classes, classes that helps remind them of the different personalities, and new ways of teaching. The good ol' days are gone, its time to take out the old and bring in some new!! I think our superintentant has been here since the 60's and still is a puppet on a string for the "right" people. Just like they hired Jimmy Cleveland at Smoky Mountain for 3 positions, athletic director, head basketball coach and assistant principal!! Different story, but will voice my opinion in future!!
Bumblebee

Mountain Home, NC

#26 Mar 12, 2009
Wiley Coyote wrote:
<quoted text>
The public schools are well-known for their demeaning treatment of students. One of my students recently told me that before she graduated from high school, the guidance counselor told her "not to bother" applying to college because she "would never make it." This same student is graduating from college in May, with honors! I have heard similar stories from many other students. It seems that many of these public school teachers and counselors go out of their way to denigrate students in an attempt to keep them "under control." Rather than encouraging kids to do their best, this public school bunch seem to take great delight in keeping kids down. It's no wonder that many parents are turning to home-schooling.
This bothers me so much!! I can not believe that our counselors and teachers do not encourage our students!!! I am so angry at this!! They should no matter what encourage students to at least try!! Tell them to apply, even though in the back of their head they may be thinking...ok she don't have a chance...DON'T voice it to a student that has the want to, not to!!! I hope she goes to the counselor and rubs it in their face!!! and in the mean time tell them not to ever give up on not one student!!!!
amused

Spartanburg, SC

#27 Mar 12, 2009
I'm all for web-cams! The good teachers won't mind either. This would eliminate so many problems for teachers, parents, and students. If staff were to openly be against them... there is your first red-flag.
peachcat lvr

Hendersonville, NC

#28 Mar 12, 2009
amused wrote:
I'm all for web-cams! The good teachers won't mind either. This would eliminate so many problems for teachers, parents, and students. If staff were to openly be against them... there is your first red-flag.
Your are correct!

The teachers want autonomy but the public deserves to know what goes on in the classroom.

I see nothing wrong with web cam and video taping so parents who work can view after hours.
peachcat lvr

Hendersonville, NC

#29 Mar 12, 2009
Bumblebee wrote:
<quoted text>
I am so glad you agree with me. I have been saying this for several years, but not saying it to the right people I guess. I am sure the "system" would not agree either, but it would benefit everyone. Because I know sometimes the students are to blame, but not always!! and it seems you have been witness to that. I would love to be able to go and sit in the class room with my child, but I work and there is just no way for me to be able between having doctor appointments and other things that are beyond my control to be able to take the time off to do this. I also think when they have "teacher work days" the system should send them to motivation classes, classes that helps remind them of the different personalities, and new ways of teaching. The good ol' days are gone, its time to take out the old and bring in some new!! I think our superintentant has been here since the 60's and still is a puppet on a string for the "right" people. Just like they hired Jimmy Cleveland at Smoky Mountain for 3 positions, athletic director, head basketball coach and assistant principal!! Different story, but will voice my opinion in future!!
Web cam and video taping would work for parents to view after hours.
Jackson County

Cullowhee, NC

#30 Mar 12, 2009
amused wrote:
I'm all for web-cams! The good teachers won't mind either. This would eliminate so many problems for teachers, parents, and students. If staff were to openly be against them... there is your first red-flag.
I would support webcams as well. This way, I could tell whether it was the teacher or my child or both!
Who_ me

Spartanburg, SC

#31 Mar 12, 2009
web-cams in the classroom is a great idea, many preschools offer this with an access code so that parents can view without having to worry about pedophiles constantly watching their children, would absolutely cut down on many bad behaviors as well as bad teaching, plus how great would it be for parents to be able to check on their kindergarten students without having to disrupt an entire class
Bumblebee

Mountain Home, NC

#32 May 15, 2009
awww...to bad
guest teacher

Spartanburg, SC

#33 May 27, 2009
There have been quite a few things said that I would like to comment on, so I will try to be brief.
I am a teacher at a Jackson County K-8 School, I will not say which one, but I have worked at others in the county previously.
I have never, let me repeat that NEVER, seen children grouped by their parents profession or standing in the community. Every class I have taught has been a mix of students, mixed in every way - ethnicity, gender, ability, socio-economic demographics etc... Sometime I wish I had classes based on ability, so I could teach to the class the way they need me to.
Someone mentioned that teachers need to adapt to the students and I agree, however it is hard to adapt to such a wide range of students at the same time. I do think that kids learn so much from each other but at times I feel like I am either holding back the acheivers, or pulling away from the students who need more time and individualized attention. Tracking students can have an upside, even if they may not outweigh the negatives.

As for the web cams I, as a teacher, would have no problems once you get past the privacy issues which I do not see a solution to. Yes parents may have a password but they are not only watching their kids but the neighbors kid also. I do not think that a childs growth and development needs to be viewed by all and saved digiatlly. The part that I would like is the ability to show mom and dad just how johnny and suzy behave in class. Some school buses have cameras and mom and dad do not believe the 'story' until they see the tape.

As for thecomments about teachers putting down students all I can say is I do not see it. Now I am not in other classrooms, just as those passing on these stories are not in there either, so I can not say with certainty that it did not/ does not happen, but I do know many teachers personally and they teach because they love the kids and they are the biggest advocates for the kids in the entire system.
If you have a real issue then I agree with fighting it as hard as you can, but the tone of the comments here were painting with a broad brush and it is not the norm. One time is to many and it needs to be stopped.

As for the year round schedule I would not have a problem with a 9 week on and 3 week off schedule. There have been many studies that show this is a great way for kids to learn, but it is not just some teachers who are opposed to this, many parents are as well. If anyone is suggesting year round school as in 50 weeks with just 2 weeks off then I must say that is unrealistic. Children need time off, time to rest, time to play and time to live other experiences.

OK I said I would be brief, but I meant on eac topic lol.

Since: Nov 08

The Mountains of WNC

#34 May 28, 2009
guest teacher wrote:
There have been quite a few things said that I would like to comment on, so I will try to be brief.
I am a teacher at a Jackson County K-8 School, I will not say which one, but I have worked at others in the county previously.
I have never, let me repeat that NEVER, seen children grouped by their parents profession or standing in the community. Every class I have taught has been a mix of students, mixed in every way - ethnicity, gender, ability, socio-economic demographics etc... Sometime I wish I had classes based on ability, so I could teach to the class the way they need me to.
Someone mentioned that teachers need to adapt to the students and I agree, however it is hard to adapt to such a wide range of students at the same time. I do think that kids learn so much from each other but at times I feel like I am either holding back the acheivers, or pulling away from the students who need more time and individualized attention. Tracking students can have an upside, even if they may not outweigh the negatives.
As for the web cams I, as a teacher, would have no problems once you get past the privacy issues which I do not see a solution to. Yes parents may have a password but they are not only watching their kids but the neighbors kid also. I do not think that a childs growth and development needs to be viewed by all and saved digiatlly. The part that I would like is the ability to show mom and dad just how johnny and suzy behave in class. Some school buses have cameras and mom and dad do not believe the 'story' until they see the tape.
As for thecomments about teachers putting down students all I can say is I do not see it. Now I am not in other classrooms, just as those passing on these stories are not in there either, so I can not say with certainty that it did not/ does not happen, but I do know many teachers personally and they teach because they love the kids and they are the biggest advocates for the kids in the entire system.
If you have a real issue then I agree with fighting it as hard as you can, but the tone of the comments here were painting with a broad brush and it is not the norm. One time is to many and it needs to be stopped.
As for the year round schedule I would not have a problem with a 9 week on and 3 week off schedule. There have been many studies that show this is a great way for kids to learn, but it is not just some teachers who are opposed to this, many parents are as well. If anyone is suggesting year round school as in 50 weeks with just 2 weeks off then I must say that is unrealistic. Children need time off, time to rest, time to play and time to live other experiences.
OK I said I would be brief, but I meant on eac topic lol.
Excellent, and I agree with you. I think web cams are a "two edged sword," and if used at all, much caution must be exercised. I am concerned about the viewing of children other than one's own, and I am also concerned about the alleged "need" to use them, at all. There is a total loss of respect for our teachers today, and where I teach (a community college) the students are given the upper hand and the instructors spend a lot of time defending themselves against ridiculous charges leveled by students who did not "get" the grade they thought they deserved--not earned--deserved. Frankly, anyone who is thinking of going into teaching today needs to rethink that idea. Parents and students are holding themselves out as the "experts" in education, teachers are forced to do as they are told with no consideration given to their expertise.
Anonymous

United States

#36 Dec 11, 2010
Out of all of the Jackson County Schools, Smoky Mountain High School has the most problems. We didn't get our schedules until about a week before school started, and people complain about administration officials telling students that they "have" to take a class, though they really don't. The athletic director is mean and makes everything harder than it needs to be, and a lot of people can attest to this. The cafeteria is often very crowded, and its hard to take the classes you want because there isn't enough class periods. And I also went to Cullowhee Valley, and last year there were many bullying incidents that the principal did NOTHING about, and the teachers really can't do anything anymore, its all up to him. A 6th Grader got urinated upon by another student, and it took about a dozen parents complaints to get the principal to do something about it. And the facilities of the schools have a wide margin of room for improvement. Cullowhee Valley in its 16 year lifespan (it was built in 1994 on what is basically a swamp!) has had to have all of the carpet ripped up (about 65,000 Square feet of it!), the roof leaks a lot, and it takes them a couple of YEARS usually to get mold, roof leakage, carpet, and other structural problems fixed. There are only 3 janitors for the 92,000 square foot school. And Fairview/Blue Ridge (built in 1973 and 1975, respectively) are basically twins with the same pod design, but Blue Ridge has four pods and Fairview has six. The pods are divided with little more than bookshelves, cubbies, and portable coat closets. Blue Ridge doesn't have a Cafeteria or Stage. It replaced Glenville and Cashiers Schools, both of which had these amenities, and Glenville was actually a larger pair of buildings. Fairview's Kindergarten, 7th Grade, and 8th Grade classes are in separate traditional classroom buildings, and grades 7-12 at Blue Ridge have a similar arrangement. Smokey Mountain Elementary has no stage, a tiny Gym, and has mostly pitched roofs, and looks a lot better than Cullowhee Valley. It was built in 1980. The 6th through 8th Grades at SMES go to classes in a separated classroom buildings, and the classrooms are arranged in Blocks, much like pods, but with hallways and divided classrooms. Scotts Creek is a nice building with two floors of Classrooms, a large Lobby, and a big Gym and Auditorium in the back, and it is the nicest of the county schools. But the school rules are relatively strict compared to other schools. Smoky Mountain High School was built in 1960, and the building is doing well considering it is that old, but the original buildings aren't really all that safe and have issues with maintenance and, even though renovated in 2002-2006, the buildings still aren't really good. Blue Ridge is so small that they graduate less than 20 seniors every year and they need to reorganize the district up there to include the town of Highlands so they can have an actual High School, with two elementary schools (in Glenville and Highlands) and a central 7-12 Jr-Sr High School (in Cashiers). None of the schools will be on the existing swampy campus. And they need to replace Cullowhee Valley and Fairview with new schools on different sites, and perhaps split them up as growth happens to Sylva-Dillsboro-Webster and Cullowhee-Tuckasegee. I would like two Middle Schools, one in Dillsboro for the present Fairview, Scotts Creek, and Smokey Mountain Elementary districts, and one in Cullowhee that will take in students from multiple new elementary schools in that district. SMHS can be replaced with a new building on the same site, and Scotts Creek/SMES will get renovations and additions, and Smokey Mountain Elementary will be renamed. These improvements won't happen all at once, and will take time, but they will improve this county's school system, and by the time it happens, educational reform will make sure that certain downsides to the social aspect of these schools are gone.

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