Sunday, November 22, 2015

Because I Said So...

This past week I had the privilege and honor of meeting with and fielding questions from a Syracuse University Project Advanced (SUPA) English class. Having the opportunity to meet with kids and answer their questions is always the best part of any day. Our students bring a unique perspective to schools and can really cause us to think about 'WHY' things are the way that they are. After all, isn't public education supposed to be about what kids want and need? For the longest time, since I can remember, the phrase "because I said so" has been a fixture in public schools. Teachers use it frequently when kids question an assignment, topic, or expectation; administrators use it frequently when challenged by teachers or parents; and district leaders and politicians use it as a blanket clause to justify decisions. The reality is, we often use the phrase "because I said so" because we don't know any other way to do what it is that we do, educate.

Public schools have been in a rut for the better part of a century. Yes, a century. Not a year, not a decade, not a generation, but a century. Schools feel very similar to what they did 100 years ago. We are hesitant to make changes to our schedules, courses, offerings, approaches, instructional methods, and more. After all, it worked for us when we went to school so it must still work for them, right?! However, I'm 38 and when I was in high school we used a computer maybe once a year, not once a period like we expect our students of today to do. What worked once upon a time doesn't always work anymore. It's time to listen to our kids and make the necessary adjustments to public education and become 21st century establishments for their benefit. If we truly expect our future citizens to be able to change the world, we need to teach them to live and survive in the world that exists around them now, not the world that we grew up in of yesteryear. For once, maybe our students need to be able to use the line, "because I said so."

Black Knight Kudos ...

Congratulations to the sophomore class and thank you for everyone who participated in the turkey donation to the Rescue Mission. In all 50 turkeys were donated!!

Congratulations to STASS and thank you to everyone who participated in their canned food drive. More food was collected than we can weigh, at least 5 flat bed carts left the building on Friday to help families in need!

Congratulations to Jed Musch and the VEX Robotics team who were recognized by the Genesis Group's "Celebration of Education" awards program on Thursday, 11/19.

Congratulations to all of our Fall athletic teams and athletes on a very successful season. Good luck to our winter sport athletes and teams as they begin their seasons.

This Week at RFA...

11/24 - ASVAB Administration
11/24 - Open Mic Night
11/25-11/27 - Building Closed
11/26 - Happy Thanksgiving!!
11/27-11/28 - Bobby T Ciccotti Hockey Tournament 

Worth the Read...

Take a Moment to Self Reflect and Grow...

One of the most challenging things to do as any professional or adult is to accept feedback or criticism. We try to call it constructive criticism to make it sound and feel more positive, but often times we still take it too personally. When our students give us feedback it normally is even more hard to swallow because they are kids, what do they know? I bet you will get some of the best feedback possible when allowing your students to provide you information in a safe and productive way. Seek some feedback from your students about how the first quarter of the year went and see what can be done to better the learning environment for everyone!