Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Holly Springs Part Eight

I want you to imagine something. I want you to imagine 176 middle and high school students who failed. Now I want you to imagine a school filled only with these students. 176 kids, many of whom were a discipline problem, making up the entire student body. What would that school look like? What would it sound like?

Now I want you to imagine the hallways completely empty during instructional time. There are no roamers, no arguments, no fights. In every classroom every single student is working. Every single teacher is teaching. At break time students hustle back to class a full minute before the bell rings. At dismissal 176 kids leave the building in an orderly fashion.

One hundred and seventy-six students, many of whom were targeted as problem students during the school year, having an engaging, positive, school experience. You don’t need to imagine anymore. It’s a reality.

Sure, there were some problems. We ended up sending four kids home. Once that was done it set the tone for the entire school.

Joe Sweeney did a yeoman’s job of stepping up and serving as an MTC administrator, something that he was under no obligation to do. Overall, things ran incredibly well.

The biggest compliment about the MTC Summer School I received was from Mr. Chase, the Holly Springs High School principal. He said that one day during break he was talking to a student who had been a serious discipline problem during the school year. As Mr. Chase asked him how school was going the student said, “Mr. Chase, I’d love to talk to you but I have to get back to class. I don’t want to get a tardy.”

Mr. Chase shook his head while sharing this story, as if he couldn’t believe it. “This is giving me a vision for how normal school can run,” he said. “We’ve never had anything like this…”

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