Dream School I am going to write my paper on my vision of the perfect school. In describing my dream school I will explain how it will operate, involve special education students and prepare students for life after high school. A strong site based administration is not only my preference, but is also the system that is most effective. I will first identify the individual positions of my dream school and then define their roles. I will call my school Dream High School.
Dream High will have a traditional administrative chain, consisting of a principal and a vice-principal. There would be a dean of discipline for each grade, and a FAC (Faculty Advisory Committee) made up of two teacher representatives from each grade; one person from the classified staff and two from the parent teacher association. There will also be one student from each grade on the FAC. With the assistance of the two deans of discipline, the student body would establish a Peer Court. This would consist of seven members elected from the student body at large. Dream Supreme Court would be made up of the principal, vice principle, both deans and two teacher representatives.
The principal would be responsible, primarily, for the business management of the school. Budgets, building, schedules, transportation and personnel issues fall into the area covered by the principal. The vice-principal would assist the principal in all areas. In addition, the VP must deal with staff development concerns. He or she will facilitate the mentoring program, manage the training schedules and ensure that all staff is allowed to attend seminars each year to further their expertise.
All discipline issues not covered by the PEER COURT system-suspension, expulsion, safety- will be dealt with by the deans of discipline. The PEER COURT would be responsible for holding weekly sessions to address routine concerns. Students accused of violating a rule will come before the PEER COURT for a hearing. In my school the accused will have an opportunity to present their side, witnesses may be called and may testify. The PEER COURT will then determine guilt and impose consequences.
The accused may appeal to the deans of discipline. The VP and deans must approve of the imposed consequences. The Dream Supreme Court must automatically intervene when issues of safety, security, and or state law are involved. Otherwise, the decisions of the peer court are final. The Parent Teacher Association is an integral part of the running of my school. Formally, they are represented on the FAC.
It is the representatives responsibility to bring to light concerns, issues and desires of the community. It is an absolute mandate that the staff be responsive to community concerns. The school, primarily through the PTA, must actively seek not only their in-put regarding concerns, but also their needs and wants. The expertise of everyone in the site community must be sought to enhance the overall effectiveness. Each professional at Dream High will be assigned to his or her best area of expertise.
The staff would have the FAC to deal with their issues while the students would have representatives on the FAC as well as their own PEER COURT. I believe that when those involved have direct control over their lives, the results will benefit all involved. Giving control to the local community, students and staff members will increase the feeling of belonging and investment of all who come in contact with the school. DREAM SCHOOL ISSUE: SPECIAL ED DISCIPLINE Dream High will include its Special Ed students with the mainstream population with regards to discipline. Since federal law interjects formal discipline guidelines, someone must be placed in charge to over see this process. The case manager (Special Ed teacher) for each student will act as the”legal advocate” for the Special ED student on his or her caseload. This utilization of the teacher will accomplish several things: First, federal and state laws will be followed.
It is simply not reasonable to expect all staff, FAC members and student PEER COURT officers to be familiar with all legal statues. Therefore, the case manager will guide all involved through the discipline process. Next is the possible communication concern. Many Special Ed students are dramatically delayed in the communication and social skill areas. Having the case manager present will alleviate some of this concern. The student(s) will certainly feel much more comfortable with a known spokesperson.
The student will be able to “voice” his or her case through the advocate. IDEA mandates that schools discipline Special ED students as mainstream students are treated. Therefore, it will be required that ALL students be disciplined in accordance with the Dream High School governance system. CURRICULUM Dream Highs curriculum will be based upon the fact that it is a two year (11-12) school. The Base curriculum will be made up of the following core classes: Math English Social Studies Science Physical Education Humanities In addition to the above-mentioned classes Dream High will have an interactive agreement with the local university to provide college level math, English and science courses to the students.
These courses will be offered during the evenings and weekends so as to allow students the opportunity to enjoy a variety of classes both during the school day and outside of the school day if the student elects. The alternative classes offered will include: Welding Auto-Shop Cooking Wood Working Carpentry Computer Technology Cosmetology Drama For all of the above mentioned classes industry leaders will be called upon to help develop the curriculum and course content. It only makes sense that the people that are working on a day to day basis in the fields that apply to these courses would be better suited to establish the levels of importance of course content. An engineer working at IBM for example would be working not only on the Computer Technology class but on the math curriculum as well. Construction firms and local architects would be able to build a class that would target what skills are most important for a student that is interested in working in their field. Skilled Chefs would be working with our curriculum design team to identify the basics that an apprentice Chef would need to know when entering the workplace.
In short, it is important that the people with the most expertise in the selected areas should have input on what course content should be. Because technology and techniques change on a rapid basis the curriculum would be reviewed on a bi-annual basis and innovations would be implemented at that time. Specialty Area-Music The music program in most high schools is probably one of the most under appreciated programs in general. Administrators tend to believe that these programs do not need the funding or support that athletics or core classes need but often this is not the case. It has been proven through numerous studies that students with a musical background perform better in school, have better study habits and grasp abstract thinking better that those students that are not involved in a music pro …