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Sunday, June 30, 2013

I'll have what she's having...

For those of us old enough to remember the movie, When Harry Met Sally, you are sure to recall the classic scene where Meg Ryan & Billy Crystal really enjoy some dinner conversation at Katz's Deli.
Rob Reiner gave the best line to his mother, "I'll have what she's having."
It is sweet to want to give your own family members the best of something, and we laughed because it is human nature to see someone else really enjoying something and to want it.

With that in mind, let's think about the kind of school we want for our own children. 
How does this one sound?





 Our student-centered academic program focuses on the relationships between talented students and capable and caring teachers. We develop and nurture students' passions and abilities and ensure every student feels known. Each student's curiosities and capabilities lead them to unique academic challenges that are sustained through a culture of support and encouragement. All students will find opportunities to discover and develop a passion; to hone the skills of writing, thinking, and speaking; and to interact with the world both on and off campus. Lakeside trusts that each student has effective ideas about how to maximize his or her own education, and that they will positively contribute to our vibrant learning community. 



The school above is where the Gates family sends their children. Bill & Melinda Gates seem like well-intended people to me (See an earlier post I wrote on well-intended people here.). They have no training or background in education, but know that they want their children in a school that emphasizes experiential learning, empathy, and above all, relationships between teachers and students. And class sizes are kept below twenty to make all this possible. If you can swing the $27,250 per year, your child can apply (But no guarantees!). You can read more about the school here.

I perused the Lakeside School's website for any mention of The Common Core Standards, to no avail. Below is a quote directly from Bill Gate's July 11, 2012 speech at the Education Commission of the States Annual Conference. Read the entire speech here.


"Some people continue to say that the common core state standards are a precursor to a national curriculum. I hope you can help set the record straight. The common core state standards are led by the states, not the federal government; they are about goals, not methods. Their purpose is to create great learners, not to transmit facts. As long as we all want our students to be able to read complex text and solve difficult equations, the common core state standards should not be controversial...
But as long as we spend the time and money to get each element right; as long as we don't let politics block the common core; as long as we let teachers use new technology in the classroom, this could be the educational equivalent of the Big Bang – creating a new universe of learning and discovery for our teachers and students. Given the opportunities, the next five years could be the most pivotal in the history of America's public schools. Your support could be decisive. Thank you very much."


Interestingly, in his 2012-13 back to school letter to parents, Head of School, Bernie Noe wrote about how Lakeside is developing it's goals and standards:

"I will work with all of my administrative, faculty, and staff colleagues this year in examining the many changes currently taking place in the world, as we prepare for our undertaking a zero-sum look at the curriculum during the 2013-2014 school year. We will examine all aspects of our curriculum to make sure that it incorporates the teaching of skills and knowledge essential for our students to work and thrive in a global context. To do this preparation, we will read and study, will hear from a variety of outside experts, and will work together in cross-department teams to review what we are teaching and how we are teaching it."

There is a concept that sounds right - administrators, faculty & staff considering the perspectives of outside experts and making sure students get what is essential for them to thrive. I didn't read about high stakes standardized tests, I didn't read about any standardized tests. I didn't see a word about cutting the arts or foreign language instruction. There was no mention of doing more with less. 

I read about their community-wide diversity and inclusion initiative....that sounds good. He mentions their new athletic center, new teachers, administrators & staff, and he invites parents to stop by to watch the kid's games and performances, 
along with all of their efforts to make Lakeside the most welcoming and supportive environment possible for each and every student, adult, and family that is a part of the school. Yes, yes, yes. We'll take it!


Check out the Lakeside website, my friends, and demand that our kids get what they are having...




Silence means acceptance.


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