My views were that there was no sort of "be true to your school" feeling. High school events were well attended, sports teams sometimes didn't have enough players to field a team, the school just wasn't the hub of the community. Since this was "pre-internet" I went to the library and checked out the Places Rated Almanac and my fears were confirmed around the data they reported for the school, too.
I was happy to be moving to Indiana to a community known by everyone here as "a great place to raise kids". We often heard things like...
- You don't have to lock your doors.
- Kids ride bikes everywhere, with no fear.
- They can fish at the hospital pond.
- On Friday night everyone is either at the football field, or at a basketball game, depending on the season. (Go ZEBRAS!)
After we lived here for a bit, I actually checked out THIS school system in the Places Rated Almanac and guess what? They had pretty much the same data/test scores/grad rate as the town we left.
So was one school more successful than the other?
Flash forward to present day and I am happy to say I consider this school (the whole system here) a success! (It's been a journey undertaken by a lot of great people, but that's another blog post!) A few reasons might be...
- They are on a path of continuous improvement and reflection
- They have embraced project based learning
- They do technology integration really well and are always looking ahead
- Of course, fantastic dedicated teachers who, even if the face of year after year of budget cuts always find a way
- The administrators work as a team & the school board is a part of that team
- Many active, engaged parents & community members
We are going to be discussing and trying to define "school success" at this week's #PBLChat Tuesday June 11th at 8pm. I would LOVE to hear your thoughts! Join us for the chat!