Ferndale parents tell GCS to “back off”

The image “https://i0.wp.com/www.gcsnc.com/schools/middle/ferndale/Ferndale.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Angry Ferndale Middle School parents filled the school’s cafeteria last night, rightly telling GCS “leaders” to back off and to leave their school alone.

This, via today’s High Point Enterprise. Parents unhappy with a loosely-and-poorly-designed proposal to extend the school day/year at Ferndale told gathered GCS Board members not to use their school as a guinea pig.

HPE excerpt:

Just say “no,” a spirited group of Ferndale students rallied school leaders Monday night, joining frustrated parents unhappy with a proposal to extend the school year.
School officials are tar­geting Ferndale as they look at ways to boost stu­dent performance. Under federal No Child Left Be­hind guidelines, Guilford County Schools is be­ing sanctioned to make changes to Ferndale’s structure. Schools that have not performed well for five consecutive years have to be restructured.

The image “https://i2.wp.com/www.gcsnc.com/schools/images/Eric%20Becoats2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. “That is basically what has gotten us to the point we are today,” Eric Be­coats, chief of staff, ex­plained to parents at a meeting Monday.

Now, whose fault is that? Once again, a school that has weathered challenges in the past, begins to make a turnaround. But if GCS and its board weren’t asleep at the wheel to begin with, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

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https://i2.wp.com/www.hpe.com/newsmem2/thehighpointenterprise/20071218/12182007-hpe_a01.01.pdf.0/img/Image_7.jpg

(courtesy HPE)

More: A large group filled Ferndale’s cafeteria Monday night to voice their concerns against an extended-year concept similar to Johnson Street Global Studies.
Most parents were frus­trated with the thought of more changes taking place at the school, several cit­ing redistricting, changes in staff and a new prin­cipal. One parent called the proposal like “build­ing a plane in flight.” A number of parents – some emotionally charged and others in tears – said they simply didn’t understand how 20 additional days of school could impact achievement.

As usual, I’m building a case with quotes…here’s another quote, and then I’ll share some required reading with you all:

Parent Kim Douglas echoed a similar warning, adding that taking her kids out of the school was “not a threat, it’s a promise.”

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I’ve shared several posts here with you recently contradicting Dr. Grier’s efforts to extend the school day/year. I’ve listed links to reports and evidence, which suggests that a longer school day/year doesn’t necessarily translate into student success.

But Grier will do whatever he wants to do. GCS is looking at dollars…federal dollars from Washington, courtesy of No Child Left Behind-Leaves Many Children Behind. And it is a shame that the promise of more money and more bureaucracy is driving this.

https://i1.wp.com/www.magazines.com/magcom/covers/0/06/108/0061085_l.gif Some required reading for today…here’s a link to an article in Education Week (registration may be required), describing an extended day initiative in Massachusetts. The article says NCLB-LMCB is the driving force and it has now gotten political, with US Presidential candidates putting this on their education agendas.

Here’s a short excerpt:

If 8th grader Leo Parnell were not in school until 4:15 each day, he says, he’d be spending his afternoons sprawled on the couch, watching TV and sipping Mountain Dew. Or he might be skateboarding or getting into trouble.

The lazy afternoons ended for Leo last year, when his school joined in a closely watched experiment going on across the Bay State to find out whether students can learn more by spending more time in school. So now, Leo spends the hours between 1:30 and 4:15 p.m. at Clarence R. Edwards Middle School, where he practices math, plays football, and writes songs.

“I feel a bit more prepared for high school since I’ve had more time to soak up extra learning,” he said.

While it may sound like a given that added learning time can translate to better test scores, research suggests that whether it does remains an open question. Some studies show that students do better when they spend more time reading or engaging in other kinds of enrichment activities. Others find only weak or no correlations between time and learning.

Experts hope Massachusetts’ experiment, known as the Expanded Learning Time Initiative, will shed light on the issue. Under the program, schools can get $1,300 a year more per student if they extend instructional time by at least 30 percent, or about 300 hours, over the course of a school year.

I’m unconvinced. Apparently, there are a number of Ferndale parents who share the same degree of skepticism.

GCS, are you listening?

E.C. 🙂

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One Response

  1. ELT works if it is planned thoughtfully. You need to talk to the principal at the Edwards or at least the teachers there. Not meeting AYP and being the laughingstock of Boston for five straight years, the teachers have gone through the same situation as you folks. Now we have the last laugh. Google our school September 2008. We’re going to hit a grand slam!!!

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