The Progressive Paradigm…

I wrote the following post in 2008 when Barack Obama was first elected president.  I was reminded of it when he was re-elected last month.  

In 1948 a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians of the American League hugged a teammate in the lockeroom after a World Series Game.  Steve Gromek’s teammate had hit a game winning home run to give him the save.  He was happy and grateful.  Gromek’s career is best remembered not because of his pitching statistics but because of this hug.

His teammate was Larry Doby… the first African American player in the American League (Jackie Robinson was the first to play in the National League).  The picture above ran in papers across the country.  Both men received death threats and team officials took negative heat.  However, years later, when Doby was inducted into baseball’s hall of fame he said he would “always cherish that photograph and the memory of Gromek hugging me and me hugging him, because it proved that emotions can be put into a form not based on skin color.”

Pictures of players of mixed race hugging and celebrating goals, baskets and touchdowns are in the media on a daily basis now.  Last night, an African American man was elected president of the United States.  Some amazing changes have taken place since 1948.  The “progressive paradigm” is becoming more and more prevalent.

In 1948 most North American high school students went to school from 9:00 to 3:00 each day.  They started in September and ended in June.  They took eight courses per year. They moved from class to class when they heard a bell ring…

We have some amazing teachers doing some amazing things for many students within these traditional parameters.   Can we allow the “progressive paradigm” to become so prevalent that we challenge these age old “realities” and make learning relevant and life-long for even more kids?

Yes we can…

Yep…  so proud of the #sd60 teachers who are taking collaboration to new heights and challenging the status quo all at the same time!

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“Why TAG?” – Teacher Advisor Effectiveness…

The other day we were discussing counseling needs at our secondary schools and how the role of high school counselors has changed over time.  Just like everything else in public education, it is likely that the changes will continue to happen at an ever-increasing pace.

Interestingly, our counselor to student ratio is about the same as it was some 25 years ago… about 300:1.

The conversation reminded me of a paper I’d written as part of my Master’s thesis about twenty years ago… so I dug it out of a tattered old file folder.  The paper discusses a comparison between two junior high schools.  One had a “teacher advisory” program while the other simply had “homerooms”.  The paper discusses the importance of teacher advisors who did more than just take attendance and supervise silent reading.  They made an effort to get to know, and connect with, the students in their “TAG”.

Even though not every teacher advisor was entirely committed to the task, 46% of students in the TAG school reported that the first person they would talk to about concerns at school would be their advisor.  Only 9% of students in the other school said their homeroom teacher would be their first choice.

When counselor to student ratios are as high as they are, it helps to have other adults in a school who are recognized as front line supports for kids.

I’m happy to say that the “TAG” school referred to in my paper (although now a middle school) still has an advisory program.

The paper was published in the “Canadian School Executive” magazine in January 1993.  (The magazine is now defunct but I think it’s still worth a read!… even if you just scroll down to the graphs.)

Read – Why TAG?


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“No Time”

My 22 year old daughter gave me a book called “No Time” for my birthday a couple of months back.  She said, “It’s a good book, dad… but I know you won’t have (or make) time to read it.”  I took that as a bit of challenge and made it a priority.  It’s a great book for several reasons.  The author asks why it has become so much more important for us to “save” time than it is to “give” time.  Many of our kids are involved in many activities but do they really get much of our time?  How often have we said to a friend that we should “get together soon”… but never do?  Maybe it’s time to question what we’re doing with all of the time we’re saving.

In the words of the author, Heather Menzies, “we need to take back our lives, and renew the humanity of our social institutions.”

I first posted this in April, 2007.  I think it still applies.  My daughter is now 27 and even smarter than she was then!



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