Thursday, June 16, 2016

Much More Than What is Measured by a Report Card

Public school is sometimes described as the backbone of the American democracy. And within the confines of those public schools we spend the vast majority of the time allotted to us in the development of content skills like math and reading. Sprinkled into this cornucopia of the American public educational experience are the Fine Arts. We also take time to provide our students with a well rounded educational experience that includes such things as construction trades, business, family and consumer sciences and in Iowa, well we can't forget about our rich agricultural history! If that weren't enough, a plethora of activities and athletic programs exist to whet almost any appetite.

As a society, we value these tangibles that our public schools provide. We are able to measure them, put a letter grade on them for all to see and show our stakeholders the result of our hard work. Where our content areas are measured by the letter grade students receive, our athletic team are judged by their win and loss record. I wonder if the things that are most important are perhaps the hardest, or if not impossible to measure? Those things that really make the American public school experience the American public school experience?

I believe many of those are taught within the context our guidance program and in our character development program know as the 'Eight Keys of Excellence'. Our elementary guidance counselor, Mr. Driscol starts young with the students, and years after they have completed the program can recall him reminding all of them to 'Live Above the Line'.  I might also suggest these eight keys are complimented by our Learner Performance Goals and work harmoniously to ensure that Hudson students not only master the hard skills of the core curriculum, but the soft skills that are going to be so vital later on in life.

Now then, I hope that you took notice of my phraseology in the use of the American public school. The vernacular is important here, because only in the public school do we have a mirror image, or microcosm if you will, of society. If you peer into these classrooms, you see a vast array of students that come from different races and ethnicity. Students and families who may practice a religion that is different from what we may practice at home. Students who come from families of wealth and comfort, and those who come from poverty. Students who school comes easy for, and those who struggle. Students and families that hold conservative values, and those who are liberal. All co-existing together in this great country of ours. 

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