Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I just witnessed my first PTA meeting in Mississippi. It was a mixture of agendas and moods. It was a nice celebration for the kids. Our band really rocks! The band director is quite superb. He is militant and demands a lot from the kids-- a great teacher. For the first time in my life, I am seeing students cheer the musicians. I wish that spirit had been alive while I was in school-- instead band and choir nerds were usually tortured. Watching the whole "show" of students being introduced and for once recognized for their accomplishments. I think this is a missed area of concern for low income students. We never showcase our students and their successes. If students had more opportunities to DO things (sports, etc.) they would have more to occupy their minds. I cannot believe that students have to try-out for middle school level sports. I really wish that they had a "B" squad for the students at the middle school age. When I was growing up-- sports and other activities were a given. Almost every student had some area of interest and/or talent. The few that did not have a place were the "at risk" students who dropped out or failed. There are 950 students at my school. Only about 100 of them participate in some form of activity. The rest are "at risk!" Why or why can't we offer more to the students? It is such a disservice. No wonder they vandalize the school, don't care about grades or much of anything-- they don't have ANY outlets for their minds and bodies. After-school activities would not be a hard change for schools to make. Funding may be somewhat of an issue. But on a district level-- it would work. JPS spends thousands of useless things and programs. Why not invest in meaningful after school activities the students would just enjoy? They might actually start to care about the school...

I remember when my students took their pictures-- most appeared shy and inexperienced to have the photographer tell them to smile and sit up straight. Their pictures revealed a hopelessness I have never seen in children this age before. Why? Because they don't have enough to do, and have never been acknowledged for their talents and strengths.


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