05 April 2012

School Law Class Post 1

You have a teacher in your school who cites verses from the Koran to students when relevant to the activities for the day. A parent calls to complain. What would you do as a school administrator? Cite case law to support your decisions.

First I would attempt to clarify exactly what the teacher was doing. Then I would invite them in and would say, "We have to have an open and honest conversation. This is not a one way conversation, I want to hear your side of the story but in the end we need to be clear on how to move forward."

Then I would explain what I had been told while giving the teacher ample time to respond. As part of our discussion I would clarify what the teacher felt the value of including verses in the instruction were. I might suggest that there are other ways to engage the students with quotes or inspiring movie clips that were not religious in nature.

The case law and constitutional documentation is quite clear on this issue. The Bill of Rights established the separation of church and state and Reynolds v. United States in 1879 clarified that there must be a separation. The fourteenth amendment clarified that the separation of church and state must extend to all states.

I also found a good quote in The Principal's Quick Reference Guide to School Law by Dunklee and Shoop; "It is important for teachers and others in the school setting to remember that they are employees of the government and subject to the establishment clause and thus required to be neutral concerning religion when carrying out their duties."

In concluding the conversation with the employee I would make sure that they clearly understood their own personal first amendment rights and that they also fully understood the role that they needed to take as a public school teacher.


20 October 2011

Great Start

I want to share some of the awesome things that we have done in the Concord School District so far this year.

  • Summer training of Mentors for 9th grade students--the students were incredible and were so excited to do the work.
  • Success of the mentor program. 1. We didn't do anything like this previously. 2. Everyone involved is talking about the increase in connection to the school and the increase in academic motivation.
  • Algebra Assessment--incredible results from the high school. They were able to give the assessment, score it, and turn it around in less than a week. This is what we want to do with implementing Driven by Data.
  • 9th grade success program--we have id'd students who are struggling earlier than ever before and we are taking action to help them earn credit in their classes.
I'm excited!!!!!!!!!!