In response to the post,A Reader Submits… School Dysfunction“, a reader writes.

“A school is only as fruitful as the administrative and instructional staff expects it to be. If one thinks of one’s school as “bad” or “nightmare” (terms I’ve never equated with any schools I’ve worked for) then it is the attitudes of those working that create such schools.

If however, one works at a LYS school, you truly know the benefits of working in an environment of interconnected / community support. The adults know how important their roles are in their students’ lives. This is a successful campus.

I’ve been lucky to work in schools that live the LYS philosophy and those schools have always prospered and always will. Now that LYS is at my latest school, I just know that wonderful things are going to happen, not only for the students but for the staff as well.”

SC Response
Your first sentence is more powerful than I think you envisioned. In my work across the country, I have found that students do a masterful job of perfectly meeting adult expectations. Kids are kids; the critical variables are the adults. That is why you can have two Title I schools in essentially the same setting and one consistently adds value and one subtracts value. You and the original writer both hit the nail on the head; bad schools are created and perpetuated by adults. The more dysfunctional the school, the higher up the food chain the blame goes. The “nightmare” schools that were originally referenced may have poor teachers and bad administrators on site, but it is the Board that allows the situation to metastasize.

We also agree on another point, the fully actualized LYS school is a site to behold. But it does take time, sweat equity, trust and a few bumps and bruises. And your comment makes me smile because during the initial journey when the road is bumpiest there is often quite a bit of anger, disgust, animosity and raw emotions. The initial part of the journey is rarely fun. But then the first group of students achieves something unexpected and almost overnight all the negative feelings are forgotten.

You keep spreading your story and we’ll keep helping schools through the rough spots. Then sooner, rather than latter, the LYS school will be the norm rather than the exception.

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…


Curriculum Sources

Recently, I was meeting with a school board to provide some training on the practices of effective school districts. I…