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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

My VAM score reeks...

 
 
 
 My VAM score is based on--let me see here, I want to get this outrage exactly right--seventeen eighth grade students' science scores and 23 students' FSA Math scores.  My outcome for the math students is -3.541 with a standard error of 1.319.  

Ironic humor:  I don't know what the hell that mathematical equation means...except a lower salary.  Maybe that's why "my (23) students" did so crappy.

I am a school counselor.  My school has close to 1,100 students....and my evaluation reflects 40 of those students' math and science test scores.  That is so outrageously wrong. Clearly wrong.  Wrong in the purest sense.  Laughable.  Pathetic, really.  Sad.  Depressing.  Uninspiring....  In my FACE wrong!  Make me ANGRY! Exasperated! WRONG!  

What is wrong with YOU, state legislators and board members and "Education Advisory Committee" members?  Peekin' from around the "Bush" (policies) that this wonderful state of Florida allowed? How will you defend affecting a hard working school counselor's salary with 40 science and math scores?!  Cough up my "highly effective" 750 dollars!  

Let me tell you a little about me and how that ugly score--and its standard error of 1.319 and its VAM Ratio of -2.6846--makes me feel.  It makes me mad.  It also makes me laugh.  Are you such a pompous lot that you believe this bs?  Do you know what it all means? Well then, EXPLAIN IT TO ME! Give it to me straight, my man/men!  Give it to me without deviations and standard errors and ratios.  I want to know, baby!  How did you choose those 17+23 children? How are they tied to me, a school counselor and my salary?

 I know this "mathematical equation": "My salary - 750 dollars for earning "highly effective" = less money in my pocket.  I know this too: Poor scores (wherever the hell they come from) + below average evaluations from devious principals= NO JOB for wonderful, upstanding, honest, hardworking educators. 

And here's what it indirectly means for me too:  Going to work anyway.  Doing my best anyway.  Loving children.  Being creative, kind and patient ANYWAY!  For it is hard for some, my clueless state leaders. It is hard for wonderful educators who sacrifice hours and hours to you and your tests and test prep--iReady and the likes--to receive indecipherable VAM scores and not have an inkling what they mean.

And no one's been able to help me understand.  No one.

Because no one really understands it.
 
6:25 pm est          Comments

Sunday, February 4, 2018

A letter of hope....

 
 
 Honorable Members of the School Board:

I want to help end bullying in our district's schools.  I am an Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) trainer.  In 2009, I was selected by the Florida Association of School Administrators as one of ten consultants to assist with the statewide implementation of the Florida Bullying Prevention Initiative. I believe it was my association with the OBPP that led to my being interviewed by the Broad Foundation. I spoke then of my hope that all feeder patterns would be trained as OBPP schools.

 I am also a Workplace Bullying Prevention Program trainer and an Anti-Defamation League "World of Difference" trainer.  And I work for you as a school counselor.  

A part of the truth of maintaining a positive school culture, over time, is to address the issue of bullying head on. We are not doing that in our schools. We document bullying events.  We give consequences, but we do not do everything we can to prevent bullying.

A critical component to preventing bullying is simply to talk about it.  All the time.  Teachers must "'circle up" students and talk about bullying, its prevention, and all related topics.  A school counselor's role would then be to assist with weekly topics and mentor those teachers who may be uncomfortable at first with this weekly conversation.  I can, however, guarantee that even reluctant teachers will see the benefits of this activity over time.  Their classrooms will be more manageable.  Their students will be more at ease; more likely to learn.

Imagine this: All teachers in all schools in every one of our district's classrooms each week saying something like this:  "Hey everybody!  Gather up!  Let's continue our conversation on how it feels to see others being treated unkindly. Susan?"

"I feel sad."

"Anyone else feel as Susan does?  Oh my!  Look how many hands!  Let's talk about why we don't help when inside we really want to...?"

This is a missing proactive piece.  If Values truly Matter in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, then the answer is not money (probably lots and lots of money.....) spent on more technology.  Nearpod, for example, requires counselors to enter classrooms or auditoriums with codes and also requires children to type on cell phones.  Children draw pictures on their phones.  They answer questions on their phones. They look down at their rectangular "windows to the world" and type.  Fingers and thumbs fly. There is much "downtown desired data" created.  But it is not, in my opinion, effective.  Children have too much technology in their lives.  They crave:

Community.  
Communication,  
Camaraderie.  
Caring.  

That's the answer.  And technology will never fill the void. It, in fact, creates an even greater paucity of that which we all crave most: Connection. Human connection. Connection through safety.  Connection through patience.  Connection through love and kindness.  Respect.

Workplace bullying must also be addressed.  My website A Piece Full World, created after experiencing administrative harassment, violence, and bullying, had more than 10,000 pages read by almost 2,000 visitors in January.  My "Bullied by Your Principal? Start Here..." page trends each month and leads my pages read.  

I also have a plan to address the critical component of preventing workplace bullying in schools. I'd like to share it with you.

I have learned through my experience that I am a "half glass full" living individual.  I look for solutions.  I look for answers.  

But I do not hide from truth.  And the truth is that bullying--both school and workplace--is dire.

We are, more than ever in our state, at a critical juncture in regards to preventing bullying.  I'd like to help make Miami-Dade County Public Schools a national leader in courageously putting together a bullying prevention program that works.

Thank you,

Kim Werner
Creator, A Piece Full World
Olweus Bullying Prevention Program Trainer
Workplace Bullying Prevention Trainer
Anti-Defamation League "World of Difference" trainer.
11:51 am est          Comments


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Click here for my district's bullying and harassment policy. You will see I have made comments....