Simple Solutions

January 24, 2007

Sometimes the fix is so darned simple.

We give the January Regents to a large percentage of our students. We test all the English 11 students on the Comprehensive English exam, all Math A and Math B students, and all of the students who either need to pass a past Regents exam (and have been in a Regents review class) or who want to improve their score. Yes, Virginia, there are students who voluntarily retest to improve the grade.

In my first two years here, counselors spent a large portion of time after the start of every exam phoning those students who didn’t show up. This year, my genius guidance director, Beth, and her fantastic secretary, Janene, sent home a letter to every student’s home telling the family which exams the kid needed to be here for AND they hand delivered a copy of the letter to every kid.

Extra effort in planning=great results on test day.

Because of their extra effort to take on the task of informing kids, without the “well, it’s the student’s responsibility to check the test schedule” garbage, we only had two students who weren’t here yesterday. Two. Awesome attendance on test day.

Which brings me to another point on this topic. One of my son’s teachers. A couple of weeks ago, Tallon missed two of her classes, one for the orthodontist and one for a bass guitar lesson. The teacher called me, as she does with any other parent (and I know this because of the numerous parents who have stopped me to say how much they appreciate her), and she simply said “let Tallon know he needs to stay after with me today to get ready for Friday’s test.” He stayed on Thursday and on Friday thought he did a great job on the test. No attitude from the teacher of “it’s not my problem he wasn’t here, it’s his responsibility”. No big deal for the teacher. Very much appreciated by parent and child. That’s how we show our community we care about their kids, by making that extra effort.

Simple solutions. I like it.



  1.   Jonathan says :

    I do not agree with you this time. I’m not talking about policy, where it looks like you’ve made a huge improvement. I’m talking about the word “simple.”

    Planning is hard. The payoff is absolutely worth it. There are a few people who naturally plan (and I would guess that you are one of them). But most people don’t, and many people can’t.

    Don’t undersell the importance of what you are doing.

  2.   Amy says :

    Thanks – that’s what makes you such a good person, you listen. And you lead well too.

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