Ann Arbor Public Schools sent an important automated phone notification using their SchoolMessenger system. You are receiving this message because your email address was included to receive the notification.I asked my husband, "Did you listen to the message from the SchoolMessenger system?"
If you missed the call, or if your phone number was not included on the notification list, you can still listen to the message. Simply follow the message link below to play the message in your web browser.
(And to be perfectly honest, I thought it was either a reminder about a PTO meeting, or that perhaps my child had been "absent or tardy.")
"Yes," he said. "It was a reminder about Skyline's Spirit Day. The kids are supposed to wear blue."
Really? That was the "important message?" Aren't high school kids old enough to remember their own spirit days? But. . . whatever. I don't care about it, but maybe someone else does. I don't mind the "important message system" being used for that. At least I didn't care. . . for about. . . five minutes.
That's when I opened the web site of the Ann Arbor Chronicle, and I was shocked. . . Shocked. . . SHOCKED to see Jennifer Coffman's article that said this:
AAPS, UM to Open "Lab School"
Had I heard of this before? No. And here is the kicker:The Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education’s planning committee heard a presentation this morning on a “lab school” partnership being planned between the University of Michigan and Mitchell Elementary and Scarlett Middle schools. The Mitchell/Scarlett/UM lab school, as it’s currently being called, has been under development for six months.At today’s meeting, Mitchell principal Kathy Scarnecchia described the lab school as creating an integrated K-8 campus between the Mitchell and Scarlett buildings, as well as extending the function of the schools to serve as a community center for local families. She also noted that the lab school will use a year-round, extended-day academic calendar.
The Mitchell/Scarlett/UM lab school will pilot two projects during this school year, then begin its full program in the 2011-12 school year.So, just like the International Baccalaureate program, it's a fait accompli? Is predestination something more than Puritan theology?
Look--I'm not opposed to schools of choice. I've said before that I think Ann Arbor should have more magnet schools. I've dreamed of an elementary immersion Spanish program. . . perhaps another open school. . . a high school arts magnet. . . something on the east side, maybe? I completely understand why Scarlett and Mitchell--both underperforming and underenrolled schools--would be targeted. I understand why schools of choice, and the money that follows them, are key. [What do you think is a top search term for this blog?]
When I was at the UM in the School of Education, reading John Dewey, the man who pioneered the "lab" school, I used to wonder why the SOE couldn't have its own lab school. (In fact, the School of Education is actually in a former Ann Arbor high school!) I get all that, but. . . But. . . BUT. . .
HEY! FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! WHEN IS THERE ANY PUBLIC PROCESS?
Is everything determined by professional staff now?
I really, really hope that significant public process comes before the "i"s are dotted and the "t"s are crossed. Let's recall that our successful alternative schools (yes, I mean Ann Arbor Open and Community High School), in the past, have been developed through a ROBUST public process and with a GROUNDSWELL of support from parents and teachers--NOT from the top down.
Let's have some discussion: what do you think of an extended day and a year-round program? [I wouldn't send my kids to a year-round program. Would you send yours?] What do you think of sending your kids to a "lab" school? Why both Scarlett and Mitchell? Scarlett alone could accommodate between 800 and 900 students, which would be large for a K-8 program. Mitchell can accommodate over 300 students. Do we need a program for 1000-1200 students? How will this be cost-neutral? Etcetera.
Ann Arbor Administrators and School Board: I don't need to know about Spirit Week. I need to know where the schools are going.
This is the message that I should have gotten from the SchoolMessenger system.
This is a reminder that the Ann Arbor Public Schools are considering a partnership with the University of Michigan School of Education to create a "lab" school. Please come to the planning committee meeting on [DATE] or one of the three public hearings scheduled for October. You can also read the concept paper on the front page of the Ann Arbor schools web site, a2schools.org.THAT is what we need.
P.S. A concept paper? Yeah, that would be a nice idea. I couldn't find that on the Ann Arbor schools web site either.