OJHS Power of the Pen winners

Congratulations to
the following
award winners:

7th grade

Mary Grace Donnelly
7th place and Best of Round, Megan Cleary
2nd place.

8th grade

Lee McClory 14th place, Sophia Cothrel 13th place and Best of Round, Ingrid Hofeldt 12th place, Alexa Coon 7th place, and Hadley Smith 6th place and Best of Round.

The 8th grade team won a First Place trophy for overall team score.

Power of the Pen is coached by Susanne King and John Holland.

Fantastic writing girls!

Muse Machine program performed at Smith school

The entire class of second and third grade students of Smith School recently spent several weeks working with Muse Machine artist-in-residence Michael Lippert. Funded by the Smith School PTO, the program included the creation and production of two original plays by the students. The plays were done as a unique and “artistic” way to understand and communicate a portion of the social studies curriculum in
each grade.

The second grade class is currently studying geography. Their play was entitled “The Mysterious Map Book” and explored the concepts of continents, countries, states, cities and communities. The curriculum for the third grade class concentrates on economics. The third graders produced a play called “Extreme Economics,” which covered the concepts of opportunity cost, goods and services, production, consumers and supply and demand.

The students memorized the entire text of the plays as well as some simple choreography, practicing with director Lippert and at home. Much of the play was done in unison, but each student also had one or two solo lines. The students gave two performances for the rest of the student body, family and friends on Wednesday and Thursday of last week.

Charter schools: heads & tails

Almost six weeks ago I told readers that I welcomed additional articles that I could add to my “collection” for possible use in this column. One person did respond and sent via the Oakwood Register an article on the success of charter schools printed in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). I read it thoroughly and found it to be very interesting but also very typical of the paper which published it.

Its key message was that some research has shown that there are some charter schools (privately run but with public tax money) that have proven to be very successful for their students. [Heads] What the article did not address was that most other research has found that charter schools fail to do as well as the public schools which have elected and accountable local boards of education to oversee the expenditure of public tax money. [Tails]

Right here in our own Dayton area there are three or four very good charter schools whose students do very well on many tests. Unfortunately, there are also many local charter schools whose performance has been less than that of public-public schools serving similar populations. [Tails]

But there are also some urban public, public schools such as Dayton City’s Stivers Performing Arts Magnet School which is widely recognized for its excellence. This school has had strong parental support—a key ingredient for the success of any type school. It has ALSO had the careful “watch-over-ness” of an elected local board –a powerful combination.

The WSJ is, of course, oriented toward the business world and is highly supportive of the free enterprise system. [Heads] Thus it likes the idea of school funding coming from the government, but the dollars and program being then controlled by businesses. The fact that MAJOR businesses of our nation have over the past few years proven to be less than SUPER managers of any dollars—their own corporation’s or the public’s—was not addressed in the article at all.[Tails]

The bottom line is that the charter school experiment of providing public funds but little public accountability has NOT proven to be THE answer to improving our education system. [Tails] That some changes in the governance system and funding of our full educational system is needed in order to allow for innovations IS clear and a charter school system which does have real accountability built in may well be a viable option. [Heads] Thanks to the reader who sent me the article. I had to do some real thinking as a result!

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February 17, 2009
Volume 18, No. 7

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