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daily 07/15/2014

    • Damany Lewis, a math teacher at Parks Middle Schoo
    • Atlanta’s school superintendent, Beverly Hall,
    • Hall belonged to a movement of reformers who believed that the values of the marketplace could resuscitate public education.
    • In 2001, she hired a new principal for Parks, a former college-football player named Michael Sims
    • After a few months, Christopher Waller, a Methodist pastor who had worked in public schools for nine years, became the new leader of Parks. Waller was burly and freckled, and, at thirty-one, he was the youngest principal in the district. After a week of introductory meetings, he saw that the district prioritized testing results more than any other place he’d ever worked did. “All decisions have to be made by data—you have to be baptized in it,” he told me. “I lived it, slept it, ate it.”
    • When Waller asked him what changes he should make, Lewis told him to bide his time. “It’s like if you get a new stepmom in the house,” he said. “If she immediately comes in and changes everything, she’ll be hated forever.”
    • Every fall, the district held a convocation ceremony, which was usually in the Georgia Dome, where the Atlanta Falcons play. Schools that met their performance targets were seated on the field, while schools that fell short were relegated to the bleachers. Teachers spoke nervously all year about whether they would “make the floor.” At Waller’s first convocation, in 2005, he was humiliated by his seat in the bleachers. “It’s almost like having leprosy in the Bible,” he told me. “No one wants to associate with failure.”
    • Under Hall, four sub-superintendents oversaw different regions within the district, making sure that schools advanced toward their targets. After Waller had been at the school for a year, he received a stern memo, titled “Mid-year Review,” from Michael Pitts, the sub-superintendent who was responsible for Parks. “Please understand that no excuse can or will be accepted for any results that are less than 70% of school-based target acquisition,” Pitts wrote.
    • Waller struggled to understand his students’ success in elementary school. They had passed the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test in fifth grade, and yet when they arrived at Parks they were reading at a first-grade level.
    • He recalled that Pitts laughed and said, “Sometimes children just test well.” Then Pitts told him, “You need to keep your mouth shut.”
    • He urged Waller to “forge stronger relationships” with the principals at the elementary schools, which Waller interpreted as a message to learn how they’d artificially boosted their scores.
    • The reading coördinator, Sandra Ward, told Waller that she had heard about an elementary school where teachers changed students’ answers under the pretense of erasing stray pencil marks.
    • Waller decided to adopt both strategies by recruiting a “team” of teachers who could be trusted. He told himself, “We’re helping them. They’ll catch up by eighth grade.”
    • In 2006, Tameka Grant, a sixth-grade teacher at Parks,
    • Lewis and other favored teachers were part of what became known as “Waller’s circle.” Some had their own reserved parking spaces.
    • After learning of the complaints, Pitts, the sub-superintendent, attended a faculty meeting at Parks. Teachers remember him saying, “Stop writing letters about Waller, because he is not going anywhere. There is nothing you can do to make us think negatively of Principal Waller.”
    • a private investigator, Reginal Dukes,
    • March of 2006, concluded that teachers at Parks had cheated on the Georgia Middle Grades Writing Assessment, leaking the essay prompt to students
    • The only one he remembered was “Is there any more evidence?” “That question floored me,” Dukes said. “I’d just gone through this litany of violations.
    • Knowing this, it would be important to make sure you can juggle the   columns-style Two-in-One, where the balls travel vertically in their own   separate paths:
    • Your hands would have to throw at the same time for the balls to be thrown at a steady rate, and that’s not a cascade.
    • The most common way to juggle 4 balls is to juggle 2 in each hand, alternating right and left hand throws. This pattern is called the asynchronous fountain
    • The most common difficulty in juggling 2 balls in one hand is turning. While juggling two balls in your left hand you may be tempted to pivot to the right. When that happens, concentrate on bringing the balls further toward the center (right in front of your naval) before each throw, and throwing them further to the outside of the pattern. Your right hand will be making clockwise circles as you throw and catch, and your left hand will be making counter-clockwise circles.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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