David Fisher, teacher
"I've been here for 15 years and every other year we do this," says math teacher David Fisher, referring to a long string of ballyhooed overhauls that the Beacon Hill school has embarked on at the behest of the district."
Glenn Bafia, SEA/Susan Enfield, CAO
The staff probably won't change much. The district's contract with the teachers union allows it to move people out, according to Glenn Bafia, executive director of Seattle Education Association. But, in a meeting last week with Cleveland staff, district Chief Academic Officer Susan Enfield downplayed that and instead asked people "to look deep in their souls and decide if they want to stay," recounts Bafia.
Eddie Reed, teacher
And the just-designed STEM curriculum sounds an awful lot like the failed Gates-funded plan. According to Cleveland history teacher Eddie Reed, a member of the staff committee working on the plan, the reinvented school will revolve around two "academies," one focused on engineering and design, the other on life sciences. (The Gates model had a "health science academy," among others.)
"Reed, however, asserts that there's buy-in to this plan because "it was designed by staff" rather than "handed to us" by the Gates Foundation. He maintains that a bigger problem will be attracting students despite negative perceptions about Cleveland--designated an "option school" under the new assignment plan, which means that only students who choose the school will go there. He nevertheless voices optimism that this challenge can be overcome "by showing good work."Mr. Fisher likely speaks for many teachers who have seen plans, projects, transformations, etc. come and go. Frankly, I'll bet it's very tiring to have to gear up for the next big thing. However, I'm sure that all the Cleveland teachers want Cleveland to succeed.
I liked that "look into your soul" quote from Dr. Enfield. Are they going into battle? Maybe she thinks it is that big of a personal challenge (and it probably will require a lot of personal buy-in from each teacher). Question is, if they don't buy in, who replaces them? Will they take the best math and science teachers from other high schools to make STEM work?
I give Mr. Reed points for both honesty and optimism. I'm not sure I believe that "designed by staff" is the answer that will pull this effort through (but I'm also not sure if he means Cleveland staff or district staff and if it is district staff, how much did they include Cleveland staff?).