A great story from the International Examiner by Sharon H. Chang, on the slow dissolve of the Middle College program that serves at-risk teens. (There is a some confusion over what Middle College is because the Superintendent has said it wasn't a program. Well, it's not a school so what is it?)
Middle College is a program that succeeds with teens who are at-risk for dropping out and then turning them around.
Indeed, where graduation may have been in question for these at-risk youth in traditional high school, almost all Middle College students graduate and around 80 percent go to college.
As many former students - most college grads - stated at last night's Board meeting, "We are not throwaways."
What is deeply disturbing is that the principal of the Middle College program, Cindy Nash, seems to have a tin ear when it comes to making decisions in a transparent manner and then communicating them to her community.
For example, who allows movers with boxes to come into a class that is in session with no notice to the teacher? What message does that send to the students?
About Middle College's Ida B. Wells program and the displacement of Roger Rigor (bold mine):
The school’s 2015 graduating class was one of the largest ever—its Facebook page
reads: “22 brilliant, conscious, ambitious minds … committed to
critical consciousness, higher education and changing their
Rogelio (Roger) Rigor is a Filipino American public school teacher in
his 60s. He has been teaching at the Ida B. Wells High School in Seattle
for over 18 years. Deeply beloved by his students and their families, Roger Rigor, the post
continues, is “one of the best teachers this world has created.”
How did this happen?
The principal decided on all this,” said Rigor, referring to Middle
College principal Cindy Nash and his displacement as the result of “a
lot of unilateral decision making.” A replacement has already been
hired. Neither of the Wells School’s current two current teachers were
involved in the recruitment and interview process, according to Rigor.
“We were not informed,” Rigor said. “I didn’t know [she’d] just move
forward and interview and replace me without any conversation.”
One question that comes to mind: where's the SEA in all this?
The rationale given for Rigor’s displacement is built upon a
technicality. Technically he is not endorsed to administer a specific
standardized biology test required for sophomores and freshmen and
therefore needs to be replaced by someone who can. Wayne Au, Associate
Professor in Educational Studies at University of Washington Bothell and
education reform activist, said there was a simple solution to that.
“All Cindy Nash would’ve had to do was change Roger’s job description
but she decided not to,” Au said. Instead she’s “asking [Rigor] to
become highly qualified in a subject he doesn’t teach,” Au explained.
Rigor directed concerned residents to join the public Facebook group, Save Middle College High Point and Ida B. Wells, attend school board meetings, sign the petition at Change.org, and follow the student-initiated hashtag #WeAreNotThrowAways.