Monthly Archives: November 2014

What do you want from our schools?

In my previous post I made the case that parents are responsible for their children’s development, and that schools and community organizations are educational partners in that parental mission.  I also described four competing objectives for our schools.  And I provided my opinion about how much of a role schools should play on each of the four objectives.

Now it’s your turn. 

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UCFSD Annual Achievement Report Published

At Monday’s school board meeting, the Administration reported on UCF’s academic achievement results for 2013-2014.   Overall, the results are excellent, and you can view the report for yourself on the District’s home page, here (top right corner).  You can also watch the video of the presentation (90 minutes!)   Here is the administration’s intro to the report:

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What do we want from our schools? (part 2)

See Part 1 here

There are four schools of thought on what our schools should be doing today.  These can be summarized as follows:

  • KNOWLEDGE:  Students should master a specific body of knowledge (biology, algebra, world history) that is foundational for future learning
  • SKILLS:  Students should acquire skills and learn behaviors that are desirable to employers (critical thinking, teamwork, work ethic)
  • VALUES:  Students should learn and internalize the values and norms of the community
  • SELF-ACTUALIZATION:  Students should discover their interests, capabilities, and future opportunities

Most of us who are not educators by profession might see each of the four as having some merit.    But most of the different schools of thought emphasize and elevate one of the four goals above the other three.

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What do we want from our schools? (Part 1)

From early on in the history of the United States, free public education has been part of the American identity.  President John Adams captured the idea in 1786 as follows:

“The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”

Adams laid out principles that carry through to today:  every person should be educated; schools should be maintained at the public expense (not through private charity); and schools should be everywhere there are people.

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UCF schools receive top marks from State of PA

Last week the state released its School Performance Profiles (SPPs).   Our schools graded out near the top, with five of the six finishing in the top 3% and meeting the state’s criteria for ‘schools of distinction.’  I have summarized the results and included last year’s results as a point of comparison:


These are great results, and it reflects that high quality of our teachers, administrators, and parents in the district!   And it is good to see improvement almost across the board.

For those interested in full details on each school, please visit PDE’s web site here.

If you think Pocopson Elementary now looks a bit lonely at the bottom of the list, you are not alone.  I have raised this concern with the administration, and I look forward to hearing more about their improvement plans at our next board meeting.


Pocopson Redistricting Advisory Committee – Your Representatives

Last week the Advirsory Commmittee on Pocoposon Redistricting met for the first time (see my earlier post here).

The minutes of the meeting as well as the contact information for all committee members is now available on the UCFSD web site here.   I strongly encourage all members of our community to learn about the enrollment projection phase of the study, and to engage with the model output when it is available in mid-December.

To stay connected, you can always contact me or suscribe to the blog.  Or contact one of the parent advisory committee representatives: