PARTICIPATION IN SCHOOL-LEVEL PROGRAM DECISION-MAKING. A CASE STUDY by ROBERT RANDOLPH HOEN B .A . , Hamilton College, I965 M. E d . , University of Br i t i sh Columbia, 1971 A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF EDUCATION in the Department of Educational Administration We accept this dissertat ion as conforming to the xequlred standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA December, 197^ In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I ag ree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department or by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s u n d e r s t o o d that c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f <^^C^"Z£^TI*/? ^ ^ w * ? / ? ^ 1 The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumbia V a n c o u v e r 8, Canada Date / % R ^ A * , l l l f r 11 ABSTRACT This study describes and analyzes a case through which It is possible to explore and evaluate the idea of PSLPD. Participation In School-level Program Decision-making. PSLPD was selected for study because i t repre-sented the convergence of three trends In recent educational thought J the c a l l for wider participation In decision-making; the emphasis on the Individual school as a decision-making unit; and the advocacy of rat ional program development. The case studied was one In which a major attempt was made to Institute participation by teachers, students, and parents In school-level program decision-making, as one goal of an experimental secondary school. The study was Initiated with two conceptual frameworks In mind, based on surveys of related l i terature. A concep-tion of program development was formulated In which the process was visualized as one of ends, means, and evaluation decision-making. A conception of the decision-making process was formulated based on the notion of problem-solving; and participation in decision-making was defined as Involvement In one or more stages of that process. The case study method enabled the researcher to col lect and analyze data concerning several broad questions within the topic of Interest! I l l Guiding Questions Organizational Innovations What were the or igins, nature, and effects on PSLPD of (a) the new staff group; (b) the advisory council? Decision-making Processes What processes of decision-making occurred In the case? Werether$ identi f iable stages In the decision-making process? Part icipation In Decision-making What form did part icipation In decision-making take? What did part icipation in decision-making mean? Program Decision-making at the School Level Was the program development process at the school level a cyc l i ca l process of decision-making involving decisions about ends, means, and evaluation? Was there an identi f iable area of decision-making at the school level concerned with curriculum, Instruction, and program evaluation? If so, how Important was program decision-making at the school level in relat ion to other areas of decision-making? What were the types of problems requiring decisions at the level of the school as a unit? A detailed case history was prepared, including a l l available information relevant.to the topic of PSLPD. The i n i t i a l conceptual frameworks were then applied to the analysis of PSLPD In the case. F ina l ly , the value of the iv i n i t i a l conceptions themselves was considered by studying the case history In l ight of the questions posed at the outset of the research. Tteoagh this conceptual analysis of the case, i t was demonstrated that changes were called for in the conceptualization of both program development and decision-making processes at the school l eve l . The concept of part icipation In decision-making as involvement in one or more stages of the decision-making process was found to have some major weaknesses in i ts capacity for di f ferentiat ing among degrees of part ic ipat ion. At the same time, however, It was found that the breakdown of categories of participants In decision-making In terms of basic roles In education (trustee, administrator, teacher, student, parent) was useful. This study found numerous obstacles to the broadening of part icipation in decision-making. Although the Innovations In the case studied were found to result in signif icant p a r t i c i -pation by the teaching staff In some types of decision-making, the structure of authority and responsibi l i ty in the school system was found fundamentally to constrain a l l categories of part icipants. In the course of the analysis, an alternative conceptual approach was formulated to f i l l the need for a way of de-scribing and explaining events In the case. This conceptuali-zation was called "school development" because It attempted to emphasize the Interrelationship of program development and organizational development In any rea l i s t i c effort at educa-t ional change. V TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER PAGE 1. INTRODUCTION 9 THE CASE HISTORY 2. THE STAGE IS SET . 25 3. THE INITIATION OF INNOVATION 33 4. PREPARATIONS FOR PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT 43 5. PROGRAM PLANNING PRIOR TO YEAR ONE: THE JUNE MEETINGS 51 6. PROGRAM PLANNING PRIOR TO YEAR ONE* THE AUGUST MEETINGS 65 7. INTO YEAR ONE 73 8. STUDENT GOVERNMENT, COMMUNITY CRITICISM, AND ORGANIZATIONAL DETAIL 82 9. THE ACTIVATION OF PROGRAM EVALUATION 91 10. THE ADVISORY COUNCIL'S IDENTITY CRISIS . . . . 101 11. ATTEMPTS TO REASSURE THE COMMUNITY 112 12. CATCHING UP ON STAFF COMMUNICATIONS 124 13. PLANNING FOR THE LAST PART OF YEAR ONE . . . . 142 14. MORE PARENTAL QUESTIONING AND MORE ASSURANCES. 163 15. THE STAFF'S PLANNING WEEK IN APRIL 179 16. THE PROBLEM OF wNON-PERFORMING" STUDENTS* A CRISIS IN STAFF PHILOSOPHY 210 17. THE END OF YEAR ONEt RESEARCH AND EVALUATION DOCUMENTS, 223 18. INTO YEAR TWO 234 19. THE DEATH OF THE CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE . . . 249 20. ANOTHER ATTEMPT AT ORGANIZATIONAL INNOVATION . 263 v l CHAPTER PAGE 21. A STUDENT NEWSPAPER 277 22. SOME VIEWS ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF STUDENT RESPONSIBILITY, INDIVIDUALIZATION OF INSTRUCTION, AND THE CONTRACT APPROACH . . . 283 23. SOME VIEWS ON THE CHARACTER OF THE U. TOWN PROGRAM 297 24. THE CASE HISTORY IN REVIEW 302 ANALYSES OF THE CASE 25. ANALYSIS OF PARTICIPATION IN SCHOOL-LEVEL PROGRAM DECISIONS 319 26. CONCEPTUAL ANALYSIS OF THE CASE 332 27. SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY 405 BIBLIOGRAPHY 414 APPENDICES A. INTERVIEW INSTRUMENTS 4 l 6 B. PARTICIPANTS* OPINIONS OF HOW SCHOOL-LEVEL PROGRAM DECISIONS SHOULD BE MADE . . . . . . 426 C. REFLECTIONS ON METHODOLOGY i+36 «#*<**** v i i LIST OP FIGURES FIGURE PAGE 1. Conceptual Framework for Describing Participation in Decision-Making 18 2. Program Development . . 19 3. Participation In SLPD #1 322 4. Participation in SLPD #2 323 5. Participation In SLPD #3 325 6. Participation In SLPD #4 326 7. Participation in SLPDs #1 through 4 327 8. Facsimile of Card Used in Interviews . . . . kX8 v i i i ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I take pleasure in acknowledging with sincere thanks the guidance of the members of my dissertation committee: Dr. J . Blaney; Dr. W. Hartrlck; Dr. J . H i l l s ; Dr. J . Wlens; and especially Dr. I. Housego, without whose sustained support this study would never have been completed. I also wish to acknowledge the high degree of interest, help, and commitment to research which I found among the many persons in the school, school d i s t r i c t , and community I studied. Their desire to promote knowledge for the benefit of a l l , and their willingness to expose themselves toward that end, were remarkable and praiseworthy. Last, but not least , I wish to thank family and friends for consistently giving me emotional support during d i f f i c u l t phases of this study without ever making that support con-tingent upon the study*s suocessful completion. Prom that experience, I learned much. «#***#* CHAPTER 1 9 INTRODUCTION Wider part icipation in decision-making has been advo-cated by several educational thinkers in recent years. In part icular , there has been a c a l l for involvement of teachers, students, and parents in the development of the programs of individual schools. Emphasis has been placed on the des i rab i l i ty of locating more authority and responsi-b i l i t y at the level of the school as a decision-making unit. The individual school Is thought to be a natural unit for decision-making, because It is considered neither too small to control a variety of resources nor too large to respond f lex ib ly to the educational needs of particular communities (Bowers et a l . , 1970; Housego, 1971). Emphasis has also been placed on the des i rabi l i ty of rat ional iz ing the programs of schools through conscious evaluation of objectives and methods (Goodlad et a l . , 1970). Taken together, these three trends in educational thought—the c a l l for wider participation In decision-making, the emphasis on the individual school as a decisionmaking unit , and the advocacy of rat ional program development-define the topic with which this study Is concernedi "Participation in School-level Program Decision-making" (PSLPD). 10 Two of the most Important aspects of any educational organization are i ts curriculum and i ts instruction. The importance of curriculum and instruction in education is para l le l to the importance of objectives and the means to their attainment in any organization. Every facet of an organization has something to do with the attainment of i ts objectives, but some functions are more d i rect ly re -lated to achievement of objectives than others. In educa-t i o n , such functions as f inancing, provision of f a c i l i t i e s and equipment, or recruitment of personnel, can be usefully distinguished from curriculum and instruction. The process of developing curriculum and Instruction has been conceptualized fundamentally as an ends-means decision process ever since the publication of Ty le r 1 s Baslo Principles of Curriculum and Instruction (1950). Tyler offered the per-suasive rationale that decisions about learning experiences should be based on prior decisions as to the objectives of Instruction, and that teaching and learning programs should be evaluated according to c r i t e r i a defined by objectives. Curriculum thinkers have debated the exact place in the curriculum development process of such considerations as the physical , emotional, and Intellectual needs of students; the expectations of society; the structure of subject matter; and psychologies and philosophies of education (Taba, 1962; Goodlad, I969). There has also been debate over what "curriculum," "Instruction," "program," and other basic terms refer to. Maurltz Johnson (1967) has argued that "curriculum" 11 could most usefully be defined as a structured series of intended learning outcomes, and "Instruction" as the methods for achieving intended learning outcomes. T. Aokl (1970) has distinguished between the planning and implementation phases of Instruction: the former he cal ls "instructional planning," the lat ter " instruct ion." Housego (1972), building upon the concepts of Johnson and Aokl, has suggested that the term "program development" be used to mark out a c y c l i c a l process of change in curriculum and Instruction based on evaluation; but no single approach to the problem of definit ions has been accepted by the f i e l d of curriculum study. The socia l structure of decision-making in the area of curriculum and instruction has been analyzed by Goodlad and Richter (I969) through the concept of hierarchies. Hierarchy can be seen in the substance of program decisions as well as In the social structure of education. For example, the intended learning outcome "To communicate effect ively in a group" implies other curricular decisions: at a more specif ic leve l i t implies intended learnings such as "To follow the course of a discussion," "To speak c lear ly ," I'To consider the viewpoints of others"; at a more general l e v e l , "To be a contributing member of society." It seems reasonable to suppose, therefore, that there Is some correspondence between the levels of generality in the substance of program decisions and the levels in the hierarchy of social organization in 12 education. In the view of Goodlad and Bichter, there are three main levels in both hierarchiest the soc ie ta l , the inst i tu t iona l , and the instruct ional . At the societal l e v e l , control l ing agencies and their sanctioning bodies (such as school boards and those who elect or appoint boards) select educational aims, or broad purposes for educational systems. At the inst i tut ional l e v e l , pro-fessional staffs select general educational objectives and learning opportunities, which give the instructor more guidance than he could obtain from educational aims and at the same time assure the control l ing agency that Instruc-t ional level choices are consistent with broad purposes. At the instructional l eve l , teachers of particular students select specif ic educational objectives and Instructional methods. Gr i f f in (1970) tested the Goodlad-Richter conceptual system. Through a questionnaire using decision items keyed to levels of decision-making, Gr i f f in found that, while societal and instructional level decisions were made by the expected persons, inst i tut ional level decisions were either not made clear ly at any level of the organization or were made at the instructional l eve l . McBeath (I969) surveyed perceptions of levels of program decision-making in Saskatchewan. He found that school personnel of a l l types perceived most program decisions to be made at the provin-c i a l and d i s t r i c t levels but preferred most program decisions to be made at the school and classroom levels . 13 Decentralization of decision-making to the school level has been advocated in recent educational l i terature. Goodlad, Klein and Associates (1970) urged such a move as a means to the "reconstruction of schoolings" Clear ly , such a charge cal ls for decentra-l i z i n g much authority for educational decision-making to the local school under the leadership of pr incipal and teachers In collaboration with children and parents. In effect , we are saying that the same principles of individualization which should guide instruction in the classroom must guide reconstruction of the looal school. Each school must be granted freedom far in excess of what prevails now to pursue i ts destiny in the l ight of local needs and signif icant data— these data being primarily the characteristics of the students end their conditions of dai ly l i f e . (107) Housego (1972) has called for "school-level program development" through decentralization of decision-making and rat ional izat ion of the program development process. Housego's proposal defined program development as a four-phase process of decision-making and sought definit ions of the roles of administrators and teachers in each phase. Research speci f ica l ly concerned with the structure of roles In school-level program decision-making is lacking. Some research has been done on closely related topics. Much of the l i terature Is in the form of ar t ic les rather than research. MIklos (1970) has reviewed existing research on teachers' perceived and preferred degrees of part icipat ion. Ryan and Hickox ('1972) have found both teachers and administrators to 14 favor high teacher Involvement In decision-making, with teachers part icular ly In favor of Involvement In those decisions which affect what goes on In the classroom. Wilson (1972) has done "A Participant Observational Study of an Attempt to Institute Student Participation In Decision-making In an Experimental High School." Wilson's work was one Important contribution to a U.S. National Conference on Decision-making in Alternative Secondary Schools held at the Center for New Schools (1972). The conference brought together representatives from more than a dozen alternative high schools to discuss common problems In the broadening of part icipation in school-level decision-making. Student and staff attitudes about decision-making were seen as important Ingredients of the problems. Students were often concerned primarily with gaining freedom In their personal l ives rather than in the curriculum; students generally did not want to participate In developing programs, only in identifying problems for staff attention; students were suspicious of a l l formal governing structures. Teachers, meanwhile, were often so concerned about avoiding authori-tarianism that they fa i led to use the competence and authority which they derived from experience; teachers tended to i n -crease their power Informally and unconsciously, because of their reluctance to l ive with the authority implications of their ro le . The most general conclusion coming out of the conference was that alternative schools had made the false 15 assumption that desired changes would occur through "natural organic growth" when old structures were removed. Parent and student part icipation in school-level decision-making has been addressed by the l i terature of loca l control of education. Bowers, Housego and Dyke (1970) brought together a number of scholars for a symposium on the subject. In the symposium, Llpset argued that a new consensus was forming In favor of local control because l i b e r a l s , who have usually favored central control In the interests of equal opportunity, have become disi l lusioned with central govern-ments and Joined conservatives in c r i t i c i z i n g bureaucracy. Courtney replied that there Is a conf l ic t of Ideas within l iberal ism: freedom and individual i ty versus standards of quality in education. Andrews argued that centralization and decentralization are means to larger ends rather than ideo-logies in themselves, and that the choice of one or the other form of educational control depends primarily: upon the circum-stances affecting a country's achievement of Its goals. One type of organizational structure for community par-t ic ipat ion In school decision-making has been proposed by MacKinnon ( i 9 6 0 ) : the creation of governing units consisting of one large school or a set of small schools, each unit with Its own board of trustees. Another type of structure is the community advisory counci l . Advisory committees are commonly required In the United States In agricultural and technical education (Di l lon, 1970; Howard, 1970; Swalec, 1972). 16 BTumenberg (1971) has described the advisory council as a false miracle drug used in education as a substitute for structural change; a mechanism which can, however, Improve community relations i f the inherent l imits of i ts function are not misunderstood. The study presented here is an Investigation of a case in which a major attempt was made to institute part icipation by teachers, students, and parents in school- level program decision-making, as one goal of an experimental secondary school. There were four basic problem areas with which the study was concerned. It was hoped that study of the case would contribute somewhat to answering questions In each of the four areas. Organizational Innovations: The primary mechanisms of the attempt to broaden participation in school- level program decision-making (PSLPD) in the case were (a) the appointment of a new teaching staff with a shared educational philosophy and a charge to innovate, and (b) the creation of a community advisory counci l . I sought to discover the or ig in , nature, and effect on PSLPD of these two structural innovations. At the same time, I sought to define the concept of teacher-student-parent part icipation in school- level program decision-making. To accomplish the latter purpose, I was attentive to three problem areas ar ising out of the concept of PSLPD. 17 Decision-making Processes; What processes of decision-making occurred In the case? Were there Identifiable stages in the decision-making process? I t r ied looking at the case through one particular conceptual analysis of the decision-making process based on the notion of problem-solving: 1. Generation of alternative problems; 2. Consideration of relat ive importance of problems; 3. Selection of problem; 4. Generation of alternative solutions; 5. Consideration of relat ive merits of solutions; 6. Selection of solution; 7. Implementation of solution. A decision outcome can be thought of as a solution to a problem. The process of decision-making can be viewed as that of selecting a problem to address, selecting a solution to the problem, and Implementing the solution. Each selection Is preceded by the generation of alternatives. Between the generation of alternatives and the selection from among them, the relat ive merits of proposed alternatives are considered. If more than one person is Involved in the process, the con-sideration of alternatives may Include attempts by some parties to Influence others. Participation In Decision-making: What form did par t i -cipation In decision-making take? What did part icipation in decision-making mean? I approached the study with one way of defining participation in decision-making—as involvement in one or more stages of the decision-making process. (See F ig . 1). By using the grid defined by categories of 18 participants and stages of decision-making, I set out to study the structure of roles in decision-making in the case. DECISION-MAKING PROCESS 1 Gen. of Al ter . Pro-blems 2 Cons. of Rel . Imp. of Prob. 3 Selec. of Pro-blem k Gen. of Al ter . Sol 'ns. 5 Cons, of Rel . Merits of Sol . 6 Selec. of Solu-tion 7 Imp. of Solu-t ion Trustees Admini-strators Teachers Students Parents Others Figure 1. Conceptual Framework for Describing Participation In Decision-making. 19 Program Decision-making at the School Level: Was the program development process at the school level a cyc l i ca l process of decision-making Involving decisions about ends, means, and evaluation? Was there an identif iable area of decision-making at the school level concerned with curriculum, Instruction, and program evaluation? If so, how important was program decision-making at the school level in relat ion to other areas of decision-making? What were the types of pro-blems requiring decisions at the level of the school as a unit? I in i t iated the study using a conceptual analysis of program decision-making as a developmental process embracing ends, means, and evaluation, consistent with the mainstream of curr icular l i terature. I t r ied to apply the recent def ini t ions of curriculum and instruction deployed by Johnson and Aokl, and the def ini t ion of program development bui l t by Housego. (See F ig . 2 ) . CURRICULUM INSTRUCTIONAL - PLAN \ \ f PROGRAM INSTRUCTION EVALUATION Figure 2. Program Development 20 The case study method made i t possible for me to col lect and analyze data concerning the several broad questions included in the topic of interest. Case studies have been ut i l i zed profitably in sociological and educational inquiry when bslsic concepts and assumptions have been ln?.need of empirical examination. The case study approach provides descriptive material on the basis of which concepts existing in the l i terature can be evaluated. A case study makes con-ceptual development possible because i t places the researcher In contact with the complexities of a concrete example. The method, of course, has the b u i l t - i n l imitation that i ts findings must be further tested in other cases and through other research methods before they can be generally accepted. In the present study, data were collected in several ways—through observation, interviews, and documents. I was a non-partlclpant observer In the case for a period of @fbj9<uj|? one year. During that time, one of my major activities^TW&s observation of staff and advisory council meetings and r e -cording of pertinent discussions and events. At the same time, I interviewed participants both formally and informally. The documents which I gathered included school board records, l e t te rs , agendae and minutes of meetings, newsletters, par-t ic ipants 1 notes, etc. I found i t useful to organize my materials chronolo-g i c a l l y , as I worked to piece together a consistent picture of the case within the area of interest. Eventually, I 21 discovered that a useful way of presenting the descriptive findings was as a chronological narrative, rather than breaking the case into topical parts, because so many of the Important threads were interwoven. The resulting descriptive case history constitutes the bulk of the dissertation (Chapters 2 through 24). Equally important, however, are the analyses of the case following the descriptive material. The analyses are presented in two parts. In Chapter 25, the conceptual frameworks described in this introduction are applied to the case, demonstrating the ways in which those frameworks could be used. In Chapter 21$, evaluation of the In i t i a l conceptions of the study and development of a l ter -native conceptions are undertaken. The conceptual conclusions of the study are presented In the context of a summary of the dissertat ion In Chapter 27. THE CASE HISTORY LIST OF CHARACTERS In alphabetical order (Identities f i c t i t ious ) Dr. Allworth. an assistant superintendent in the Sallcrest school d i s t r i c t Mrs. Anderson, a teacher of home economics at U. Town Secondary School Mr. Berends. director of communications for the Sal lcrest school d i s t r i c t Mrs. Brougham, a parent and unsuccessful candidate for the U. Town advisory council Mr. Chlba. a teacher of Industrial education at U. Town Secondary School Mr. Crema, a former U. Town Secondary School teacher M r* Cyprus. pr incipal of U. Town Elementary School Mrs. Danter, secretary at U. Town Secondary School Miss Peering, a teacher of humanities at U. Town Secondary School Miss Dlllman. a student teacher at U. Town Secondary School Mr. E l v l n . an evaluation o f f i c i a l of the Sal lcrest school d i s t r i c t Mrs. Fayter, a teacher of business education at U. Town Secondary School Mr. Frlberg. a former U. Town Secondary School teacher Mrs. Furness. a teacher of humanities at U, Town Secondary School M r G r a y , an architect for the Sal lcrest school d i s t r i c t Mrs. G r i f f i t h s , a teacher of physical education at U. Town Secondary School Dr. Gruner. a trustee of the Sallcrest school d i s t r i c t 23 Mr. Hafftier, a teacher of humanities and physical education at U. Town Secondary School Mrs. Hagen, a parent and member of the U. Town advisory council Mr. Happt a teacher of math at U. Town Secondary School Mr. Hardy, a teacher of humanities at U. Town Secondary School Mr. Hurlburt. a former U. Town Secondary School teacher Jack, a student and president of the student council at U. Town Secondary School James, a student and editor of the student newspaper Dr. Rol ler , former chairman of the U. Town school board Mr. Laurldsen. a teacher of science at U. Town Secondary School Mrs. Light, a trustee of the Sailerest school d i s t r i c t and l ia ison to the U. Town advisory council Mr. McDonald. a parent and f i r s t chairman of the U. Town advisory council Margaret, a student and member of the U. Town advisory council Mrs. Marlon, a teacher of humanities at U. Town Secondary School Mark, a student and member of the U. Town advisory council Mr. Mattson, a teacher of humanities at U. Town Secondary School Mr. Mayall. a special education consultant for the Sailerest school d i s t r i c t Dr. Meyer, a director of Instruction In the Sailerest school d i s t r i c t M r « 0 * Donerty. a parent and member of the U. Town advisory, council Mrs. Pearson, a research assistant for the Sailerest school d i s t r i c t evaluation department Mrs. Rackham. a parent 24 Bay» a student and member of the U. T6wn advisory council Robert, a student and member of the U. Town advisory council Mr. Samuelson. finance o f f i c i a l of the Sailerest school d i s t r i c t Mr. Sander, pr incipal of U. Town Secondary School Mr. Schwennlng. a special education consultant for the S a i l -crest school d i s t r i c t Mr. Scott, a teacher of French and other second languages at U. Town Secondary School Mr. Shelton, a teacher of science at U. Town Secondary School Dr. Wilkinson, superintendent of the Sailerest school d is t r i c t Dr. Worrell , a parent and second chairman of the U. Town advisory council CHAPTER 2 THE STAGE IS SET A half century ago, a university was established by the province of Westmont and endowed with a tract of land at the edge of a major c i t y , Sal lcrest . On these endowment lands, there grew, In conjunction with the new university, a v i l lage known as University Town. It was, for many years, quite separated from the c i ty of Sal lcrest . As the university and the c i ty expanded, the separate character of U. Town was only partly affected. There remained a wide barrier of undeveloped endowment land protecting U. Town from the c i ty which grew up to i ts gates. However, even the parts of Sal lcrest adjoining the endowment lands were l ike U. Town in their socia l composition. The area was a prized resident ia l section, the inhabitants of which included many wealthy academics and business executives. U. Town had i ts own school d i s t r i c t for many years, and the residents of the d i s t r i c t were very proud of their control over their schools. The former chairman of the U. Town school board, Dr. Rol ler , described the school d i s t r i c t s governance this wayi There was an Independent school board at that time, operating Just the two schools. We had the same Jurisdict ion over the schools as other boards in the province had. . . . The school board,was elected at an annual general meeting. U. Town was an unincorporated terr i tory (endowment lands). The school board was the only legal ly constituted body in the endowment lands. At the annual meeting of the school community, nominations were made by a nominating committee and from the f loor , and board members elected on the spot by the electors. The beauty of the system was that the board was close to the community and had the f i s c a l means to translate community wishes into actions. The schools of the U. Town d i s t r i c t were academic ins t i -tutions which prepared their young people for university. The program evidently did not change much over the years. Mr. Happ, a teacher at the secondary school for many years, told met . . .There was no general program in the school. There was no provision for slow learners. Quite a number l e f t for private schools with lower standards. This was s t r i c t l y an academic school, with a very r ig id curriculum. Dr. Koller also spoke to this point* . . .At some time prior to I965 (before I was involved), the school board decided in this d i s t r i c t to provide only the academic stream in the high school. Having made that decision, the school board had to evolve a mechanism for providing for non-academic students, so they paid Sailerest to enrol them; but due to the university-faculty and business-executive com-position of the community, there were very few students who took this option. Mrs. Eackham, a l i fe long resident of the U. Town area, saidi The program was carried on as It had been when I was at the school;thirty years ago. The school offered the same curriculum for years. A few good teachers were able to innovate because the conditions for It were good. Parents with bright youngsters were very sat isf ied with the school. 27 Ray, a student who attended the secondary school before the Innovations were Ini t iated, said* A l l the teachers had been there at least ten years. The chemistry teacher, Mr. Hurlburt, was In an amazing rut . You could take his notes from 1948 and use them In 1970. The U. Town d i s t r i c t provided very good working condi-tions for teachers, and many of Its teachers became entrenched. Dr. Kol ler : This d i s t r i c t , because It had only two schools, had the means for keeping the classes small by providing additional teachers' salaries on Its own. Teachers found this one of the most attrac-tive features of the d i s t r i c t . So we were able to attract a rather competent staff . They weren't a l l competent. We had the problem of not being able to get r i d of the incompetent ones because of the small size of the d i s t r i c t ; we couldn't move them around to get them to resign. Mr. Prlberg, a former secondary school teacher, gave this de-script ion of teaching conditions: I was the l ibrar ian and head of the English department of the school. . . .The U. Town school board worked hard to ensure an excellent pupi l -teacher rat io and good f a c i l i t i e s . In the f i r s t f ive years I was there, the pupil-teacher rat io went down each year. At the time of amalgamation the enrolment was about 250. I taught two L i tera -ture 12 classes averaging 15 or 16 pupils per c lass , so I could teach In seminar fashion. I had two-thirds to three-quarters time in the l ibrary . Mr. Crema, another former staff member, said: U. Town was an academic school. One could do very satisfying work with the students. There was a very low pupil-teacher ra t io , and an excellent salary scale. Teachers in the high school apparently went their own ways. There was l i t t l e Interference from administration in 28 the classroom, and at the same time v i r tua l ly no school-l e v e l 1 program. Some school- level program decisions were made by the board, with the advice of the principals and a teacher-board l ia ison committee. Dr. Rollers In my time, examples of school- level program decisions would be those concerning arts options, counselling options, second-language options, l ibrary options, and band. Since the number of teachers in the d is t r i c t was s t r i c t l y l imited, there was a continuing need for program policy decisions. These decisions were made by the board. The mechanisms of decision-making were threefold* (1) school-board in i t ia ted; (2) recom-mendations from staf f , through the principals and superintendent; (3) petit ions from the community. There was no dialogue between the school board and students about curriculum; students were only con-cerned about things l ike parking f a c i l i t i e s . . . .The teaching staff had a considerable role in decision-making. They met with the pr incipals , and the principals with us. The board also created a teacher-board l ia ison committee so that teachers could influence board decisions d i rect ly ; examples of teacher-board topics would be Sabbatical oppor-tunities and l ibrary f a c i l i t i e s . Mrs. Marion, a teacher who, l ike Mr. Happ, was on the staff before the introduction of innovation and remains at the school now, described pre-innovatlon program decision-making as followss Decisions were made by the local board; the secretary-treasurer had his off ice In the secondary school. There was a l ia ison committee of staff and trustees, which discussed general po l ic ies . . . . Curriculum content was entirely decided by the department of education (provincial) . There was a good deal of room for experimentation within that, In my areas, social studies and English. I individualized instruction myself as much as I 1Remember that by "school leve l" I refer to the individual school as a whole. 29 wanted. The teachers very much went their own ways; i t was a very noticeable feature of the school. Even within the department, we never met, never changed subjects, never helped each other. There was the odd effort to get together for particular problems, but they usually fa i l ed . Staff meetings were characterized by a communi-cation problem; people didn' t say what they were thinking. Mr. Happ saw i t this way* In the Individual subjects, . . .we had carte blanche—those of us senior In the hierarchy. In 1968 to I969, for example, I Initiated an individualized pacing program; and I used d i f f e -rent math books for certain k ids. The decisions that were made came from the front o f f ice—disc ip l ine , b e l l s , timetable, and so on. Most of the staff were not Interested In part icipating In decisions; they were only In-terested In their own academic f i e l d s . The decisions made at staff meetings were t r i v i a . . . . Most of us had very l i t t l e effect on the program of the school as a whole. Some teachers le f t be-cause of that. Mr. Prlberg, one of the former teachers interviewed, said* One of the things I l iked about the school was that there was very l i t t l e paternalism on the part of the administration. The principal sometimes made decisions we didn't l i k e , but usually we got along wel l . Any experimentation you wanted to do was s t r i c t l y up to you, the teacher. Most program decisions were made within subjects. We didn' t meet as a staff very often, partly because It was a small school and we saw each other frequently In the staff room. Staff meetings were cal led by the principal every one to three months. Mr. Crema, another former teacher Interviewed, gave this description* There was no school- level program decision-making; we were pretty autonomous as subject teachers. Decisions about the program were total ly at the classroom leve l . I can't think 30 of a single example of a school-level decision, except concerning things other than curriculum; but then, I can't think of any need for school-leve l program decisions either. . . .There were notpps^iiems at a l l in securing supplies for teaching, for example. As far as inter-subject harmony, there was never any problem. It was such a small staf f ; you saw everyone a l l the time. The program, of course, was limited because of the size of the school. The pr inc ipa l , Mr. Sander, sa id; Myself and the v ice-pr incipal had a larger say than now; but the staff had a say. We discussed proposals with staff and students. For example, independent study was brought t© the staf f , as a way of making up for the lack of alternatives in the program; and the staff was involved in deciding upon i t and implementing It. . . .The program was pretty well la id down by the department of education, though. The teacher's time was almost a l l booked up. . . . U. Town, then, was a rather autonomous school d i s t r i c t in a university community, with a stable academic program and an Individualist ic staf f . Two drastic changes have been imposed on this picture in recent years. In 1969, the provincial government decided to reorga-nize the U. Town school d is t r ic t -by amalgamating i t with Sai lerest . Dr. Roller1 • . .As more and more university housing was b u i l t , the d i s t r i c t ' s taxpayers had to pay more and more to maintain i ts educational standards. It f ina l ly got to the point where the children in the schools who were from tax base were only f i f t y per cent of the enrolment. The university was tax exempt, and refused to contribute. The d i s t r i c t got funds from the province for the university chi ldren, according to the regular formula, but the d i s t r i c t taxpayers had to support the extra staff ing costs for the whole system— those that were above the provincial a l locat ion. So when the university children became f i f t y per cent of the enrolment, the d i s t r i c t taxpayers 31 were paying double for the same standard they had tradit ional ly provided. We probably would have had to amalgamate volun-t a r i l y , but i t would have been better than the way It was done. As i t was, the two giants—the uni-versity and the provincial government—virtually "shafted" us, a few months after the provincial election of JlAugust, 1969. . . . In December, I969, the U. Town d i s t r i c t was forced to amalgamate with Sallcrest by a provincial order- in-councl l , after the d i s t r i c t had been assured by the minister of education earl ier that this would not happen. My connection with the schools ended on December 31$ 1969 1 when the amalgamation took effect. They asked us to work through the Christmas holidays to ease the t ransi t ion, which we refused to do; we resigned Immediately. They wouldn't even wait unt i l the end of the school year to effect the change In d i s t r i c t organization. Mrs. Rackham: There was no parent role In the amalgamation decision. It was made behind the scenes in the department of education. . . .The residents in the area had no choice. The school system with which U. Town was amalgamated was quite different from the small , university d i s t r i c t . U. Town Secondary School became the smallest among eighteen high schools In a d i s t r i c t serving the entire c i ty of Sal lcrest ; In ef fect , an academic prep school In a diverse urban system. The Sal lcrest school trustees tended to encourage Innovation on the part of their administrators and teachers. The source of the Innovations to come at U. Town Secondary, l ike other innovations In the Sal lcrest d i s t r i c t , was traced for me by Mr. Berends, the Sal lcrest board's communications director , to the earl ier election of a majority of liberal-minded trustees by the Sal lcrest voters. Innovative pol ic ies were being developed at the board level In Sallcrest at the time that the U. Town d i s t r i c t was amalgamated with It* pol ic ies 32 favoring, among other things, Individualization of Instruc-t ion , professional freedom and responsibi l i ty for teachers, curr icular f l e x i b i l i t y , alternative programs, development of statements of school objectives, and greater decentralization of decision-making to the school l eve l . Chapter Summary Unti l December 31, 19^9» the U. Town community exercised control over i ts schools through Its own school board. There appears, however, to have been l i t t l e or no development of the program of the secondary school as a whole, and thus l i t t l e opportunity for part icipation in school-level program decision-making. The school-level program decisions that did occur were usually made by the local board, vwith some influence by admini-strators, teachers, and parents. The program was defined by provincial requirements, although there was some f l e x i b i l i t y . Experimentation did occur in some classrooms; individualized pacing and alternative curriculum materials were employed by some teachers. Staff meetings were apparently infrequent. School-level organizational decisions were made by the pr inc ipal . It was against such a background that U. Town amalgamated with the Sailerest school d i s t r i c t by order of the provincial government. The amalgamation placed U. Town within the control of a change-oriented administration; several specif ic innovative pol ic ies which were to affect U. Town Secondary could be seen "in the wind" when U. Town Joined the larger d i s t r i c t . ******* CHAPTER 3 THE INITIATION OF INNOVATION During the school year 1969 to 1970, at the same time that the U, Town d i s t r i c t was amalgamated with Sa l lc rest , a study of differentiated s ta f f ing 2 concepts was undertaken at the level of the Sal lcrest school board of f ice . Out of that study came a report and proposal to the Sal lcrest trustees 1 education committee on September 17, 1970. Dr. Allworth, assistant superintendent, reported that Dr. Meyer, a director of Instruction, and representatives from the secondary teachers' and administrators' associations "had been studying a variety of projects with.a view to changing the organiza-t ional structure In secondary schools." They had attended workshops dn differentiated staf f ing. Dr. Meyer told the education committee that . . .they preferred to c a l l this program "change of Instructional pattern" which Involved teachers looking at their Instructional role In a different way; making them more professional and capable of using other personnel, staff resources and various types of equipment; Involving them in decision-making. Dr. Meyer said that they proposed to create a project In "modified Instructional patterns" in some Sal lcrest secondary school, starting In September, 1971. They wanted to select a ^•Differentiated staff ing" refers to any of a number of ways of redefining teaching roles such that different teachers have different degrees of responsibi l i ty , e . g . , master teacher, teacher, teaching assistant, etc. 3^ school by December so that there would be time for "necessary staff adjustments." They proposed to "hold a three-week workshop next summer for a l l staff who w i l l be involved in the project. . . . " This proposal was approved by the committee. Between September, 1970, and January, 1971, the idea of designating University Town Secondary as the school for this project was formed and developed. On January 22, 1971» a speci f ic proposal to this effect was made in the form of a memo from Dr. Allworth to Dr. Wilkinson, superintendent. By this time, the plan included many more innovationss an empha-sis on individualization of Instruction and student responsi-b i l i t y for learning; curriculum enrichment; u t i l i za t ion of community resources in the program; f lexible scheduling; a. parent-student advisory committee; and educational workshops or seminars for parents and students. The choice of U. Town for this project was explained on the basis of the "conducive setting" It offered for experi-mentation—the small size of the. school and s ta f f , the ava i lab i l i ty of excellent resources in the community and university, the students' "orientation to study and scholar-ship ," and the parents' "high Interest and support for the school ." The principal was reported to be enthusiastically interested in the proposal. Three days prior to the Allworth-Milkinson memo, meetings had been held with the staf f of U. Town Secondary 35 and with the community, Dr. Allworth reported. The staff had been told of the plan, the reasons for i t , and given assurances about transfer status, §he community had given support to the proposal by "general consensus." On January 27, the proposed reorganization of U. Town Secondary was approved by the board's education committee. On February 8, the recommendation of the education com- , mlttee was approved by the board as a whole. On February 12, the decision was described to the U. Town parents In a le t ter from the pr inc ipa l . The purpose Is to provide broader learning opportunities and to Involve teachers, parents and students in deciding what these opportunities should be and how best to achieve them. It Is our Intention to enrich the curriculum; Increase the use of the excellent resources of talent and f a c i l i t i e s available in our community; and Individualize Instruction In ways that w i l l help students develop sel f -d i rect ion and assume responsibi l i ty for their own learning. . . . Parents were told that "the role of the teacher w i l l be quite d i f ferent ." Plans for restaff ing and for summer planning meetings were described. F ina l l y , parents were informed that "we plan to hold a seminar for parents and students to discuss their involvement In the making of decisions regarding the program." The February 12 let ter to parents assured them that the changes would not "detract from the excellent academic t rad i -tion that has been established at University Town School through the years" and that "these are established practices elsewhere and hence In no way are the changes experimental." 36 Looking back on the decision to reorganize U. Town Secondary, a number of participants gave me descriptions of the way in which the decision was made. Dr. Oruner, a Sailerest trustee! As I understand It, there had been pressure from various trustees to loosen up the high school a b i t . We had.taken over this small, over-staffed (by our budgetary standards) school. It was looked on by the senior o f f i c ia ls as a good place to experiment. They came up with the idea, brought i t to the trustees, who were enthu-s iast ic enough about i t to go along. Then they went to the teachers* F ina l ly , the community was involved. . , .The in i t i a t ive for the change was from the board o f f i c i a l s , but of course they wouldn't have come to us with i t i f we had not encouraged this type of thing. . . .(The emphasis on student responsibi l i ty and individualization of instruction) was the type of innovation the trustees wanted. We certainly wouldn't have been in favor of any innovation, regardless of i ts nature. . . .I'm not aware of any participation by community members in the in i t ia t ion of the change. Dr. Allworth described i t this way* We inherited that small school d i s t r i c t through a "shotgun marriage1* imposed by the province. We had this tight unit of limited enrolment. After one year with i t , i t seemed an ideal place to try an experiment because of the small size and proxi-mity fc& the university. It was a senior admini-strative decision; but i t was consistent with the emphasis on decentralization of decision-making, because i t was simply an extension of things we'd been trying to do elsewhere in the system. A forerunner of the U. Town innovation was the "Self-programmingM (at two other schools); i t emphasized the same things on a smaller scale. In making this decision we brought i t to the education study group—whloh includes represen-tatives from the secondary teachers' association and administrators—and got their support for doing i t . It started from here. The community resisted i t almost unequivocally from the beginning. We spent a lot of time making pitches out there; we 37 had to convince the community. The teachers were given the choice of moving to another school in the system with equivalent rank and salary, or applying for the new U. Town staff ; there were only three besides the principal who applied to stay, and we took a l l three of them on In the new organization. We weren't opposed to.the tradit ional approaches of the previous U. Town faculty; this was a mis-understanding that some teachers and local ci t izens had. In fac t , we have several schools which run along similar l ines . The U. Town school s i ze , Its proximity to r i ch physical and human resources were the prime factors in attemp-ting a new program emphasis at this school. Dr. Meyer saidi I n i t i a l l y , the notion,took form down here around Christmas, 1970. : In the year prior to that we did a study ,of differentiated staf f ing; there was a joint committee, we came up with a proposal on differentiated staf f ing. The feel ing of the committee was that we shouldn't in i t ia te differentiated staff ing without changing a whole school program. We threw out the Idea to a l l of the secondary schools, but there were no -takers, only a few interested. We wanted high consensus on a school staf f . So by Christmas, 1970, we had decided we'd need to change the complexion of a school completely. U. Town seemed the most logica l school. There was discussion among the directors with Dr. Allworth, and I was given the task of thinking more about the U. Town possib i l i ty and drawing up schema for that part icular si tuat ion. . . . 1 , myself, only entered the U. Town picture when the innovations were in i t ia ted , and I was asked to be the connec-tion between U. Town and the board of f ice . A year after the reorganization decision, in an address to school administrators in another d i s t r i c t , Dr. Meyer saldj The change in the school was conceived by the central off ice as a complete program reorganiza-t ion. The idea was to establish a school program that could Incorporate as many of the new notions 38 about school organization, staff u t i l i za t ion , and teachlng/learnlng as was possible--the "black box"3 area. Mr. Friberg and Mr. Crema, the former U. Town teachers whom I interviewed, also gave descriptions of the reorgani-zation decision. Mr. Frlbergi After amalgamation, I had two extra classes, and my time in the l ibrary was sharply reduced. I talked to Mr. Sander about i t , and got the intimation that the school would be reorganized In the spring. We (the teachers) inferred that U. Town would become,an academic school with an experimental tone. At that time I sat on the provincial English curriculum committee, and I expected that courses such as the ones we were developing would be implemented at U. Town. In late January, we were called into a staff meeting with Allworth and Meyer. • . .Allworth explained that the school would become an experi-ment in different kinds of staf f ing. He l i s ted some alternatives, and one member of staff asked i f this meant differentiated staf f ing. Allworth said not necessarily. They were going to c a l l for teaching applications from persons Interested in "exciting experiments in education," and the applicants were to state what kinds of experiments they were interested in . Then he went on to explain that the present staff members could apply on equal terms with other applicants, or transfer to positions of approximately equivalent type elsewhere in the system. I asked If this was established board pol icy; Allworth said yes. I asked what consultation with the parents was planned; Allworth said there would be meetings to explain the new program, but the decision had already been made. It s t i l l wasn't clear what the new pattern would be. At the parents' meeting, the question of academic standards was raised. The answer was not direct or def in i t ive . Some parents were quite unhappy; they asked i f they were going to have any say. Allworth ^Dr. Meyer apparently was using this term in a general way to connote experimentation. 39 said no, the decision had already been made, and the parents would have to l ive with i t . The staff was given a fixed date by which to re-apply for their jobs. > I deoided to leave. I went on educational leave, but i f I hadn't gone on leave I s t i l l would have l e f t U. Town because I did not consider the changes being introduced to be educationally desirable. In retrospect, I can see that It may have been necessary to change the school once the d i s t r i c t was amalgamated, but the manner in which i t was changed was questionable. I ronical ly, the staff and community were shunted aside in inst i tut ing the innovations. I, and I suspect many of the staf f , have come to feel (In retrospect) that a change was necessary and that although the methods of change and outcomes did not, and may not s t i l l , impress us as being sound, yet they probably evolved out of a sense of the necessity of change. Mr. Crema told me this* Even though I was staff chairman at the time, I knew nothing about the decision to reorganize the school. There was a meeting called at which Dr. Allworth said things,would be changed and we, the teachers, could re-apply for our positions i f we wished. Every staff member was extremely upset. It was done In a very Inconsiderate manner. I went to them at the behest of the staf f . We didn't know much about the planned program change, but we objected to the way i t was being Introduced. A letter was also sent to the school board by the Sal lcrest secondary teachers' association, admoni-shing them; the great fear was what they could do to other schools If they could do this to U. Town. The pr incipal of the school was in an untenable posit ion. We requested a meeting with the trustees . . .and everybody on staff expressed their remorse. One got the feeling that even the trustees were regretful ; they were very sympathetic to us; but It seemed that the decision had been made—fait accompli. At the time of the d is t r i c t amalgamation, the same board o f f i c i a ls had said there would be no change In the school for at least f ive years', to reassure the community. Hfs. Marlon, one of the teachers who stayed on at the school, described the reaction to the reorganization decision: 40 . . .Allworth and Meyer announced to the staff that they would be replaced or could re-apply for appointment. It came l ike a bombshell. Many of the older staff were very resentful , and many in the community thought the teachers were being r a i l -roaded. There was a movement opposing i t . . . .The manner of forcing the change didn't bother me par t i -cular ly , because there was such a need for change, and i t was probably better to make i t sudden. Dr. Worrall , a parent who later became a member of the U. Town advisory counci l , related this viewt At the time the or iginal decision was made to change the school, the parents began to hear rumors of a "free school." They were very concerned that there might be a complete lack of organizational structure. Sander (the principal) balled a couple of meetings to discuss i t . Allworth. . .and several other o f f i c i a l s came and raised the question of'there being some kind of body for l ia ison with the parents and students; out of that came the advisory counci l ; but we were never rea l ly told who made the decisions, Just that i t was going to be a great advantage to U. Town to be a testing ground for educational innova-t ions. They stressed individualization of the rates of learning, and enrichment of the curriculum. However, the parents were s t i l l concerned about the slow learners—would they be closely observed? I re -member Sander saying some students couldn't cope with the new system and might prefer to move to another school. It was le f t , that way. The parents didn't, understand i t . It would have been better to get the parents involved much more in the beginning. . . . Mrs. Rackham was one of the parents who expressed support for the reorganization when i t was ini t iated t There was some discussion In the form of meetings held to discuss the projected change with parents. The school board had already made up Its mind. . . • I had talked to Dr. Allworth and expressed Interest in change, prior to th is . . . .There ensued a f ight between l i b e r a l and conservative factions in U. Town. I was taken aback by the amount of opposition among my neighbors to the Idea of change, and I retreated a b i t . Many of the opponents were professors who held tradit ional views about education; but as far as I know there was rea l ly no participation of the com-munity in the decision to reorganize the high school. 41 A student saids The decision was made by the Sailerest school board. The students fend even the teachers didn't have a say in i t . It was Just thrust on us and we had to adapt to i t . In a separated community l ike U. Town, that's maybe the way i t has to be. It surely i s n ' t going to come from within. Chapter Summary The decision to reorganize U. Town Secondary was the outcome of a process In which study of change poss ib i l i t i es in one area of school organization—differentiated s t a f f i n g -was gradually transformed Into a global innovation plan. The locus of this development was the board and d i s t r i c t admini-stration l e v e l , with Involvement of school-level personnel only through d i s t r i c t professional association representa-t ives . The study of differentiated staff ing concepts led to the idea of "modified instructional patterns'' (including teacher involvement in decision-making), without reference to a particular school. Specific plans were proposed to "adjust" teaching personnel assignments and to hold staff planning sessions in the summer, prior to the opening of such a school. After the relevant board committee approved that idea, a search was conducted for a school to f i t It. Simul-taneously, the change plan.was expanded to Include an emphasis on student responsibi l i ty for learning, individualization of instruct ion, curriculum enrichment, use of community reources in the program, and f lex ible scheduling. In this last stage of reorganization planning, the idea of creating a community advisory council was Included, and last-minute meetings were 42 held with the U. Town parents, students, and teachers. The reorganization decision was made f i n a l by the Sailerest board of trustees. In describing the decision to the old U; Town staf f , the o f f i c i a l s apparently downplayed the extant of prior program decision-making included in the basic reorganization decision by presenting i t as rather less con-straining than It rea l ly was.. The history and character of the U. Town school d i s t r i c t had a direct bearing on the selection of U. Town Secondary as a s i te for innovation—not through the participation of local people in the reorganization decis ion, but through the rea-soning processes of the central administrators. In part icular, the decision to create a community advisory council at U. Town was l i ke ly the reault of the o f f i c i a l s ' desire to placate a community recently angered over the forced amalgamation of i ts school d i s t r i c t with a much larger one. In addition, the o f f i c i a l s perceived the small size of the U. Town Secondary School and i ts setting in a university community as "conducive" to experimentation—particularly to the type of innovation in which students are given unusual degrees of freedom and re -sponsib i l i ty . Related to this consideration was the view, held by a l ibera l segment of the U. Town community, that the secon-dary school was too outdated and r ig id In i ts program to prepare students effect ively for university. CHAPTER 4 PREPARATIONS FOR PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT The Appointment of the New Staff The notice distributed by the Sailerest school board off ice ca l l ing for applications for teaching positions at. U. Town Secondary described the school as a "project school" designed to "bring together many of the newly established practices in education." Prospective teachers were advised that there would be participation of teachers, parents, and students in decisions about the program; that the teacher's role would be tjulte di f ferent;" that the school would provide individual izat ion of instruction and "help students develop se l f -d i rect ion and assume greater responsibi l i ty for their own learning." Further, the notice Informed Interested teachers that there would be "enrichment of the curriculum through subject Integration and use of the excellent resource of talent and f a c i l i t i e s available in the community." It was noted that applicants would have to be wi l l ing to do some planning and In-service work during out-of-school time, including a three-week summer workshop. Recall ing the staff selection process, Dr. Meyer said! The c r i te r ia given the new staff were just that they be f l ex ib le , use their imaginations. They were selected for their ab i l i ty to project Into a situation of that kind. 44 Mr. Happ, one of the teachers who re-appl ied, recal led that! . . .The administrators said they had no pre-conception of the new program. I asked them about that spec i f ica l ly at the time, and they said they had no idea, they were just going to hire the most talented people. Mrs. Marion, another teacher who re-appl ied, said! The new staff appointments were announced late in the school year, around Easter or after , which minimized the period of intense i l l - f e e l i n g in the staf f . I d idn' t even know unt i l the appointments were announced who else from the old staff was interested in staying. The "Curriculum Workshops'* for the Community Two "curriculum workshops" were held In February to March, 1971. The let ter of Invitation and programme for the second workshop indicate that there were presentations by professionals followed by group discussions. The topic of this second workshop was . "Patterns of Organization to meet needs of the Curriculum" ("semesterlng," "modular scheduling," "self-programme in a semester system"). Dr. Meyer explained to me that department heads from Sailerest secondary schools were used as resource people for these meetings, and he showed me some overhead projection materials used; he said that "department heads from the d i s t r i c t suggested i n d i v i -dualization and subject integration as themes for presenta-tions to parents." Trustee Gruner recalled i t this way! The community was involved In a series of v-\ meetings, which went f a i r l y wel l , although there was some opposition. Community members turned out in f u l l force, asked Important questions, and seemed supportive of the idea as a whole. ^5 Mr. McDonald, a parent who subsequently became a member of the advisory body, saidt We were given a framework in a series of concept meetings, .where the school explained the new ideas. It was a gentle form of indoc-tr inat ion. The Formation of the Advisory Gouncll On March 25t the day following the second community workshop, an invitat ion was Issued to the parents "to attend a meeting for the purpose of discussing the organization of an advisory council to be made up of parents, teachers, and students. w The Invitation stated that "the advisory council w i l l have an Important role to play In the school organization next year." At the meeting, held on March 30, a l i s t of suggestions was distributed concerning the "areas in which an advisory council could serve" and the composition of the counci l . The areas suggested were. "Inventory of resources of the community to enrich the curriculum" (volunteer aides, tutoring, organization of f i e l d t r i p s , speakers); "assessment of the total school programme" as "feedback" to the staff ; " Init iat ion and organizing of extra-curricular programmes outside of regular school hours;" and "information channel between the parents, students and the school board." The, . suggested composition of the council was " , x* number" from each of three groups—staff, students, and parents—plus the pr incipal and a l ia ison trustee of the Sal lcrest school •board. 46 Mrs. Rackham told me la ter : Meetings were held with parents in the spring of 1971 to discuss the idea of the advisory counci l , as a means of involving the parents. The o f f i c i a l s said they didn't know how the group would function; i t was' up to the parents, teachers, and students to set goals, procedures, and so on. . . • The minutes of the meeting indicate that the parents decided to c a l l for nominations and volunteers, publish "thumbnail sketches" of candidates, and elect four parents by mail ba l lo t , for a one-year term. It was also decided that the advisory council would be composed of four repre-sentatives each from the parent, student, and teacher groups, and the principal and l ia ison trustee. Mr. O'Doherty (who was to become a member of the council) and Dr. Roller (the former chairman of the local board) spoke unsuccessfully for the reactivation of a parents* schools association, organiza-t ional ly independent from the professionals. On March 31» Mr. Sander reported to the parents, by l e t te r , on the outcomes of the previous evening*s meeting, and asked for the names of volunteers or nominees by Apr i l 8. He noted that the staff and student representatives would be selected by their own constituencies. The bal lots and sketches,of nominees distributed in A p r i l offered a choice of six parents. The four who were subsequently elected were Dr. Worrall , Mr. O'Doherty, Mr. McDonald, and Mrs. Hagen. Dr. Worrell 's position as stated in the sketches emphasized the need for i 47 . . .an ongoing assessment and evaluation at a l l l eve ls , both by those responsible for formulation of the curriculum and by those providing a direct read-out of i ts overall effectiveness, the parents and students. . . . The advisory council as projected can and should, in addition to i ts other terms of reference, allow such a mechanism provided that we maintain free and open communication amongst a l l concerned-communication is a two-way street and is the essence of constructive change. Mr. O'Doherty emphasized his "long standing Interest and con-tinuing loyalty to the school" and "commitment to make any contribution I am able;" he pointed to his experience as a professional architect in the design of school buildings, and his interest in the relat ion between architecture and "emerging techniques in the f i e l d of education." Mr. McDonald l i s ted his experience as a transportation executive, member of a royal commission, and chairman of the National Harbours Board; he stated that* The school programme, as outlined at the various workshop sessions, offers an opportunity of widening the horizon of a small school such as University Town by reacting beyond the staff resources ava i l -able. Using the resources of the community at large should make i t possible to give the students the feel ing that their school environment is v i t a l and relevant. Mrs. Hagen emphasized her interest in participating in the solution of the "complex problems which face this d i s t r i c t in the development of a programme for the secondary school." She called for "broad educational opportunities. . .greater freedom of choice in studies. . .a new rapport between teacher and student, and. . . in the student a greater sense of responsibi l i ty for his own education." 48 % The two who were not elected were Mrs. Rackham (who was interviewed in this study) and Mrs. Brougham. The parents were asked to return their bal lots to the school by Apr i l 30. On May 3, a let ter to the advisory council nominees announced the resul ts . A 40.5 per cent bal lot return was reported. During the month of May, the new staff decided, in the course of their f i r s t meetings, to rotate their participation in the advisory counci l ; and four students, one from each of the grades 8 to 11, were selected as council members. I learned later that these students were selected through volun-teering. On May 31, a let ter from the principal informed the community of the counci l 's membership, and invited community members to "meet with the advisory council and school staff for an informal gathering and coffee" on June 16. Contact with the Westmont University Faculty of Education On May 18, 1971, a meeting was held with department heads of the Westmont University faculty of education. According to Mr. Sander's report, possible contributions to the U. Town program were identi f ied in the areas of c u r r i -culum, industr ial education, physical education, modern languages, reading, audio-visual , ar t , administration, and socia l studies. Several department heads who were not present at the meeting promised to meet with the U. Town staff later . 49 I n i t i a l Meetings of the New Staff The new staff met as a group for the f i r s t time In May. Plans for the f i r s t meetings called for f ive seminars* (1) interpersonal relations t ra in ing, including role percep-t ion , small group processes, decision-making, and problem-solving; (2) evaluation, including setting goals and objec-t ives; (3) modifying learners* behavior; (4) u t i l i za t ion and evaluation of staf f ; and (5) coordinating resources with learners* needs. The training program was; . . .designed to increase teacher competence in program development and analysis, refinement of Instructional procedures, assessment of students' academic and social s k i l l s , recording students* performance and behaviour, and appl ica-tion of reinforcement principles for motivating student performance. Distribution of Individual Staff and Student Proposals Following the In i t ia l staff sessions, each staff member wrote up his/her Ideas about the new program, and sent them to the school to be duplicated. These materials were subse-quently distributed at the program planning session in June. A l l students at U. Town Secondary were given the opportunity to communicate their ideas in the same manner. Chapter Summary In the period between the reorganization decision and the f i r s t program planning meetings, the new staff was appointed, "ourriculum workshops" were held for the community, the advisory council was formed, the university*s faculty of education was contacted about specif ic l inks , the members of 50 the new staff were brought together for the f i r s t time to become acquainted and to experience training in interpersonal relat ions and program development, and program proposals from individual staff members and students were gathered. It would appear that these preparations for program development were carried out in a manner consistent with the goals of the project, ,once those goals had been decided upon by the school board. In applying for posit ions, new staff members were , advised of the global character of the innovations; the emphases on student responsibi l i ty for learning, curriculum enrichment, and use of community resources; the summer planning sessions and the goal of teacher-student-parent participation in decision-making. Integration of subject f ie lds was iden-t i f i e d for the f i r s t time as an expectation for the new program. The teacher's role.was described as "quite di f ferent ," Just as i t had been in the letter to parents announcing the re-organization. The o f f i c i a ls apparently gave the new teachers the impression that there were no "preconceptions" about the new program. The formation of the advisory council took place in conjunction with the appointment of new staf f , and appears to have been accompanied by an aura of importance. CHAPTER 5 PROGRAM PLANNING PRIOR TO YEAR ONES THE JUNE MEETINGS The new staff met at the Sailerest school board off ice building throughout the week of June 14 to 18. At the f i r s t meeting on the morning of Monday, June 14, an agenda was distributed suggesting that there be discussion of "material submitted by staff members on features desired in the structure for September" and "comments from students. . . " ; and that an . . .agenda for the remainder of the week and for the August meetings. . .be discussed and set up. This should outline the broad objectives we wish to reach by June 18 and by the end of August, plus any work that is to be done during the interval . The i n i t i a l agenda also announced that there would be a report that afternoon by a v is i t ing expert on the use of staff assistants;, and that six persons would be "interviewed i n i -t i a l l y this week" for four staff assistant posit ions. (The interviews had been arranged for Thursday and Friday, starting at 4s00 p.m.). On Tuesday, June 15, Dr. Allworth and Mr. Samuelson, head of the d i s t r i c t finance department, met with the staff to discuss what funds would be available to the school. The staff pressed for money to buy specialized equipment, while the board o f f i c i a l s stressed the tightness of the f inancial picture city-wide and the importance of avoiding any appearance that U. Town "had received a special deal and 52 was not a typical school that could he used as a pitch for other schools."**' Dr. Allworth said that limited funds were avai lable, however, and asked the staff to prepare a speci f ic l i s t of needs. That morning, Mr. Sander, the pr inc ipa l , told the staff that he had delayed the Involvement of parents "so that staff could get to know one another and select representatives and for the return of parents from out of town." He also said that the "parents wish to know what additional areas we plan to move Into." The staff discussed the meeting of the advisory council scheduled for that evening, June 15» and the larger meeting for a l l s ta f f , students, and parents scheduled for the following evening, June 16. According to the minutes of the staff meeting that morning, . . .the feel ing was that June 15 should be used for getting ideas; June 16 to give pol ic ies in general terms and to introduce the staf f . Mr. Happ fe l t that more speci f ic answers should be prepared, Mr. Sander fe l t that detai ls should be arranged through the counci l . On the afternoon of the 15th, the staff discussed the organization of the physical plant, and how to approach the timetable problem. At the advisory council meeting on the evening of the 15th, there were present two students, three parents, seven 4Where not otherwise stated, quoted passages from the period of time prior to my own observations are taken from the minutes. 53 teachers, and the principals of both the secondary and the elementary schools. There was discussion of the new school program and of the functions of the advisory counci l . Mrs. Hagen expressed the concern she sensed in the community about "what kinds of things are going to happen." Mr. Sander replied that they were . . .envisaging three large blocks of time in the day with the staff divided into teams-working in separate domains. The core would be in the large block f i r s t thing in the morning, broken down at the discretion of the team. The other two blocks of time would be contracted for by the students and could be changed. Each staff member would act as an advisor to a group of about 25 students. Weaknesses in specif ic areas could thus be contracted for and strengthened. . . .Core material is essent ia l , determined by the department of education. . . .The sections would be as f lexible as possible within the subject areas. Mr. Sander said that "this decision" had been made "to avoid the student missing basic core.material" while at the same time enabling the school to "identify the needs of the student," "include the involvement with the university," and "to develop the type of c i t izen we want In terms of. . . growing responsibi l i ty . . .maturity." Dr. Worrell "expressed the view that the core time should provide a real backbone of learning and be f lex ib le enough to make sure that the basic minimum is well covered or the necessary changes made." A student said that "some of the.students were apprehensive about radical changes." Concerning the functions of the advisory counci l , there was general agreement that i t should fac i l i t a te communication 5* between the school and the community. The three parent representatives expected the school staff to provide leader-ship—"Ideas," "guidance," and "decisions." Dr. Worrall f e l t that the council should "get the program across to the commu-nity of parents." Mr. O'Doherty was concerned about parents "over-reacting'' before new teaching methods were "well tested and considered," although he fe l t that "the advisory council should play a very Important role in getting feedback." Mr. Cyprus, the elementary school pr inc ipa l , said that "evaluation should come from the community after the ideas have been t r i e d . " Various methods of promoting communication were discussed, including "abstracts of minutes in the nature of a community le t ter ," questionnaires, written material from the school s taf f , phone cal ls to council members from parents, and general meetings for parents and students. It was decided that methods of communicating should be discussed the next evening at the larger meeting. Dr. Worrall offered to speak concerning communications. It was also decided to hold advisory council meetings every third Tuesday during the summer. At the stiaff meeting the next day, June 16, Mr. Soott said that there had been, at the council meeting, "a misunder-standing of the term 'core material ' and de-emphasis on the direct student contact during 'contract' time" when "learning becomes truly Individualized." 55 Other topics discussed, by staff on the 16th Included the size of teaching teams (Dr. Meyer sent a suggestion via Mr. Sander that even numbers work together better); the use of Westmont University student teachers; and the problem of attendance anticipated by Mr. Sander. (I could f ind no record of the June 16 general meeting^) On June 17, the staff discussed the problem of a time-table. Mr. Sander expressed the need for help during the summer for structuring a formal timetable. It was decided that as many as can make i t would come to U. Town Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday after-noons at It30. . .during the month of July so that there is something to work from—suitable or not. The two weeks at the end of August could be used for amendments of the timetable plus other basic problems. Also on the 17th, the staff discussed the problem of preparing students for scholarship examinations while, at the same time, emphasizing "a broader human approach.w On the 18th, the last day of this f i r s t planning week, the staff again considered the questions of use of the physical plant and organization of the timetable. Teachers were asked to provide Information on their needs to timetable planners. The following Wednesday, June 23, another meeting was arranged so that the staff could discuss building alterations with Mr. Gray, school board architect; at the same time, Mr. Sander "called for f ina l equipment figures to submit to the board." On June 25, another staff meeting was held with 56 Mr. Gray, at which proposals for alterations and equipment were f ina l i zed . The Contract Decision I asked a cross-section of participants how the decision had been made to u t i l i ze the "contract" approach to student responsibi l i ty for learning and Individualization of instruc-t ion , as an example of an important school-level program decision. Interviewees almost unanimously traced the decision to the f i r s t staff planning sessions, but exact information on the process by which the decision was made was d i f f i c u l t to obtain. (The interviews were done a year and a half after the decision.!?); Teacheri . . .It came up in the staff planning meetings. I don't remember who suggested i t . Teachert We came up with that at the end of the f i r s t planning week. . . .At f i r s t i t was going to be afternoons for contract time, more open than we ended up doing. . . .It would have meant putting a great deal more responsibi l i ty on the kids. Contract time was a way in which, i t was f e l t , individualization and student responsibi l i ty could best be implemented. Teachers The decision was made at the June meetings of the new staff in 1971. . . .We agreed contracts should be an adjunct to the student responsibi l i ty emphasis. It was suggested by those who believed in individual izat ion. We a l l thought i t would be a good thing. I can't reca l l who brought i t up. CfeEtainiyiPlt was from the s ta f f , not administration. They never mentioned i t . . . .It didn't seem Impor-tant at the outset. Contract time Is Just a natural 5? adjunct to individualization of instruction; i f you're going to have an. Individualized program, you have to have a time set aside for contracted work—what alternative Is there? Teacher; The contract system came out of the discussioh, of individualization of instruction in the early staff meetings, as an answer to how to individualize rates of progress. Teachers This was decided in order to carry out the other decision (to emphasize student responsibi l i ty and Individualization). . We decided there would be a minimum amount of time students would be required to be in classes, and those who wanted to progress at a faster rate could contract to spend more time in any area. Also, those who had problems. It was a staff consensus thing; i t was discussed and agreed on. I don't reca l l who suggested It. Teachers In our f i r s t meetings i t was voiced as an ideal some had, and as past experience by some. It was the product of a lo t of reading by some of us. There was a consensus to use contracts, i t didn't come out as a decision; everyone saw a way to use It In their own area, either through time or work load. The pr incipal salds It was a staff decision; i t was made at the meeting down at the school board (off ice bui lding). Every staff member participated In the decision and agreed to i t . I don't reca l l where the idea o r i -ginated, or from whom. Dr. Allworth said of the contract decisions MThat was a loca l decision. It had nothing to do with the board o f f i c e . " Dr. Meyer's perception wass "The contract decision was made s t r i c t l y by the staf f . It arose from general d i s -cussion among staf f ." Mr. E l v i n , a school board evaluation 58 o f f i c i a l , saids "That was a staff decision. I don't know how i t was reached. Our education department may have had some input. . .although I doubt i t . " Parents Interviewed did not know anything about how the contract decision was made* Parent : I don't know how i t was made. Parent: (The contract decision) was made by the faculty of the school, or the faculty in consultation with the school board. Parent: I don't know how this was done. The council seems to have made no decisions. Parent: I don't remember how the decision about contract time was made. Students were also in the dark about the contract decision: Student: I don't know how the decision was made; I guess by the teachers. . . .Students aren't consulted or questioned about decisions concerning the program of the school as a whole. Contract time is one example. In this respect I t 's Just l ike any other school. The students Just carry out decisions made. Student; The decision was made by the staf f , the new staf f . Student: I don't know how the decision was made. 59 Concerning the contract decision and subsequent decisions about the contract approach, trustee Gruner sald» These were administrative and staff decisions implementing the basic reorganization decision. . . • I think It was the new school staff that generated the new program. I'm not sure when the community council was set up,.whether before or after these decisions were made—probably before. The Decision to Emphasize Student Responsibility and Individualization of Instruction A decision prior to, and even more basic than, the contract decision was the decision to emphasize student re -sponsibi l i ty and individualization of instruction at U. Town.-* Although that decision was exp l ic i t ly included in the board's or ig inal decision to reorganize the school (as we have already seen), most of the teaching staff believed that they, rather than the board, were responsible for i t . It seems l i ke ly that the staf f selection process was crucia l ly Important in deter-mining the nature of staff group philosophy; yet the members of the staff apparently did hot have a clear knowledge of the decisions preceding their appointment. Teacher* It seems to me the decision to emphasize student responsibi l i ty and individualization of instruction was made at our f i r s t (staff) meetings In June, 1971, when we met for a week at the school board ^Thls material is presented at this point, rather than ear l ie r , because of the nature of the interview f indings, 1 w i l l be seen. 60 (office building). That was the basic philosophy that we a l l seemed to have. From there we tr ied to determine how we could best put that Into practice. We didn't rea l ly have to discuss those emphases too much, although we did spend a lo t of time discussing how to Implement responsibi l i ty and Individualization. . . . Teachers That was by staff consensus, as a result of discussing what we wanted the school to be l i k e . It turned out that we were a l l saying the same thing—to give students responsibi l i ty and i n d i -vidualize instruction. Teachers I t 's hard to say who made the decision. I f e l t It to be in the staff as a group before we even met. In the f i r s t couple of days when we met It came out. We didn't have to do any real decision-making about It. . . .Many of our early decisions were informally arrived at through round-table discussions. We could fee l the common attitudes we held; we could sense agreement. . . .Maybe It was because of the board's selection of staff—a beautiful case of homogeneous grouping; but i t could have been just that when we got together we decided to be dif ferent . Teachers This was decided when we f i r s t met and brain-stormed. It was an outcome of looking at things we'd experienced in other schools. We thought i t would be good to have kids progress at their own rates, part icular ly In French, Math, and other subjects where the content is standard. We wanted to see i f we could get kids to take responsibi l i ty for their own learning. Teachers The emphasis on student responsibi l i ty was a consensus of Individual staff opinions. Our opinions were formed before coming into this project. The collaboration which followed simply confirmed the consensus. Why we a l l agreed on this philosophy I'm not sure. I don't think i t was because of any decision by those who selected us. . . . 61 Mr. Scott had a somewhat different view: Individualization of Instruction was among the parameters that were In the original prospectus given to the staff by administration. I think the decision to emphasize student responsibi l i ty Is derived from that by the staff as an area most re -f lect ing Individualization of instruction. There Is a great difference between Individualization of instruction and individualization of learning—the former has to do with the teacher, the la t ter with the student. Individualization of instruction was included in the or ig inal administrative conception of the program, as were differentiated staff ing and a half dozen other things; they were suggestions by the board o f f i c i a l s . Individualization of learning was not exp l ic i t l y decided upon; i t was a derived concept. It varies from subject to subject. Student responsibi l i ty was seen by the staff as a means of implementing individualization of instruction. Student responsibi l i ty was emphasized by the staff because of the extremes of tradit ional structure in the schools from whence they came. Our i n i t i a l discussions started with a few simple terms of reference, which gave some notion of a program. Our question was how to do i t . The principal sa id : Or ig inal ly , the board said to me, replace the staff and try differentiated staf f ing. They didn't know what they meant. What they real ly meant was a different use of the budget. . . .The board didn't have any preconception about student responsibi l i ty and so on; that resulted from the teachers I picked. The board's intent was simply to change the school. . . .It wasn't so much "emphasize" student respon-s i b i l i t y as "encourage." Our f i r s t concern was how much responsibi l i ty should be put on the grade 8s . . . .The decision was made in the f i r s t week of the staff workshops. I brought It up, and It met general agreement; but there were decisions and non-decisions. Many things were done because nobody objected to them. We f e l l Into a lo t of things that way. . . .There was no particular point when the program was defined; i t Just evolved. Student re -sponsibi l i ty and individualization didn't actually become the distinguishing features of the program in any clear sense. . . . 62 Mr. E lv in , the board o f f i c i a l responsible for evaluation of the U. Town program, saldi . . .To my knowledge, this decision was arrived at by the staff team selected for the project. They were given the mandate to develop a school permitting freedom of choice. . . .The education department (under Dr. Allworth) was probably involved to some extent in stating the philosophy of the project to the staf f . Dr. Meyer said: It was decided that there would have to be greater student responsibi l i ty i f i t was going to be a d ist inct type of school. Student responsi-b i l i t y foes along with individualizat ion; i t is necessary i f there is to be a more open plan in the school. Chapter Summary In the f i r s t two days of the June planning sessions, i t began to become apparent that problems which might roughly be termed "organizational" were of much more pressing importance than problems concerned with curriculum, instruct ion, or program evaluation: e . g . , selection and use of staff assistants, finance, community re lat ions, physical plant, timetable, and the organization of decision-making i t s e l f . The hand of the board off ice was evident in the arrangements for a speaker on the use of staff assistants and.for interviews with applicants for staff assistant positions—arrangements which represented decisions as to the use of staff group planning time, and which implied a definite prior decision that there would be staff assistants employed. Simi lar ly , the use of part of the second day of the sessions was allocated In advance by the board o f f i c i a l s to a discussion of finance. 63 The pr inc ipa l 's delay of parent Involvement created a separation right from the beginning between the staff and advisory council ; community representatives were not at the planning sessions, and the council met just once In the evening during the f i r s t planning week. Prom i ts f i r s t meeting, the advisory council apparently was not expected by the parent representatives to function as a decision-making ibody. The emphasis appears to have been on f a c i l i t a t i n g communications and explaining the new program to the community. The pr incipal 's description of the new program to the council revealed several important decisions made by the s ta f f : the intention to organize the staff Into teams, and subject f ie lds into domains; to divide time into blocks, some of which would be used by students to "contract for" work in addition to the "core material ." The pr incipal 's emphasis was on the "core," defined by the provincial department's curriculum requirements, to reassure concerned parents (and students); In speaking of the program's goal of student respon-s i b i l i t y for learning, the pr incipal emphasized the development of "maturity" and de-emphasized the student freedom that would log ica l ly accompany increased student responsibi l i ty . An , Ideological s p l i t began to be apparent the day following the advisory council meeting, when one of the teachers objected to the pr incipal 's emphasis on "core material." Further evidence of the Importance of organizational rather than curr lcular- instruct ional problems could be seen in the topics discussed during the rest of the f i r s t week of 64 planning meetings: the size of teaching teams; use of student teachers; attendance; timetable; physical plant. The only curr lcular- lnstruct ional problem identif ied in the jhinutes for those three days was that of coping with the provincia l - level scholarship examinations without violat ing the "human phi lo-sophy" of the project. The problems of architectural a l tera-tions and special equipment were deemed important enough to hold two additional meetings fcheGEoilowing week. In the latter two meetings, the Importance of the board off ice as f i n a l decision-maker was apparent. Part icipants 1 recollections of how the contract decision was made provided some insight into the process of program de-cision-making In the f i r s t staff planning sessions. The most s t r ik ing characteristics of the process appear to have been the extent of staff consensus achieved without much debating of alternatives; the way in which the contractual approach appears to have been assumed as a feature of the program; and the lack of part icipation in the decision by anyone other than the staf f . Participants' perceptions of the basic decision to empha-size student responsibi l i ty and individualization of instruction ?at U. Town reflected a lack of clear knowledge of the board's In i t i a l reorganization decision, and an under-estlmation of the importance of the staf f -select ion process. The apparent ease of reaching staff consensus was attributed by most participants to s imi lar i t ies in the individual staff members' evaluations of schools in which they had previously taught. #****«« CHAPTER 6 PROGRAM PLANNING PRIOR TO YEAR ONES THE AUGUST MEETINGS A ten-day staff workshop was held from August 23 to September 3t prior to the opening of school. One of the matters dealt with early In the workshop, at the suggestion of Dr. Meyer, was the objectives of the school. Statements were offered by various members,of s taf f , then two teachers . .were delegated to set these general objectives In some semblance of order. w Their formulation was as follows: 1. To provide opportunities for the student to: (a) evaluate his academic and personal goals, capabi l i t ies , and needs; (b) learn through Individual and group processes; (c) recognize education as a continuing l i f e experience. 2. To encourage understanding of and a sense of commitment to the needs of himself and others. 3. To provide learning experiences suf f ic ient ly comprehensive to meet the needs of a variety of post-secondary pursuits. 4. To Involve the student body and community In decision-making and evaluating new patterns of organization and curriculum development. 5. To encourage student responsibi l i ty for learning. One of the teachers told me later that the staff did not take the stating of objectives very seriously—that It was viewed as an exercise which could not have much use because the most Important objectives of the school could not be 66 precisely defined and were, in any event, understood by a l l staff members at a "gut l e v e l . " Three days of the workshop were devoted to domain meetings for program planning. The problem of art iculat ion of domains was discussed by the staff as a whole. Evaluation of student achievement and of the school program were discussed. Also, . . .Dr. Meyer requested that we have someone from the evaluation and planning department at the school board do a sociological study in the school. After some discussion i t was decided that Dr. Meyer end a member of this evaluation department would strike a design for this evaluation and submit i t to the staff by September 15. . . . ,?C©mmuni cat ions with parents and students" was a topic considered at the workshop. The areas of concern within this topic were student orientation to the new program, s p e c i f i -ca l ly the planning of orientation week and the orientation booklet; the advisory council ; and meetings of Individual students and parents with staff advisors. A related concern was the role of the staff advisor and the advisory groups, which were to replace the tradi t ional "home rooms." Mr. Scott' . . . f e l t that parents and students should have had some participation in the meetings that took place with the staff in June and probably the meetings in progress at the moment.. On August 31 at 3;00, the staff discussed the advisory council meeting to be held that afternoon at 4:00. A sug-gested agenda for the council was planned which included the 67 following topicsi bikes; books and l ibrary; student lounge and smoking; portable and construction (building alterat ions); open or closed policy (attendance); and community resources. (Other matters of concern at the staff workshop In-cluded: budgeting; the use of space In the building by domains; the need for a portable or geodesic dome; furniture and special equipment needs; enrolment; the use of staff assistants and additional staff ing needs; timetable revision and the use of the unscheduled Thursday; attendance; and arrangements for the Issuing of textbooks. There was also discussion of the program with Westmont U. , the use of community resources, the physical education program, and counselling services,) The advisory council meeting of August 31 was attended by a trustee (Mrs. L ight) , three parent representatives, three student representatives, ten teachers, the pr inc ipa l , and four staf f assistants. Mr. Sander "reported that the teaching staff had one week of al l -day sessions at the Sal lcrest school board In the lat ter part of June and had been at the school since August 23 In planning meetings." Mi*. Sander: then explained the timetable for the coming year: The timetable is set out In 20 minutes modules. This enables classes to be given In 40, 60, 80, etc. minutes time blocks. There is a timetable drawn up Indicating only the basic minimum core subjects. The remainder of the timetable is blank. This is NOT a free day but rather a day for con-tract time, f i e ld t r i p s , etc. A mini-course may last from 3 weeks to 9 weeks depending on the subject area. These subject areas have been le f t unt i l the students have an opportunity of sugges-t ing the courses they would be interested i n . 68 Mr. Chiba "reported on the proposed programme for orien-tation week:" On Tuesday, September 7, at 9*00, students would meet with their advisory groups and be given orientation book-lets and individual appointment times for interviews with their advisor the following day; after 10:00, teachers would be "located in the school throughout the day for students to discuss the programmes being offered." On Thursday and Friday, September 9 and 10, there would be further individual meetings "with subject teachers to discuss course selection and registrat ion;" a lso, on Thursday at noon, an Informal socia l ac t iv i ty , and on Friday afternoon, "parents are invited to come to the school to discuss problems and questions which might have arisen during the week." On Monday the 13th, plans called for "individual student/advisor meetings to enable the advisor to see each student's completed timetable^" and a staff meeting to discuss and solve any conf l icts In students' timetables. On September 14 would begin the "Implementing of the programme." Parents asked questions l i k e : "How many students were under the guidance of each advisor?" "What grades w i l l be commencing studies at 8:00 a.m.?" "Are the grade 7s being accommodated at the elementary school?" Mr. Sander explained the building alterat ions, and the problems of getting action from the school board on a portable and on equipment moving. Mrs. Light agreed to "follow up the action that is being taken on this portable by the school 69 board." It was "moved by Mr. McDonald, seconded by Dr. Worrall,that the request to the school board regarding the moving of equipment be heart i ly backed by the advisory counc i l . " Mrs. Anderson . . .asked the advisory council for advice and suggestions regarding a student lounge and smoking In the school. She reported that the staff had made no policy on these Items and would l ike some help from the counci l . Mrs. Light reported that It was a board policy that no smoking was permitted in schools. She suggested that we could make representation to the board and request that this policy be changed In the case of this school and then this staff and advisory council could make their own decision. The student representatives made various suggestions about a lounge, and took the position that smoking should be permitted outside the school only. . . . .• Miss Deerlng reported on the attendance pol icy. Each student w i l l be responsible for turning in weekly an attendance card to his advisor. On this the student w i l l mark his absences. Subject teachers w i l l also keep a record of attendance. • .In each of his classes. If a student Is absent for 3 to k days In a row this w i l l be reported to his advisor who w i l l then notify the parent by phone. . . .Miss Deerlng also reported that no policy had been set down by the staff regarding a student who has some free time between classes. Must they remain in school or can they go to the l ibrary at Westmont U. , or some other place? Suggestions were asked for . Mrs. Hagen suggested that the whole concept of the school would be contradicted i f the teachers had to police the students. After some discussion, Mr. McDonald suggested that an open policy be adopted to begin with and that i f It was 70 found necessary to tighten up at a later date this could then be considered. Dr. Worrell and Mrs. Light both stated that the expectations of staff for students must be impressed at a very early date. Also that , i f a student shows at an early stage that he is not performing well that he must be shown the error of his ways immediately. Mr. Hardy requested that old bicycles be contributed to the school for students to use to go to act iv i t ies at Westmont U. Mrs. Payter requested "that the community take some active interest in the l ib rary ." Mr. Sander asked that "some thought be put into the matter of setting up a f i l e on community resources. This was tabled. . . .The meeting adjourned at 5*50 p.m." Chapter Summary In the August planning sessions, the schoo ls objectives were stated by the staf f . The manner in which this came about was of Interest to my study In part icular , since state-ments of objectives were so central to the program development model employed. The staff engaged in this act iv i ty in an un-committed fashion, and only in compliance with the suggestion of the director of instruction responsible for the project. The teachers generated statements as a group, and then dele-gated to two staff members the task of putting the objectives into "some semblance of order.". The f ive objectives which resulted reiterated in different words the project 's or iginal emphases on student responsibi l i ty for learning, indiv idual i -zation of instruct ion, oommunity resources, and community part icipation in decision-making. Particular emphasis could 71 be seen in the objectives on the student*s psychological and socia l development. The staff assented to the director 's suggestion to have the board off ice evaluate the project, subject to staff approval of evaluation designs. The staff does not appear to have questioned the basic idea of the board, rather than the school i t s e l f , making program evaluation decisions; nor is there any evidence of concern on anyone's part over the postponement of evaluation planning (and stating of objec-tives) to the last part of the program planning period. As in the June planning sessions, the bulk of the problems concerning the staff during the August meetings appear to have been organizational rather than curr lcular -lnstruct ional . Some major areas of school-level organiza-t ional problems could be seen to carry through both of the advance planning periods; finance; physical plant; staff u t i l i za t ion ; timetable; student attendance. Most curr icular -instructional planning appears to have been done at the domain or class leve ls . School-level program decisions in the August meetings were concerned with the advisory ro le; the use of community resources; and the problems of stating school objectives and planning the program evaluation, discussed above. It began to be seen In the August session that a major school- level program would be the "art iculation of domains." The types of problems which were of concern to the staff under the heading of "Communications with Parents and 72 Students" reflected the separation between the teachers and the community In program planning and decision-making; only one teacher appears to have voiced concern over the lack of community participation In the planning sessions. The s ta f f ' s discussion of the advisory council was sandwiched Into the last hour before the council meeting. The council meeting i t s e l f was relegated to late after-noon on a day near the end of the August planning period. The agenda for the meeting, suggested by s taf f , seemed to dwell on topics re lat ively peripheral to basic program decision-making. Mr. Sander's description to the council of the timetable i l lustrated once again his concern over adverse parental reaction to increased student freedoms; i t also I l lustrated the emphasis in the counci l 's function 6n d i s -seminating and just i fying to the community the professional's decisions. The same could be said of Miss Deerlng's report on attendance pol icy. The parent representatives and the l ia ison trustee demonstrated, In their responses to the question of students' free time between classes, that the s ta f f ' s worry about community opinion was well-grounded. The t r i v i a l i t y of the counci l 's participation In decision-making could be seen in the discussions of the problem of getting equipment moved and the question of student smoking. CHAPTER 7 INTO YEAR ONE The U. Town orientation booklet for students contained the general objectives of the school; the orientation week schedule; course information; the timetable; attendance ru les; information on textbooks, locks, and lockers; a map of the school; and blank timetable forms. Courses were offered under the following subject headings* business education, home economics, humanities, industrial education, mathematics, physical education, second language, and science. In the Sal lcrest school board handbook for September, 1971, the superintendent reported* During the year the .board of school trustees reaffirmed Its policy regarding teachers* pro-fessional freedom and responsibi l i ty . . . .The board and o f f i c i a ls also increased the amount of local autonomy and encouraged schools to make decisions in matters that can and should be decided loca l ly . Sal lcrest education department head Allworth emphasized in the handbook that "the need now is for each staff to esta-b l i s h , through consensus, a statement of the objectives and the learning experiences their school Is providing or should be providing to achieve these objectives." Under the board's policy to develop "alternative programs," the handbook presented University Town Secondary as "a project In student-staff-parent cooperative planning." . . .Emphasis is being directed towards reducing grade level structure, integrating subjects In 74 the curriculum, greater u t i l i za t ion of the f a c i l i t i e s and human resources In the university community, and more student responsibi l i ty for learning. When the new U. Town program was Inaugurated, a number of students transferred to the school under the d i s t r i c t ' s open boundary pol icy.^ Student! I came from another school in September, 1971. I heard this school was going to be freer , and I signed up. In the summecsbefore the new system started, along with a lo t of other kids. I didn't know what "student responsibi l i ty" or "Individualization" were going to mean; I just heard i t was going to be a "free school." Student: I came here In September '71 because some other kids described i t to me as a new Utopia , where the learning processes had no struggle or effort Involved; they emphasized the freedom students would have. I was naive enough to believe It. When we f i r s t came i n , i t was l ike a bombardment because nobody, including the teachers, knew what #as&golng to happen In actual i ty , which Ideas were feasible. The staff met twioe between the opening of school and the next advisory council meeting. In the course of those staff meetings, a staff assistant "was asked to make notices for parents' afternoon, regarding the contribution of parents to the school;" Mr. Hardy was delegated "general relations representative to the Sailerest school board;" and Mr. Chiba 6 In the f i r s t year of the project the school enrolled approximately 330 students. About one-quarter of the student body came from outside the immediate neighborhood. There were 12 ful l - t ime teachers. 75 accepted responsibi l i ty as "the staff representative on the students' counci l , " Other Items on the two staff agenda had to do with: v is i tors to the school; timetable problems; equipment for ceramics; arrangements for interviewing prospective teachers; payment for courses taken elsewhere by U. Town students (this question was referred to the advisory council ) ; representation at the Sailerest secondary teachers* association; obtaining Information on special events at Westmont University; a f i e l d t r ip ; staff assistant assignments; individual student problems; and attendance recording. Advisory Council Meeting, September 14 At this meeting, there were present: Mrs. Light , the l i a ison trustee; four parent representatives; four student representatives; three teachers; and the pr inc ipal . Mr, Sander . , .suggested that a new arrangement regarding the chairman might be made. Moved by a student that a parent take,the chair. Nominated by Dr. Worrall and seconded by Mr. Sander that Mr. MoDonald take the chair . Mr. McDonald suggested that a rotating chairman would be more sat is fac-tory. . . .Mr. McDonald w i l l take the chair up to and including the January meeting. . . .Mr. Sander remained In the chair for the early part of this meeting at the request of Mr. McDonald. . . .Mr. Sander moved that the advisory council invite an evaluation person as observer from the Sailerest school board. Agreed. . . .Mr. Sander asked for suggestions and/or a policy regarding public l ibrary lectures, etc. . . . .Should the student have the fee paid for by this school? 76 The question was br ie f ly discussed. No resolution resul ted, although there was no objection to such payments. MMr. Sander raised the question of the night school programme at U. Town Secondary.M He pointed out that the statement in the brochure that the courses were drawn up . • .*with the cooperation of the principal and parent committee1 was an error. . . .Night school principals are usually paid but in this case a request from the board for a voluntary parent-pr incipal has been made. Mrs. Hagen suggested two names. Mr. McDonald then took the chair . He "raised the matter of how the f i r s t week in school went." A student, Ray, said there was a need for "bringing information more quickly and effect ively to the student." The students suggested use of the bul let in board and P.A. Mrs. Hagen "fel t that in the orientation booklet i t was missed out that a sense of be-longing Is needed." A student, Margaret, added that she "missed the cohesion and meeting of other grade 12s In the f i r s t week." Staff representatives said "they were aware of this Important point." Mr. O'Doherty "wondered what groups there are—apart from the whole school—for students to Identify with." A student, Mark, "pointed out that i t was d i f f i c u l t for veteran students to meet new ar r iva ls . " Margaret said that "social ac t iv i t ies w i l l come, but w i l l take longer this year." Ray.."felt that the present situation w i l l be beneficial In the long-run." Dr. Worrall said that "this Is similar to col leges, where social izat ion does not begin unt i l the second or third week." 77 Margaret said the "hal l noise is d is t ract ing." Ray "fel t that this noise was Just a temporary thing and that a student lounge would help." Discussion of the problem of how to provide a lounge ensued. Mr. O'Doherty suggested that the council invite the f i r e marshal to discuss use of furniture In the ha l ls . Mr. Mattson, a teacher, said that although the "free-time concept Is disruptive for the time being," those parents who "seem to be urging students to f i l l up their entire time-table" were acting "contrary to the overall concept of the school ." Mrs. Hagen "fel t that the use of the expression •free time' has been misleading. A more relevant term should be chosen." Mark reiterated the need to "bring the students into a cohesive body and part icular ly to get new students feel ing more at home." Mr. Mattson "stressed the importance of a lounge for this purpose" and "explained that the communica-tions basis of the humanities program meant forming and re -forming communications groups in the school." Mr. McDonald "suggested we come back to this at the next meeting and evaluate i t again after a few weeks have elapsed." Mrs. Fayter said that "the achievement of Identity would take a long time." Dr. Worrall told me during an Interviews . . . A l l of this was dumped too precipitously on the parents, without any Information to the parents on how the new program was arrived at. We never had any feedback from the early staff planning meetings on the new curriculum. The 78 planning should have gone on for a year in advance. They told us that i t was a l l too new to be able to say what would happen, that they had Just decided upon the new programming. The parents were dis i l lusioned because i t was so i l l -conceived and was modified so frequently. There were no get-togethers with parents. Much of the parent disillusionment came because of the ineffectiveness of the new program decisions— the gap between what had been promised and what was actually made available. Mrs. Rackham said: . . .It was the understanding of the parents that the council would meet during the summer inten-sively to help develop the program; but i t didn't function this way. It met only twice before the opening of the new school, and when the council met in the f a l l i t was disorganized. Dr. Kol ler : . . .The advisory council innovation was probably Intended to sat isfy the community, having lost i ts separate board, but i t was timed in such a way that the basic program decisions were already made before the council got going. . . . There were three more staff meetings in September, at which the main items of business were the use of staff assistants and the budget.. (Dr. Allworth and Dr. Meyer attended the latter*) Other topics included: volunteer student assistance to handicapped persons; v is i t ing educators; arrangements for interviewing a prospective staff member; driver training; furniture and equipment replacement; time-table problems; attendance forms; l ibrary materials; use of the auditorium; language lab equipment; teachers' association; honoraria for three people helping with drama; and arrangement of a meeting with three elementary school teachers. There 79 was follow-up to two matters discussed in the previous advisory council meeting! the student interested in the l ibrary lecture would be given half the fee; and three bul le t in boards in the school would be used for speci f ic types of information for students. It was also announced that Mr. Elvin of the school board's planning and evaluation department had been assigned to "work with the school on evaluation," and i t was decided that he would be "Invited to attend the next staff meeting, September 30," Chapter Summary In September, 1971, the handbook of the Sal lcrest school d i s t r i c t underlined the board's pol icies supporting teachers' professional freedom and responsibi l i ty , local autonomy and decision-making, and program development through expl ic i t statements of objectives and instructional plans at the school l eve l . The d i s t r i c t handbook presented U. Town Secondary School as a project In "student-staff-parent cooperative planning," and reaffirmed the emphases at U. Town on subject integration, community program resources, and student respon-s i b i l i t y for learning. Meanwhile, new students enrolled at U. Town from various parts.of the c i ty under the board's open boundary pol icy; these students apparently came to U. Town with the expectation that i t would be a "free school." Yet the orientation booklet issued to U. Town students by the staff offered a, program which departed from the tradit ional in one area: humanities replaced the usual social studies, 80 Engl ish, and art . The orientation booklet also disseminated to students the s ta f f ' s statement of f ive general objectives. At the f i r s t regular staff meetings, the contribution of parents to the program apparently was treated as an organizational problem suitable to delegate to a staff assistant. The l ines between the staff and the school board, and between the staff and the student government, were apparent in the delegating of responsibi l i ty for the s ta f f 's l inks with those groups to particular teachers. Again, the types of problems addressed by the staff as a whole were primarily not curr icular - instruct lonal . The areas of timetable, physical plant and equipment, finance, s taf f ing, and attendance continued to characterize staff meeting d i s -cussions; in addit ion, the area of relations with colleagues in other schools (v is i to rs , professional association repre-sentatatlon, meetings with U. Town Elementary staff) began to appear on staff meeting agendas. The only curr icular -instructlonal topics discussed during staff meetings in September of year one seem to have been the detai ls of a f i e l d t r i p , the obtaining of information on special events at university, and driver t ra ining. At the September advisory council meeting, the principal raised three side issues: approval by the council of his proposal to invite an •fesaluatlon person;" the question of payment of a student's fee for a lecture outside the school; and the recruitment of a parent volunteer to administer a 81 night school program. Parents and students ini t iated d i s -cussion on several topics more central to the development of the secondary school program, kicked off by one parent's question, "How: did the first.week in school go?" A need for quicker information to students from staff was identi f ied by student representatives. (This was followed up in a staff meeting by a decision as to the use of certain bul le t in boards^;) An important issue raised was the lack of student group "cohesion" in the f i r s t week, apparently due to the individualization of programming and the influx of new students. Student and parent representatives supported a stance of patience with the new system on this issue. Student representatives identif ied the problem of noise in the ha l ls . The need for a student lounge was introduced to the discussion. The safety of lounging in the hal ls was questioned by a parent representative. A teacher objected to parents* opposition to "free time." **«»«** CHAPTER 8 STUDENT GOVERNMENT, COMMUNITY CRITICISM, AND ORGANIZATIONAL DETAIL The advisory council meeting of October k was attended by four parent representatives (Mr. Hagen in place of Mrs.); four student representatives; three teachers; the pr incipal ; the l ia ison trustee; and Mr. Elv in from the board o f f ice . Mr. McDonald chaired. To follow up on the previous council meeting, student representatives reported that "the division of the student population into ' o l d ' and •new1 components had not yet been solved. w Mr. O'Doherty said he had heard there was a problem, related to t h i s , concerning student government. Mark and Ray said "student feel ing on this had been brought to a head by the student council issue." Mr. Hagen "fel t the questions of integration of newcomers and of student government were normal at this stage of a new program." Ray and Mark said i t was "more serious than that. New students wanted plenary type meetings not student counci l ." Mark f e l t the "student council is necessary to bring some organization to the student body." Mrs. Light and Margaret "presented more evidence of student concern." Mr. McDonald "wondered i f the staff had been brought into the student council issue. It was pointed out that staff had attended plenary student meetings on the same basis as students." Mr. Sander " fe l t the present position unsatisfactory." Margaret "pointed out the need for possibly 83 a temporary council to take care of pract ical Issues while In the meantime students could make up their minds what form of government they wanted. Some form of compromise Is needed." Mr. McDonald said this was a "good potential subject for humanities, but It Is rea l ly a problem for the students themselves.M Mr. O'Doherty said there was a "need for the administration of the school to adopt a definite attitude on student government.n Mrs. Light replied that the "students are trying to work out a new type of re la t ion-ship with the s ta f f . " The student representatives "pointed out that the student council elections were now possibly inval id because of the changed nature of the school popula-t ion . The whole question of the va l id i ty of the constitution was opened up." Dr. Worrall said that "on the basis of approximately a two-thirds to one^third s p l i t In the student population, and with the need for some structured organization, an effective student government could and should be obtained." Mr. McDonald "suggested new elections on the basis of the existing consti tut ion." Mr. O'Doherty moved that "this council recommend that due process be followed in establishing new elect ions." Mark proposed that "advisory groups be used as a basis for government, with two students from each group." Mr. Shelton (a teacher) pointed out that when Inter-house teams were picked 'new' students had been le f t out. Mr. Hagen asked for further deta i ls . Margaret explained the procedure which had been followed. This was generally seen by the advisory council 84 as being unrepresentative and had led to d i s -sat isfact ion. Margaret suggested Jack (student council president) be asked to a meeting of the advisory counci l . Dr. Worrall fe l t this might be a good way of re inst i tut ing fa i r student government on Jack's i n i t i a t i v e . Mrs. Light proposed the "possibi l i ty of offering students a referendum on three suggested forms of student government." Mr. Sander said that "advisory council advice would not be appreciated by the student body right now." However, Dr. Worrall supported Mrs. Light 's suggestion of a referendum offering three choices of government. Mrs. Payter and Mr. Scott fe l t the referendum offered more decision to the students than an advisory council recommendation. The question was raised by the chairman—who would draw up sug-gestions for referendum choices? Mark said this would be le f t to existing student council off icers . . . .Mr. O'Dbherty f e l t i t was Jack's responsi-b i l i t y to activate the student council election procedures under the constitution and that the advisory council should give him some confidence to do th is . Robert said the constitution should be suspended, and an interim committee set up to get things going, ultimately producing a new constitution. The chairman asked whether an identif iable 'new group* student spokesman and present elected off icers could be brought to the advisory council meeting to discuss student govern-ment. Dr. Worrall doubted Its value but was wi l l ing to go along. Mr. O'Doherty was not in favour of Mr. McDonald's suggestion. Mr. Hagen saw a very considerable learning experience in a l l t h i s , and a major role possibly being played by staf f . Mr. Sander repeated that talks with groups of students revealed student unwillingness to hear advisory council recommendations. Mr. O'Doherty presented an expanded motion—the advisory council recognizes the need for student government and recommends that i f changes are required to the constitution they be undertaken after the constitutional elections which should be held forthwith. Seconded by Mark. Robert pointed out the new students were not constitutionally oriented, would possibly not be in favour. Mr. O'Doherty pointed out the intent of his motion was 85 to include active part icipation of new students in possibly rebuilding the constitution. Mr. O'Doherty*s motion passed unanimously. Mr. O'Doherty reported that three communications had been submitted to him by parents. Parent A had phoned on a daughter not having enough time on the timetable, and not suf f ic ient ly occupied In her •free'time. Dr. Worrall also reported two phone ca l ls on the same l ines of c r i t ic ism. Mr. McDonald had also heard of 'non-constructive' time, especially in grade 8 or 9. Dr. Worrall said there was a de-f in i te need for the advisory council to face the problem of those students who are not self-motivated and their parents' concern. Mrs. Light requested information on procedures being followed. Mr. McDonald asked Mr. Sander for information. Mr. Sander said some advisors had been busy on the phone. Some students were now turning up for the f i r s t time. Advisors were now phoning parents of students in their groups to discuss matters. Also, group ad-visory meetings were being held on Thursday mornings. Mark f e l t rea l ly appreciative of the new time a l loca-tions introduced in the new program. Margaret f e l t strongly in favour of the new programme and time arrangement. It allowed her to undertake much more work than was indicated on her timetable. Mr. Sander said the grade 8s are in many cases generally con-fused. Mr. O'Doherty wondered i f c learly defined school hours might not be reinstated. Mrs. Light fe l t this would be a mistake and would take the project back to where i t started. Robert said some students def in i te ly appeared to be confused regarding contract time. Mark agreed. The chairman said parents might be informed by a letter from school explaining 'unassigned' time. Mr. Hagen asked whether older students could act in 'b ig brother' roles to younger students. Mr. Sander pointed out this was being discussed r ight now In humanities. Mrs. Payter said the (staff) advisory role was taking time to work out. Dr. Worrall said parent responsibi l i ty in improving students' use of unassigned time must be stressed. Mr. Elvin said i t was found in the U.S. i t takes six months to adjust to a major new con-tractual program. Mr. O'Doherty mentioned two other parents who had phoned. Parent B was concerned about the grade 12 chemistry course, part icularly govern-ment exams. Margaret pointed out that she had no desire to be taught a l l year on the basis of writing one exam. Parent C was reportedly against a lounge i f i t meant reducing 'study space'. . . . 86 The chairman suggested that f o r the next meeting there he an agenda. Mr. Sander agreed to receive suggestions by phone. The October 7 s t a f f meeting was l a r g e l y devoted to a discussion, with Mr. E l v i n and Dr. Meyer, of program evalua-t i o n . (The minutes do not r e l a t e any d e t a i l s of t h i s i ) In the course of other business, i t was decided that "a dinner meeting w i l l be held In the near future. Mr. Haffner w i l l oanvass the s t a f f as to what date would be most convenient. At t h i s meeting, curriculum and teacher load w i l l be d i s -cussed." Also, "Mr. Sander advised the s t a f f that there had been several phone c e l l s and l e t t e r s regarding the grade 8 programme." At the October 14 s t a f f meeting, It was announced that "there Is a dinner meeting at the f a c u l t y club, Tuesday, October 19, at 6:00 f o r the entire s t a f f . The topic f o r n discussion at t h i s meeting w i l l be Curriculum." ( s i c ) There was also a discussion regarding evaluation. It was decided that a l e t t e r should be written to Mr. E l v i n i n v i t i n g him to a meeting on November 1 at 2:30 p.m. It was suggested that an observer be attached to the school on a regular continuing basis. This person should be someone chosen i n consultation with board o f f i c i a l s and the s t a f f at the school. That emphasis should be placed on the education process occurring rather than on the outcomes. It was also suggested that Mr. E l v i n should continue his p a r t i c i p a t i o n with the advisory council. 7 I did not discover any curriculum decisions coming out of such a meeting. 8? Also , Mr. Sander asked for suggestions regarding form of report card. Teachers had received copies of three different report cards and were asked for their preference. Mr. Sander w i l l canvass the teachers today. . . . At the October 21 staff meeting, Mr. Sander reported on his inquiries concerning report card forms, and i t was de-cided "that the NCR forms would be purchased." Concerning grading scales, " i t was decided that an insert to the report cards be made by individual domains regarding grading scale ." It was also decided that marking assistants would be hired as needed by domains unt i l the school board budget for markers at U. Town was exhausted. Coordination of -lalrojb-courses and speakers was discussed; Mrs. Anderson volunteered to act as coordinator. Mr. Hardy "asked for a count of students interested" in various music programs; he was to meet with interested Westmont U. people. There was a discussion of a f i e l d t r ip for a l l interested students. At the October 28 staff meeting, "there was a discussion regarding over-worked and under-worked students. Mr. Scott wondered i f we should offer a structured grade 9 programme for some students." Also, an item had been placed on the agenda concerning "student contact in courses." The statement was amended to read "Are staff members sat isf ied with the number of students that are coming for learning—in any sense of the word"; the Item was "tabled for the next meeting." It was also decided that "an open-forum meeting with 88 students/parents/teachers w i l l be brought up for discussion with the advisory council on November 2. The policy regarding v is i tors to the advisory council meetings w i l l also be d i s -cussed. w Also, i t was decided that "there w i l l be a s ta f f / student meeting in the auditorium on Thursday, November 4, at 9*30 rather than advisory group meetings.*1 Other items of business at staff meetings In October Included* teachers* association; f i r e prevention education; a new student; book orders; counselling services; university l ibrary ; tours of Westmont U.; training on off ice machines for staff assistants; the school annual; student insurance; United Appeal; a school dance; hir ing of a typist ; attendance forms; and use of carre ls . Chapter Summary At the October advisory council meeting, the problem of the "division in the student population" between old and new students returned In the form of a problem In student govern-ment. The "new student" group was pressing for change In t£e student council format In the direction of wider part icipation in student decision-making; many students distrusted the idea of representation. Parent representatives on the advisory council attempted to resolve the problem by making a recom-mendation to the student council to hold new elect ions, even though the principal warned twice that the advisory council i t s e l f was basical ly unacceptable to the student body as a representative forum. 89 The advisory council also discussed issues raised by phone ca l l s and let ters from parents c r i t i c a l of "free t lme. H The problem of students who are not self-motivated was raised. The pr incipal defended the staff by describing efforts to contact parents of such students. Student repre-sentatives also defended the new program. There was disagree-ment among council members over the des i rabi l i ty of defined school hours, and confusion over contraot time. The need for a newsletter was Identif ied. Concern was expressed through a parent representative over provincial exams, and a student representative again defended the U. Town program. Staff meetings in October dealt with a host of minor organizational problems which roughly f e l l into the cate-gories Identified previously. Some school- level program problems were addressed, including "over-worked and under-worked students," "student contact in courses," and the questions of grading scales (which were l e f t up to each domain) and report card forms. Several particular aspects of the program were discussed (music programs, counselling ser-v ices , a f i e l d t r i p , f i r e prevention education, use of university l ibrary ) . Plans were made for a dinner meeting of staff to catch up on the problem of school-level curriculum ( identi f ied ear l ier as the problem of domain ar t iculat ion) ; an important aspect of this problem was viewed as the distr ibut ion of "teacher load." It also became apparent 90 that coordination of mini-courses was problematic. Pre-liminary meetings were held on the subject of program evaluation with an evaluation o f f i c i a l and the director , and further meetings arranged for the near future; In this area, the staff pressed i ts concern that evaluation take into account the "processes" of education occurring in the school, not just the academic outcomes. CHAPTER 9 THE ACTIVATION OP PROGRAM EVALUATION A special staff meeting was held on November 1, at which Dr. Meyer and Mr. Elvin presented a set of proposals con-cerning the evaluation of the project during year one. Dr. Meyer introduced Mr. Bob Hoen, a doctoral candidate in the department of administration at the University of Br i t i sh Columbia. Mr. Hoen wishes to do a case study of decision-making at University Town for his dissertat ion. The S a i l -crest school board f e l t that the data gathered by'Mr. Hoen would be a great value to the total evaluation programme for this school. This evaluation w i l l be done under Mr. Elvln of the school board. Dr. Meyer suggested that questions be put to Mr. Hoen regarding his proposed study of the school. Question period followed. . . . It was asked that a decision be reached shortly by the staff as to whether or not Mr. Hoen would be acceptable to proceed with his study in the g school. Mr. Hoen and Dr. Meyer le f t the meeting. Mr. Elvln proposed several subjects for evaluation, and "suggested that the evaluation done by his department should be of a formative rather than summatlve approach." The out-come of the meeting was agreement that "process would be emphasized;" that there would be "some kind of study related to some of the d isc ip l ines;" that "a neutral participant observer agreeable to both the school board and the staff would be sought;" and that there would be, in year one, "feedback" concerning the advisory counci l , the decision-making process, "learner oriented education," changing 8A few days later I received a telephone c a l l from one of the teachers informing me that the staff had decided my study could go ahead. I was invited to meet some of the staff at a cocktai l party (reported later In this chapter). 92 student expectations, and differentiated staf f ing. Mr. Elvin described for me the process by which decisions were made about the evaluation of the U. Town program in year one i When I. . .was asked to work with the U. Town case, I was told by Meyer that this should be a three-year study; that they had committed them-selves and had the approval of the secondary teachers' association to continue the project for a three-year period, at which time they would evaluate i t and make a decision, with Inputs from a l l who were Involved. It was fe l t strongly that i f evaluation were desirable, then we should not wait three years, we should take the formative approach and measure in some way the achievement of the objectives stated, so the staff could make changes i f they were not achieving their objectives. I decided to conduct a three-phase evaluation; the f i r s t phase was year one. I looked careful ly at the objectives as stated in the U. Town handbook, and met with the staff early in the f i r s t year. I was very concerned about their objectives as stated, and my f i r s t meeting with them was not an amicable one. I c r i t i c i zed their objectives because there was no way you could measure them. I t r ied to c lar i fy their objectives with their help. They were more concerned with "process" than with anything else. Mr, Happ and Mr. Scott were most c r i t i c a l of my pro-posed approach. I l e f t the meeting asking them to t e l l me what processes they meant. A number of things seemed to need evaluation; the advisory counci l ; the decision-making process; con-tracted student time; the attitudes of students toward this school; and cognitive achievement. These things came out of my interpretation of their objectives. I wrote up a phase-one evaluation proposal. This was the way most of the evaluation decision-making proceeded. My proposals were discussed with Meyer, then discussed with the staff and amended. The advisory council met on November 2. The meeting was well attended, although the pr incipal was fbsent due to I l lness. There was no formal agenda. 93 It was pointed out. . .that assigned and unasslgned time on students 1 timetables was s t i l l causing concern to parents. The chairman pointed out that a let ter was intended as an explanation to parents; this had been discussed and decided upon at a previous meeting but that this had apparently been over-looked. He referred to the minutes of the October 4 meeting. Mr. Hagen inquired i f i t was s t i l l considered too soon to have a parents/student/staff general meeting. This was taken up for general discussion. It was suggested that a type of meeting was needed where a clear statement of school policy is made at the opening and some opportunity be then given to put questions to a panel of answerers. This seemed to meet with general agreement. . . . . . .On behalf of the staff i t was suggested that the meeting might be held under the auspices of the advisory counci l , so that the meeting be more in the nature of representing a l l three aspects, student/staff/community of the school. . . . A let ter was read from a parent, expressing concern, among other things, about the possible loss of accreditation! similar letters led the council member to press for an earl ier meeting than early December. Mrs. Hagen pointed out that Mr. Sander's opinion might be sought on the whole matter. In the d i s -cussion of the need for the meeting, some of the students who were in attendance, pointed out that not everything expressed on behalf of parents was negative. It was known that many parents In the community were In favour in varying degrees and evidently It appeared were pleased, in varying de-grees, with what was being attempted at the school. It was proposed that a subcommittee be called by the chair to take care of arrangements for the meeting. Agreed. The student council president was present to follow up on the discussion of student government at a previous council meeting. He explained that 94 . . .student council now had been constitutionally-elected. . . .Students had been sol ic i ted for suggestions for alternate forms of government; no deadline had been set for change proposals. . . . The chairman suggested that the student council f i a deadline for suggestions. . . . The chairman next asked the staf f to explain how community resources were being used. One of the students pointed out that the staff had gone to great lengths to involve the students in some dimension of the school. There was general agreement, on the part of the students, that the community involvement, such as i t i s , had been advantageous. Staff members described actions taken with regard to the use of Westmont University counselling department and l ibrary . A need for dissemination of information from the advisory council to the community was f e l t . It was generally thought that this would be a rather d i f f i c u l t undertaking. Dr. Worrall pointed out that the i n i t i a l function of the advisory council was to be one of col lat ing information rather than disseminating i t . It was agreed, however, that this should be t r i ed . The chairman suggested Its inclusion In the coming parent/student/staff meeting. Dr. Worrall once again stressed, In his own words, the very Important role of parents in emphasizing to their sons and daughters their responsibi l i t ies In the new programme. Mrs. Rackham strongly agreed with Dr. Worrall 1 s statement and suggested that the f i r s t step In. . • the advisory council getting information out to the community might be a notice of the coming proposed meeting. It was suggested that the school might undertake the arrangements of a notice, once a date had been arranged. Later in the meeting, Mrs. Rackham "expressed desire for communication from the pr incipal 's off ice or at least regular 95 information bullet ins from the school at large." Student representatives expressed unhappiness at not being included in the staff meeting on evaluation the previous day. . . .It was pointed out that there were two senses of the word 'evaluation* being used around the school. One very topical meaning of 'evaluation* Is that in which the Sal lcrest school board plus the staff are anxious to f ind means by which the entire project of University Town Secondary School might be evaluated. It was f e l t that perhaps the students had mistakenly thought that a meeting held on Monday of this week between the Sal lcrest school board o f f i c i a l s and the staff had been to discuss the evaluation of their work. It was pointed out that this was erroneous, that the meeting had been to discuss methods of evaluating the whole project. Mr. Elv ln then "described at length" to the council "the forms of evaluation which had been proposed for the total process going on at the school." Mr. O'Doherty suggested that the advisory council should I tself consider i ts own role before other evaluations of i t emerged. Mr. Elv in Indicated that the board has a tentative proposal for evaluating the role of the council but he did not wish to reveal It at this time. One of the teachers, Mr. Shelton, expressed student concern that 'new* students are not represented on the advisory counci l . Most students present concurred. It was then suggested that the students might be elected from the student body as advisory council representatives. This procedure would be separate from student council elections. Concern about the humanities program was voiced. The chairman and others expressed desire to hear more about the humanities program since i t was arousing so much interest. . . .It was suggested that the humanities staff might be 96 requested to attend the next meeting of the advisory council so that the humanities programme might be aired. The members of the council were apparently not entirely happy about the fact that a number of persons from the commu-nity had come to participate In the council meeting that evening. It was fe l t that the next meeting should be held f a i r l y soon, and that this meeting should, on the suggestion of the chairman, consist of a small group of regular advisory council members. . . . Mr. O'Doherty moved for open meetings with smaller committee meetings as required. The general con-sensus was In agreement with this proposal. The following day, Mr. E l v i n , the board o f f i c i a l respon-sib le for overseeing the evaluation of the U. Town project, communicated, in a letter to the U. Town staf f , his percep-tions gathered from attending the two most recent staff and advisory council meetings. A copy went to Dr. Meyer. Mr. Elv in said that . . .there is a def ini te lack of understanding among a l l concerned groups as to the specif ic role to be played by the advisory committee at your school. This suggests to me that i f the committee is to become effective in your total operation immediate steps must be taken to specify c lear ly the responsibi l i ty of the committee as a whole, and the specif ic groups represented on the committee in part icular. Mr. E lv in noted that "There appears to be a growing resentment on the part of parents toward the program result ing mainly from a lack of knowledge about what is in fact going on." 97 Several parental concerns were identif ied by Mr. ElvinJ (a) There seems to be a lack of communication between school and home. (b) Many parents do not understand how the program is operated. (c) Parents want assurance that their children are progressing sat is factor i ly along acceptable paths of learning. (d) What w i l l happen now that the principal is i l l and no one has been assigned to lead an organi-zation? (e) There is concern that more emphasis has been placed on matters evolving rather than having administrative decisions made that w i l l tend to draw the operation together. (f) There is concern that children are spending too much time out of school. Mr. Elv ln wrote further that There is a growing resentment on the part of a large segment of the parents that the pr incipal has abdicated some of his administrative respon-s i b i l i t y and this has resulted in a lack of communi-cation. There is a feel ing that requests for a parents 1 meeting have been overlooked. I would recommend that in order to olrcumvent possible problems Immediate steps be taken to hold a meeting and that a firm date be established for this meeting and that the meeting be held before the end of November. On November 5, I met some of the staff members for the f i r s t time at a cocktai l party. I talked Individually with four teachers. (It was primarily a small gathering of music and drama people|)^ Mrs. Fayter told me how "surprisingly easy" i t had been to reach consensus in early staff planning sessions, although there s t i l l did not exist (at the time we were talking) a statement of philosophy. Mr. Mattson said 98 that there was a lot of "flak" from parents currently, and that there would be a general meeting of parents, teachers, and students in about two weeks "to try to clear the a i r . " Mr. Mattson described his own interest! "the creation of a chaos from which there can emerge a truly new order." Mrs. Marion mentioned that "the involvement of parents is a problem because the inte l lectual bent of many parents in the U. Town community causes them to want to control things they rea l ly aren't competent to." Chapter Summary In the f i r s t few days of November, 1971, the activation of the board's evaluation department in the U. Town case was apparent. On November 1, a special staff meeting on program evaluation was held with the evaluation o f f i c i a l and the director . At the beginning of the meeting, I was Introduced as a potential researcher into decision-making. Decisions were made as to the general types of evaluation to be con-ducted in the U. Town project In year one, based on proposals from the evaluation o f f i c i a l ! "some kind of study related to some of the d isc ip l ines;" "feedback" concerning the advisory counci l , the decision-making process, "learner oriented education," changing student expectations, and differentiated staf f ing. Emphasis was placed on the "formative" nature of the ev&iiiaafclGns and on the "processes" of education. The evaluation o f f i c i a l and the staff disagreed over the desira-b i l i t y of "measuring" the achievement of the school's objectives. 99 At the November 2 advisory council meeting, the evaluation o f f i c i a l reported on the program evaluation plans. Student representatives expressed unhapplness over not being Included In the previous day's meeting on evaluation, and were told that the meeting had not dealt with student evaluation. In other advisory council business, the problem of "unassigned time" was s t i l l of concern to parents. Par t i -cular concern was voiced about the humanities program. A parent was even worried about possible loss of the school's accreditation. Some students present at the council meeting defended the school's new program, part icularly the s ta f f ' s efforts to involve students in learning and to use community resources. The need for better communications from the school to the community, and from the advisory council to the community, was again brought out. A parent representative was disappointed that a newsletter from the school called for in a previous council meeting had not materialized. The need for a general meeting was again ident i f ied. The president of the student council was at the advisory council meeting to report that new elections for student off icers had been held, and that students had been asked for suggestions as to alternate forms of student government. The advisory council chairman suggested that a deadline be set for gathering these change proposals. The representation of "new" students on the advisory council was discussed, and the 100 need for elections of student representatives voiced. (As far as I know, such elections never were held,). The part icipation of community members other than representa-tives in advisory council meetings (which evidently occurred to a signif icant extent at this meeting) was seen as a problem by some council members. On November 3, the evaluation o f f i c i a l wrote to the U. Town staff his perceptions of a c r i t i c a l situation* the advisory counci l 's role was unclear; there was a lack of information to parents, causing parent "resentment;M the "evolving" nature of the program was associated with a lack of "administrative decisions;" parents were upset about too much time spent by students out of school; the pr incipal was thought by many community members to have "abdicated" his responsib i l i t ies ; there was a need for a general meeting within the next few weeks. When I f i r s t met some of the teachers individually that week, their apprehension over community attitudes and their d istrust of community involvement in decision-making were apparent in the comments they made to me. ***««*« CHAPTER 1G THE ADVISORY COUNCIL'S IDENTITY CRISIS The advisory council met on November 8. The meeting was attended by three parent representatives, three student repre-sentatives, f ive teachers, and Dr. Meyer. It was the f i r s t meeting I attended as an observer. Chairman McDonald suggested that the f i r s t topic of d i s -cussion be the role of the advisory counci l . . . .In Introducing the task of def in i t ion , the chairman raised the question inherent In the t i t l e of "Advisory Counci l , * i . e . , "advisory" to whom? He f e l t i t apparent that functions-of the three elements of advisory council had not been c l a r i f i e d , and the need for c la r i f i ca t ion was now Immediate. The function of parent and student representatives on the advisory council was one of a consultative nature to the third element, namely a responsible faculty/school board executive element. Mr. McDonald said that a consultative committee would "monitor the total environment of the school's operation;" "receive the views of parents and students;" "interact with student and staff representatives in the school's operation;" "marshall community resources;" "be advisory to the school faculty;" Receive reports from the staff at each consultavie council meeting;" and "disseminate information to the community from consultative council discussions." Dr. Meyer read to the council the points made by Mr. Elv ln in his recent le t ter . One of the parent representatives said that some parents f e l t they were "cheated" by electing 102 representatives to advise on the development of the program while the program "has been and Is being developed by the s ta f f , " Another parent representative said that there were concerns over the "experlmentallsm" of the school and a "lack of def ini t ion of the program to parents," as well as a lack of "input data" to the committee; that he "learned more about the school from his children than from the school organiza-t ion;" and that he did not know whether he was "supposed to be evaluating," Another parent representative called i t "an amorphous si tuat ion," Dr, Meyer defended past events by saying that the def in i t ion of roles was "developmental," A parent representative said that Mr, Sander had "put off in i t ia t ion of advisory committee meetings unt i l after things got ro l l ing" and, therefore, the committee had not accom-plished much, Mr, Scott, a teacher, said that "there should have been advisory work in the planning of the program," A parent replied that he did not want to "interfere;" "the staff are the professionals," Parent* There is an executive function in the school. The advisory committee can't be executive. . . . Parent! The school system has a legal foundation in the community through the school board, and an organizational hierarchy. Meyeri The tradit ion of centralized administration is changing here and now. It i s n ' t easy to transfer responsibi l i ty . Parent! I would choose to move some of the school board's responsibi l i ty to the community. If not, then get r i d of the advisory function and make i t purely communicative. 103 Parent! Why don't the staff say anything about what the parents* role should be? Teacher! Parents should advise; teachers should decide and inform. Teacher! Parents should assist the teaching function at home. Teacher! Parents should be informed of students* assignments. Chairman! Should this committee be t r ipar t i te or changed to bipart i te? Parent! We should change the name to "consultative" in the lat ter case. Teacher: This leaves the school without the responsibi l i ty of col lect ive planning. Parent: Not so. The relationship could function in planning. Parent: You can't have a real contribution to planning from parents without some authority. Teacher: Right. Otherwise i t ' s merely a gesture. The council asked Dr. Meyer whether any grant of autho-r i t y to them was contemplated by the school board. The reply was . . .that the Sailerest school board did not include the delegation of any share of executive authority to the advisory counci l , but that the concept had been rather one of advisory council acting as a sounding board for decision and pro-posals of the staff/administration complex. The discussion of role was concluded by a vote on Mr. McDonald's proposal. The committee approved the role def in i t ion. The one dissenting vote was Mr. Scott. It was proposed that "advisory council" be hereinafter referred to as "consultative committee." 104 Two of the teachers present at the meeting told me later that as far as they could see, It was Meyer's comment that clinched the advisory counci l 's def ini t ion of I tself as a non-decIsion-making body. This perception was corro-borated by Mr. Berends, the board's communications director , who told me that Dr. Meyer claimed to have engineered the decision. The committee then proceeded to discuss the proposed '"general meeting of parents, students, and staf f . It was decided that "this meeting would not be held under the sponsorship of the consultative counci l , but would be the responsibi l i ty of the executive l e v e l . " The staff repre-sentatives had a proposal concerning the topics to be included in the general meeting agenda and in an advance newsletters 1. The role of the advisory counci l . 2. The role of the administrator. (a) The role of the administrator and staff in decision-making. (b) The role of the administrator as an "authoritarian" f igure. 3. The role of the student's advisor and of the counselling service provided by Westmont U. 4. The role of the parent. 5. Dissemination of information. 6. Discussion of the d isc ip l ines , (a) The study of humanities. 105 (b) What Is meant by contractual time? (c) An outline of the requirements In subject areas at each grade leve l . (d) Evaluation of student ef forts. The type of report card to be used. (e) Student response to Irregular schedules. Use or misuse of ' f ree ' time. The staff was also arranging for a resource person from the Westmont teachers' federation to be present at the meeting to respond to parental fears about loss of accreditation. The form of the general meeting was proposed by stafft . . .a large meeting which Is purely descriptive In nature at which a general Introduction and overview of the material In the newsletter w i l l be presented. . .followed by a breakdown into small groups by subject areas for the purpose of discussion and questions. . .followed by return to large group for general questions. These staf f proposals were approved by the parent and student representatives. The humanities teachers then presented a brief to the counci l , "with the explanation that this was going out to a l l parents, and was already f e l t to be doing much to provide parents with a clearer understanding of the humanities posi t ion." F ina l ly , the committee . . .expressed i t se l f In favour of the interest shown in i ts meetings by students and parents, and welcomed the type of v is i to r observation in evidence at the November 2 meeting. The chairman pointed out, however, that such participation should 106 be limited to observation only, unless notice of desire to speak on speci f ic points had been received beforehand and approved by committee. (Very few members of the community came to meetings thereafter.) At the staff meeting later that week, November 12, the plans for the general meeting were reported to the staff as a whole, and staff members were designated to write sections of the newsletter. By November 18, the newsletter was ready for d istr ibut ion. In a covering let ter from the pr inc ipa l , parents were informed that; This meeting w i l l be an opportunity for the community to hear presented a statement of current school pol icy , although i t is anticipated that, as the program is an ongoing process, i t w i l l develop and change over the next three years with the growth of the project; but the meeting w i l l provide an opportunity to examine some of the changing roles and approaches to learning which have evolved and which, in turn, c a l l for altered responsibi l i t ies on the part of s ta f f , student and parent. Concerning the role of the consultative counci l , Mr. McDonald wrote In the newsletter; The University Town Secondary School advisory council was set up last summer as a group consisting of representative students, parents and school staf f . The group has met at approximately monthly intervals since then. The meetings have served as a forum for the discussion of some problems of concern. They have also given an opportunity to discuss specif ic aspects of the school programme and 107 to bring out views of that programme brought to the attention of the council by i ts constituent groups. They have not, however, been able to provide effect ively for an overview of the academic programme or for monitoring and communication of i ts progress. This i s , perhaps, due to the lack of def ini t ion of the function of the group at the time i t was created. The council has had an opportunity to work towards an assessment of i ts role in an empirical way. It has now been able to conclude that, In the absence of a clear delegation of specif ic authority from the school board, i t can act pr incipal ly as a sounding board for proposals and decisions of the staff-administration complex. In such a ro le , the student and parent repre-sentatives are consultative to the school, faculty and the school board. The advisory counci l , therefore, is in effect a consul-tative council and i ts duties should ref lect this ro le . It Is the hope of the council that i ts status and Its possible function can be f u l l y discussed at the November 24 meeting. Evaluation of students was described by Mr. Mattson and Mr. Scott In the newsletter* Evaluation Is dependent on the nature of the subject f i e l d s . In some subjeot areas evaluation w i l l be on the basis of attendance and part ic ipat ion, example, physical education. In other areas the basis of measurement w i l l be pract ical s k i l l s in conjunction with theory, example, industr ia l education and business education. In other areas such as the humanities evaluation w i l l be based on the total interaction of the chi ld with other students, resource people, teachers and subject matter. Mathematics, science and languages which contain a body of cognitive learning w i l l cut across a l l these forms of evaluation. 108 Contractual time was described by Mrs. Marion and Miss Deerlng: Contractual time Is the scheduling of time, over andt above timetabled classes, to complete the requirements for specif ic courses. It provides an opportunity for students to take responsibi l i ty for their own progress, according to their ab i l i ty and interest, e . g . , a student who works slowly during a regular class is able to timetable extra time with the teacher concerned to complete the work; a student who works quickly can devote time to further reading and research. A teacher may require a student to contract time when the need becomes evident. The "open" time on student timetables represents the time when con-tracts can be scheduled. The staf f , meanwhile, had.been taking action on the problem of student involvement in the program. At the November 18 staff meeting, Mrs. Gr i f f i ths reported that . . .group meetings w i l l commence this Monday with students who staf f feel are not involved In the programme or their attendance is questionable. . . .Letters have been sent out to the parents of these students and each student is to be not i f ied . Particular teachers were to meet with these students in grade-level groups. Chapter Summary On November 8, the advisory council engaged in a pivotal discussion of i ts own ro le . The chairman proposed that the parent-student role be defined as "consultative" and the faculty-school board role as "executive." One parent repre-sentative objected that parents fe l t cheated by being ex-cluded from program development, and pointed out that the pr incipal had delayed the start of the advisory counci l 's 109 functioning unt i l "after things got r o l l i n g . " A teacher supported this view by stating that the community should have been involved In the early planning period. Another parent representative, however, saw the staff as the "pro-fessionals" and did not want to "Interfere." Expressions oj' of disillusionment with both the simple lack of Information about the school's program and the lack of def ini t ion of the counci l 's role were heard from a third parent representative, who called i t "an amorphous si tuat ion." The director defended the situation by saying that the role definit ions were "developmental" (a term he used several times in the case as a defense). A parent representative proposed that either the school board transfer some real responsibi l i ty to the community or the advisory council declare i t se l f to be "purely communicative." Three of the teachers present seemed to think that parents should be less Important than the staff in decision-making, but a teacher objected to precluding "the poss ib i l i t y of col lect ive planning." The director , when asked whether the school board would grant any authority to the counci l , denied that any authority was intended in the con-ception of the counci l—it was to be only a "sounding board." The council f ina l ly decided to approve the chair 's proposal that i t reconstitute i t se l f as a bipart i te body of parent and student representatives to be known as the "consultative committee;" a teacher cast the only dissenting vote. 110 The council also discussed the proposed general meeting, which had become by now a need recognized by a l l part ies. The staff had a proposal as to the topics for such a meeting: the roles of the advisory council (consultative committee), administration, the student's advisor, the counselling service, and the parent; the problem of dissemi-nation of Information; certain aspects of the program-humanities, contractual time, subject requirements by grade l e v e l , student evaluation, student use of "free" time; and the question of accreditation. Staff also proposed a format! presentations to a large meeting; small group questions and discussion by subject areas; and f i n a l l y , a large meeting for general questions. This plan was approved by the consultative committee. The humanities staff presented a written program descrip-tion to the committee; the staff was planning to use i t in communicating with the community generally. This "humanities bul le t in" described, f i r s t , the program to date, which was said to have been concerned with "perception," including "characteristics of language" and the physiology and psycho-logy of perception. The underlying rationale was stated as the Improvement of the Individual student's "awareness" in order to "enhance students' acceptance" of material to be received in the ensuing phases of the program. The humanities staff apparently thought that the community, unlike the teachers themselves, would not view the f i r s t phase of the I l l program as a valuable learning experience in and of i t s e l f . For the next phase, the humanities staff projected a more tradi t ional instructional plan in which each student would select and study a particular society from the points of view of basic concepts from socia l science, l i terature , and fine ar ts . Parents were assured that the program would operate within the provincial curriculum requirements. At the conclusion of i ts November 8 meeting, the consultative committee closed off future participation in i ts discussions by any non-members except by prior permission. This policy differed noticeably from the earl ier Idea of having some open and some closed meetings. The newsletter prepared during the next week included, among other things, descriptions of the advisory counci l , i ts problems and recent role def in i t ion: student evaluation, which was said to depend on subject; and contract time. Contracts were said to be intended "to complete the requirements for speci f ic courses" or for "further reading and research;" contracts were the intended use of "open" time. At the November 18 staff meeting, I learned that group meetings by grade level would be held with students not Involved in the program or not attending; that the meetings would commence within a few days; and that the parents of such students had been noti f ied by le t ter . ******* CHAPTER 11 ATTEMPTS TO REASSURE THE COMMUNITY At the November 24 general meeting, Mr. McDonald opened with a presentation of the problems of defining the function of the council and communicating between the council and the community. Mr. Sander, the pr inc ipa l , described the "changing role of administration." He said that tradit ional ly a l l school-level decision-making was done by administrators, but there was a "felt need" at the present time in education for staff participation in decision-making. Staff councils, he sa id , had been Introduced throughout the Sallcrest school d i s t r i c t , and at U. Town Secondary the staff council consisted of the total staff . However, he added, "at the present time the consent of the board and department of education Is s t i l l needed for important decisions, and the principal is s t i l l formally responsible for school decisions." Mr. Sander , stated that in his opinion the new trends were "better in quality of decisions but decision-making takes much longer." Dr. Worrall , a parent council representative, spoke concerning the role of the parent. He called upon the parents to be "good l is teners ," wi l l ing to seek "awareness of the problems of students" in "changing times;" to be "good c r i t i c s , " providing counselling for their sons and daughters and becoming "informed on the nature of the new school 113 programme;" to be "good informers," to al leviate the problem that "comment and discussion at home too often doesn't get back to the school staf f ;" and to exhibit "patience without complacence," giving the new staff and program an opportunity to succeed. Teachers made presentations, as or iginal ly planned, on the role of the students' advisors, the counselling service, evaluation of students, and contractual time. Mr. E lv in , from the board o f f i ce , described program evaluation plans. Persons attending the meeting were then asked to form Into three discussion groups according to the colors of name tags given out before the meeting. The groups rotated among three domains of the school, in each of which there were staff and consultative council members stationed* humanities; math/ science; and the miscellany domain containing French, health education, Industrial education, commerce, physical education, and counselling. (My general Impression of these groups was that they did not result in a very wide participation In discussion. Among those parents and students who did speak, there seemed to be many supportive of the new program and a few vocal opponents). After the group meetings, those interested were Invited to return to the auditorium for coffee and informal talk. (Original plans had called for a general questioning period at the endi»); Mrs. Rackham later said this to me* , . .Most of us as the f i r s t year went on were Interested; we fe l t that we should l is ten to the professionals; but the council In reporting to 114 us at general meetings would often sound ethereal—they couldn't explain anything to the community. The teachers were defensive; they thought the community was c r i t i c a l . They would not allow any general meeting to answer questions about the program. I expressed my disdain for this policy to Mr. Sander, and he said this was Just the way It was going to be, that i f they had such a meeting i t would turn into a f i s t - f i g h t between parents end teachers; but we needed a frank d i s -cussion to release tensions. Some parents became disi l lusioned as a resul t . I wasn't too worried because I favored the changes occurring in the school and I knew the school board had a plan to put into action. I knew we would have mass confusion at such a meeting. At the December 2 staff meeting, 9 Mr. Scott voiced what he considered to be a widely shared dissat isfact ion with the general meeting. He proposed that the staff "send some communique to parents before Christmas recognizing the need for further meetings and the Inadequacy of the November forum." It was his opinion that "the in i t ia t ive belongs with the staff to improve communications with the community further." The staff decided to plan for "grade by grade" meetings with the community in January, and to send a letter on the subject to parents with the student reports to be Issued the following week. Three grade meetings were to be held, on January 12, 19, and 26. Also at the December 2 staff meeting, one of the staff members, Mrs. Fayter, invited the staff to her home the 9 In the period between the November general meeting and the New Year, I was hampered in my col lect ion of data by a serious I l lness—in retrospect, this can be seen as a hazard of the method employed in this type of study. 115 following evening to address problems In the defining of the role of staff assistants and In general communications among different departments of the school. (No Information In hand about that gathering^) A questionnaire from Mr. Elv in on contracted student time was distr ibuted. The need for a committee to draft the accreditation booklet was noted. The Contract Questionnaire Decision I asked participants about one evaluation decision in particular—the decision to use a questionnaire on contracted student time in the f i rs t -year evaluation—to follow up on my questions about the earl ier decision to u t i l i ze the con-t ract approach. Mr. E lv in , the board's U. Town evaluation o f f i c i a l , said: Once the overall (evaluation) proposal was approved by a l l concerned, we appointed Mrs. Pearson to work on the U. Town case as a research assistant. , . .(W)hen Mrs. Pearson and I met regarding contractual time, we made a decision to survey the total student body. In developing the questionnaire we looked again at the handbook from U. Town, and asked the staff to give us a statement of what they meant by contracted time. We took that information and the two of us developed the questionnaire. We asked questions about amounts of contractual time, what they did with i t , how they fe l t about It, and so on. We also wanted inputs from parents—their feel ings, and their knowledge of what kids were doing with their time. So Mrs. Pearson and I decided to sample every household. We mailed a questionnaire to each household, and followed up with a let ter to those who didn' t respond. . . .We also gave the staff copies of the questionnaire to f i l l out, but we only had one return after repeated needling. The principal said: The Sailerest school board decided It. Mr. Elv in brought out the mock-up in suff icient copies for 116 the staff and discussed i t in a meeting. I objected to some of the questions, but they went ahead with i t anyway; I think they f e l t they had to produce something. The kids didn't know what was contract time and what wasn't. Now I look at the charts and figure i t ' s a waste of time to read i t . Teacher* As you know, there's an ongoing evaluation of the school, and certain decisions have had to be made in Mr. E lv ln 's of f ice . Contract time is a neat part of the program for an evaluator to get a hold on. I t 's easy to define, nice and cr isp . I t 's much more d i f f i c u l t to say "We're going to evaluate individualization of instruct ion." I t 's easy to look only at "contract time." The staff has been very, very wary of the attempt to impose a measure of behavioral outcomes without evaluating the processes. Teacher: I had no say In It. I don't reca l l how It came In. Elvin wanted some kind of "hard data," and I objected to i t in the staff room. Maybe he thought contracted time was something easier to grasp for evaluation purposes. . . . Teacher; It was decided by the planning and evaluation department of the board that the school would be evaluated by the board. There was discussion in staff meetings with Meyer and Elvin about the general forms evaluation would take, after the year had begun. We decided some of the tradit ional things were inappropriate methods for this school. They came up with the contractual time questionnaire to try to satisfy our viewpoint; but the format of the questionnaire was faulty and confusing. Teacher; I don't know who decided i t ; I assume the school board evaluation people. I f e l t that i t emphasized a part of the program that I real ly didn't care too much about getting information on, partly because 117 i t wasn't too relevant in the physical education program. There were many other areas I would have rather had evaluation of—how the students were reacting to a l l areas of the program, the different domains; whether the students thought the physical education or humanities programs were good ones; I would l ike to know i f the kids fe l t frustrated with the vagueness of the program, how much responsibi l i ty the students thought the teachers should take; what the students and parents thought of the methods of evaluating students. I found i t d i f f i c u l t to answer the contract questionnaire because i t was vague to me. Teacher; It was an awful questionnaire. It came from the school board. They made the decision to use i t . The kids didn't know what i t meant, nor did I. Parents and students did not have much knowledge of how the decision was made to use a questionnaire on contract time in the f i rst -year evaluation; Parent; I knew nothing about that decision. It was perhaps mentioned as a f a i t accompli, but I'm not even sure of that. None of us were invited to take part in drafting i t . Parent; The decision was made by the faculty of the school, or the faculty in consultation with the school board. Parent; There was no parent participation in the evaluation decisions. Student: I don't have any idea how i t originated. It was a farce. Everybody made up answers, because they wanted the school to work out. 118 One student was an exception* It was probably decided by Mr. E lv in ; he's supposed to be evaluating the program. I don't remember what the questionnaire was l i ke . It was a good thing, though. Student* I d idn' t hear about i t unt i l I f i r s t saw i t . The school board put i t out. . . . Student* It was put out by some guy at the school board. If we. . .make our own evaluation, we ' l l real ly know what we fee l . This guy is an outside opinion, but he doesn't know what's rea l ly going on. The questions were too defined. There's a lot more to the school than that questionnaire covered. Dr. Meyer's recol lect ion of the contract time question-naire decision was* "That was a joint decision between us and the staf f . There was some dissat isfact ion with contractual time, so this was designed to help provide information." Dr. Allworth saidf "I'm not sure. I wasn't d i rect ly involved in the evaluation." Trustee Gruner's view was* "The trustees only approved the idea and said 'Come back In three years and t e l l us how It worked.'" On December 9, the staff meeting was informed that on December 17 and 20 the humanities teachers "wil l take some time to discuss their changes for the next term. Assignments w i l l be set for the students." (The changes made In the humanities program subsequently Included the addition of some re la t ive ly tradit ional courses on an optional basis as a response to community dissat isfact ion*) It was also noted 119 that a request would be sent from the whole staff to Dr. Allworth for two days* cancellation of classes on December 21 and 22 In order to have time for evaluation. A staff steering committee for the accreditation booklet was formed. A problem was raised as to how to use the honour r o l l board In the main hal l now that competition for grades was phi lo-sophically suspect. Other Items of business during regular staff meetings in November and December included: policy on placement of new students; the physical education program for the second term; mini-course coordination; school dances; the use of the unscheduled Thursday; teachers 1 association; building al tera-t ions; cost of an extra telephone l ine ; formation of a staff budget committee; staff assistants; v is i t ing teachers; funds for the art program; the school annual; l ibrary; heat In the building on weekend®! furniture; honoraria; funds for math workbooks; payment of a faculty club b i l l ; funds for books in humanities; funds for basketball uniforms. The two evaluation days were held on December 21 and 22. The staff decided to start each day with a general staff meeting, then break into domain meetings. At the general meeting on the 21st, the humanities staff . . .reported on the reorganization of the humanities programme planned for the be-ginning of the next term. Grade 12 w i l l have the option of either humanities III or a pro-gramme with English emphasis. Grade 11 w i l l have the option of either humanities III (or) a programme where the emphasis w i l l be on social studies and English. 120 (A student commented later* "Humanities did some things that seemed wild to some parents, then cut them out because of parental pressure. If the teachers wanted to provide innova-tive programs they should learn to stand up to the parents.") At the December 22 general staff meeting, It was noted that there would be a teachers* professional day on February 18, and the teachers* association would l i ke to know by January 5 what type of program the school planned for professional day. A reminder was noted from Mr. Elvin to return the question-naires on contractual time. Other topics of discussion at the general meetings on the evaluation days included* the hir ing of a part-time teacher in humanities; a timetable, for room use; budget; remuneration for two students working in the media workshop during Christmas break; humanities mini-course requirements and record-keeping; noise in the hal ls f space for student lounging; staff assistant assignments; student dances; building alterations; and money for the ski program. In January and February, staff meetings dealt with, among other things, plans for the professional day in February; the work of the accreditation committee; the problem of the honour r o l l board; arrangements for student council elections; arrangements for the grade meetings with the community? and a questionnaire to students from Mr. E lv in . Other topics in staff meetings during that period In-cluded* teachers* federation pension; recognition for 121 student service; an individual student's plans to be away from school for an extended period of time; accounting of disbursements from the special instructional fund; teachers' association; v is i t ing teachers; coordination of mini-courses; the time of opening the school doors in the mornings; ski equipment; replacement of lost equipment from the Westmont U. zoology department; and the budget committee. Chapter Summary At the general meeting on November 24, the principal described the "changing role of administration." He offered the view that the U. Town s t a f f ' s participation in decision-making was l ike that of staff councils In other Sal lcrest schools—except that at U. Town the staff council consisted of the whole staf f . He pointed out, however, that the l o c i of authority and responsibi l i ty were unchanged; the principal was s t i l l responsible for decisions at the school l eve l . A parent representative urged parents to act as patient sup-porters of the school, constructive c r i t i c s , and good coun-sel lors at home. Other presentations, and the rotating group discussions, were held as or iginal ly planned. The last part of the meeting, however, was changed to an Informal talking period rather than a time for general questioning^ The format did not result in a very wide participation in discussion of the program as a whole. At the next staff meeting, a teacher voiced the d issa t is -faction apparently shared by many participants in the general meeting, and urged the staff to accept responsibi l i ty for 122 further improvement of communications with the community. Plans were made for smaller meetings with parents and students in January by grade leve l . I inquired into the decision to use a questionnaire on contracted student time in the f i rs t -year evaluation, to follow up on my questions about the earl ier decision to u t i l i ze the contract approach. I found that this decision was made by the evaluation o f f i c i a l and his research assistant. There was some involvement of staff in the decision, but they (and the students and parents who subsequently responded to the questionnaire) were almost unanimously d issat is f ied with i t as a vehicle for evaluating the program*s emphasis-sion student responsibi l i ty and Individualization of instruction— largely because, in pract ice, contract time was not d ist inct from other individualized class time, and the evaluators did not discover that. (More w i l l be said about the imple-mentation of the contract approach near the conclusion of this study*) Students and parents apparently had no role In the decision to use such a questionnaire nor In the drafting of i t . The trustees and board o f f i c i a l s responsible for the project (other than the evaluation o f f i c ia l ) apparently were not closely in touch with the evaluation decisions. The humanities staff reorganized i ts program in December as a further concession to t radi t ional is t pressures from the community. Relatively tradit ional courses in English and socia l studies were added to the program on an optional 123 basis , and a writing course requirement was added for a l l students remaining in the experimental humanities program. The altered program was to begin in January. Numerous organizational problems arose in staff meeting discussions during the period November, 19?1» to February, 1972. Most of these could be seen to f i t the categories mentioned previously! timetable, physical plant and equipment, finance, staff u t i l i za t ion , and external professional re lat ions. ******* CHAPTER 12 CATCHING UP ON STAFF COMMUNICATIONS The staff met for two days on February 17 and 18, having obtained an extra day In conjunction with the professional day. The f i r s t Item of business was presen-tations by domain staffs to the staff as a whole, and discussion of problems raised thereby. Humanities spoke f i r s t . The team presented a state-ment of the domain's philosophy, general objectives, speci f ic objectives, and program organization, and asked for comments from the staff as a whole. Some minor sugges-tions were offered as to c la r i f i ca t ion of the wordings; these suggestions were taken into account in a s l ight ly revised humanities program description issued later . The humanities staff was concerned about crit icisms of a lack of direction in i ts seminars. Students were d issa t is -f ied with the lack of "content" and "hung up on academic ex-pectations ," whereas the staff was trying to emphasize the communication process and to them the content of the seminars did not matter. The consensus of the staff as a whole appeared to be that the emphasis of the humanities staff should be continued and better ways sought to achieve i t . Some of the other teachers on staff thought that the huma-ni t ies teachers' expectations with regard to assignments were not clear enough, and wanted some written guidelines to use 125 In their role as advisors. Some of the teachers In other domains also had the feel ing that Individual students were not getting enough one-to-one contact with teachers In humanities, but the humanities staff maintained that this was not so. Mr. Sander raised the Issue of attendance In seminars. Several staff members asserted that the solution to the attendance problem should be to offer alternative a c t i v i t i e s , not to require attendance. Discussion then ensued of the feas ib i l i t y of offering additional options. Staff members considered i t problematic, but not impossible. It was then pointed out that many students had the attitude that the ava i lab i l i ty of numerous options meant that none of them were important. The need was recognized to devise strategies to involve students in act iv i t ies and to convince them that the learnings coming out of the act iv i t ies offered were Important. Students were described as being too much oriented toward academic success and, therefore, d issat is f ied without the tradit ional type of work and grades. Humanities staff were not sure how to handle the demand for grades but expressed a determination to Include the students in grading decisions i f grades had to be given. Asked about the con-sequences of a radical program and no grades for a student transferring to another school, humanities staff offered the opinion that differences in curriculum always occur In such cases, and that there are often big differences in the grades a given student receives from different teachers In a single area. 126 The problem of stud est® who were not taking the required number of mini-courses was raised, and It was pointed out that a form was now being used to identify the students with this shortcoming. Humanities staff f e l t that i t was useful experience for these students "to have to hustle in the last round of minis." Humanities teachers were asked about program evalua-t ion* how were they determining the degree to which objec-tives were being achieved? The reply was that the staff perceived changes in students, and these changes were very different among individuals. (The humanities staff was generally averse to the Idea of measuring learning*) The problem of timetable conf l icts was raised. It was noted that "many kids are unhappy about not being able to take advantage of interesting offerings," and that many classes were "depleted" by the competition with more excit ing mini-courses and a c t i v i t i e s . An additional problem was seen In some students' "faking mini-course conf l icts in order to skip regular c lasses." Staff members saw a need for subject teachers and advisors to work together in per-suading some students of the value of participating in classes. They saw the communicating of information between subject teachers and advisors as essential to this effort . Mr. Mattson urged the staff to "find ways of involving students and parents In the organizing of the program." This suggestion was not, however, followed up at the moment by further discussion, and Mr. Mattson did not persist . 12? Much of the discussion occasioned by the humanities report was real ly concerned with problems of the school as a whole. The staff Identified as a major problem a feel ing of being "locked In by the amount of act ivi ty" the staff was already engaged In, and hence unable to "do enough planning." It was suggested that the staff might "retreat" as a group; that It might be good at the same time to "have the kids run the school and hold discussions of their Cthe students') views of the program." Again, the question was raised of "how to Involve the parents In the program." This led to the question; "What involvement do we want?" Mr. Sander stated that the staff "hadn't wanted to meet with the parents In the f a l l because of stat ic from the community and the pressures of work." Mr. Scott replied that "this does not mean the idea is abandoned—not at a l l . " Mr. Hardy and Miss Deerlng thought that communication to the parents was needed, but that was not enough; the staff needed to "get the parents into the program development." Mrs. Marion thought that "getting more Information to the parents concerning the s ta f f 's intentions is a crucia l f i r s t step." Mrs. Fayter said that "this was a big fa i l i ng in the f i r s t term." At this point i t was suggested, and agreed, that the discussion of this topic should be postponed unt i l the conclusion of the domain reports. (The staff did not, however, return to the topic during the course of the professional day meetings•) 128 Mr. Scott reported on the teaching of French. He saw several problems of importance to the staff as a whole: the problem of how to evaluate students; the problem of how to get students to use the contractual time provision ("The contract time idea encourages students to feel that just showing up is accomplishing something"); the need for inte-grating language instruction,with the humanities program; the lack of student authority to make decisions about programs, exemplified by the language requirements; and the problem of student traditionalism resist ing the change to student-initiated learning—that i s , the dependence of some students on teacher direction and approval. Mr. Scott spoke of a "Grade 11 syndrome"—a group of about eight "guys who res is t school" and "think that they won't be fa i led because of the nature of the school." He warned that they would be fa i led in French, and "the onus w i l l be on them; grade 12 for them w i l l start around Christmas next year." (The problem of the "Grade 11 syndrome" was a recurring theme in staff discussions.) Mrs. Anderson reported on problems in teaching French at the grade 8 leve l . To most of them, the language seemed "meaningless," and she and Mr. Scott were "sympathetic" with their point of view. The objective of the French program at that grade level was simply to keep the students from getting "scared of f ." fPromotion to grade 9 was 129 problematic without successful completion of grade 8 French, because of provincial requirements. Members of staff responded to this presentation by stating that the French teachers should be given the support of the staff as a whole to make al terat ions. in the program and in the requirements for passing marks. It was argued that i f the staff believed a tradit ional course should not be required, the school should ignore the requirements of the provincial department, just as in other cases of this type. Next came the math/science domain's report. Mr. Laurldsen stated that an objective of the domain was to "humanize and individualize learning." To accomplish this objective, the program was organized around "different levels of achievement" and "different rates of work." Mr. Laurldsen said that "the choice of what to study Is a crucia l part of Individualization—not Just pace; but the provision of alternative materials is d i f f i c u l t . " He saw "learning packages" as "one possible way to offer alterna-t ive programs, perhaps just i f ied by the d i f f i c u l t y for teachers of developing new curr icu la ." A related problem was that "existing courses" were "designed only for university preparation, not for general education." The "best short-term solution" seemed to be "small-group work on science problems." However, a big problem in doing this was the "lack of ab i l i t y on the part of some students to organize their own time to get things 130 done." Mr. Lauridsen saw a "need to take the disruptive kids out." At the same time, he was concerned about low attendance in many cases. The problem of the "grade 11 registers" was identi f ied by Mr. Lauridsen; and another teacher in the domain, Mr. Shelton, said that the grade l i s constituted the biggest problem faced by the staf f . Other problems reported by Mr. Lauridsen included the obstacle to integration within the domain presented by the location of one of the teachers* f a c i l i t i e s in a different wing of the building from the other two teachers; and the "disappointments" encountered to date in the attempt to get university people to do some "real work" for U. Town. (The involvement of Westmont U. was seen as disappointing in several areas of the school.) Mr. Happ, the math teacher, pointed out, however, that there were a number of graduate students working effec-t ive ly with small groups of his students. Mr. Happ reported that in the math program, students "set their own aspirations!* at one of three levels— "university, medium achievement, or minimal achievement"— and were given assignments appropriate for that choice. An attendance record was kept, and attendance required at least three times per week, although Mr. Happ did not record contractual time attendance. (Generally speaking, Mr. Happ was the skeptic within the staff group. He had been at the school for years—the reader w i l l reca l l his contributions to the investigation of the case background.) 131 Like the French teachers, Mr. Happ saw a problem In the grade 8 requirements in math. He thought that math seemed "irrelevant" to many students at that age, and "shouldn't be required." It seemed to him that "Interested students could go d i rect ly into grade 9 math (algebra)." Mr. Sander, who taught biology 11 in addition to ad-ministering the school, reported that there was a wide variation among his students In attendance, and that because of this he could open the course to interested students from lower grades. (Mr. Sander made i t clear several times in the year that he was not happy with the irregular attendance in his classes. I gathered from i n -formal comments that his teaching methods were re lat ive ly unchanged from previous years.) There were also reports from Mrs. Fayter (business education and l ib ra ry ) , Mrs. Anderson (home economics), Mr. Chiba (Industrial education), and Mrs. Gr i f f i ths (physical education). A general impression in a l l of these areas was that the philosophy of individualization was result ing in rather r ich ly varied offerings. Student involvement did not seem to be as much of a problem in these pract ical areas. Domain reports and related discussion took much more time In the two professional days than expected. The agenda had called for discussion of the recommendations of the accreditation committee concerning the statement 132 of the philosophy, objectives, and program of the school, and discussion of school organization In relation to philosophy and objectives. Time, however, did not permit Implementation of those parts of the agenda. The staff found Intensive discussion of school-wide problems to be an exhausting act iv i ty . Near the end of the discussions, they talked about the problem of finding time for group planning work. Mr. Sander thought that the staff should pay Itself out of the school budget for planning meetings during the summer. Miss Deerlng said that they should "force the board to commit i t s e l f . " Mr. Scott proposed that they ask for "coverage for a week's planning session in Apr i l or so." Miss Deering fe l t that "the board doesn't treat the teaching staff as professionals; we had just two weeks to plan the whole program for the f i r s t year." She suggested that they "get Allworth or Meyer to the next staff meeting (on Thursday)." Mrs. Marion cautioned that they needed to "be clear on what we want to do with the time we request." Miss Deering asked; "How should we react i f refused?" At this point, Mr. Sander le f t the meeting to phone Dr. Meyer for a reaction. He returned with word that the staff should make a proposal to Meyer and Allworth in wri t ing, and Meyer would come to the March 2 staff meeting to respond. Miss Deering proposed that they ask for two weeks' planning time—"one week in town and one week out of town, as an experiment to see which is more effect ive." 133 At the close of the discussions, i t was decided that the domain reports would be a very useful thing to put into writing for distr ibution to the community. It was agreed that each domain would do so within one week. Attached to the agenda for professional days was the statement of the philosophy, objectives, and learning opportunities of the school as a whole, written by the accreditation committee. The statement of philosophy was as follows: We view education as a continuous l i f e process and the school as one facet of the process. Students require learning ex-periences that w i l l enable them individually to discover and develop their potential capacity to acquire and synthesize knowledge, to understand themselves, and to be able to relate to others on both an intel lectual and an interpersonal basis. In order to real ize their potential , students must have the r ight , with appropriate guidance, to make decisions about their own educational programme and must assume responsibi l i ty for these decisions. Consistent with the view of education as a l i f e process, of which the school is only one aspect, we believe i t is essential to develop a strong, positive reciprocal relationship between the school and the community. Following the statement of philosophy, the committee l is ted four objectives: 1. To encourage student responsibi l i ty and sel f -d i rect ion for learning. 2. To provide opportunities for the student to experience a variety of learning situations. 3. To encourage a social awareness and sensi t iv i ty to others' needs as well as his (the student's) own. 4. To broaden the concept of school so as to include the resources of the community. 13^ The committee placed the August, 19?1, statement of f ive general objectives in front of the proposed new statement so that the staff could consider the differences* 1. To provide opportunities for the student to: (a) evaluate his academic and personal goals, capabi l i t ies , and needs; (b) learn through individual and group processes; (c) recognize education as a continuing l i f e experience. 2. To encourage understanding of and a sense of commitment to the needs of himself and others. 3. To provide learning experiences suf f ic ient ly comprehensive to meet the needs of a variety of post-secondary pursuits. 4. To Involve the student body and community in decision-making and evaluating new patterns of organization and curriculum development. 5. To encourage student responsibi l i ty for learning. The new statement of objectives and the proposed state-ment of philosophy, taken together, seemed to me to cover essential ly the same topics as the earl ier statement of ojectives. There were, however, some interesting d i f f e -rences in wording, part icular ly with regard to student and parent participation in decision-making. In place of the or iginal objective, "To involve the student body and the community in decision-making and evaluating new patterns of organization and curriculum development," the new statement of philosophy spoke of student rights and responsibi l i t ies to make decisions about "their own educational programme," 135 and called for "a strong, positive reciprocal relationship between the school and the community." The new objectives pointed to the importance of "the resources of the commu-nity" In "the concept of school," while omitting the or iginal ly clear aim of community participation in school-level program decision-making (objective #4, 1971). Student participation In decision-making was retained and emphasized, but only at the level of the individual student's program. Following each objective proposed, the accreditation committee Identified learning opportunities offered to achieve the objective. Item #1 stated that to encourage student responsibi l i ty and sel f -d i rect ion for learning, students were given "training in communication s k i l l s ; " "guidance and instruction in the use of resource materials and equipment;" "responsibil i ty (in consultation with their advisors) for setting up their own programmes, and for scheduling themselves into contractual time;" "opportu-ni t ies to pursue their interests by proposing, select ing, organizing or instructing in mini-courses and special interest aspects of regular courses;" and "maximum oppor-tunity to learn by experimentation and exploration." Item #2 stated that "To provide opportunities for the student to experience a variety of learning si tuat ions," the program included "small-group learning situat ions, such as humanities and science seminars, language practice 136 groups;" "large-group learning situations, such as the lecture in humanities (involving 80 or more students at a time), the large, often weekly, class in mathematics, science, language, whose object is to outline major aspects of the work;" "Individual learning which involves mult i -level content learning and self-pacing in a l l cognitive domains, the use of machines and programmes, and i n d i v i -dually-phased testing?/?in-school programmes involving resource persons from the community at large;" "f ie ld programmes and the external use of community resources;" "a wide and varied programme of mini-courses;" "ful l -year courses;" "use of the directed class instructional group where appropriate;" "extensive use of media presentations;" "varied duration of meetings, both in large and small groups, dependent upon the requirements of the learning objectives;" "learning situations in which some students learn from other8 who have expertise in specif ic areas;" and "open-graded learning situations where maturational, cognitive, interest , or s k i l l c r i t e r i a are judged to be more relevant than chronological age." The third objective, "To encourage a social awareness and a sensi t iv i ty to others 1 needs as well as his own," was said to be achieved "by social learning which is in i t iated by the students themselves rather than being imposed upon them by the administration;" "by participating in human relations discussion groups;" "by having a weekly interview 13? with his appointed advisor;" "by str iv ing for a maximum leve l of sel f -actual izat ion through the development of his own academic and social goals" and "through the preparation for the use of leisure time which Is provided for by a variety of mini-courses, physical education, industr ia l education, health education courses, etc.;" and "by encouraging trust and respect between students and teachers." F ina l ly , the committee stated that the school aimed "to broaden the concept of school so as to include the resources of the community" by u t i l i z ing resource people with expertise in special areas from the community as lecturers and seminar discussion leaders;" "by working reciprocal ly with the university, so that graduate students offer their services to the school in exchange for the learning experiences which the school has to offer;" "by u t i l i z ing f i e l d tr ips to other inst i tut ions, to demonstrations, to lectures, to f i lms, to rural and wilderness areas;" "by u t i l i z ing physical f a c i l i t i e s outside the school;" "by working with a consultative committee of parents, students and teachers in which the three representative groups interact regarding the school programme;" "by insuring three-way communication among parents, students and teachers through the consul-tative committee, parent-teacher-student meetings, news-le t te rs , telephone c a l l s , interviews and reports;" "by 138 using data-gathering questionnaires to obtain parent and student opinion regarding the programme;" "by u t i l i z ing a committee of parents to provide c le r i ca l help, trans-portation of students, help with extra-curricular a c t i -v i t i e s , e t c . ; M "by increasing awareness of parents and students to the overall objectives of the school, par t i -cular ly as they ref lect current educational trends;" and "by establishing a close relationship with the community elementary school where secondary students can participate in tutor ia l programmes." Chapter Summary The staff met for two f u l l days on February 17 and 18. Each domain reported to the staff as a whole on i ts program and major problems, and the staff discussed those problems which were most important to a l l . The humanities staff presented a statement of i ts philosophy, objectives, and organization. Many of the problems Identified in relat ion to humanities were of concern to the whole staf f . Some students were d issat is f ied with what they considered to be a lack of academic "content," teacher d i rect ion, and graded evaluation, while the huma-ni t ies staff were more Interested in the communication "process." Some teachers In other domains wanted clearer guidelines from the humanities staff as to students' assignments. The principal was very concerned about attendance. Humanities staff saw a need for even more 139 options in the program to interest students, rather than attendance requirements. Teachers from a l l domains cal led for better communications between subject teachers and advisors to keep up the counselling of uninvolved students. Timetable problems arose from conf l icts between regular classes and other a c t i v i t i e s . Brief attention was given to the lack of parent part icipation in program development and the need for better information to parents. There was seen to be a c r i t i c a l lack of time for staff group planning; i t was suggested that the staff needed a "retreat. M Reporting on the French program, a teacher identif ied the problems of student evaluation pol icy; student use of contract time; the lack of integration of languages and humanities; the lack of student decision-making authority; the traditionalism of some students; and the "grade 11 syndrome"—a particular group of non-achieving, school-res ist ing students. A teacher discussed the problem of the grade 8 French requirement, imposed by the provincial department, which was creating unhealthy attitudes among many students. A teacher described the science program, which he said was aimed at "humanizing and individualizing" instruction through "different levels of achievement" and "different rates of work." He spoke of the d i f f i cu l ty of truly individual izing the program by offering a "choice of what to study," because of the lack of suff ic ient "alternative 140 materials;" and said that learning packages were perhaps a solution to "the d i f f i c u l t y for teachers of developing new curr icu la . " He saw as major problems, a lso , the lack of courses for general education rather than university preparation; the fa i lure of many students to manage their own time, thereby frustrating attempts to develop indepen-dent projects; the grade 11 resistance group identi f ied ear l ie r ; the physical separation of one of the science teachers from the others; and the disappointing degree of part icipation by the university in the science program. In math, a teacher reported that the program was organized around different "levels of aspirat ion." He saw as a major problem the grade 8 requirements set by the provincial department. The pr inc ipa l , reporting as a biology teacher, emphasized the problem of attendance. In the other, more prac t ica l , areas of the program, r ich ly varied offerings were described, and student involvement was not seen as so much of a problem. At the end of the two days, the staff discussed i ts dissat isfact ion with the board f off ice 's commitment to staff planning time, and decided to make a strong request for at least a f u l l week's released time In A p r i l . It was also decided that the domain reports made verbally within the staff group would be useful In communicating to the com-munity, and, therefore, would be written up In the near future. 141 There was no time for the other main topics on the agenda: the statement of the school's philosophy, objectives, and learning opportunities prepared by the accreditation committee. This material was attached to the agenda. I found i t similar to the earl ier statement of objectives in i ts basic message, except that the wording of the new statement subtly cut out the goal of parent and student participation in school-level program decision-making. «*»*«** CHAPTER 13 PLANNING FOR THE LAST PART OF YEAR ONE The consultative committee met on February 23, in the week following the professional days. The meeting was attended by three parent representatives; four students; two staff members; the pr inc ipa l ; and the board's director of communications, Mr. Berends. As the f i r s t item of business, chairman Worrall Introduced Mr. Berends and brought up the need for a council newsletter. Dr. Worrall said that a newsletter "could have avoided the communica-tion problem in the f a l l . " Mr. Berends said that the board could print a council newsletter and send i t to a l l U. Town parents and students. Dr. Worrall pointed out that the newsletter "could Include the agenda of the next consulta-t ive council meeting to stimulate response from the commu-ni ty;" he proposed that "the purpose of the newsletter would be to inform parents on the discussions in the counci l , because many issues are contentious." Mr. O'Doherty asked who should edit the newsletter, and i t was decided that Mr. Berends would take on that Job himself. (Subsequently, Mr. Berends attended council meetings, took his own notes, and wrote reports for the newsletter,); A student said that there was also a "need for more general meetings." Another student asserted that "the council is not achieving much for the students; It lacks 143 power and influence." Dr. Worrall replied that "students are apathetic" and that the council "could invite p a r t i c i -pation through the newsletter." Mr. Berends then asked: "What issues are there?" He said that he had heard allusions to issues but none of them had been ident i f ied. Chairman Worrall replied that there were three topics he suggested for discussion that evening: "student apathy;" "evaluation of student achievement;" and the problem of "drop-outs." A student said that he was "not personally achieving;" that he "lacked the desire to ." Mr. Sander urged him not to " te l l about your personal experience—be a represen-tat ive. " The student went on: "Everything rests on the humanities, because i t ' s the thing most students can get high or low about." Dr. Worrall asked: "Is this a lag phase between systems?" The student thought that i t was a "natural phase." Another student proposed that they "get student opinions d i rec t ly , through a questionnaire." Yet another student thought there was a need for a student newspaper. A teacher said that i t was a "good idea, but y o u ' l l get an influx of negative opinions at f i r s t . " 1 0 Dr. Worrall said that i t appeared "we don't have enough information on student apathy to discuss i t yet." He asked 10 In the second year of the project, a student newspaper was started, and this was exactly what happened. (See Chapter 21*1 144 the student representatives to return to the next meeting with more information; the students agreed to do so. Mr. O'Doherty said there was a need for "some measure of apathy." Mr. Sander remarked that "I've heard about student apathy for ten years, but no comparisons are ever made between our school and others." Dr. Worrall said; "We need to get our own data before we can compare with others." (To my knowledge, very l i t t l e was subsequently done in getting student opinion for the counci l . ) Dr. Worrall then read a let ter received from a parent who was c r i t i c a l of changes in the evaluation of students and the role of the teaeher. Mr. Sander defended by asking whether i t was fa i r to "use the same evaluation techniques in a new system" or to "put evaluation in black-and-white terms." Mr. McDonald said that "there is a. need for some assurance that the experimentation is based on good results elsewhere." Another parent said: "Parents feel that their children might be victims of a t r i a l which w i l l be abandoned la ter . " Mr. Hardy replied that "teachers In humanities feel that they have had success in similar efforts (less organized as a total school) elsewhere, and that they are not trying something new." Mr. McDonald asked: "Then how can we get that across to the parents?" Dr. Worrall added: "The public doesn't understand the changes in the theory of teaching and learning that have been taking place in recent years." Mr. Berends thought i t seemed "a faint echo of the 145 Br i t i sh informal approach." Mr. O'Doherty said* "We need a def ini t ion of teaching and learning in the newsletter as a basis for future discussion." Chair raised the question of drop-outs. Mr. Sander said that "the rate is the same as in past years." Mr. Hardy said that "in the past, transfers were punitive; now with the open boundaries, transfers are useful in some cases," It was agreed that the next meeting of the council would be on March 14, three weeks hence. The following morning, February 24, Mr. Hardy and Mr. Haffner reported to the staff meeting on the consultative counci l . They said that "the role of the council is de-veloping in a narrow way—as just an information channel to the parents." They described the council newsletter plans, and they referred to the counci l 's discussion of evaluation: "The parent representatives are too concerned with s t a t i s t i c s , not educational philosophy." The staff discussed the proposal to Dr. Meyer concerning released time for planning. It was recalled that two sepa-rate weeks had been proposed at the previous staff meeting. Mrs. Fayter asked If even one f u l l week would not be "too much, given the strain of the two-day session." Mr. Happ replied that "that was because we tr ied to do a week's work in two days." The staff decided to request the week of Apr i l 1? to 24 and a second week in May. Mr. Scott suggested 146 the second week could be used for "ln-domaln preparation of materials. w Mrs. Fayter urged that the staff "specify what we w i l l do in the released time." Humanities Team Meeting. February 2 5 I attended some of the planning meetings of the humanities s ta f f , because of the obvious interest taken by the school and community in the humanities program. Most of the humanities team meetings I observed took place over a long lunch at the university's graduate student centre. The team was discussing the evaluation of the students' presentations of their studies of particular cultures (the plans for which we saw in the November humanities bulletin),. Mattson* Many of the kids are presenting encyclopedia reports and doing i t in an uninteresting manner. Deering: Many of the reports were well written but not well presented—they needed training In oral reporting. Hardy* We were trying to make the kids into teachers, without preparing them. The kids l istening to the reports weren't interested in certain topics, and the kids presenting them couldn't pick up those signals. We could have made attendance at the presentations voluntary. Deering* The problem goes back to the kid selecting a topic of interest rather than one for which information was available; but attendance in areas of presentation other than their own was beneficial to the k ids. Hardy* The kids were more interested in reports on topics related to their own. Deering* It goes back to the teachers, who give direct ion. Haffner: We need to have act iv i t ies for kids who don't have an Interest In any of these things. Hardy: Very few kids are not interested in anything. Positive changes are happening in certain cases. Marion: Some kids are hard to reach—about four out of twenty. Dillman: Why not move the kids around to the (student teachers with whom they can function teacher) well? Marion: O.K., but l e t ' s organize the topics. The team then went on to discuss plans for the next phase of the program. Mattson* We could divide into four sections concerned with current culture and have the kids c i r -culate during the 13 weeks. We aren't using ourselves effect ively because we're a l l doing the same things. We should plan i t out so different things can be done without con-f l i c t i n g . One topic could be "The Language of the Decade". . . .(Mr. Mattson had written down a specif ic proposal as to topics for different sections.) Marion* Are you suggesting we use the cultural studies as a stepplng-off point for studying the culture of here and now? It would be good to have a change of format. Deerlng* We should get the kids involved in this planning—not that they should decide what to do next but they should have some influence. Hardy* A broad program takes them a l l i n . Deering; But we haven't le t them decide more than what culture to study. They should fee l involved; i t i sn ' t enough for the staff to judge their needs. Hardy; Too many poss ib i l i t i es for them is not a good idea. Why not an umbrella or guiding format? 148 Deerings I don't think we've given as much choice within the format as we Intended. Marions It 's Interesting how they pick and choose among the mini-courses. Mattsons We could offer a core and then discuss i t with them. There Is an in f in i te variety of interests among the kids. The discussion shifted hack to organizational problems. Mattsons We could keep the same groups for the f i r s t four weeks, unt i l Easter, and get the programs in each area firmed up before switching groups. We should consider the relationships between the groups. Hardyt Deerings Mattsons Hardy: Deerlngs Haf f ner s Deerlngs Marions Dillmans Hardys Marions Haffner $ Shall we keep large groups? Yes, large groups could have multi-media presentations which would have different values for different groups; and the k ids ' work could feed into the large groups. What ideas do we have for topics? Urban l i terature . Folklore. Contemporary socia l thought with reference to economic philosophy. Creative communication through multi-media. Histor ical drama—portrayal of selected personalities with associated study of the period. There's a lot of action in (the provincial capital) now. A group in Level 3 is working on "Concerns" and a videotape. Why not open the sections to kids' choices at the beginning? We could even extend i t into September. Deerlngs What about the grade 8s? 149 Marion; Same program. Hardy: We could keep the 8s twice as long and continue into next year. Deering: The 8s need more time on s k i l l s . Mattson: We should art iculate with the 7s in U, Town Elementary. Deering: We could go to the elementary schools as a staf f . Mattson; We could use resource people from Level 3 to cover time for releasing the staff to v i s i t the elementary schools, and we could take a sl ide presentation to the elementary schools . . . . I ' l l write up and duplicate the program plans coming out of this week's meetings by Monday. Deering: We're supposed to hand in plans, objectives, e t c . , for parent communication. At another point in the meeting, one of the staff mem-bers, Mr. Haffner (whose responsibi l i t ies were shared with another domain), proposed an independent study program for a few students as their total program for the rest of the year. Marion; We would have to reconsider our basic objectives to do th is . Deering: It raises questions about their roles in the basic program. Marion: Many couldn't handle the responsibi l i ty . Haffner: Not the grade 8 s , but some dfcotfi* 9s. . •=. • I could vaguely sense a problem with regard to Mr. Haffner's acceptance in the team. Two months later I was to learn, through observing a d i f f i c u l t process of decision-making in a staff meeting, that the humanities team wanted 150 Mr. Haffner to transfer out of the school. As far as I could t e l l , the reason was that they did not think he worked hard enough or was suf f ic ient ly committed to the Job. Humanities Team Meeting. February 29 On this date, the team raised the topic of evaluation of seminars. Reports had been obtained from group leaders (resource people from the university who helped with this aspect of the program). It was reported that "most leaders feel they should continue, although i t is only a portion of the students who are coming." Mattson: We shouldn't cancel any groups without doing so with a l l . Deering: We need to look more speci f ica l ly at the individual kids who aren't attending and make alternate arrangements—different groups. Marion: I t 's a lot of work to do th is . Deering: Just a certain few need changing. Marion: I guess we ' l l have to go through them a l l . Hardy; I t 's not a big deal to make changes, since we've had an attendance problem a l l along. Deering; Let 's require those who haven't been attending to come, and permit those who have been coming to consider themselves f inished. Mattson: We could create new time slots and new groups after Easter for those not attending and If . they don't come t h e y ' l l have to do It next year. Deering: The grade 12s won't have any penalty. Marlon: The kids have been waiting for punishments. Should we f u l f i l l their expectations? 151 Deerlngs We set the requirement In the f i r s t place, so we have to be consistent. Marlon: Right; but l e t ' s not carry It over to next year. We should say In our evaluation of these kids at the end of the year that they have not developed sel f - re l iance yet, and then think about what to do next. Deering: Right, but there has to be some consequence of not f u l f i l l i n g the seminar requirement we set. Marlon: Should we, for another year, avoid setting requirements? Deering: That would be not making commitments and following them, l ike the kids do. Hardy: We should make commitments and be wi l l ing to be wrong. Mattson; We do need seminars. Marlon: Yes, but some kids aren't benefit t ing, so are they to be required? Deering: The same problem as always: providing alternatives. Marion; Should we require some participation In one of several alternatives? Deering: We could have independent study as an alternative. We should discuss this with the kids to determine the problem and solutions. Marion: Let 's phone the group leaders and say we want the seminars to continue for the time being. The team took a break from the discussion to get some food. On returning, Mrs. Marion suggested that there was a need to "formulate recommendations for next year soon." Deering: Writing courses. . . . Marion: We need to reorganize to avoid the problem of checking on part icipat ion. Deering: Periods should be an hour instead of forty minutes. 152 Marlon* For larger concerns, there Is the question of staf f ing. Timetable mechanics could be worked out later , Deerlng* Before that, we need to decide about seminars and other act iv i t ies to see what the staff ing needs are, Marlon* We could get parents and other resource persons as seminar leaders. Deerlng* Do we keep seminars as a must? Marlon* I'm not sure; I doubt It, but I don't know what would be the alternative. Deerlng* We could have the option of Westmont University-counsellors' groups, Marlon* Or packaged Instructional materials. Deerlng* So we offer choices to f u l f i l l requirements. Marion* Perhaps we could require each kid to do one of each thing. Deering* We could divide the year into three periods. It would have to be a contract sort of arrange-ment. Marion* If we do this we ' l l need more time with individual k ids. Deering* We could estimate time amounts now for next year. Mattson* Somebody has to coordinate; and there are problems with last-minute cancellations of mini-courses. Deerlng* And the kids not showing up for mini-courses. The forms the kids are now being asked to f i l l out may help. Mattson* What do we do about the non-attendance at mini-courses? I t 's the same old problem of whether to have requirements and whether to enforce them. Marion* Suppose we hadi grade 12 subjects, levels of humanities, and other a c t i v i t i e s , such as co-ordinating mini-courses, or drama, art—each teacher could do one grade 12, one l eve l , and one coordination Job. 153 Hardy: I t 's better to have one type of responsibi l i ty at a time, with the groups of kids spread out instead of big groups a l l at once. Marion: Like classes. Hardy: We could s t i l l work together through exchanges of teachers. I t 's not new, but i t ' s workable. The log is t ics of grouping and timing would depend on the teacher. Marion: If we did that, what staff ing would we need? Mattson: But we shouldn't offer tradit ional courses— seriously. Hardy: Prom the kids' point of view, i t ' s a rea l i ty they have to face—scholarship exams. We don't want to lose the k ids . Mattson: We should offer both. Deering; We're responsible to offer tradit ional courses. Dillman: The kids would have to go to another school (student for their whole program. teacher) Hardy: Let 's work out the alternate offerings. Mattson: But the offerings each require signif icant use of teachers and resources fu l l - t ime. We can't do a l l th is . We would have to get extra teachers to do the tradit ional courses. We need one teacher ful l - t ime in the humanities lab to coordinate i t and make i t work. Marion: Let 's look at what would make the program work, as far as staff ing needs, and ask for i t . Hardy: We want one more teacher anyway. Marion: I don't think even two more is enough. Let's look at the total projected program. Hardy: We want no cutbacks in the program—we have to get more teachers. Time for the meeting ran out 15^ On March 2, the staff discussed policy on the provincial department of education's grade 12 f ina l exams. Mr. Mattson asked whether they should be required. The consensus was that the exams should be at the discretion of the teacher. Mr. Sander said that departmental f ina l exams were "usually used only i f there is a question about passing the student: but this year the objection can be raised that the t rad i -t ional course was not offered." Mr. Hardy thought that "humanities could just i fy requiring departmental exams in some cases; the offerings aren't total ly different from the tradit ional courses." Mr. Sander suggested "te l l ing some students that i f they don't measure up they w i l l be required to write a local f ina l exam, and w i l l be able to appeal through the departmental exam." Mr. Mattson said Mr. Sander's idea " s t i l l doesn't solve the problem of discrepancy between exam and course offer ing." Mr. Sander returned: "It Is solved i f the school sets a f ina l to determine whether to recommend particular students to write provincial exams." Mr. Sander then raised the subject of provincial scholar-ship exams. He said that i t was tradit ional at the school to "clear those students who Intend to write scholarship exams to hammer at scholarship subjects after a certain date." Mr. Hardy said that was "not necessarily a good pol icy; we should Integrate this need with the program." Mr. Scott cited an example of a student who was not ready for a foreign language scholarship exam but wanted to write 155 i t anyway; he said that "if we release this student for scholarship study, i t raises serious questions about the philosophy of the program.M Mr. Happ thought that Mthe old procedure is probably not consistent with the new program, but we could be f lex ib le and handle each case d i f ferent ly ." Mr. Sander sa id: "The kids w i l l shut down and study for scholarship exams anyway," to which Mr. Happ rep l ied , "O.K., but no change in the program is cal led fo r . " Mr. Sander said: "There has been talk of making a group arrangement for scholarship preparation." Mr. Happ ob-jected, "We can't let the program shut down." A suggestion was then made that the staff have a meeting with the grade 12s to discuss the question. Mr. Happ thought that too much "depends on the subject." Mr. Sander proposed that the staff " te l l the grade 12s to consider the scholarship study to be starting now." Mr. Happ and Mr. Scott com-plained that Mr. Sander had the "wrong emphasis." Mr. Sander repl ied: "The kids w i l l raise the question." Miss Deering and Mr. Happ said i t did depend on the subject, and that "we could offer extra courses in some cases." Mr. Laurldsen pointed out that this "might create a time-table problem again." Mr. Scott sa id , "We should l imit the options and then let the kids decide." It was decided to have a meeting with the students interested in scholarships on Monday at lunchtime. It was expected that there would be about 25 such students. 156 A Westmont University newsletter l i s t ing recommended secondary school courses for various university programs was distr ibuted, and staff members were asked to give them "to grade 12 students in advisory meetings." At the bottom of the meeting agenda was this reminder* "Reports from domains were due Friday, February 25. Please get them in immediately!" Humanities Team Meeting. March 3 The log is t ics of the next week needed to be sett led; i t was the last week before the in i t ia t ion of the next phase of the program. The presentations of the cultural studies needed to be f inished. Marking of the written reports was a pressing problem because of an upcoming deadline for reports to parents. C lar i f ica t ion of the schedule for the next phase might be a problem with some students; It was suggested that plan books might be helpful for them. An overall plan had been agreed upon for the last part of the school year. There would be f ive areas of study springing from the cultural studies: urban l i terature; history; folklore and myths; media; and economics. Each student would work in one area for six weeks, then change to one other area as of May 1. For each student, one of the areas chosen was to have a "socials emphasis," the other an "English emphasis." Mr. Hardy offered to prepare a general program descrip-tion and rationale for the planned school newsletter to parents. 157 The topic of future staff ing needs and work loads was reintroduced. Marion: Deering: Marion: Mattson: Deering; Mattson: Deering: Marlon; Deering: Mattson: Deering: Marion: Deering: Mattson: Deering: We need reasoning for deciding how many more staff are needed. Should we have a l l f u l l -time staf f , so that a l l can be in on our decision-making? We could s t i l l have part-time staff ; they don't need to be present at a l l meetings. We need more than f ive staff fu l l - t ime. For one, the lab is a ful l - t ime job, including coordination. The regular staff should be able to do this—the only reason i t ' s d i f f i c u l t now is the lack of suff ic ient staf f . We need to Integrate science/math and humanities to be able to challenge the currioulum. We need to work with languages and other areas too. We need to set pr ior i t ies to make decisions on a school-wide basis. That seems right—I'm not sure what alternatives to consider. Also, the complete organization of humanities needs to be considered. We need the new staff members in on this basic planning. Why are we continuing the seminars, for example, i f they haven't been successful? That would require lengthy evaluation. We need to figure staff ing needs on the basis of p r i o r i t i e s . Not having had enough time for working with individual k ids , or recharging, or being sick. Are we being effective with the present program? How can we know? 158 MattsonJ Marions Mattsons Marions Mattsons Deerings Mattsons Marions Mattsons Deerings Mattsons Deerlngs Mattsons Deerlngs Yes, we are, because the kids are Interested in the school. This Is observable. I feel that some of the k ids ' behaviors are in spite, of the staf f . How can we know what is bringing about observed effects? A l l the things in the program are related to these effects. The personalities of staff are related to the effects. We've been running around ineffect ively too much. That is us setting examples for k ids—anti -school , act ive, f l ex ib le , hard-working. Kids are re -sponding because of seeing the staff working hard. The cluster of opposition that used to exist is gone. Do you mean that the present organization should remain? No, but i t ' s a good beginnings You mean we should extend our present work? Yes, and we are doing this In effect now. The speci f ic timetable and organization doesn't mean much. It does in terms of ef f ic iency. Yes, but eff iciency Isn't the most important thing. If we have time to re-energize (with enough s ta f f ) , i t doesn't matter what structure we have. Time is the most Important part of the structure—not the timetable, but time to do what we want to do. Two more staff would barely do th is . But i f the structure Is the same as now, there is no way to do planning and evaluation work. More staff ing would s t i l l not give time away from the kids. But with more staff we could do some work at home or elsewhere. If there were such time, i t would get f i l l e d up with conferences, etc. 159 We need time for a l l these things. More staff must be helpful . Suppose we each looked at what we do in a typical week—then we would see what we need. We're each taken up by numerous communications with kids a l l day, but that's desirable. If we didn't have as much responsibi l i ty for group instruction in content, we could be true resource people. That would be a real departure. Suppose we each took one normal teaching respon-s i b i l i t y and planned that the rest of our time would be for individual guidance. Yes. That's the answer. We're not enough different from the tradit ional school In which preparation is one-seventh of the time. Let 's reverse the ratio—1/7 for regular teaching, 6/7 for preparation and Individual work. Advi-sories take a lot of time and are desirable. That needs to be improved; we haven't even started developing i t . We,need Individual opportunities and group sessions. If we have suff ic ient time, then l e t ' s use i t f l ex ib ly . A l l o t , say, two afternoons per week for advisories. Say 4 hours per week for advisories, 4 for Individuals, several for staff meetings (4?), and planning-preparatlon (4?)— total 16 hours. That leaves 9 hours. I see, for example, history kids 3 hours per week. We should think in terms of another 4 hours per week for each of two courses. Chapter Summary At the consultative committee meeting on February 23, the board's communications director offered to publish and , distr ibute a newsletter. It was decided that he would also edit the new "Consultative Committee Newsletter." Parent representatives held high hopes that the newsletter would Marlon: Mattson; Marions Mattson: Marion; Deering: Marion; Mattson: Marion: 160 help bridge the school-community communications gap. Student representatives, however, voiced cr i t ic ism of the committee's weakness, and called for further general meetings and a student newspaper. Chairman raised three topics for discussion. "Student apathy" was discussed but put off to a later meeting because, i ron ica l ly , the com-mittee decided i t did not have enough information on the topic. Concerning "evaluation of students," the chair aired parental cr i t icisms of changing methods, and asked staff to provide assurances to those worried about experi-mentallsm. The chair lent support to this stance by saying that most parents did not understand accepted new theories of teaching. The discussion returned once again to the need for better information to parents. The third topic was "drop-outs." The pr incipal said simply that the rate was no different from previous years. The following day, February 24, two teachers reported to the staff that the committee was developing in a very narrow way, as merely anfinformation channel, and that the parents were too concerned with s ta t i s t i ca l evaluation. OheFebruary 25, the humanities staff discussed the students* reports on their culture studies, and began to make plans for the f ina l phase of the school year. It was decided to divide the program into sections, one per teacher, while keeping the large group meetings also. There was some discussion of the kids* Involvement in 16.1 program planning. One teacher thought theystudents had not been given enough choice to date, but another teacher disagreed, offering the opinion that too much choice con-fused the k ids. By the next week, the humanities staff had decided upon f ive areas of study for the last phases urban l i terature , history, folklore and myths, media, and economics. Each student would work in two of these areas during the last twelve weeks. In other meetings during this week, the humanities staff engaged in rough planning for year two. They d i s -cussed the inter-related problems of program organization, staff ing and work loads, timetable, and attendance. There was some disagreement over whether the program (and the teachers' responsibi l i t ies) should be organized more tradi-t iona l ly . They confronted a paradox In needing to decide on the basic structure of the program in order to decide on staff ing needs, yet wanting new staff to be in on the basic program decisions. The discussion touched upon the need for school-wide program planning. Humanities staff also discussed the seminar groups in their program; group leaders thought the seminars were valuable but were concerned about low attendance. The humanities staff discussed inconclusively what to do about kids who do not attend even after being told (as they were in the New Year's reorganization) that attendance at seminars was a requirement. It was decided to continue the seminars "for the time being. 162 At the March 2 staff meeting, the principal raised the subject of provincial grade 12 f ina l exams. He said they were usually used only i f there was a question about passing a student, but suggested that, since this year the program did not always offer the tradit ional course on which the provincial f i n a l is based, the staff use i ts own f ina l in questionable cases, and permit students to appeal through the provincial f i n a l . Provincial scholar-ship exams were also raised by the principal for discussion. He informed the staff that in the past the school had let scholarship candidates "shut down" their regular programs, after a certain date, to prepare. Some staff members objected that this would be too Inconsistent with the school's present philosophy. It was decided to meet with the students affected to determine the best course of action. ******* CHAPTER 14 MORE PARENTAL QUESTIONING AND MORE ASSURANCES On March 9» Mr. Scott raised the issue of what to do with the honour r o l l board in the main hal l of the school. He said that "a committee of students is against the awarding of honours for individual student achievement." Mr. Scott also said that this question offered the oppor-tunity to "involve the students In the governing of the school." He said "suggestions are needed from other students and teachers." Mrs. Gr i f f i ths reported that "some students feel the board could be used for act iv i ty Information." Mr. Lauridsen said that other students thought "the procedure for selecting honour students should be changed, not the purpose of the board." Mr. Shelton f e l t that "students are opposed, but lack alterna-t ives . " Mr. Scott replied that "students w i l l generate ideas and vote at their meeting this morning; staff opinion is needed as a policy in the case of a student decision completely for or against." Mr. Scott Justi f ied the need for staff policy "not because of the honour board but because i t has to do with the student's role in decision-making. Is the student decision accepted If the staff disagrees with i t?" Mr. Happ objected, "One small group of non-academic students is pushing this issue. Is 164 i t democratic to le t them in i t ia te this and to let their wish prevail because of student apathy?" Mr. Sander suggested that the topic be postponed because Dr. Meyer had arrived at the meeting to talk about the staff planning session. Mr. Happ said the problem "shouldn't have to wait." Mr. Scott urged that the staff "should at least decide to create some Joint body for staff-student decision-making." Mrs. Fayter agreed, and pointed out that "no such body ex ists ." She fe l t that "this is an important matter in many ways." Mrs. Gr i f f i ths asked: "Why not have the consultative committee handle i t?" Mr. Hardy thought that "we should have the students decide; but a l l the students and staff should vote on i t . " Mr. Scott said "the consultative committee could be a sounding board, but after the decis ion." Mr. Sander proposed that the consultative committee be asked for opinions before the decision. Mr. Scott sa id , "We have a definite proposal from Mr. Hardy. Is i t acceptable to the staff?" General agreement was heard. Mr. Sander asked, "Are we going to t e l l the students that i t w i l l be voted on?" Mr. Hardy sa id , "Yes, i t ' s time the staff take a stand on decision-making; otherwise the staff breeds apathy." Mr. Sander rep l ied , "So you propose the staff decide how to proceed?" Mr. Hardy sa id , "Yes, but the student council can O.K. i t . " Mr. Happ asked, "How about the parents? This issue cuts Into the large question of academic standards. Some of 165 them may see this as the throwing out of the last remnant of tradit ional standards." Mrs. Furness suggested, "The parents could be Involved just l ike the students." Mr. Scott: "But should we allow the parents to think that the elimination of grades means the lowering of academic standards?" Miss Dlllman asked: "Why shouldn't academic contributions to the school be recognized as much as other contributions? What's wrong with It?" Mr. Happ repl ied, "It's too hard to know which student Is best." Mr. Sander then success-fu l ly urged that "we talk about the planning time now since Dr. Allworth and Dr. Meyer are waiting." The staff asked Dr. Allworth to provide coverage for teaching responsibi l i t ies for two weeks, using d is t r i c t consultants (a procedure which they knew had been followed in one previous case In Sal lcrest when a school had to make a transit ion from an old building to a new open area building). Dr. Allworth said that he "couldn't repeat that at U. Town." Allworth: Ideally, we would have 15 people doing this a l l the time in the d i s t r i c t . We'd l ike to give you some time, but i t w i l l have to be something less grand. Scott: Have there been any other requests before, leading to speci f ic plans? Allworth: No. Hardy: Let 's put the shoe on the other foot. We don't have the time to do the things this project Is for . We don't get with the kids enough because 166 of trying to Jam in meetings. But i f we don't get next year straightened out this year. . . . Allworth: How about one week of released time and one of your own time, say in the summer? We can't be too favorit ive to you or we ' l l have antagonism in the d i s t r i c t ; but i f the staff were giving equal time. . . . Happ: It sounds l ike you're saying that we don't give our own time as i t i s . Allworth: No, just that i t i sn ' t v is ib le to other schools. Hardy; August i sn ' t good; i t ' s too late . Allworth: How could the school be organized during the released week? Hardy; We couldn't keep i t humming with just the staff assistants. Allworth; What would you want the consultants to d o -teach? consult? keep the l i d on? Hardy: Teach. Allworth; Whom would you want? Hardy: The music consultants, art consultants,. . . Allworth: We can't use central off ice personnel for a whole week for Just one school. Meyer: (The other instance) was dif ferent. Hardy: Perhaps the coordinators could locate extra people rather than doing i t themselves. Meyer; Do you see this as a structured week in the school? Other people couldn't step into your shoes. Hardy: Not necessarily. . . . Meyer; But you're not going to be there to f a l l back on. They would have to do their own thing. 167 Who's going to be in charge? What should the people do? How many? Does the school have to be operated fu l l -sca le? We need more specif ic information on the minimum needs before we can decide. We could possibly get department heads from other schools. Why not s o l i c i t interested department heads whose work could be covered by their own staffs? That's a good idea. We need to know exactly how many, and whet tasks. We can do that. A l l we need is cooperation. Some of the central staff could be tapped for short periods. We could send a c i rcular to the schools but we need specif ic information on tasks for them. If we had the information by next Wednesday, we could discuss i t with the education department. Just what information? Can't t e l l you exactly. We just have to know how the program would operate and what's needed. You should discuss this with the parents and students. We have to keep the community informed these days; but this could provide a good i n -service experience for some other teachers. After Dr. Allworth and Dr. Meyer l e f t , Mr. Sanders asked, "How shal l we get this information on coverage needs together?" It was decided that each domain staff would meet to make plans. In the course of the March 9 meeting, Mr. Scott raised the problem of students who have "learning problems for which the school doesn't seem to have an answer." He suggested that they "should perhaps attend a different school" and said that the staff might "get advice from the central administration." While Dr. Allworth and Dr. Meyer Allworth: Happ; Allworth: Scott: Meyer; Hardy; Allworth; 168 were present, Mr. Scott asked them about i t . Dr. Meyer said that he "could look into the poss ib i l i t i es of learning assistance centers." Mr. Sander said that the school had "been trying to get alternatives, but obstacles are always encountered." Dr. Allworth said, "We can handle i t i f i t ' s well documented." Consultative Committee Meeting. March 14" Chairman Worrall offered thanks to Mr. Berends on the f i r s t issue of the committee newsletter, and proposed for discussion that evening the topics "content of courses" and "methods of evaluating student achievement." He said that information on these topics needed to be communicated to parents. He stressed that parents wanted to know "whether numerical evaluation can or w i l l be available In some way." Sander* Letter grades have to be provided by the end of the year. Miss Deering then distributed copies of an evaluation policy statement recently prepared by the humanities team. She asked* "What does a let ter grade mean? There never rea l ly were comparable standards across classes and schools. The staff is committed to the individualization of evalua-t ion." Worrall* But there has to be an evaluation in relat ion to other students at some point because society demands i t . It should be in the background for future reference. 169 Sanderi For the next two or three years, grade 12s who want to write provincial exams have to be given numerical percentage grades; those who wish to write scholarship exams have to be given a let ter grade. If the parent questions the let ter grade at the end of the year, though, the school has a problem. Deering; The terms, "good," "satisfactory," e t c . , are equal to let ter grades, roughly. Worrall! But are you referr ing to the Individual's progress in relat ion to himself? Deering: Yes. Worrall: How do you answer the questions of outside agencies? Sander; They tend not to ask for rank in class now; they ask for rank in percentage categories—top 10 per cent, 20 per cent, e tc . , or they ask what kind of class the student is In. McDonald! You shouldn't use so much jargon in this evaluation policy statement. Another teacher commented, "Usually teachers w i l l c a l l the parent If there is any real problem." Berends: Can we say so in the newsletter? No, not absolutely. It leaves no hedge. Sander: Berends: Deering: Sander: Could both a le t ter grade and a descriptive evaluation be given? It 's not desirable for the slow kids to be to ld , in ef fect , that they are slow. When the next reports come out at the end of March, would you l ike to see letter grades for every subject? Would you fee l deprived of information i f non-rated subjects were summarized in letter-grade form at the end of the year? McDonald: No, because I fee l le t ter grades are subjective anyway. 170 Worrall: I would be concerned i f I heard "satisfactory progress" regarding the individual a l l year, and then a "D" at the end. Marion: It is possible to communicate both types of evaluation with parents verbally. Berends; At one time, let ter grades were thrown out by lay authorities in Sailerest because i t was fe l t that they mean nothing about quality of achievement relat ive to other school systems. Worrall: I suppose i t ' s good enough to communicate verbally. Sander: But i t ' s the recorded letter grade that matters when a chi ld transfers. Verbal communication then becomes double talk. . . .A smart kid In this system can pretend he's stupid in September, then show great progress with ease. Dr. Worrall then brought up the humanities program. He said he had "a c a l l from a parent questioning the content and methods in humanities." Worrall: We need to communicate to parents the value and nature of the humanities program. Humanities seem to be the centre of controversy. How can we reassure the t radi t ional is t parents? To what extent is the old system present in the range of offerings of the new? Sander; There is concern from parents that teachers aren't marking papers any more. I t 's not true, of course. Deering: Students are now able to select what interests them. A "novels" mini-course, and a course on English fundamentals, are available. Berends: Are they required? Deering; Yes, the students a l l have to have a writing course of nine weeks during the year. Worrall: Can they e*iect%not to take other aspects of English? Deering: Yes 171 Marion: Worrall: Sanderi Deering: Worrall; Berends; Marion: Worrall: Berends: Sander: Worrall: Sander; Berends: But a lot of i t is covered in the humanities courses even i f they don't elect the minis. So there is a basic core block plus. This is an important point to make to parents. But the core i sn ' t necessarily the same as the provincial curriculum—nor i s i t in any school. We just about have a description of the humanities program ready for d u p l i c a t i o n -philosophy, objectives, and organization. How about the comment that learning is up to the student now? Parents have to be informed of the teachers' new role and the amount of work teachers do. Why not use the humanities to explain to parents how a group of pro-fessionals have developed a program? But what about the accusation that the student is held responsible for his own fa l l ings? No—you feel responsible as a teacher and try to find out what the problem i s . That is good teaching anywhere. I t 's not a "free school" approach. The l ibrary is Indicative—It was empty in October. Now i t ' s overcrowded. We have a lot of peaks and valleys in our feelings about this change. I was conditioned to b e l l s , for example; now I can't stand them. How about the idea of describing the humanities program to parents effectively? Should we devote a meeting to i t ? I t 's probably the real plus feature of the school. Yes, and i t ' s for a l l the students, not Just some. Many schools have alternative humanities programs for some students. Students are learning to be se l f - re l i an t . Are you going to follow through to see what effect the new program has on university experienced? Marion: It would be more meaningful to wait for those who have gone through the whole four years. 172 Berends s Are there surly or hostile kids? Marion» No. Sander: There are some sad kids who don't have a place to go or haven't found themselves. Berends s Are some doing nothing? Sander: A few. Deering: But even they are coming along. Staff Meeting. March l6" Mr. Schwennlng from the school board off ice came to respond to staff questions about alternatives for students with learning problems. Schwennlng: There is not much a v a i l a b l e u n t i l there is rea l ly a serious problem. The family doctor Is the best agency. The university could be a good resource. U. Town has more capacity for social and other types of remediation than any other school in Sal lcrest . Schwennlng: He can make the r ight contacts with other doctors. . . .Transfers to other schools can be ef fect ive, but rea l ly U. Town has better resources for these kids than the other schools. In fact , U. Town may have to take some problem kids from other schools. Schwennlng; Right, but this school is fine for kids with social and academic problems. In other business, there was a report on the consul-tative committee meeting; a report on tentative plans for the planning week; and addition of some student names to a l i s t of scholarship candidates. Scott: What can the family doctor do? Happ: But other schools have pre-employment programs. 173 (Other items discussed in February and March staff meetings included: tenure for teaching assistants; outdoor education; problems of some individual students; a survey on the extended school year concept; a f inancial statement of disbursements; weekend heating in the school building; funds for art supplies; a contest for a summer t r ip for students in grade 8; a year-long t r ip for grade 12 students; funds for physical educationsequipment; the Science I pro-gram; sign up procedure for physical education courses; the experimental fund of the school d i s t r i c t ; the substi -tute budget; building alterations in the humanities area; petty cash disbursements). Consultative Committee Meeting. Apr i l 11 Chairman Worrall raised the topic of program evaluation. Worrall; What external, objective assessments are planned? Is there to be such assessment after one year as well as three years? Sander; Mr. Elvin and his department are processing questionnaires. The staff is meeting for a week starting toouarrxm; soul-searching, planning, and evaluating w i l l be done. Immediate grade 12 evaluation w i l l come from departmental exams In June; some w i l l write for scholarships. Parent; What questionnaires? Sander; There were two questionnaires. The f i r s t used a small sample. The second used a total sample of students and parents. Elvin and his assistant are coming to the staff meeting on Monday. Worrall: Is the planning week looking to next year? What If performance in June is not satisfactory? Would plans made now be changeable? 174 Yes; It is d i f f i c u l t , though, to get people together in the summer. Sander : Parent; Worralli Dr. Worrall then read a let ter from a parent which I f e l t that the questionnaire didn't address the most important questions. The outcomes of the planning week w i l l be of interest through the newsletter to parents. raised questions about "risks in the program to students with low motivation to achieve." Worrallt These are questions worth considering. They might be appropriate for the s ta f f ' s planning discussions. When teaching in the directive sense is de-emphasized, there is a potential danger that some students w i l l not achieve. McDonald I Wi l l there not always be a number of students in secondary school who w i l l not be se l f -motivated at a l l ? Parent J Have students been told that this school is for a particular type of learning? Sander: Yes, I have told some students exactly th is . One special category that Is a problem is the slow learner (by a b i l i t y ) ; they shouldn't be In this school because i t is an academic school. We must rea l i ze , though, that in the tradit ional school the enforced achievement of unmotivated students is not r e a l , and the differences among Individual students are Just glossed over. Marlon; Motivation by teachers is not neglected; i t Is Just a different type—not through punishment, but through individual talking. Worrall: Is there a sub-program for those who don't work on their own? Sander: Some are locked in ; they have to get s l ips signed by teachers and parents—about 15 or 20 students. In humanities, In January, a more tradit ional course was inst i tuted. In most schools, the less structured program is the alternative offer ing, rather than vice-versa. 175 Parents Sander : Ray: (student represen-tative) Marion; Ray: Marion; Worrall: Berends: Teachers: Sander: Worrall; Chiba; Worrall; Ray: Worrall: Sander: Hardy: What about math—shouldn't there be more direct teaching there? It is occurring quite a b i t there. . . . We could use more structure in math and French; but we have gotten i t through individual arrange ment. Kids are helping kids a lo t ; i t ' s quite excit ing. One grade 12 student is often teaching physics to other k ids. This is happening more and more. It starts with prodding from the teachers but develops to se l f -in l t i a t l ve . I t 's marvelous to see to one who has been edu-cated t radi t ional ly . Possible there is better productivity at the end of the year when students are used to the new system. Yes, r ight . Kids were used to next-day assignments only. The shock of waiting t i l l the last minute is a good learning experience. In shop the motivation is growing. Kids want to teach others. Papers are longer and better than required. Ray, what do you perceive about other students* attitudes? The amount of freedom of choice does encourage students to work. What about the unscheduled Thursdays? We're not happy about them; they're too r i g i d . Also, the noon hour i sn ' t being used as intended, for attending Westmont University ac t i v i t i es . Attendance at the M Civ i l i za t ion" series is high. 176 The council decided that i t would be desirable to have another general meeting in May. It was decided to propose to the staff that a general meeting be held on May 2. There would then be a council meeting on May 9 to assess the general meeting. Chapter Summary At the March 9 staff meeting, a teacher raised the issue of what to do with the honour r o l l board in the main h a l l , which was t radi t ional ly used for praising those individual students who earned the highest grades. He pointed out that this issue involved two Important questions* the philoso-phical Implications of honouring students' academic achieve-ments; and student participation In decision-making. He saw a need for a Joint staff-student decision-making body. It was decided to have the honour r o l l board issue voted on by staff and students as equals. The consultative committee's opinion was not considered Important, in spite of the pr in-c ipa l ' s urging that the committee be consulted beforehand. The assistant superintendent and the director of instruction attended the meeting, and bargained with the staff over the extend of coverage to provide for the pro-posed staff planning session. It was decided that interested department heads from other Sal lcrest schools would be sol ic i ted after the U. Town staff gave the central off ice specif ic plans for the running of the school during the released time. 177 At another staff meeting in March, a board o f f i c i a l spoke concerning treatment of students with learning problems, at the s ta f f ' s request. He said that U. Town's resources for dealing with such problems were as good as any other school's in the d i s t r i c t . Other items of business in staff meetings during this period again f i t ted the categories of organizational problems discovered previously. At the March 14 consultative committee meeting, the chairman again raised the topics of "course content" and "student evaluation." Again, the need for information to parents was pointed out. Parent concern over "numerical evaluation" was voiced. The principal said that such marks did have to be provided by the end of the year, even in the new program. Teachers present questioned the meaning of le t ter grades. The chair Insisted that society demands evaluation in relat ion to other students "at some point." He raised the problem of year^end shock to the parent and student in a case in which a low f ina l grade is registered after supportive individualized reports have been received during the year. Staff members argued that verbal communi-cation to parents during the year avoided this problem. An evaluation pol icy statement was distributed by the humanities teachers present. In the statement, evaluation was described as "a continuous process designed to determine the degree to which each student demonstrates positive 178 behavioral changes and success, in "the acquisit ion of intended learning outcomes.". It was also said that "A l l forms of evaluation are based on individual student growth. . . . " A parent representative c r i t i c i zed the "jargon" in which this policy statement was couched. The humanities program was again singled out by the committee for discussion. Assurances were given that much of the tradit ional content was offered within the new program; and that students were not Just l e f t on their own to learn—that teachers were busy teaching. Again, the need for communication to the parents was pointed out. On Apr i l 11, the chairman asked about "program evalua-t ion ." The principal ident i f ied, as components of the current program evaluation, the questionnaires on contracted student time; the staff planning week commencing the next day; and the provincial exams. The chair also questioned the "risks to students with low motivation" in the new program. The pr incipal defended by saying that the same problem existed In other schools but i t was usually glossed over; that at U. Town some students were required now to have attendance s l ips signed; and that tradit ional courses had been offered in humanities since January. A teacher added to the defense the point that teachers do not neglect those k ids , but rather counsel them; and that "kids help kids a l o t . " The committee decided to c a l l for another general meeting on May 2, subject to staff approval. CHAPTER 15 THE STAFF'S PLANNING WEEK IN APRIL Arrangements were made for the staff to meet for f ive f u l l days by bringing Interested department heads from other Sai lcrest schools to U. Town. The staff met in a conference room on the campus of the university from Apr i l 12 to 18. The planning week was timed so that a weekend came in the middle of i t , to avoid fatigue. Day 1 The f i r s t general topic on the agenda (which had been drawn up by a staff committee) was "timetable, staff ing as i t relates to timetabling, and enrolment." (Mr. Sander led off the discussion on this f i r s t day, but a different staff member chaired the meeting each day, and another recorded). Sander: An analysis of fixed teacher time In science classes (he distributed agpaper) shows that we cannot accept Increased enrolment. Hardy: We shouldn't be concerned with enrolment, since (chairman) other schools are under-enrolled; but the questions of s ta f f ing , timetabling, and atten-dance should be discussed separately at length. Sander: I just want to state my opinions now and then be a l istener the rest of the week. Mr. Sander went on to say that his opinions were that "Thursdays have not been effect ive, nor have lunch hours;" that "the auditorium isn ' t being used ef fect ively;" and that "a portable classroom would not be desirable." 180 (A portable had been suggested as a solution to the problem of a student lounge; the topic was to come up the following day). Mr. Hardy then proposed focussing on the topic of enrolment, in order to dispense with i t . Hardy; Suppose we make a firm decision about holding enrolment. Happ; Shouldn't we reduce the percentage of grade 8s in the school? Marion; Can we make policy regarding the grade d i s t r i -bution within the composition of the student body? Sander; We never discussed this question with the central o f f ice . Ghiba: There are many future grade 8s seeking to enrol here. Hardy; We shouldn't look at the waiting l i s t unt i l we decide what is desirable from our viewpoint. Laurldsen; Sailerest school board should make i t clear to the parents that there is a choice of schools. Happ; Have we decided to l imi t enrolment to the present 330? Let 's vote on i t . Marion: How rational was the selection of this figure? Happi I t 's based on budgeting—it goes by units of 18.5 students per teacher (or some f igure) . Sander; We are an awkward size school. Anderson! Is the rat io fixed for next year? Shelton: I t 's going up by one according to the newspaper; but l e t ' s make a decision to l imi t enrolment to 330. Deering! Let 's not make that decision before thinking in terms of the nature of the program. 181 (Miss Deering was a humanities teacher who had studied curriculum development theory. Her concern was evidenced in the program descriptions written in humanities). Happ; But we can discuss forever; we have to make some decisions. (The staff was frequently concerned about i ts eff iciency in reaching decisions). Deeringt But i t has to be made In l ight of the effect ive-ness of the program. Scott: There Isn't any basis for increasing enrolment. Let 's vote. Hardy: I have a motion on the f loor . Shelton: Let 's amend the motion to read: that the enrol-ment shal l not exceed 18 times the student-teacher ra t io . Hardy; 0.K. The motion was carried. Mr. Scott brought up the subject of remuneration for summer staff work. Hardy: We're not l i ke ly to get extra money from the board. Can we handle i t from our funds? HappI We can't pay the going rate; we don't have enough. Scott: But we can figure what work we want to do in the summer and pay token amounts for i t from our funds, although we shouldn't miss asking the board. Deering: We are wi l l ing to work in the summer but we need to establish the principle that the board has, to pay for i t . The board's commitment to the project has to be tested. Hardy: Let 's send a delegation to the board. We should use our funds for operating expenses. 182 Deering! We need to decide what work we want to do in the summer before requesting i&oney. Hardy! Sight. So we should discuss our various problems and then make a brief to the board. Chibai We shouldn't worry about the teachers' federation. Happ! We should spend a l l of our funds on materials and other program improvements—and do so by June. Then we should work for nothing in the summer i f necessary. Hardy: Let 's table the problem t i l l the end of our meetings and then decide how to approach the board. Scott: Maybe we shouldn't even bother to bring this up again i f . i t ' s pointless going to the board. The general feel ing was, however, that a strong request to the board should be made. Hardy: What should we discuss next? timetabling? enrolment by grades? program? Scott: Ca l l i t "timetable"—it takes in a lo t of problems. Hardy: Is i t right to do that f i r s t ? Happ: When I say "timetable," I don't mean the mechanics but rather how to use time in re lat ion to pur objectives. Hardy: Let 's not look at Thursdays in part icular. We shouldn't have a unique day or an extended lunch hour. We should plan on a regular 5-day basis. It was agreed not to have a special Thursday and to re -structure the noon hour. Happ: Let 's shorten the usual day, since we start so early; not that we should l imi t everyone. Hardy: But "extra-curricular" act iv i t ies shouldn't be viewed as something to be placed outside the regular day. We should each be able to schedule things whenever we want between, say, 7:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. 183 ScottJ The domains have become atomized. We should real ize that we can operate each within a broad time framework. We don't need to generalize about timing. LauridsenI But there are things that have to be scheduled so they don't conf l ic t . Scotti Whatever we c a l l i t , there is a d ist inct ion to be made between essentials and extras—those that can be done at any old time and those that can't be. Happt I propose that in principle essentials be scheduled between 81OO and 2i00. Hardy: Is there agreement? General agreement was voiced. A timetable committee was set up, and i t was decided to u t i l i ze 15-minute modules. The Decision to Retain Contract Time in Year Two The topic of contractual time was raised. Sander* There is a d i f f i c u l t y from a lack of understanding of the concept by students. It is tied up with the concepts of advisor and subjeot teacher. Scotti There are different meanings In different subject areas, but i s n ' t there general agreement that allowance of time for Individualized work is desirable? Heads nodded. (The retention of contractual time was o f f i -c i a l l y stated by the staff as one of the decision outcomes of the planning week). Hardy 1 Do we want to defines: the roles of advisor and subject teacher? Happi The subject teacher should be responsible. Fayter* The advisor" should assist the subject teacher. Mrs. Anderson asked whether they should consider a semester system. 184 Hardyi In another school in which I taught, the semester experience was negative. Deering: Particular courses could he semestered; there could be some freedom. Scott; I t 's hard to see how. Anderson: Long periods for shorter times are better for food courses. Hardy; Do we need to discuss staff meeting time, or advisory time? Happ; Are mini-courses going to be at any time and conf l ic t with regular classes? There was general agreement to put mini-courses after 2:00, accompanied by concern.that they not be "viewed as f r i l l s . " Mr. Happ suggested there was a need for a time slot for mini-courses during the day also. It was agreedttd@time-table l £ hours before lunch, one day per week, for mini-courses. Some discussion of advisory time and lunch time ensued. Later in the planning week, the staff was given an Interim report on the board's questionnaire study of con^ tracted student time. In the report, Mrs, Pearson, research assistant to Mr. E lv in , gave a def ini t ion of contractual time "derived from the staff" through an earl ier question-naire: Students at University Town Secondary School are assigned less class time per week than Is normally the case in secondary school. To com-pensate, students.are al lotted contracted student time in each subject area. Contracted student time is defined as the scheduling of student time in addition to al lotted class time (called time-table time) to enable the student to complete the requirements of a course. . . . 185 The suggested purposes of this approach are: (1) To provide a student with the opportunity, to take responsibi l i ty for his own progress. (2) To provide a slow worker extra time with teacher assistance. (3) To give a fast worker extra time for reading and research. (4) To enable a teacher to assign extra time to a student i f and when required. This def ini t ion was different from the "free time" conception held by many parents. Some commented on the questionnaire that i f they had had the def ini t ion earl ier they would not have been so upset about the new program. (Whether this def in i t ion was truly descriptive is called into question by interview data I gathered—see Chapter 22). The board's study found that a majority of parents and students were in favor of the approach, although a large minority was opposed. Many thought i t should begin at an early age. Mrs. Pearson reported a marked positive change in students' attitudes toward the school in general and part icular ly toward teachers. This change in student a t t i -tude was reported to have been noticed by many parents. The s ta f f ' s decision to retain contract time, however, was made before the board's interim report was received. This was typical of the s ta f f ' s attitude toward the board's evaluation department. The s ta f f , throughout the period of this study, had a marked tendency to believe that i ts own perceptions were more val id than conclusions drawn from 186 any measurement device. The staff distrusted "s ta t i s t i cs . " In the course of some interviews during the following school year, I asked participants about the decision to retain contractual time in.the program. Conceptually, i t seemed to represent the completion of a cycle of program development decisions at the school leve l . The reader w i l l r eca l l that I inquired speci f ica l ly into the ear l ier deci -sions to; (1) emphasize student responsibi l i ty and i n d i v i -dualization of instruction; (2) u t i l i ze the contract approach; and (3) use a questionnaire on contract time in the year one evaluation. Teacher; We didn't make a decision to retain i t as such; we just d idn' t make a decision to discard i t . We recognized there were weaknesses in the way we were handling i t . . . . Teacher; It came about as a formal decision as a result of discussions in staff meetings, at the lunch table, and so on. We realized there were faults but we weren't wi l l ing to concede there was no room for contract time. . . • Teacher; At one of our meetings i t was agreed that those whovrthought the contractual approach was valuable would continue to use i t . I don't reca l l the discussion of i t . Teacher; I don't think i t was an actual decision, just a continuation of a thing that seemed to be working. 187 Teaohert I don't even remember i t as a decision. Nobody said to me, "Shall we keep contractual time?" I don't think anyone seriously doubted that i t was a good thing. Teacher1 This decision was made in the 5-day planning session. The decision would have to be put down to our feeling thatr^^tjractual time was working. I don't think It was dependent on the survey. We made the decision before the survey came out. Teacher« That was made in last spring's session. It was decided under the heading of timetable, along with the decision to make Thursday a regular day. It was a staff decision. Indirectly, the staff was responsive to student feedback; i f the overall student opinion had been negative, the staff wouldn't have retained contract time. I don't know i f there was any direct involvement of students, parents, or school board people in the decision. Teacheri I don't remember It (the decision). Maybe It was made when I was absent one day. Parents and students had no knowledge of how the deci -sion was made to retain contract time. Parent* < I don't know. I assume the decision was made because enough people who f i l l e d out the question-naire thought It was worthwhile. Nearly every parent I talked to thought i t was a waste, though; I'd see them at the Safeway (grocery store) and they'd a l l give me the same story* Isn't that situation at the high school wasteful—what's going on over there? So i t must have been the staff and students who thought i t was good. Parent t I wasn't even asked about i t . 188 Parent t The decision was made by the faculty of the school, or the faculty in consultation with the school board. Parent : I don't know how i t was decided. It wasn't discussed at the consultative committee, as far as I can r e c a l l . Student: I don't know how i t was made. It was a good decision, though. It makes the teacher more human. Student t I don't have any knowledge of how that decision was made. The teachers needed contractual time to keep up the one-to-one relationship. They kept Thursday as a normal day and then had the student sign up with the teacher. Student: I guess the decision was made by the teachers, maybe along with the school board. Mr. E lv in 's perception of the decision to retain con-tract time in the U. Town program wast That was the result of the input to the staff as a result of the f i r s t year's experience. It was a staff decision. We didn't make a recommen-dation one way or the other. I don't know i f they actually debated whether to continue i t or not. Dr. Meyer said: "This was.decided by the staff on the basis of feedback from evaluation." Dr. Allworth said simply, "That was also a school decis ion." Days 2 and 3 The next general topic on the agenda was "physical plant and resources." The issue was raised of whether to request a 189 portable classroom from the board for a student lounge. Mr. Sander was opposed, and the teaching staff was apparently almost unanimously In favor. It was generally agreed that, contrary to Mr., Sander's opinion, untidiness was not a good reason for opposing a student social area. One teacher commented, "People, not students, are messy." It was also agreed that the portable should be made Into,a well-furnlshed place to encourage respect for the f a c i l i t y . Fayter» MattsonJ Happ» Marlon* Fayter* Happ* The students should be In on these decisions. What do we know about the students' wishes concerning the socia l area? Gould It be useful to the community as a whole? That could be disastrous. I would l ike to move that there be a portable for a student social area. Have the consultative committee discussed this? The students' council? There Isn't any doubt that they support the Idea, Anderson* Could we get let ters In support as Part of our brief to the board? Marlon* Would the cost of the portable be borne by the board? There could be student Involvement in ra is ing funds for furnishings. A vote was taken. A l l of the teachers voted In favor of Mrs. Marlon's motion; Mr. Sander voted against. Scott* Communication to the consultative committee and student council Is now needed. Anderson* I move that a le t ter be sought from the consul-tative committee endorsing the request for a portable. 190 The vote In favor was unanimous, with Mr. Sander abstaining. Laurldsen* The students should be approached soon— before going to the board. Happ* We can bring i t .up in advisory group discussions next week. Scott* Let 's ws>it t i l l later to discuss the detai ls of fund-raising with the students. The science staff wanted to make a proposal. They wanted to move Mr. Shelton*s teaching equipment to the other wing of the bui ld ing, next to,the other science teachers, in exchange for a classroom presently used by humanities. (The problem of physical separation had been Identified in the professional day meetings In February). Mr. Sander was opposed to the Idea. Sander* Mr. Shelton has special equipment in the present room that he won't have in the other wing. It would cost at least $15,000 to move i t a l l . Chlba* Would the board's freeze on renovation include this? Happ* If Mr. Shelton feels i t ' s important to move in spite of the loss of equipment, he should be permitted to do so, so long as i t doesn't cost too much and the area he leaves oan be used by humanities. Those tables are sol id ly fixed in place. Hardy* Couldn't he move as a t r i a l for the rest of the year? Happ* That would be pretty d i f f i c u l t . The science staff conferred b r ie f l y , then said that they needed to know whether the humanities and languages staffs could use Mr. Shelton's present room. 191 Mattson: It could be an electronics media room for a l l domains. Laurldsen; But that would be at the cost of a regular room for humanities. Furness: We don't have enough regular rooms now. Laurldsen: The main purpose Is to Integrate the sciences, Deering: Why do you need to be next door to each other? Happ: Because of the need to supervise the use of equipment, Scott; But can humanities use Mr, Shelton*s room? It was generally agreed that Its use would be limited to lab-type work, not seminars, and that this would not be desirable for the humanities program, Chiba: Perhaps you need to adjust your programs to f i t the f a c i l i t i e s , as In shop. There was an impasse. Science staff caucused b r i e f l y , then Mr. Shelton suggested that they "should perhaps shelve the issue for now unt i l science staff can discuss i t further." Scott; Let 's get a decision on whether humanities can use i t . The humanities staff discussed i t among themselves. After much hesitat ion, they said that they "could use i t , and feel that the total benefits for the school might be greater i f sciences make the move." Sciences staff said they would consider the matter further. (The move was not made). (During day 2, there was also discussion of some minor physical plant problems: the location of the student store, 192 the use of the auditorium area, the location of bike racks, the need for more garbage containers). (Some discussion of budgetary problems also occurred on each of the f i r s t two days). The next general topic on the agenda was "staff ing. ' ' (Discussion of this topic overlapped Day 2 and Day 3)« Mrs. Gr i f f i ths brought up a need for a male physical educa-tion teacher for the boys. Humanities wanted two additional teachers, and were wi l l ing to,do without any staff assistants. It was agreed that this could best be discussed as part of the general staff ing question. There was some discussion of staff assistants. The question was then asked, How many teachers and staff assistants should there be In the total picture? It was figured that If physical education and humanities got what they wanted, the total staff would be half a unit over the maximum allowed by the provincial formula. There would hence be no poss ib i l i ty of a special Instructional budget created from staff ing funds, as in ; year one. Mr. Hardy askedt "Should we consider the overall program before making^ a decision on staff ing?" Mr. Happ argued that since the school would s t i l l have the regular operating budget, an increase In staff would not undermine the budget for the program. The discussion was hindered by the s ta f f ' s lack of understanding of the relevant aspects of the d i s t r i c t and provincial budgets. Decisions were postponed. * 193 Mrs. Marion interjected a message from the consul-tative committee that they would l ike staff agreement to a general meeting on May 2 focussing on the humanities program. Mr. Berends needed a decision in order to put out the newsletter. Marion: We don't want to do i t , but perhaps we should. Happ; It would be useful i f i t is on the program's future. Hardy; I move that we have such a meeting on May 9. The dates of the general meeting and council meeting should be reversed. (This motion was carr ied, and the decision was made known through the newsletter published soon thereafter). Scott; I move we make a strong suggestion to the consultative committee that the tone of the general meeting be positive and forward-looking, including discussion of the revised provincial curriculum, with questions received in writing in advance, and that individual discussion of pupil progress not be included. There was agreement to this proposal. It was decided that Mrs. Marlon and Mr. Sander would organize the meeting and direct the questions received. Day 4 A question was raised.as to what courses students would choose next year. Hardy; Let 's get the k ids ' expressions of interest f i r s t . Sander; But they ' l l Just choose from among those presently offered. Scott; I would l ike to make a motion that we ask the kids to express their course interests on the basis of those currently offered and make additional sugges-t ions; that this be done within two weeks. 194 Hardyt Although the information would be valuable, we put the wrong foot forward when we do i t on the basis of what currently is offered. We should f i r s t ask for their suggestions without our referr ing to the current program. Happ* Is that honest? Aren't we going to have required curricula and university entrance constraints? Hardyt But the kids should participate In the creation of the constraints, i f there are going to be constraints. Scott* It is important to involve the students at some point, but not in the f i r s t step; i t ' s not feasible . The staff should propose alternatives from among which kids can select . Hardy: But why not s i t down with the kids' suggestions? Happ; I think you're being unreal ist ic . Scott* I agree. Lauridsen* It would be more effective to offer ideas as a staff f i r s t , because the kids won't know what they want. Shelton* Does that rule out the kids' rejecting the staff proposals and substituting their own? It was generally f e l t that this would not be ruled out. Sander* So many want university entrance. We have to structure our offerings in that l ight . Hardy* We can do both. Why not get the k ids ' ideas and feed them back to them to get knowledge of Important interests? A vote was taken on Mr. Scott 's motion. There was essential ly a lack of conviotton in either d irect ion. Most voted for the motion, but Mr. Hardy and Mr. Mattson voted against, and there were several abstentions. 195 A student told me: . . . I 've brought up to three or four teachers the Idea of student evaluation of courses—the teacher and the students s i t t ing down and talking about the course; but they Just laughed i t off . . . . The staff discussed screening students for admission to the school. Chiba: Can we Justify excluding some now enrolled? Laurldsen; Yes, beoause some are acting to the detriment of the program as a whole. Deering! The c r i t e r i a would have to be very specif ic to Justify th is . G r i f f i t h s : I t 's hard to be clearly objective about i t . Anderson: One cr i ter ion is that If we are not a vocational school, there are certain students who clearly should go elsewhere. Deering: This relates to evaluation. Many students aren't sure what kind of school this i s . I fee l that some of the kids who lack academic ab i l i t y benefit from being at U. Town. Scott; We must avoid setting c r i te r ia that we ourselves aren't sure the operational meaning of. Fayter: The kids have to be considered Individually. Anderson: Let 's not be concerned only with behavior-problem kids. What about well-behaved kids who Just don't have the ab i l i ty? G r i f f i t h s : Is academic qual i f icat ion for university our goal? Scott; Most parents see i t that way. Marion; Isn't a general objective to prepare students for a variety of post-secondary pursuits? Laurldsen: We can't do everything. Sander; The open enrolment concept hasn't been implemented enough yet—there isn ' t yet enough real di f feren-t iat ion among Sailerest secondary schools. 196 Scott* We have a s e l l e r ' s market. We don't need big pr inciples. We can Just shape the student body according to some simple c r i t e r i a . Gr i f f i ths* Are we an academic school? Happ* There evidently Isn't agreement on the objectives (chair) of the school. Should we discuss these now? Lauridsen* My Impression was that we aren't s t r i c t l y a university prep school. Yet we seem better suited to serve some kids than others (not on an academic/non-academlc dimension). Hardy* We could look at It from individual needs, and determine which school is best for each student in question. Gr i f f i ths* Most parents expect academic preparation. Scott* The staff can make such decisions too. Chlba* Some kids who are interested in vocational training can't be provided for here. The staff discussed for some time the problem of lack of agreement on the student's goals among parent, student, and teacher; and of knowing who should have what Influence on such decisions. Happ* What should we,tel l a parent who wants to know how to succeed in this school? Scott* That the student must be wi l l ing to accept lots of responsibi l i ty . Other teachers said that the school should know the applicant's "reasons for wishing to attend;" his " f ie ld of interest," his "post-secondary goals" and "background relat ive to aspirat ions." They suggested expecting an "innovative attitude" and a "cooperative att i tude." Mr. Scott said they shouldn't "confuse outcomes with pre-requis i tes." 197 The question was raised* "How do we define •respon-s i b i l i t y * ? M Mr. Scott proposed It mean n to take Init iatory steps In learning; to solve log is t i ca l problems In learning; and to take advantage of the teacher as a learning resource." He said that It should not mean to do everything on your own. Mr. Laurldsen added* "Some parents think the teacher does not do anything. We must correct this mlslmpresslon too." Mr. Hardy and Mr. Shelton volunteered to form a com-mittee to Interview students applying for admission. Day 5 The last main topic on the agenda was "communications." Mr. Scott raised the problem of student Involvement. ScottJ I am concerned with the lack of student Involve-ment In the making of decisions about school operations—decisions which direct ly affect students. Some machinery should be set up to ensure democratic joint decision-making by staff and students. To date, only the consultative committee exists as a mechanism. We could have half hour weekly meetings of a representative body and large assemblies to communicate deci -sions made to the student body. Deering* We would need rotating membership. Laurldsen* Would this be In addition to advisory groups? Scott* Yes. Fayter* Most of the Issues come up In advisory meetings. Could representative students attend the last half hour of staff meetings, so that It could oarry over to advisories? Anderson* It would scare kids off If It were the whole staf f . Fayter* We could rotate the staff which remain to discuss with students. 198 Scott* Rotation Isn't too effective. We should have a stable body as.an experiment. It 's not happening In any other schools, so we don't know what w i l l happen. Deerlng* It should be Informal—perhaps In the portable. I would also l ike to see student representatives In staff committees of a l l types. Scott* Right. We need a serious experiment In student decision-making. Student government Is t rad i -t ional ly not taken seriously. We've seen the consultative committee go through an evolution In which It has denied the principle on which It was founded, and settled Into quite a different function. Fayter* Could discussion go forward with students with a view to Identifying Ideas concerning machinery? Deerlng* We should make a firm recommendation as a staff . Scott* We have machinery for discussing the idea* the advisory groups. Hardy* Couldn't we make a decision now so that whoever seeks student points of view doesn't have to re -canvass the staff? Fayter* I move that as the teachers are In accord with the need for staff-student Involvement In decision-making, and as part of the staff meeting time seems to be avai lable, Mr. Scott sound out the students. Scott* That's further than I expected the staff to commit themselves today, but fine by me. Lauridsen* I t 's good to come back from this week of meetings with something that Immediately looks different to the students. Chlba* How about Involving the students In the timetable committee? Deerlng* Let 's discuss that after resolving the f i r s t motion. Let 's add Mr. Scott 's specif ic mechanism ideas to the motion. Scott* There's a main part to the motion, then a specif ic suggestion. 199 Deering: So i t is suggested that a student-staff repre-sentative group be established. Sanderi We should perhaps combine this function with that of the representative assembly of students. My concern would be that there might be some grey area between the two. Deerlngs It could be handled by Mr. Scott 's committee. A vote was taken. A l l were in favor except Mr. Sander u and Mr. Happ. Happi I am abstaining because of the lack of c lar i ty in the def ini t ion of function of the new and old bodies. Scott; Deerlngs (chair! We haven't suggested a change In student govern-ment but an addition of staff-student cooperation in school decision-making. Let 's set a time when Mr. Scott w i l l report back. Scotts A week from Thursday. Mrs. Fayter raised the topic of advisory groups. She wondered "when and under what circumstances should we commu-nicate about student attendance or non-achievement." She suggested "a good memo system." Scotts I t 's only a problem in the beginning of the school year. Hardyt We have the mechanism for it—the pink memos. Fayter: Right. They Just need to be used more. Deerlngs Should we recommend use of memos to communicate? Scott; We need more positive memos. Happs Attendance at the beginning of the year is a big communications problem because sometimes the teacher doesn't know he's supposed to have the k id . Sanders Should we change or keep multi-age advisory groups ? 200 Happ; No common ground was apparent to me as It was. We should try homogeneous grouping in advisories. Scott; If students buy Joint decision-making, we could have this as a topic to try i t . Happ; I recommend that the advisory groups be recon-stituted homogeneously by age and that the kids consider this as a Joint decision. This plan was agreed,upon. Mrs. Marion told me during an interview: The advisory system in which a particular teacher guides each k i d , is even more basic to the program than the contract system; i t results in humanizing the teacher-student relat ionship. . . • The student president told me during the second year of the project; A major problem is the advisory thing. We were told last year that the advisor is to help you with problems.on an Individual basis; but they don't do that. Most of them Just check attendance, and things l ike that. The advisor I had last year didn' t even bother to see me regularly and. . .d idn ' t real ly care.
UBC Theses and Dissertations
Participation in school-level program decision-making : a case study Hoen, Robert Randolph 1974
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