I say Dr. Romain Dallemand is one brave school superintendent. If nothing else, who starts to inform Bibb Board of Education members with specifics about his Strategic Improvement Plan only one week before the announced unveiling of the plan to the public. Like everyone else outside Dallemand’s staff, I know no more than the teasers given out by the superintendent as reported by The Telegraph. Therefore, I tread lightly with questions and comments which will hopefully be answered or clarified shortly by the BOE.
1. Where has this educational plan, identical or similar, been successfully implemented and when? (The Sunday Telegraph says not replicated elsewhere. Sounds desperate now.)
2. Specifically, how will this plan improve the educational deficiencies in math and sciences?
3. Dallemand “teasers” indicate student/family choice of high school to attend.
4. Will similar elementary and middle school choices be part of the plan?
5. Specific reference to Hutchings Career Centerl:
a. Will it remain as is? If not, what changes?
b. Has this different type high school been a success over the years of its operation? If not or qualified, specifics?
c. How do discipline issues at Hutchings compare with other Bibb County high schools?
d. Will the students and parents entering the new high school sign a similar contract to that at Hutchings in order to be admitted?
6. Are the middle school graduates currently feeding high schools educated to the level necessary to optimize student high school success under the new plan?
a. A high school emphasizing technology will be like an empty desert if the feeder schools’ core curriculum is not improved to assure success in high school.
It sounds very good and exciting to tell a parent and student that you are preparing the student to be an engineer/ scientist, etc. I have been there, well prepared from high school and it was still hard. Unprepared, forget it. Remedial courses went away 40 years ago.
7. I graduated from a public high school in southwest Atlanta in 1949, one of seven city high schools. At each high school there was a core curriculum for college preparation or business, etc. Both with hands on/ work/shop/craft experience. My generation, following the greatest generation, was well prepared to fill colleges and provide those graduates needed to design/develop space exploration, etc. Why is this “old” educational model no longer relevant? (If we had reinvented the wheel as much as educators have changed/ modified education over the last two generations we would be walking instead of riding.)
8. What part of this plan generates improved discipline throughout the school system?
9. What are the yardstick elements that will gauge improvement of education or will graduation rate be the primary measure?
10. Now for the elephant in the middle of the room: One of the schools could emphasize athletics and athletic educational elements. Actually, my question is about team sports is relevant for each new high school student body.
a. I can imagine the cherry picking of the most talented athletes to a specific campus starting with the plan approval and implementation. This looks like a plan veto from the start?
b. What was the response from the GHSA ruling body about high school selection individually by the students and potential for talent loading within one school? Did anyone ask?
11. Since the superintendent and staff are ready to present the plan specifics to the BOE, I hope this includes staffing changes; budget implications, start-up and ongoing and busing logistics and schedule for implementation.
12. Can the plan be fully implemented and tweeked under the current superintendent’s contract? If not, is there a guardian in the wings ready to adopt the plan until satisfactory full implementation?
Arthur D. Brook is a resident of Macon.