Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Woodcroft & Westlawn Schools

Today, I read for some grade 4's at Woodcroft and some grade 8's in Westlawn. Both were a lot of fun, but completely different.

Woodcroft is a small elementary school. It is one of the schools in Ward C facing possible closure this year. (Everyone in administration is careful to say they are "undergoing the Sustainability Review Process, of which one of the possible outcomes is closure"...but I think it's better to cut to the chase.) I asked how being under review impacted the school and one staff (anonymously) told me that it was stressful. Of course. It puts everyone on edge. There is no sense of "let's solve this problem together," instead it feels like all the cards are in the Board's hands. I got the sense that parents and staff at Woodcroft are waiting to see what the outcome will be. I advised the staff member to encourage the parents not to take a passive role, to be proactive and to start their own process of self-evaluation and problem solving. I would be happy to share what I learned at Westglen last year with any Woodcroft parents.

Westlawn is a mid-sized junior high. Two classes' worth of grade 8 students lolloped in to hear me read. They were all arms and legs and hair in their eyes. The teacher thanked me for coming, because so many people don't want to read to junior high kids. "They are afraid of them," she said. I have a junior high kid and my husband teaches junior high kids, so I'm not fooled by their size and attitude. They are challenging, they make you work, but ultimately, they are just kids. They seemed to enjoy my theatrical style of reading and I enjoyed winning them over. My acting skills, parenting skills and sense of humour seemed to work for me today.

No comments: