I made it through the first week back at school from Christmas break. Everyone seems angry at each other -- the teachers, I mean. Well, not everyone...but it was Mitchell's idea before he left to re-do the entire school schedule, because right now the kids have six periods of math, English, science, and history a week, but only a few periods of music, art, and theater, so those teachers really have a part-time teaching schedule, though of course with duties, skills classes, enrichment class and advisory class, they're still busy. But the core content area teachers are even busier. So the scheduling committee went through all this work to re-do the schedule at Mitchell's request, and of course made it worse (ha ha). I personally thought some parts of it were better than the original schedule, but the people on the committee were upset at the complaints. I can't really blame them. The whole thing was Mitchell's idea in the first place, and now they're left holding the bag.
There are still a lot of discipline issues. Sending kids to buddy rooms isn't really working, because they end up disrupting the class they're sent to, and there's no real consequence to things like chewing gum (make them spit it out and they're blowing bubbles with a new piece five minutes later), coming to a class late, going to their lockers in between classes.... Discouraging. It's the middle of the fourth year of this school's existence, and we're still figuring all this out?? You'd think we were a first year charter school! All we have is the warning-time out-buddy room system, which isn't working, and suspension, which is applied inconsistently (four kids were suspended the other day for cutting a class, for example, but other kids have been caught skipping class and they've just gotten a phone call home). We can't really have detention, since our school day goes so incredibly late, and we don't have in-school suspension. So now we're convening a discipline committee to try to figure something out.
Over the weekend, a friend was telling me about when he taught at a school for students who'd been kicked out of inner city public schools. They had two huge guys standing in the hallway at all times. If a teacher told a student to, say, take out his notebook, and the student refused, the teacher just had to step out into the hall and call one of the guys over. If the student still refused to take out his notebook, the "bouncer" would literally drag the kid screaming out into the hall. By the time the kid returned to class, he had NO PROBLEM taking out his notebook. !!!