I'd love to thank all the parents out there who had the meeting regarding all the complaints (parent school council) about the school and felt like it was time to take their kids out of the school at the end of the 2015 school year. I feel they made the right choice and more power to them. I hope their children are feeling much better about their situation now.
Most teachers are not teaching explicitly. This doesn't work for kids from the inner city who don't have books in their home. Most of the veteran teachers are delusional when they tell all their "wonderful" successes they've had in their classrooms. Most students graduate from year to year barely having moved a few months with their skill level. Implicit teaching works well with a certain type of population, but this population - if they want to go to college - needs much more support and effective teaching from teachers.
Most students give up particularly during tests. I'd say most students leave the school before hitting 7/8 grades. A lot of students have already had their confidence crushed because they lack basic training in reading and with numbers. So they give up....particularly in the higher grades as the skills get harder and harder. If you took college courses, but couldn't understand the textbooks or what the teacher was saying....would it be easier to leave the class or keep trying? This is how many students feel when it comes to academic skills, so the school allows these students to sit and make a doll, draw or create a play instead which doesn't help them with reading or working with numbers. It teaches many kids that it's okay not to listen because in the end, you get so many different choices of how to show what you know, so the quality of work is not as strong whereas if kids were strip of choices, told what to do, then they have the skills needed so their confidence would be better and they would feel like they could at least try a challenging task. Instead it's just more of the same - behavior issues which ruins it for everyone else.
This school has kids bullying each other every single day in almost every single classroom. Watch how the kids interact when they graduate....you will see they are clearly not a close bunch. Most kids don't seem to like each other, but they co-exist. Sit in on a 7/8 classroom and you'll see and hear the disrespectful language towards one another. Sit and watch the playground area for one week and you'll count of how many fights you will see (verbal or physical). Respect...no....this school teaches voice, but students become disrespectful with their voice all too often and become entitled.
Honest school? Ha! Most teachers are oblivious to their ways of implicit teaching....most kids need explicit reading skills - hence all the behavior issues. Nepotism is alive and well....if a principal that was objective came in and reviewed the pedagogies or lack thereof and was completely honest with the feedback - there would be a major change occurring within the school. As long as Ayla runs the show and the main teachers that have been there for 10 plus years continue to stay - there will continue to be students in 7/8 grade who read at 4th and 5th grade levels and struggle with 4th grade math skills. Someone honest and objective needs to come in - without the agenda and the politics - and give most of these veteran teachers a rude awakening. Injustices are occurring every single day and it's unfortunate because I feel bad for the families and the city of Boston.
A lot has changed within this school and I have not worked here as long as other staff members. They moved to the Agassiz in JP. My experience has been the principal picks and chooses who she likes and makes things personal. Lack of support for teachers who are moving into a progressive environment. The principal will not name strengths of teachers, but focus on what needs to improve ONLY which is not beneficial. Student interns and paraprofessionals run the show when a teacher goes out or on leave. One teacher left due to lack of support, another teacher after 17 years due to a lack of empathy for his health and constantly asking him to do more, and another teacher left because he felt it was personal against him and the principal. I can't name another reason why a teacher was asked to leave, but the system asked him to leave, not the booted out. Parents are lied to about teachers having dual certification. Some teachers do, and some don't have the Special Ed licensure. The school is unprepared to handle a lot of issues when it comes to inclusion. To the outside it's inclusion, but not when students can't read and write. These students feel excluded whether they know it or not.
Mission Hill School cares about it's community, and every member of its students family. Learning is holistic and never once in the six years she has been there has my daughter told me that she did not want to go to school. I think that says it all.