A Blog Covering D.C. Education [ABCDE]

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 24 2010

Overheard in a DCPS Hallway…

Girl 1: Where is [the man who stands in the halls during passing period]?”

Girl 2: “I don’t know.”

Girl 1: “We can go to class, then!”

Girl 2: “It doesn’t matter. The bell already rung, girl.  We gotta go to tardy hall.”

Girl 1: “Oh, right…”

-Pair of students realizing, after exiting student bathroom one minute after second bell, that no excuses for tardiness exist at school and that they must, therefore, head to tardy hall.

Over a month ago, an observer noted that the beginning-of-year “strictness” on the part of school administrators often falls apart after students’ honeymoon periods end. I can see how this might be a natural development in many, if not most, schools.  The initial vigor of establishing and maintaining a school culture is apt to wither away.

I am happy, however, to say that much evidence exists supporting the opposite idea–that we are as strong in terms of our tolerance for tardiness today as we were on day one:

  • Once the second bell rings, the hallway is completely empty. I repeat: once the second bell rings, the hallway is completely empty.
  • Students who are late and still attempt to enter class no longer throw fits when the teacher taps on the window asking for a hall pass.  If the attempt fails, they accept it and go down to tardy hall to receive a consequence (usually a parent call) and then a pass to return to class.
  • Students no longer saunter through the hallways, spending 8 minutes checking Facebook on their cell phones by their lockers.  Rather, students are hustling–sometimes sprinting–to class in order to be within the door-frame before the second bell rings. This goes for the “hallwalkers” as well as the “normal” students.

In short, we now have a student body that is, mostly, in class on time. This seems so basic, but this represents a huge difference and a positive step for our entire school.

The next task is to make the 80 minutes of “in-class time” 80 minutes of “time-on-task.” This is a greater challenge.

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One Response

  1. Wyrm1

    That sounds wonderful. Sadly, my school can’t even manage to do that. But congratulations on your administration getting it done (and making my cynicism look pretty misguided).

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Really, "A Blog Covering Dilemmas in Education": A (former) English teacher's reflections…

D.C. Region
High School

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