Testimonials for High Schools

What's good at Hillside

Home, they say, is where the heart is. For both Mr. Cason and I, the timing of our visit to Hillside, on its Homecoming, couldn’t have been more appropriate. For Mr. Cason, the school was the center of his life for 17 years, first as Music Teacher/Band Director, and then as Chorus Teacher. I was a Hornet for the 8 years prior to this one, and taught History in the same classroom year after year. This trip, then, was not just a school visit, it was a chance to touch the place that shaped so much of our lives in so many ways: Home.

It was also a reminder of what Hillside has more of than any school I’ve ever been in: Heart.

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What's good at PLC/Holton

[NOTE: This article originally appeared in the blog of the Durham Association of Educators. Click HERE to read it and view the photographs.]

Read all the way to the bottom–this post contains a personal challenge to Superintendent Bert L’Homme

If you live in a community long enough, you slowly learn its secrets. There’s the alleyway that connects two major streets and saves you 4 minutes on your drive to work. The magnolias bloom at this time of the year and fill the air with syrupy sweetness. There’s a cool little playground tucked behind these trees at the end of a cul-de-sac. Every place I’ve ever lived has hidden wonders to discover if you’re willing to go out looking.

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What's good at PLC/Holton

[NOTE: This article originally appeared in the blog of the Durham Association of Educators. Click HERE to read it and view the photographs.]

Read all the way to the bottom–this post contains a personal challenge to Superintendent Bert L’Homme

If you live in a community long enough, you slowly learn its secrets. There’s the alleyway that connects two major streets and saves you 4 minutes on your drive to work. The magnolias bloom at this time of the year and fill the air with syrupy sweetness. There’s a cool little playground tucked behind these trees at the end of a cul-de-sac. Every place I’ve ever lived has hidden wonders to discover if you’re willing to go out looking.

The more I poke around Durham’s public schools, the more wonders I find. With each new hidden gem, I get more excited to expose all of the amazing things Durham’s educators and students are working on. And today I have the great pleasure of sharing the story of PLC/Holton, the two-schools-in-one secret that serves as one more argument against the inflexibility of democratically-controlled public school systems.

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What's good at Lakeview

[NOTE: This article was originally posted on the blog of the Durham Association of Educators. Click HERE to read it and view the photographs.]

Since the early 1970s, the United States government has embarked on a project of mass incarceration unlike any other in the world. At the time, the population of people locked up in the U.S. was roughly 300,000 on any given day. Today, that number is somewhere between 2 and 2.5 million people behind bars, which makes the U.S. the keeper of 1/4 of the world’s prisoners. There are lots of ways to analyze this situation, and that’s not the purpose of this post, but it feels worth pointing out two truths: that the overwhelming majority of the people incarcerated in the U.S. are locked up for non-violent offenses, and that there has been a shift from a rehabilitation-based approach towards one that largely results in human warehousing. It is also worth noting that it is incredibly difficult for formerly incarcerated individuals to find employment, and that one stint in jail or prison often results in one being locked out of opportunities to support oneself with meaningful work.

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What's good at Creative Studies

[This article originally appeared in the blog of the Durham Association of Educators. Click HERE to read it and view its accompanying photographs.]

There is a lot to say about the role that the charter school movement is playing in North Carolina these days. There is nuance and research and a million different ways to take on the question. And, while I do feel clear that the rapid infiltration of charters promoted by the current NC General Assembly and its monied backers is little more than a foot-in-the-door towards privatization and spells disaster for our communities, that’s a whole ‘nother discussion for a whole ‘nother post.

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