Sunday, November 18, 2007

Flexible Evening High Experiences

The Flexible Evening High program has expanded to include satellite locations instead of the single meeting place in Walkersville. That allows more students to access courses since there is a bus stop next to my location at TJ Middle. I was asked to be the acting administrator for FEH at TJ Middle. Being the acting administrator for Flexible Evening High has been a good experience of the little details that administrators deal with on a daily basis. This is a change for me because most of what I do is professional development and not a lot of "administrivia." Some of my duties include entering students into the server at TJMS, troubleshooting log ins, assisting teachers with collecting necessary supplies, addressing discipline, monitoring the school to ensure the other groups using the facility are not interfering with FEH instruction, and making sure all students are safely picked up from school.

One of the lessons I've learned is that teachers will frequently look to you to take care of their problems. Most of the issues that come up are simple procedural or technological. But every now and then we have something interesting come up.

So far, the most excitement we've had at FEH is the night when one young woman who is working toward her HS diploma began to have labor pains. She gutted it out through most of the night but called a friend to come pick her up to take her to the hospital. Since this could have been my first "medical emergency" I needed to decide if an ambulance needed to be called. My first thought was why a "friend" was called and not the father or a parent. I figured it would be a question that didn't need to be asked if she was over 18, so I asked and it turns out she was over 18. So that precluded the "locus parenti" hat I wore as the administrator. She had to wait only about 10 minutes for her friend to arrive and I walked her out to the car. She was in class the next week, still pregnant. It was a false alarm.

The only discipline problem I've had to address so far is a student who was on instant messenger when they shouldn't be. According to the FCPS Acceptable Use Policy, high school students can use instant messaging services for educational purposes. The girl claimed she was chatting with students about the work they were doing. I didn't buy it and simply asked her to turn it off and use the built in pager system on the course site if she needed to chat with students in her class. As it turns out, the girl was suspended from her day school for violating the Acceptable Use policy and other infractions. I didn't learn of this until after school was over and she was talking to some friends of hers outside while waiting for her ride. Suspensions from the day school carry over to FEH as well. I explained that to her and she said no one told her. That's probably true since we had a similar situation two nights before with another student. I emailed the assistant principal for night school to find out if there are procedures for letting the FEH satellite locations know that a FEH student has been suspended. It would make sense to have one point of contact at FEH and that contact person would notify the relevant teachers and administrators. I will suggest this to the assistant principal when I meet with her next.

UPDATE 11-13-07: One student left school one night and announced that her ride went to the high school instead of coming here and didn't know how to get to TJ Middle. I thought that was odd since the middle school is about 500 yards from hte High School. She was planning to walk to the high school. I grew concerned because there was once a known sex offender living between TJ Middle and the high school and I wasn't comfortable with a young lady walking at night where there could be a predator. So I asked her to remain on campus. She was very upset with the restriction and I asked her to call her sister, who has gaurdianship of her, to get permission. I spoke with the sister on the phone and got permission. I also asked her to write a note granting permission in the future for the student to walk home. As it turns out, that was not necessary. Since she is classified as a walker on her emergency card, the permission is assumed. Still, I wouldn't want my teenager walking near the house of a registered sex offender.

Update 12/4/07: I have been concerned about students from FEH walking down the street and being picked up on the corner. Since it is dark out by the time class lets out, it's hard to see if the student is a FEH student or one of the students in another program. So I felt it necessary to remind the students to stay in the cement area in front of the school and have their rides pick them up there so we can account for all FEH students. I don't know every student because we have a rolling enrollment policy so we get new students every week. That adds to the confusion so it is best that all FEH students stay where it is lit and where we can monitor their whereabouts.

Update 12/6/07: The FEH courses are in all four computer labs. The Tech Ed teachers have been hiding their printer toner cartridges because they don't want the supplies that are purchased from their operations budget to be used by outside groups. That is a reasonable stance. So I mitigated the situation by asking the Assistant FEH principal if FEH could purchase some paper and toner for the Tech Ed teachers. The answer was very quick "yes." So that made the tech ed teachers happy and FEH teachers will be able to print. We're still waiting for the supplies to come in.

No comments: