Tuesday, June 25, 2013
To Me It's Students First! And It's Not Simply A Slogan.
A couple of days before the Earth Science Regents I discovered that three of my students at the school had not taken the Earth Science laboratory practical. I then spoke to the other teachers and found that approximately eight students did not take the laboratory practical and were in danger of failing the Regents. I spoke to my Assistant Principal about holding a special laboratory practical the day before the Regents. To my delight, the Assistant Principal was supportive and we then started to call the students to have them come in to take the laboratory practical. All were contacted except for one of my students. When I couldn't contact her, let's call her "Cindy", I was about to give up when her guidance counselor informed me that "Cindy" needed the Earth Science Regents to get an advanced Regents diploma. Otherwise, she would get a regular Regents diploma.
What was I to do? The three phone numbers given to me by the guidance counselor and the nurse's office did not work. The number "Cindy" gave me was also not working. See "Cindy" is a recent immigrant only coming to the country two years ago and apparently moves quite frequently. I then did some investigative work and started calling a couple of students who I saw were friendly with "Cindy". However, they had no contact with "Cindy" except in school since she had no cellphone. Just when I was about to give up, I remembered a boy she liked talking to outside my classroom and tracked down his name. On a hunch I called his house and asked him if he can contact "Cindy" and tell her to come in for the laboratory practical. He told me that he couldn't contact "Cindy" but he knew a distant relative that "Cindy" used to live with and maybe she would know. About two hours later, I received a phone call from the relative and since she only spoke Mandarin, I had my Mandarin speaking lab tech translate about how important it was for "Cindy" to came in and take the laboratory practical.
To make a long story short, "Cindy" did come in and take the Earth Science laboratory practical and yes, I am quite happy to say that"Cindy passed the Earth Science Regents"! I feel good that I went "over and above the call of duty" to see that a student of mine was given every chance to achieve mastery in her academic career. Maybe that one action does not make me "highly effective" but I can tell you it feels wonderful to know you made a difference and helped her receive her advanced Regents diploma.