Saturday, August 2, 2008

Summer Bridge

On Monday, Summer Bridge begins. I have taught in this program, which gets rising 9th graders ready for their freshmen year of high school, just about every year I've taught, and generally have enjoyed it. This year will be rougher than most, probably, because (a) I get no break between the Teaching Shakespeare Institute and the start of Summer Bridge; and (b) North Avenue has been their worst ever in terms of organization of staff for the program.

For the latter point, allow me this: our 9th grade classes are generally around 330-350 students. Yet, our allowance from North Avenue for Summer Bridge was 9 teachers. The reasons for this appear to be mostly about red tape - some students weren't issued student ID numbers by North Avenue, which puts their numbers off for staffing; others were apparently not counted for other reasons. Regardless, we're going to have that many show up, putting our class sizes for Bridge in the 40 range. From what I have heard, this is the result of a new staffing model from North Avenue, and it's kind of a bummer.

This is one of those things that you'd think would be greatly improved with schools having more independence in terms of funding. And, at first, North Avenue was going to let schools fund this summer program independently. But, somewhere along the lines, they changed their minds. And we're mired in some red tape or something else that is causing us to have some huge class sizes for this preparing-for-high-school couple of weeks.

Classes of 20 or 40, though, you still need bang-up lessons, which is what I've been trying to do all weekend while I fend off the cold from the end of the Teaching Shakespeare Institute. Back to it.

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