We had a Leadership Meeting–whatever that is–last week on top of everything else. Preparation for graduation is upon us. While this is no more or less of a pain to plan than at any high school, hosting a graduation in a prison brings with it certain challenges, and this means we hold several meetings leading up to the grand event. Also listed on the agenda was scheduling next semester, a topic I’d rather avoid these days, especially with everyone present.
We’ve been discussing the problem of our dwindling numbers for almost a year, and each time the discussion is more frantic and desperate than the last. The meeting is the same:
- We’ve seen this day coming for two years, and we have tried for two years to prepare for it.
- The higher-ups, who do not understand education at all, would not look ahead to the day where we didn’t have more than a handful of high school students.
- The day is upon us. By September we will have accomplished our mission of graduating between 98-99% of our population, leaving us with four high school students. Because of sunsets and new laws that trump old laws that used to populate our facility (a vexation in itself), we are unlikely to gain any new high school students.
- The administrators are breathing down our necks, demanding we solve the problem with no resources.
- Our principal has stretched his imagination and that of everyone else’s in an effort to use our current resources and staff, only to have his proposals repeatedly rebuffed and rejected. The teachers, meanwhile, feel offended over his efforts, but I couldn’t tell you why. Many feel entitled to their positions, but are unwilling to invest in themselves or the facility to protect their job.
- Like every other state in the union, save two or three, we experience financial and policy setbacks monthly. In the past few months it seems every change has further frustrated our plans to transition from a high school to a community college.
Since I have the meeting notes and commentary memorized by now you can imagine my elation when my boss said the meeting was optional. I planned to use my lunch hour, therefore, to finish up a project, but the meeting descended upon my classroom. I got to listen to the above notes and fruitless discussion like a bad broken record. It’s one of the reasons I’ll be leaving soon.