The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

What is Happening at the Top?

The largest school districts in the country have traveled different directions, enrollment -wise, over the past 20 years. New York City, with just over 1 million students, has grown by 6% since 1987. (Wawasee, with 3200 students, is about 300 times smaller than the New York City system.) Los Angeles has grown by 17% to over 700,000 students. Chicago, third largest, has dropped over 7% to 400,000 children. Miami, Clark County(Las Vegas), and Broward County (FL) have jumped by 31%, 69%, and 50%, respectively. Houston with a 4% increase, Hillsborough County (FL) up 40%, Hawaii (all one school system) up 10%, and Philadelphia down 11%, round out the top ten school districts in the country. Philadelphia's enrollment of 185,000 is over 57 times the size of Wawasee. Wawasee Community Schools have an enrollment now about equal to that of 20 years ago.
Nationally, big city school districts have remained stable in population, while rural districts have lost enrollment. Suburban districts have experienced a steady growth during the past 20 years.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe we have had such a low enrollment because so many students are droping out.

I know several students that want to drop out, are droping out, or have droped out. What most of them agree on when it comes to this is that they felt that they were pushed to this option by some administrative staff members, and that they had no help when they needed it.

First of all why would anyone push anyone towards droping out? If anything you would help them as best you can to graduate.

Secondly, why wait until someone feels the need to drop out. I think that people should want to help others more. For example when a teacher sees a student failing, maybe they should confront them sometime insted of just let it happen.

Anonymous said...

I would like to clear one thing up...teachers DO NOT just let it happen! I have worked with some amazing people at the high school who have encouraged people NOT to drop out! They help more people that you think....it is usually someone who WANTS to be helped.

I am worried about the new academy situation. Kids who could not work well in the high school went there instead of dropping out. Now it seems like the academy is NOT for people like that. This year I have talked to lots of people who were turned away from the academy. What's up with that?

Anonymous said...

I would like to clear one thing up...teachers DO NOT just let it happen! I have worked with some amazing people at the high school who have encouraged people NOT to drop out! They help more people that you think....it is usually someone who WANTS to be helped.

I am worried about the new academy situation. Kids who could not work well in the high school went there instead of dropping out. Now it seems like the academy is NOT for people like that. This year I have talked to lots of people who were turned away from the academy. What's up with that?

Anne Rackley said...

As Academy Director, our top priority is dropout prevention. In the past, the Academy became overcrowded, and not all students could be adequately served. We have criteria by which we accept or deny students. We are most concerned with students at risk of academic failure. Our goal is to help get these students caught up on credits and have them re-enter the high school to achieve a diploma. So far, we have only turned away students who are looking for an easy out or a haven from drama.

Anonymous said...

is this why there is a 20 year old in the academy? who has been in there now for over 5 years? way to get them to renter the the high school!! To bad others were turned away so these students could take there space, 6 years in high school isn't the easy way out?

Anonymous said...

Under the policy of having the student return to normal high school, I would assume most students would be doing this with in 6 month to a year. If this is true, why are there students who have attended the academy for two, three, four, or more years?

One, did the school allow this student to get behind this badly before seeing there was a problem?

Two, is the academy really working for the student?

Three, Should students who were failing due to a lack of doing the work rather then an inability to do the word or students attendant problems in regular school really a candidate for the academy?

itsrich said...

It is really entertaining; the only view here is it is the school's fault. Blame the institution for not taking care of me. I/We are failing because you did not watch over me.

Whatever happened to the individual taking responsibility for themselves?

The choice to drop out is not one the school makes. There is no class on how to drop out. Students are surrounded by adults whose whole job is to help them succeed.

Drop out is a choice of the individual.

Are students going to fall through the cracks? Yes. Is that the Schools fault? It may be, but when a student chooses to drop out, there is not much the school can do about it. The student has made an adult choice.

If you are really concerned about it, don’t waste your time sharing your opinion in a forum that has little chance of changing anything. Volunteer your time to help. Get out from in front of the computer and give your time to the cause.

Another suggestion, don’t ask questions without presenting an alternative.

Everyone here is just back seat driving.

You want to make change? Go to a board meeting and share your opinion. Volunteer your time to help. Take an active part, you might find yourself being the one thing that keeps the drop out in school.

Anonymous said...

We are learning about blogs and are leaving a test message.

Anonymous said...

What kind of "test" messages are you learnng about? Hopefully you're not texting during a test. Phones are an issue at school. It would be best if all students left them in their lockers during the school day.

Anonymous said...

I think that if you're complaining about students who have been in the Academy for 2,3,4 and more years, maybe you should realize that the Aacdemy is under new management now and there are different objectives and goals. Look to the future, give them a chance, and see what happens instead of dwelling on the mistakes of the past.

In addition, we have too many parents in this community that don't take responsibility for their kid's actions, behaviors, and poor choices. Step up families!! These students are the future of this town. Make it a good one and not a hopeless one. Back up the schools by letting them know cussing and fighting aren't acceptable choices and habits. Let them know that quitting isn't an option and hard work isn't a bad thing.

Ellen Stevens, Principal, Wawasee High School said...

If you have questions or concerns about the Academy, please feel free to contact me or Anne Rackley, Director. We would be happy to discuss the Academy with you. Please call for an appointment. It is most beneficial for students if adults meet face-to-face to resolve misunderstandings and set a positive plan for their future.

There are several good and positive ideas in some of these blogs. Let's explore them and reduce the drop out situation in our community. It belongs to everyone.

Anonymous said...

I think the student was trying to say they were required to leave a "test" message here so they know how to post a comment on the blog.

Chris Cotton said...

itsRich,

It is quite easy to affix blame solely on apathetic parents for kids who "dropout". However, in this community it's a woefully uninformed and naive opinion. Even parents who ask for assistance and get involved are most often not given the tools and solutions they request and require.

Your entreaties regarding personal responsibility and parental involvement are just part of the equation here. Would that it were so simple in the real world Rich.

itsrich said...

Chris, you are so right. The situations leading to each individual dropping out are far more complicated then I suggest. This truly is a dynamic topic that cannot be solved in this forum.

I believe this forum is used to make statements they would not make in public. It is refreshing to have you place your name and back your statement with a face.

Dropping out maybe the wrong term to use here, dropping out of school means dropping out of the system. It should never be allowed to equal the ending of education. Some of the brightest people I know dropped out of high school or never went to college.

Dropping out maybe the perfect option for some of our students, education has to fit the needs of the individual. Unfortunately, public schools do not fit all people. I am not sure there is any institution that could be put in place that will fit everyone.

A majority of teachers work very hard to meet the demands give to them to educate the students in their class. I do not believe teachers do their job for the money. They do it because of the feeling they get from helping a child succeed to the next level.

A majority of parents work very hard to make their children successful. I know you and your wife do. You know that I and my wife do also. It is the best interest of the every parent when their child is well educated.

Students want to succeed. No one plans to fail. No one likes to fail.

My response was aimed at those individual using this forum to complain about how the schools do not work. I would hope they get involved. I would hope they go to school board meetings and share their concerns in a forum that can really do something about it.

It is truly sad to read the statement, “Even parents who ask for assistance and get involved are most often not given the tools and solutions they request and require. Even parents who ask for assistance and get involved are most often not given the tools and solutions they request and require.”, are truly disturbing.

This statement is an actionable item that should turn every teacher’s and administrator’s head and make them want to find out why this statement is made and figure out a way to resolve it.

Chris, if you know anyone in this position, please call me, let’s work together and resolve this situation. Our schools are meant to empower parents and students. Let’s make this work.