Last week was our first week running our new Spartan U. For the most part it was a success. I have to tell you that I am very proud of our Spartan U instructor Eric. He has done a great job managing the boys in Spartan U. What I am also proud about is the fact the staff is really getting behind this new program, and are sending work down for the boys to do, and the boys are getting some success. Many staff members have gone down to the Spartan U to do small lessons with the boys, and some have just stopped in to give them some words of support.
Our boys are beginning to take ownership of the Spartan U. During some discussions the boys wanted to make a difference in the school. So they decided it would be a great idea to spruce up our school sign out by the road. They spent about an hour outside on Friday pulling weeds, and later this week our principal is ordering more dirt, flowers, and mulch. I really feel these boys will take pride in the work they are doing. I know when they are out and about in the neighborhood they will see the work they are doing and share it with those around them. They can point this project out to their parents and friends and say “look what I helped do.”
The week did have some hick-ups. A few boys earlier in the week decided to play around on the computer instead of doing their work. They lost computer privileges for a few days. In those days they were off they did earn the computer privileges back. We had some students not meet their daily goals. The instructor made some calls home, and had a parent conference to remind the student of the expectations of the class.
Some of the boys went beyond and earned some “pizza with the teacher”. The Spartan U Instructor also played a few games with them during this time. Eric is doing a great job at balancing work and effort with rewards.
My co-pilot Rochelle, was in the Spartan U on Thursday, and one boy said to her during a conversation “for the first time I feel like I could have some success at school.” I can tell you this really touched her heart. She told me later that she was so choked up that she had to step out for a few minutes. The boys in Spartan U have a lot of discipline issues, and have a disillusioned view of school. So to hear one of the say he feels successful is great feeling for us. Our intention was not to send this troubled students off to Siberia. It was designed with the idea that if these students had a mentor, who was interested in them, and wanting them to succeed they too would want that. Rochelle, and I believe that every student has a right to an appropriate education that meets the needs of the student. We know these students can’t function in a large setting that is unstructured. So we put them in a smaller environment, and put a ton of structure and routine into the day. We want these students to succeed.
As teachers, we want our students to grow, learn, and become a vital part of society as a whole. It is our responsibility to help develope their skills to help make them successful in society.
In a few weeks, I will share how this program is working, and give an overall update.