School Council Notes 12/7

Our original November brainstorming session plus notes from the 12/7 meeting. 


Concrete questions: How are students and teachers experiencing school?
Are we creating new supports or just reducing expectations to reduce stress?
What are the root causes of stress? Of misbehavior?

What is the scope of misbehavior?

Are there gender patterns in the instances of misbehavior?
How can we increase the opportunity for kids and teachers to connect informally? (“Lion’s Block is not enough”; “not enough places to hang out with teachers”) Where/when can this happen? (12/7)
Is there a desire to address the decreasing lack of civility (i.e. “verbal slaps in emails to PTSO”)?
Ideas for Next Steps: Survey teachers, students, families to get baseline data to begin to answer both concrete and philosophical questions.

Kids want to know why they are doing the survey, to see the results, to know what could/did happen because of the results. (12/7)

Analyze who is involved in the instances of misbehavior (Are the kids already on the radar of deans? Is this new behavior this year for some kids?).
Can we avoid “due date” overload at the end of the term?
Can we mandate a break in the 75 minute classes?
Can we create opportunities to have deep conversations about expectations between kids and adults? 

We want kids to be able to grow and develop. We want to inspire a positive attitude?

Investigate the ramifications of having just 3 Terms 


Investigate the ramifications of having semester grades (so term 1 and term 3 would just be a more robust midterm with comments and a grade to date)

Investigate the ramifications of having a limit on the number of honors/AP classes a student can take (“Current system with no limit is bad for many kids but a limit would be bad for some, can’t we do no harm?”; “having no cap on these classes is part of our toxic culture”; “I will take honors history even though I’m not interested in it”). Share what we learn and share info and then survey students, families, and teachers.

Change level of rigor (more doable for more kids) (12/7)

Change the vibe/who feels welcome (12/7)

Could it help to have APs open in 11th grade? (12/7)

What data has been collected by counselors about kids taking more than 3 AP/honors classes? (12/7)

Publicize the supports and supportive policies already in place (retakes on summative assessments allowed; 3rd assessment on one day can be postponed; etc.)
Create a schoolwide policy about late work.
Organize a community forum to address priority goals/issues (based on survey results).
Philosophical questions: What does it mean to be an educator? An educator at South? 
Can our community accept the impact of scaling back (in order to reduce stress)?
Do we need/want final exams? Who decides? When?
What is the purpose of grades? What system do we want at South? Should it be a schoolwide system?
Which policies at South are  incompatible with stated NPS values (i.e. valuing growth mindset; are we really “more than the grades we earn”)?
Where do policies come from? What democratic decision making processes could be implemented in the South community in order to increase buy in? What is the role of South Senate? Faculty Council? School Council?

Presentation by student about possible new traffic patterns to facilitate traffic. Discussed various solutions such as:

  • Stop signs
  • Making Brandeis one-way for part or all of the day.
  • Changing parking lots designations 

Action Items:

  • Each committee member attend school during a pick up and drop off to see traffic problem.
  • Reach out to City Council members to identify appropriate person in charge of traffic problems
  • Schedule Meetings to engage with such people