PROVIDENCE — After weeks of student-fueled opposition, Supt. Tom Brady finally met privately with a small clutch of students and teachers from Hope High School Tuesday.
But, after two-and-a-half hours of discussion, nothing changed.
The school administration, which insisted on a closed meeting, didn’t budge from its original position that Hope move from four 90-minute periods, known as a block schedule, to a six-period day, bringing it in line with the other high schools in the district.
After the meeting, students and teachers said they were frustrated and said they felt that the School Department’s mind was made up before administrators entered the room.
“I feel more resigned and defeated,” said Sean Georghagan, a math teacher.
"Resigned and defeated" seems to be a common reaction to meeting with this administration. That's leadership!
Even Providence Teachers Union President Steve Smith, who has adopted a more conciliatory tone with the department recently, expressed his dismay at the way in which the issue has been handled.
“It’s not just what’s being done, but how it has been done,” Smith said before the meeting. “As we move to a new labor-management model in Providence, we have to make sure that Hope doesn’t happen again.”
If teachers are asked to change what they do and how, Smith said, then the School Department has a responsibility to include them in the conversation.
“At Hope,” Smith said, “you have teachers who have taken ownership of their school. We have to honor the work being done there.”
By the way, there's still an opening for a high school "turnaround principal" in Providence. That's looking pretty tempting right now, isn't it? Wouldn't you like to be right in the middle of this exciting new model of collaboration?