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A perfect school = neighborhood bookstore / coffeehouse

Several months ago, Bonnie Davis led a day long conversation that centered on best practices and high stakes testing. She started the discussion by asking her participants to describe their “perfect” school. What would it look, sound and feel like?

The list created by her 45 teachers provides an interesting starting point to thinking about our own teaching spaces:

Emphasis on music, sports, and drama
Garden/yard area
Secretary for each department
Higher pay
Comfortable chairs
Project-based assessments
Honor Roll students functioning as mentors for other students
Field work
Professional development hour each day included in the schedule
Teacher aides
Businesses within the residential area that mentor students
Parents who attend conferences
Parents who share their careers with the classes
Rubrics to pass each grade level
Accessible technology for all, including parents
A focus on strengths, not weaknesses
Flexible time in the schedule
Student council centered school
Designed for student interests
Climate control in each room
High quality, nutritious food
Administrators who believe “teachers know best”
Probationary teachers who are let go if ineffective
Effective mentors to work with new teachers
A National Teachers’ Day
Educational resources for parents/grandparents
Academic freedom
NCLB eliminated
Seminars for teachers and students together
Administrators who are curriculum leaders
Curriculum that allows teachers to be creative
Personality assessments that match teachers who work on teams
Teachers stay with students for three years (looping)
Differentiated administrating by administrators

Obviously some under our own control and some not.

Busboys and Poets bookstore in central Washington DC

My perfect school looks a lot like a friendly, neighborhood coffeehouse / bookstore. Comfortable chairs, couches, some nice music, freedom to move around, people to talk with, interesting things to read, some nice artwork hanging around, great snacks, friendly atmosphere, technology that works and a competent, attentive wait staff.

What does your perfect school look like?

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