Model Student Narrative – Feroze Munshi School Proposal

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Model Student Narrative – Feroze Munshi School Proposal

okay hi my name is froze and I’m a PhD student at UC Berkeley I am a former teacher of almost a decade and I also work as a teacher coach I just have a lot of hats that I wear so this is my final school presentation for the new school creation class I start with this map i’m going to keep coming back to this map just as a little centering device so i’m going to start by discussing the mission of the school the neighborhood and student body moving out to philosophy teaching staff as well as then pedagogy architecture and then the building itself or actually it’s a sample building so i’m going to start by discussing the mission of the school and my goal with creating a mission was to make it both knowable and doable you so the mission is to prepare and inspire all students to be just intelligent and capable change agents in their community so what’s in this mission focusing on the word all students all students equals democracy or democratic ideal to me it’s about serving a social equity function and attracting underserved but it is not about turning people away just is about social injustice intelligence is supposed is representative of rigorous content and the word capable is representative of capacity and habits and I included in their community because I wanted I wanted to focus the school not on an idea of democratic equality of running away to New York to become a lawyer or anything like that Patrick email on one second can i edit this out for just a minute okay we can start again sorry so it’s not in this mission is immeasurable ideals and by that I refer to things like obscene missions that involve things like respectful socially conscious or kind these are great but they’re fluffy and they’re difficult to make concrete I also did not stick in anything like becoming going to college or becoming a president sometimes I think those concrete goals of going to college set up a lot of kids for failure if they discover that college is not for them noth-nothing excessively jargon istic nothing like lifelong learner 21st century is not in there I think a lot of times we talk about 21st century skills that were perfectly appropriate in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries this particular mission statement is 18 words and that’s part of being knowable I think it’s really important for students and staff and even parents to know the mission and to be able to know the mission and I also did not stick in a preferred student body that we only serve one particular community or another so next time move on to discuss the neighborhood and the student body you so I chose the neighborhood in district in Oakland so the diamond district you can see there’s a very rough outline of the city limits of Oakland up here and the diamond district is pretty well central these are the demographics for all of Oakland I’ll get back to that later so characteristics of the diamond its historic neighborhood it is a transitional neighborhood both geographically and in terms of demographics Oakland will you go back Oakland is set up such that there are flat areas that tend to be lower socioeconomic status than these hills up in this area the hills tend to be rather wealthy in the neighborhood there are lots of local resources of public spaces there’s parks there’s a watershed rec center a public library there’s a lot of nearby businesses in a small district small business district and there’s

excellent freeway and bus access so the diamond has an interesting history this is a picture of one of the main strips MacArthur that runs right through the heart of the city MacArthur is a major spying through the city and you can see this is a photo of it but I could not find an exact date for but one of the earlier parts of the Oakland that was settled I think that’s relevant in terms of learning in place and learning where you are the local park this is diamond park has lots of resources it has lots of green space a supervised pool playgrounds lots of undeveloped land it has a historic site from one of the early settlements sasal Creek which I’ll discuss trail access that attaches it to a very large trail or large regional park they have after-school programs they just have tons and tons of resources there whoops so nearby is this is redwood regional park so this down here is where the diamond district is and it attaches through the series of trails to Redwood regional park which is a really well-known park around the area I just think towering redwoods native oak trees the creek headwaters are up there miles and miles of trails huge views of the bay area it’s a really beautiful park and there is tons of opportunity for study and exercise there is a pretty deep ecosystem there as well as some interesting issues with invasive species and so on so the sasal creek watershed this would be the Diamonds right about here dymond lies along this watershed and it’s a really interesting urban watershed it has the kinds of issues you would imagine with an urban watershed when I was there there was lots of issues of people dumping paint into the gutters and the gutter spill into the watershed and there’s a small fish population in that watershed that was dying because of this and so that’s just interesting urban versus natural issues that can be explored to this watershed it goes underground at some points it comes back out it floods occasionally it’s just a really interesting kind of interesting opportunity for learning for I mean if you can see the theme developing and like to get outside the classroom and so this is a great opportunity to do so so just I have a few slides about seven or eight of these that discuss the demographics of the diamond district and i’m just going to rush right through it just to show you where it’s located within the grander oakland setup so again this is the city limits of oakland and the diamond is pretty well central this actually is another city within a city it’s called piedmont it is fabulously wealthy has its own police force its own tax system it’s just a different thing but you can sort of see how it’s kind of a bubble with in oakland so income wise you can see the lower income in the flats this is east oakland west oakland and this is a the fruitvale district and the Diamonds it’s right on top of the fruitvale home values you can see the same thing the hills just have a much higher home value and you can see the diamond situated between them owner-occupied homes this is going to give you for me this is a sense of who really owns their homes and this is a measure of neighborhood mobility or family mobility poverty levels you can see near zero percent single digit poverty levels up in the flats and much higher poverty levels down low greater than fifty percent poverty you can see some of East Oakland out here as well as West Oakland and also in the fruitvale district there are some some problems with poverty child poverty this one just breaks your heart you can see lots of issues with child poverty around the flats education levels obviously flip the poverty levels one thing to notice is this area down here and this is just kind of like we’re a lot of upwardly mobile folks tend to live younger folks who talks running around with i hella love Oakland t-shirts live in that area family size again that’s the same area of upwardly mobile single 20-somethings and then you have much larger families down here and the flats and much smaller families up in the hills foreign-born to give you an idea of where your parents are actually going to be coming from and who what languages are going to be spoken at home and then finally just something

that I thought was interesting as well as population density so it’s situated in these rather dense areas so to kind of some all this up I wanted the school to be set up you know I just was was a little bit turned off by the idea of for like school of hope or the keto school and I wanted the school to be located in this transitional area between neighborhoods sort of at a confluence of these different different features that I tried to discuss so another feature of the school is what i call the reflection of property which is educating a democracy equals educating a democracy it’s not about still not entirely comfortable with the idea of educating kids and schools that are intentionally segregated by classify race so this is a demographic of demographic distribution for Oakland I couldn’t find one for the particular neighborhood I was interested in you couldn’t find that data but I would like for my school to be as close to this demographic as possible if it’s skewed in any particular direction I would prefer to for it to skew in the direction of poverty but other than that i’m not interested in serving just this particular population or just this particular population or or anything like that so school selection I would prefer to do with a computerized lottery I’ve worked at schools that had live lotteries and they’re just heartbreaking it rips my heart out to be at these events seeing weeping mothers and children is no fun I think a computerized lottery can be done fairly and I think it can be audited pretty rigorously by anybody who is interested in auditing most important selection criteria for me are just gender zip code and I say that these are you know the reason I put a little asterisk because I think these are important and just to make sure that I can control the demographics of the school to make it an representative of the city of oakland and not focus on one particular neighborhood and then my problem are the things that i would not be interested in our merit test scores financial support and I once worked at a small private school that selected students based on character or fit and I saw that to be well you end up with a particular you end up with a demographic that looks a lot like the teachers for obvious reasons so I was not interested in interviewing students for character or fit so next I want to discuss the philosophy of the school so the philosophy generally is the organization is set up as a learning organization and we organize for and around learning to set this up on four basic principles the first is that the school is teacher centric the second is to favor leadership over governance the third is to have a shared vision and the fourth is that it takes a village so this is something i like to this is an image i like to use both with administrators as well as a teacher candidates that I coach and that is that the teacher is the center of the organization not the kids not the parents take care of teachers first then take care of kids than everyone else you take care of teachers I promise you the children will be well taken care of the second is that all structures are there to support the teacher the teacher is the one who drives student outcomes it’s the leadership that drives the support systems the drive student outcomes leadership does not drive student outcomes and that’s really important for me so having the teacher at the center of the organization is really important now leadership so in saying that I favor leadership over governance leadership I would define as discretion and cultivation and I would describe governance as constraints and coordination control and coordination so the principal is the head teacher they are a teacher coach they are a capable teacher coach and they act as a teacher coach a rich classroom experience and they are a coalition builder a relationship cultivator and a capacity builder within the organization the school thrives and dies with the principal so the mission of the school is if anything I would say it centers on consensus-building staffer on the same

page about pedagogy discipline expectations for themselves and for kids there is no opportunity or tolerance for the kind of I didn’t vote for that so I’m not doing it attitude and that comes from schools I think where you have a dominant coalition or you have a vote by majority you often have this attitude of I didn’t vote for that so I’m not going to worry about it when you run a school by consensus I think everybody is on the same page about where the school is going teachers governed through consensus as does the leadership team itself so in thinking about the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child of course we want your help just no PTA I’ve worked with ptas and I’m not necessarily a fan of ptas and I’ve seen more meaningful cooperation from parents so I would prefer to include parents through structures meaningful structures more meaningful structures and I want to knock ptas entirely but more meaningful structures like student court leadership councils which in a school that i worked at is a keg and a consensus based decision making body for amending and approving discipline procedures and other kind of important school calendars and also important things like that community partnerships and building community coalition’s through parents data review teams both for discipline data achievement data and that can be statewide data as well as localized school data we also have things like a true open-door policy I think a lot of schools say that and then are a little bit hostile to parents who might just drop in we have conferencing that is truly one to one and there’s a way of doing that before any teachers freak out there’s a way of doing that I have done that and have led programs where this can be very manageable that every parent can meet with every student there’s like every parent can meet with every teacher regular community events and public exhibitions hopefully that will make everybody happy so the next piece I’d like to talk about is teaching staff how to hire a teaching staff norm them and talking about pedagogy architecture and building this is kind of a longer section you so first I’m going to discuss the teaching staff norming hiring and developing a teacher staff so the first is having a normative disposition looking back on my own experiences in startups and small schools on norms or lack thereof were some of the most important first steps in creating and maintaining a staff culture especially as you double and triple in size it’s a very alarming thing to have a first-year school go to a second-year school it feels like it should become more stable but it’s actually completely destabilized by doubling a parent body doubling of staff doubling of students it’s it’s it’s really tough so having a strong set of norms in your first year i have found to be far and away the most important thing some of these I’ve already mentioned so I’m not going to discuss them in particular so hiring a staff thinking about onboarding I actually intended for this to be in the order that they occur so thinking about the principal’s role here would be pre-screening having teachers coming into a demo lesson interviewing with teachers interviewing with students interviewing with parents interviewing with administration thinking about developing a staff as the years go on moving beyond PD it’s always about time time time so setting up time efficient structures like critical friends groups incoming Mentors so any student or any teacher who comes in is assigned a mentor for at least one year anybody who is in their first three years of teaching is assigned a mentor for their first three years I think building a library of common practices or best practices within a school site is very important conducting research at the school is also important and I would focus all of this on the idea of coaching and I think in Turkey legal coaching is something that can be done really effectively and really easily and benefits both the coach and the coach e so next I’m going to discuss the

pedagogy of the school so the pedigree of the school would be designed and constructed curriculum so I want to focus on things like projects and problem-based learning performance and feedback performance assessment and feedback and separating those two and again keeping things highly relevant and also displaying work publicly is really important to me now I put a lot of these things in the background because I don’t want to say that they’re not important i just think i think tests and quizzes and text books and notes and lectures and workbooks and worksheets i think they actually have their place in education but i don’t think their place is front and center so if i had a curriculum orientation just around some general principles there would be everything is interesting i borrowed that actually from a school here in San Francisco called mind works this idea that there is no such thing as the real world if you’ve ever taught math you know that it’s always people are asking about real-world problems and that always drove me a little bit crazy as a math teacher so just this philosophy that there is no such thing as the real world once my classroom needs once my classroom feels like it’s distinguished between the real world or its distinct from the real world that’s kind of a red flag to me and I’d like to get back out into the real world this idea that English plus history + math.floor science equals a complete education I’d like to turn that on its head I feel like there’s a lot more to learn than just those four subjects I’ve also worked at schools that were something something something of Arts in tech and I’d like to just make those not suffixes and make those things that live throughout curriculum and that burden then falls on the arts and tech teachers and also worked as an arts teacher and I know how that goes so I would propose extra release time for them to integrate and finally just a school-based literacy of writing to learn so in sectional framework that is interdisciplinary collaborative rigorous complex relevant highly literate active and public this is actually just a photo of one of my old classrooms preparing for a and interdisciplinary exhibition and you can see there are students doing all kinds of different things an instructional framework around rigor and around growth a through g alignment is a California thing the University of California system sets out what they call the A through G requirements that any student who takes them is eligible for you see you see acceptance or you see admissions and a lot of in California you can graduate from high school and not be ready for it even eligible for application to UCS and I would like to get rid of that so then this curriculum will make you ready for college whether or not you want to go thinking about equity and access I would prefer a school that is mainstream that has supports for struggling students or I AP students that is both pull out and push in and I would favor push in support I would prefer not to have tracks I would prefer not to have a PS but having worked at schools where for parents this is a major financial issue having a PS because they can allow it can allow their students to take college credits for free while they’re still in high school I’m flexible on that I’d also like to have technology on campus what I mean by that also is technology that is accessible for both parents and students on campus thinking about citizenship I would like to get my students out into the community for a senior project that is strictly about community and I would like to leave it just there I don’t hard focused service projects sometimes undermine the idea of service having a junior year internship program as well as a cohort model to keep students feeling like they’re part of a community a part of a small group I think it was Dewey who said you have to participate in democracy to learn democracy so as much as possible I’d like to have students moving together as a group feeling their own sense of civic sort of ownership over their school um so I just wanted to add this slide because I just want to say yes we do things differently but if you think something works go with it you don’t need to reinvent the wheel as I

mentioned quizzes are great use them once in a while you feel like you need to lecture go ahead and do it but as an old director of mine said we hire good teachers because we like what good teachers do so you’re a good teacher go do what you do this is the classroom of a teacher at a project-based learning school that I worked at this is an advisee of mine who was cleaning back in his chair this is what they felt was the most effective thing in the world go ahead and do it if this is what you feel works do it you think works so the next thing I’d like to discuss is the architecture of the building there’s a general focus for architecture I would say it’s just do what the building tells you to do so what is architecture for in a school building I think it should be adaptable and open and inspiring this is an example this actually is an example from that same classroom I showed you and this is the same project further along you can see the students doing all kinds of different things I’ve got a my teaching partner is conferencing students working on laptop students working with their hands there’s actually a collapsible wall right about here and so this project we were working on is too big to fit in one room so we’re able to adapt the space to the project that we’re doing this is not one of my students but as I was wandering around my own school building I just happened upon a student up on a ladder painting the walls turned into a big mural and this teacher said well there’s this big blank wall it looks like a big blank canvas let’s paint it so that’s what i mean by just letting the building tell you what to do again just a flexible space you can see it’s taped out this was the students creating an exhibition this was going to be a museum a museum night and they had created all this floor plan their out a little bit of frenzy running around but just an open flexible space again you can see there’s a collapsible wall this is actually the collapsible wall right here between these two spaces but I also want to say if you don’t have a big open brand-new building that has collapsible walls and such you make do with what you have this is another school I worked at that was not as well resourced as the other schools that I mentioned and this is the cafeteria you can see the disco ball we had hard are you know winter ball the night before and now we’re setting it up for a energy exhibition a week later same here we just as much as we could try to we had an open debate or I think this might have been a mock Supreme Court I forget but we just try and make the space as flexible as possible with what you got so the next piece I’d like to discuss is just a model building model building is the San Francisco friend school it’s in San Francisco so this is the San Francisco friend school it’s a small elementary private elementary school but it’s a wonderful building they’re known for having this really among many things they’re known for this really interesting really neat in the architecture world passive heating and cooling system this is a diagram is far too complicated for me to understand fully but it’s pretty cool it’s actually in the old levi-strauss factory back when levi strauss used to make jeans in san francisco and so because of it’s got very interesting history itself there’s lots of issues around why this factory closed why I moved who was working there originally who was working there at the end I mean just lots of different issues that you could explore this is the school building now it’s been converted really the important thing here to notice is the yellow spaces or classroom spaces and blue spaces or common spaces so they’re actually this is a common space to I don’t know why it’s yellow but classrooms are all on the outside for purposes of light there’s open gallery spaces the building has this is these are some pictures of the floor of the building and it’s just really interesting there’s just clearly some history there I don’t know what what is going on in this space but it just seems like there’s already an interesting story that could be written just as a creative writing activity just imagining who was there and why this particular piece of wood was replaced and so on

same thing I think they did an interesting job of keeping the space interesting this is how it used to look with the open open roofs and they’ve actually maintained that as much as possible this is that open common space i was discussing it’s got lots of natural light it is a Quaker school so they do their big open meetings in here and again lots of open flexible space for galleries for exhibition nights this is where they do a lot of exhibition nights in here and sing here you can just see if there’s a lot of open space lot of flexible a lot of natural light saying just some more of the classroom spaces and fairly traditional looking classroom spaces and that is the end of my presentation thank you for watching and best of luck on your final school proposals cool