Mueller Charter School is a finalist for California’s prestigious Golden Bell Award. That is significant. It’s a big deal.
Significant because it means that the California School Boards Association (CSBA), the organization that grants the award, still values schools that take care of kids and their families. Like Mueller Charter School and our Resiliency Quadrant System– a model for integrating sch0ol resources to more efficiently serve our most high risk children.
Significant because it means the CSBA recognizes that we have to generate more than test scores… we have to find the way:
To manage the academic, emotional, social, medical, and mental health needs of all 1100 students;
to build on their assets;
to foster resiliency in children and the adults that serve them;
to maintain morale, optimism, and efficacy that will ultimately lead to extraordinary school results!
And if you can find a school that is keeping kids whole, you ought to recognize them with a Golden Bell award.
Significant because it signals an appreciation for the inherently complex nature of teaching, and how real reform cannot come to our schools unless we overcome (or at least neutralize) the many crises in our communities that affect our students. And that takes innovation… finding a new way. President Obama has urged that we stop treating unemployment, violence, failing schools, and broken homes in isolation and put together what works “to heel the entire community”. Like the Harlem Children’s Zone. And at Mueller Charter School, the heeling power of the Resiliency Quadrant System has the potential to transform our community.
And finally, it is significant because excellence should be replicable.
In her recent article in Education Week entitled “Innovative Reforms Require Innovative Scorekeeping”, Lisbeth Schoor, a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Social Policy argued that:
“Reformers in virtually every domain– from education to human services, and social policy– have been learning that the most promising strategies are likely to be complex and and highly dependent on their social, physical, and policy context. Very few efforts to improve education for at-risk students, prevent child abuse, increase labor-market participation, or reduce teenage pregnancy or homelessness succeed by applying a single, bounded intervention. They depend on community capacity to take elements that have worked somewhere already, adapt them, and reconfigure them with other strategies emerging from research, experience, and theory to make a coherent whole.”
As a finalist for a Golden Bell Award, Mueller Charter School has been acknowledged for innovation, for serving our high risk students, for creating a system to engage children and their families. It reminds us that if we stay centered, stay true to our mission, and avoid the dull temptation to surrender to the search for higher test scores for their own sake… we have a chance to be more than just another high performing public school. We have a chance to be El Milagro.