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School And Community Portrait What Makes A Good School? What Makes A Good Teacher? Does This School Help The Student To Achieve The American Dream?

7898 words - 32 pages

Abstract:The following paper addresses three main research questions regarding Pleasantville High School, in Pleasantville, NY. I spent half a day, once a week for seven weeks observing for the most part a physics class taught by Mr. Greg Dimurro, where I kept notes in an observation log. The three questions I address are was it a good school, was Mr. Dimurro a good teacher, and whether or not the school helps students achieve the American dream. My findings were that it was indeed a good school, that Mr. Dimurro was a very good teacher, and that Pleasantville High School does in fact help kids achieve the American dream.Rationale:The reason behind this paper is to examine the relationship between the school that I spent one half day a week observing and the community it is in. That relationship is an important aspect in how the school functions, and the educational experience that the students at that school receive. A school that has a bad relationship with the community that it is in, whether it be because it is a poor neighborhood and funding is lacking or the school board has angered people living in the district, has a far less chance of providing its students with the essentials of what a good school should have. Some of these of which we have discussed in class include having highly qualified teachers, equal opportunities for all students, including those with disabilities, and a safe and orderly school environment to name a few. I will discuss more of these later.According to Deborah Meier, in her letter titled, "Creating Schools We Can Trust," in Letters to the Next President, trust is one of the most important aspects in creating a quality education for students. She states, "Where trust has never existed we have never had good schools. Where it has eroded we have lost ground. Where it endures is where the best education occurs." Trust between teachers and students and between teachers and parents is the foundation for a good relationship with the community. As Deborah says, without trust, schools do not deliver a quality education. If you truly understand the relationship a school has with its community, you can identify the schools that really need help in meeting the requirements of a good school, which will be addressed more thoroughly later. By pinpointing the schools that are in desperate need of reform, you can directly attack the problems associated with that school in an attempt to improve them. That is why it is so important to understand the union between school and community.Research Questions:During my research for this paper, I focused predominately on three main research questions. The first question had to do with what made a good school. In examining this question, both in class and on my own through readings, I determined what the qualifications for a good school were, and in doing so, also identified numerous things that caused schools not to be regarded as a good school.The second question that I researched was what...

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