Mr. T, are you out there?

Once upon a time I had a principal I thought would make a difference – and he did for many. His dream was a non-traditional school which would reach students and give them both responsibility and freedom to learn and excel. But (my opinion) he moved on and back into the jungle of educationese and was lost amid the hoards. His legacy is a high school that almost is what could have been – although it is a remarkable school nonetheless.

Today I got an email about a school that is and may be everything a school should be.

Bob Greenman with visualthesaurus posted a story today that almost made me cry with joy.

Now I was only a teacher for eight years – three in a fairly non-traditional high school and five in what is termed a “comprehensive” high school. Schools where seat time and discipline were paramount. Rigid. By the BOOK.

Greenman’s story is about Edward R. Murrow High School.

“All of this — the absence of bells, bathroom passes and most regimentation, the college-like atmosphere, the subject titles — and the effect it would have on students’ lives, now and long after high school, existed because Saul Bruckner, Murrow’s principal, believed in the dignity of young people and the need to treat them with respect, understanding and compassion.”

A principal who valued freedom above order. Where chaos seems to be the order of the day, but learning IS the current that drives students.

The dream is possible. And it is all about freedom. To think. to grow up. To be responsible. (Transparency: I was NOT motivated to showcase this school just because of the name and the fact they prefer broadcasting over athletics. Not too much. My principal also valued technology and freedom, but was fettered by regulation and the ruts of time-worn tradition.)

Addendum: Why should I be posting this on a VJ blog? I’ve always maintained that videojournalism is the link between everything a student learns in school. The English for writing, Social Sciences for understanding society and a perspective of history, math for analysis and linking data, PE for being able to grab and gear and run, art for aesthetics, and so on. Education comes together in the studio, the edit suite, in the field where above all they learn responsibility (with their gear, time management, getting it done).

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