Saturday, January 4, 2014

TOOT Your Way To Excellence

What have some administrators been up to over break? If you guessed crafting Dickensian policies about bathroom usage, you'd be right. While CPS uses many metrics to rank schools, restroom frequency is not yet one. However, one school's administrators, and perhaps their Thought Partners, have struck upon a new way to measure high standards and academic excellence: T.O.O.T. (Time out of Toilet).*

A friend shared the following:

Dear Faculty,
Welcome back and Happy New Year! In order to maximize student learning and reduce the loss of instructional time, we are implementing two new restroom policies.
1. Designated Restroom Times - Take your class to use the restroom only during your allotted time so that multiple groups of students are not competing to use the facilities. Also, the expectation is that the restroom break should last only five minutes. Before leaving for the restroom, clearly communicate the behavioral expectations and the time limit. Use your watch or stopwatch to time the students and praise them when they meet the behavior and time expectations.
Sign up for your restroom time slot in the main office by Tuesday, January 7. 
2. Restroom Passes - In addition to scheduled restroom breaks, students will be given restroom passes to use if they need to use the restroom outside of the scheduled time. Students will be given two restroom passes to use between now and the end of the quarter. They can choose to hold on to them and trade them in for a reward at the end of the quarter. Following these guidelines:
Have students fill in their names as soon as they receive them. Passes are invalid if names are crossed out for another name.
For the upper grades, students can use one teacher's pass in another classroom, but they still only get the same number of passes per quarter.
Use a class roster to have student initial next to their name to indicate that they received the passes.
Have students fill in the "time out" and "time in" and then turn the pass in to the teacher when finished. This will help them practice the CCS of telling time with both digital and analog clocks.
Promote the benefit of not using the passes by reminding students that rewards will be given for left over passes at the end of the quarter.
Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
Thank you,
WCT notes a few problems (besides the continued employment of the administrative dolt who drafted this):
  • Designated restroom times. Teachers must now possess telepathic qualities on an unparalleled level to predict when the optimal 5 minute go time window for each class might be.
  • Stopwatch usage. We wonder if administrators--who we're told get private bathrooms in many schools--tried and succeeded with the five minute rule they're imposing on students.
  • Rewards for not using the restroom. 
  • Linking bathroom usage (via telling time) to CCSS. We doubt Arne Duncan and Bill Gates had the john on their minds when they rolled out the CCSS. Then again, Bill Gates is investing in the development of a urine powered cell phone so one never knows.
While the school goes unnamed, WCT has learned the following about the crack administration who's developed this:
  • The principal has only two years of classroom experience and is friends with Rahm.
  • The newly hired Assistant Principal is an "intern"...perhaps SUPES?
  •  Extra security has been hired to manage frustrated parents.
The entire memo generates many practical questions, among them: 
  • Why must students be monitored so closely by their teachers let alone the main office?
  • If a teacher does not follow this complicated set of instructions, will their REACH evaluation be negatively impacted?
  • If extra security has in fact been hired to manage already frustrated parents, how will a policy like this make any parent happy?
  • Since the principal is Rahm's clout hire, are these the types of "reforms" he expects to see at other CPS schools? What about the school his kids attend?
  • What unfortunate soul will need to track this? In the time it takes them to track an entire school's bathroom use, what could they have done instead?
*WCT is happy to sell this acronym to the administrative team searching for a way to cleverly capture their new policy. Cha-ching!
Teachers: does your school have any policies approaching this ridiculousness? Is this what passes for reform? Leave a comment or email

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