The Hall Monitor Blog

Location, segregation, and accountability: the quest for better school ratings

Location, segregation, and accountability: the quest for better school ratings

Parents, homebuyers, and ed reformers all love simple, clear school ratings. Can we have them without reinforcing neighborhood segregation? In the old real estate adage “location, location, location,” at least one of those locations represents proximity to a good school. It seems natural that parents would want this, and real estate investment experts confirm their…

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My children and the Children of the Dream.

My children and the Children of the Dream.

My journey toward understanding and believing in integrated schools is well-documented. I’ve reported, opined, and emoted publicly. But until now, my personal relationship to integration has been theoretical.  When we signed up our kids for Mark Twain Dual Language Academy, a socioeconomically integrated school in our home district, I was excited…and nervous. One of the…

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It must be summer.

It must be summer.

Thoughts on disaster. I. It was the time of year when the cicadas ran their tymbals around the clock, giving the familiar shade of our live oak trees a more exotic feel. Something both sleepy and full of dramatic potential, like the opening scene of an independent film.  And that is how each day felt…

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Summer reading list: The book that (further) sold me on reparations.

Summer reading list: The book that (further) sold me on reparations.

Because the ed beat slows down a little in the summer, I have to keep myself busy doing other things. Most recently that’s meant covering immigration. But I also like to use to summer to read really enriching things that my brain totally cannot handle during the school year.  First up, one that I’ve been…

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Adventures in Literacy: Why your kid’s teacher needs professional development.

Adventures in Literacy: Why your kid’s teacher needs professional development.

I’m about 30 years late to the phonics wars, but apparently there’s still plenty to discuss. In my last post on literacy and curriculum, I was having brain-melt over the lack of phonics instruction in schools.  Balanced literacy, critics told me (or I read), was just phonics-less whole language and everything is terrible.  Meanwhile, my…

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Meet The Gathering Place, one of San Antonio’s newest and busiest charter schools.

Meet The Gathering Place, one of San Antonio’s newest and busiest charter schools.

One of San Antonio’s newest charter schools will hit the ground running this fall with a professional development opportunity in partnership with the DoSeum. The Gathering Place, which was approved by the State Board of Education on June 14, will lead a cohort of teachers from across the city in a project-based learning collaborative designed…

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“The children still cannot read.” How I became convinced that curriculum is an equity issue.

“The children still cannot read.” How I became convinced that curriculum is an equity issue.

At the 2019 Education Writers Association National Conferece, Freeman Hrabowski, president of University of Maryland, Baltimore County said that taking down Confederate monuments, and renaming dorms is “great.” He said it in such a way though that implied a “but” was coming.  And it did.  Symbolic gestures are “great” he explained, but they are aren’t…

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What we talk about when we talk about safety and discipline.

What we talk about when we talk about safety and discipline.

When I first started reporting on school discipline, I thought there was near consensus on the need to move toward restorative practices. Just like there’s near consensus that you shouldn’t scream at your kids.  Restorative practices seek to move kids toward the behavior you want, with less emphasis on the behaviors being left behind. At…

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Like any smart person with a messy closet, SAISD is getting help from organizers.

Like any smart person with a messy closet, SAISD is getting help from organizers.

San Antonio ISD may have just found the cure to what ails it. The district announced a partnership with SA Rise to lead efforts in restorative justice and diverse cultural curriculum, especially in celebration of immigrant communities. These issues have been near the core of SA Rise’s efforts for most of its two year organizing…

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On mobile apps and equity

On mobile apps and equity

A couple of weeks ago, Inga Cotton, aka San Antonio Charter Moms, launched a new app. It’s a school choice tool, listing all of the open enrollment programs in San Antonio—charter and district options.  There’s a ton to say about this app. One could comment on female-led app development. Or the fact that it’s the…

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