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Undercover High

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On 1/26/2018 at 9:22 PM, Snickerdoodle said:

I wonder if they debriefed the real students after the semester.  As I was watching I worried about what Danii would do once she either watched this show or when she found out that Shane was not who he said he was.  I really felt bad for her.  I know Shane was trying to take her under his wing but...I don't know. 

 

So yeah, I wonder what the real students thought when they found out they were "spied" on.

 

Many of the kids were really upset/hurt that they were lied to by the participants.  I'm not sure what the school did to help them but it was rough.

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22 hours ago, SuzySmith said:

Many of the kids were really upset/hurt that they were lied to by the participants.  I'm not sure what the school did to help them but it was rough.

And this is why I don't like experiments like this. It reinforces the idea that you can't trust adults. 

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They kept going on about the hispanic race this, the hispanic race that,Hispanic race here, Hispanic race there. It isn’t even a race. 

I couldn’t deal with it anymore and had to turn it off.

The winter queen election was absolutely rigged.

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5 hours ago, Aw my lahgs said:

They kept going on about the hispanic race this, the hispanic race that,Hispanic race here, Hispanic race there. It isn’t even a race. 

I couldn’t deal with it anymore and had to turn it off.

The winter queen election was absolutely rigged.

They do seem to be obsessed with this minority group at the school. The hispanic brother and sister keep going on about segregation - whilst segregating themselves by hanging out with predominantly hispanic students. 

 

The school boasts diversity, yet it looks very very segregated to me !

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On 1/24/2018 at 5:10 AM, Mr. R0b0t said:

Ok guys, this one started to give me some heebie jeebies because it felt like flirting going on from the undercover students towards the actual students.  Specifically when Shane was baking cupcakes with the young lady and Jorge with the bi-sexual student.  Both were incidents where the undercover students felt like they were breaking those kids away from the packs and blurring the lines of flirting and friendship under the guise of getting them to open up.  It could be some dodgy editing or something so  I welcome other folks take on this.

I felt like that undercover student who spent what felt like forever crying about having to relinquish her phone was immature enough to blend into high school nicely.  I also wondered why we never heard her motivation for joining the project, whereas the other participants have been very expressly clear about their motivations (youth pastor, teacher, etc.).  She just didnt seem suited for the project and I was hoping for some more insight from an african-american perspective.

The premise of this show intrigues me and I will continue to watch.

I agree - that girl said she was lonely, so what else is she going to think when a guy purposefully takes time out to be with her and devotes attention to her ! If a high school guy did that, his motives would be obvious ! So the guy is a bit of an idiot for behaving that way as no high school guy would do that.

 

And with the bi student and the other girl - why would a fellow high school student invite you out for dinner - at a Japanese restaurant or otherwise - just the two of you ? That is the behaviour of an adult being social - again not a high school student ! 

 

But it too felt dodgy and a little uncomfortable to me too !

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The adult is named Erin and she bugs the bejabbers out of me.  She's 25 and acts like she has the wisdom of the ages and is so far above the high school kids as far as world experience.  Honey, you're barely out of high school yourself and believe me when I tell you (as a +50 person)  that you haven't begun to tap the experiences that are going to happen to you in life.  In the book of life you're at about chapter 3 and haven't gotten to the juicy parts yet.

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Apparently, Kourtney (sp?) expected to be voted Prom Queen on her first day at the school with no effort on her part. Lame.  I wonder what she is doing in the real world now since she seems to quit everything (according to her conversation with her mom  and her own statement that she didn’t put any effort into high school).

How are the Pretend Teens explaining all of the eating out at restaurants? I assume they can say that the camera people/documentary people are paying, but that seems fishy since they seem to go out to eat a lot. 

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4 hours ago, Angeltoes said:

The adult is named Erin and she bugs the bejabbers out of me.  She's 25 and acts like she has the wisdom of the ages and is so far above the high school kids as far as world experience.  Honey, you're barely out of high school yourself and believe me when I tell you (as a +50 person)  that you haven't begun to tap the experiences that are going to happen to you in life.  In the book of life you're at about chapter 3 and haven't gotten to the juicy parts yet.

Everything you typed and MORE!!

I teach high school. Erin is claiming she's a "future educator" because she earned an MA and is headed to a Ph.D., yet hasn't spent one minute teaching in an actual classroom. THAT annoys me. I am convinced she earned her degrees exclusively online or via some non-traditional program because she isn't acting like a single person who has even taken a pre-requisite class for any teacher credential program...or interacted with anyone else (other than her husband) in the the last ten years. She's not teacher material and it's not because she looks young. 

Erin is coming off as "I'm so shy and I don't know how to make friends because it's so scary and hard." No one is going to bite her head off if she asks someone a question. While I hope she eventually helps Army Girl, she strikes me as not being able to see the forest through the trees: making other friends! Lesson #1 of teaching (it's not mean, it's reality) is "you cannot save everyone." The sooner you learn it, the easier it makes your job. 

A large portion of a teacher's day, when not teaching, is spent conversing & gabbing with students about the most random and mundane things. It's about creating the relationships with students that allows teachers to teach the content and keep an eye on students who might need some extra help/services.  It's not hard to get high school students talking, especially if you are an adult and have real adult friends in the real world. I don't care if I look like a moron because I don't know who is on MTV or what some of the latest lingo is and I know the students don't care either. By talking to the students every day, it's also a way of modeling actual talking between people instead of being glued to one's phone.

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Aren't these people vetted and/or put through some type of interview process? I do not understand Kourtnei at all. Who allowed her to participate? Oh my God, can you even imagine her on "60 Days In"? hahahahahahaha!

My first clue that she was going to be a wee bit bizarre was when she started talking about liking high heels instead of why she wanted to participate in this project.

For the record, I work in a high school in Southern California that is also considered to be a low socio-economic setting similar to Highland Park. The majority of the students consist of minority demographics and they are dealing with the same issues that these students deal with (sadly, gun violence is a part of the culture here too) and are worried daily about the things that impact them directly, including immigration.

I don't know how much longer I can watch this show because the use of cell phones in class is KILLING ME. I know how addicted students are to their phones, but there are ways to manage phones in a classroom. (Am I the only one who loses count of how many times a teacher says "put it away" during each episode?)

I know I don't know the rules or how the school & staff chooses to deal with phones, but I'm ready to write a letter to the principal and tell her why I suspect the graduation rate lower than the national average at her site!

I can't stand to watch some of these students literally lose out on an education because their faces are buried in their phones during class instead of learning, nor can I handle the fact that it looks like some teachers are allowing that to happen. (Maybe some teachers don't want to die on that hill, I have no clue, but it still makes me angry.) 

It's on the teacher to give 100% to ensure that each student has the chance to learn, and that means creating classroom expectations and sticking to them. I've had students tell me they just don't care and aren't going to work in class. Great. Fine. They can sit there and be quiet. That's all they can do. No sleeping, no eating, no bathroom pass - nothing. Not one student has even thought about taking out their phone in my class because they chose not to participate.

I'm not Wonder Woman or a superhero. I'm simply a teacher who has had the good fortune to attend professional development workshops that focus on classroom management and I've had great mentors during my student teaching days. "Supernanny" is a hell of a teaching tool as well - I'm serious. Jo Frost's psychology about how she speaks to toddlers works exactly the same on teenagers! 

Edited by Bridget
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22 hours ago, Bridget said:

Aren't these people vetted and/or put through some type of interview process? I do not understand Kourtnei at all. Who allowed her to participate? Oh my God, can you even imagine her on "60 Days In"? hahahahahahaha!

My first clue that she was going to be a wee bit bizarre was when she started talking about liking high heels instead of why she wanted to participate in this project.

 

My first clue that Kourtnei wouldn't make it was when she was complaining about the show giving her an Android phone when she preferred an iPhone. 

 

What was her motivation for even being on the show? Did she think she was just going to walk in and be Miss Popular?  She didn't appear to make any effort to get to know the other students.  I wanted to yell to her, TALK TO SOMEBODY!  ANYBODY!  Don't expect them to come to you!

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I have been watching this show out of curiosity and because I was raised in Kansas about 50-some miles from Topeka. I have never been a teacher or administrator but have enough teacher friends to know what a tough and thankless job it is.

However, the administration of this particular high school underwhelms me. Wouldn't a school of that size and demographics have a team of guidance counselors? When Michele passively told what's her name (Erin?) that the Army was her only choice, I wanted to know if she'd had any type of support or assistance from the school in planning her next steps. (She doesn't strike me as scholarship material but surely there are other options than the military, especially since she's now so ambivalent.) When Erin mentioned Michele's situation to the principal, the principals just sort of shrugged and said, "She's one who enlisted?" I don't expect the principals in a school of that size to know every student's story but she just kind of shrugged it off.

I also don't know how Kourtnei (how cute ...) got selected to be on the show. It made me wonder where she was from and what high school she went to. From looking at her old photos and her THs about her wardrobe, iPhone and that her mom bought her a care, made me think that she was from a much more affluent household and school. She was probably like a fish out of water at Highland Park. She made no effort whatsoever to engage with the other students and ended up living up to her mother's expectations about being a quitter.

Don't get me started on the cell phones in class.

I am interested to see how the teen mother's story progresses. Where was the guy and the depressed girl this week?

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Did they really just waste 5 minutes of airtime showing a grown woman whining about having to give up get iPhone for Android. Yeah...she's seems slow and I don't think she'll have any problem fitting in with teenagers. And she even opened up her piece saying that when she was in high school she was more worried about being cool than learning...honey, you haven't changed. Plus, she's 21, she hasn't been out of high school that long anyway

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The Jorge/D'Andre thing has me weirded out because there's definitely some attraction there. I mean, it's not illegal because D'Andre IS 18, but it's HIGHLY inappropriate. Somebody had to consider this when they thought of this.

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Don't look so much into the cell phone thing. No harm intended, but it's clearly the culture of the school and the students in it. This it's clearly a rough school in a rough neighbourhood. You clearly saw them talking about how shootings are a normal occurrence. Using your phone in class isb the equivalent of talking during class.it's a disrespectful act. Notice how it wasn't an issue in say, Erin's AP Lit class. It's not something the more serious students would do. Don't make it a thing about "today's kids" or anything. 

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Wow, Kourtnei has it rough. First she had to give up her iPhone for an Android, and now she's got to ride the bus to school

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So...the bisexual guy who lives alone is inviting the gay guy to his apartment, and no one thinks anything is up?

What's up with this Kourtnei chick? She straight up walked right out of class and even started packing up her stuff without saying anything to production. They had to ask what she was doing. She really is a big child. The whole point of this was to see what kids are going through and what she was experiencing (feeling left out/no friends/no one to talk to) is life for the new kids in school in every day and age. 

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5 hours ago, ralph said:

Don't look so much into the cell phone thing. No harm intended, but it's clearly the culture of the school and the students in it. This it's clearly a rough school in a rough neighbourhood. You clearly saw them talking about how shootings are a normal occurrence. Using your phone in class isb the equivalent of talking during class.it's a disrespectful act. Notice how it wasn't an issue in say, Erin's AP Lit class. It's not something the more serious students would do. Don't make it a thing about "today's kids" or anything. 

Wasn't sure if you were replying to my post or the one from @grisgris.

However, if it was my post, I agree to disagree.  I teach 10th grade English at a school with similar demographics to HPHS. I don't get to teach AP or Honors classes with more serious students because those classes are typically reserved for the teachers with seniority, so phones are a part of my work day more than most people. Serious student or not, the current crop of students in grades 7-12 all need a teacher who cares enough to teach them basic etiquette and how to follow the rules.

My students don't bring pencils or finished homework to class, but they have their phone charger with them. It is about "today's kids" because I've seen it first hand, five days a week, ten months a year for the last few years. I see many of my students for a longer period of time than many of their own parents, who should have taught them respect back in Kindergarten and maintaining it for life. Sadly, that's not the norm.

Too many students don't have verbal communication skills, illegible hand writing and can't take notes in a timely fashion from a Power Point because they're losing fine motor skills from using phones or tablets. They literally can't write as quickly as they should be able to.

My students, especially those who are not college bound, (as well as all of the other ones across this country) need to learn basic self-control, like ignoring their phones when they are expected to be working on either classwork or working in a fast food restaurant. They won't last one hour in the real world because they haven't had to go without their phones for more than three minutes. I wish them all luck trying to keep a job while they can't put their phones away - and yes, I tell my students this frequently.

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51 minutes ago, Bridget said:

Wasn't sure if you were replying to my post or the one from @grisgris.

However, if it was my post, I agree to disagree.  I teach 10th grade English at a school with similar demographics to HPHS. I don't get to teach AP or Honors classes with more serious students because those classes are typically reserved for the teachers with seniority, so phones are a part of my work day more than most people. Serious student or not, the current crop of students in grades 7-12 all need a teacher who cares enough to teach them basic etiquette and how to follow the rules.

My students don't bring pencils or finished homework to class, but they have their phone charger with them. It is about "today's kids" because I've seen it first hand, five days a week, ten months a year for the last few years. I see many of my students for a longer period of time than many of their own parents, who should have taught them respect back in Kindergarten and maintaining it for life. Sadly, that's not the norm.

Too many students don't have verbal communication skills, illegible hand writing and can't take notes in a timely fashion from a Power Point because they're losing fine motor skills from using phones or tablets. They literally can't write as quickly as they should be able to.

My students, especially those who are not college bound, (as well as all of the other ones across this country) need to learn basic self-control, like ignoring their phones when they are expected to be working on either classwork or working in a fast food restaurant. They won't last one hour in the real world because they haven't had to go without their phones for more than three minutes. I wish them all luck trying to keep a job while they can't put their phones away - and yes, I tell my students this frequently.

I wasn't replying to anyone in particular, just in general because I've seen lots of talk about the cell phones.

I don't know to say though. I've been out of school for 2 years and it just was not a problem. I've never seen it the way it is on the show.

i can clearly see some of the teachers here are exhasted and don't want to fight with the kids.

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And with the bi student and the other girl - why would a fellow high school student invite you out for dinner - at a Japanese restaurant or otherwise - just the two of you ? That is the behaviour of an adult being social - again not a high school student ! 

Wait, I am confused--what's weird about dinner? I went out to eat all the time with people in high school.

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2 hours ago, TattleTeeny said:

Wait, I am confused--what's weird about dinner? I went out to eat all the time with people in high school.

My students go out to restaurants all the time with each other.  I don't think it's weird.  And the real student is the one who initiated it.  Also, I felt like since Jorge is openly gay, D'Andre felt he could open up to him about things that he feels he can't necessarily be open with everyone about.  Maybe he was physically attracted to Jorge as well, but it's not like Jorge knew D'Andre is bisexual going into it.

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On 2/2/2018 at 7:31 PM, grisgris said:

I am interested to see how the teen mother's story progresses. Where was the guy and the depressed girl this week?

I’ll admit, I’m a bit confused how she’s going to introduce her son. Didn’t she say he was “coming” or something and the other girls seemed excited to meet him?  He’d be way too old to match up with her  over-story age. 

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On 2/4/2018 at 1:31 AM, ralph said:

I wasn't replying to anyone in particular, just in general because I've seen lots of talk about the cell phones.

I don't know to say though. I've been out of school for 2 years and it just was not a problem. I've never seen it the way it is on the show.

i can clearly see some of the teachers here are exhasted and don't want to fight with the kids.

Thanks for clarifying; it's hard to read tone via words sometimes.

I agree with you; the teachers are tired, but it's sad because the students "should be" respectful, but that's what isn't taught or shown at home. Then again, teacher morale is a huge part of the equation for students to be successful. My guess is that the HPHS teachers know how Admin will handle certain rule breakers, so they put up with XYZ because they aren't willing to die on that hill.

Admin (in all schools) should focus on supporting and appreciating their teachers year round, not just during one week in May, which is already practically the end of the year. When teachers are burned out or not "feeling it", the students can tell, just as they know which teachers want to be at work.

With you being out of school for two years, it makes sense that you haven't seen the phone issue as bad as it is. Consider yourself lucky.

Phones are impairing a ton of students from reaching essential benchmarks because of their addiction to their screens. Students aren't sleeping, or are up til 3am, and if they're not falling asleep in class, they're 30 mins late to school each day. My students might drive me up the wall at times, but they are very honest with me (hence my "data" about 3am bedtimes) and I am honest with them.

Current secondary school students (6-12) struggle with many of the basic social skills they will need once they graduate or move forward into adulthood. I see many struggle with common courtesy, such as saying hello to other people, whether it's their friends or teachers. It's as if they've lost the ability to speak or don't know how to have and/ or initiate a conversation. Many can't even a "good morning, how are you?" However, if one observes how people interact in any public place, they will see the same thing: people glued to their phones instead of talking to other people. It's both heart breaking and frustrating for me.

 

 

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13 hours ago, Bridget said:

Current secondary school students (6-12) struggle with many of the basic social skills they will need once they graduate or move forward into adulthood. I see many struggle with common courtesy, such as saying hello to other people, whether it's their friends or teachers. It's as if they've lost the ability to speak or don't know how to have and/ or initiate a conversation. Many can't even a "good morning, how are you?" However, if one observes how people interact in any public place, they will see the same thing: people glued to their phones instead of talking to other people. It's both heart breaking and frustrating for me.

 

This is so true. At recent staff development we've been encouraged to do activities in class where students have to introduce themselves to each other because, even at the high school, they have no clue how to greet people or carry on a conversation. 

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7 hours ago, PoshSprinkles said:

This is so true. At recent staff development we've been encouraged to do activities in class where students have to introduce themselves to each other because, even at the high school, they have no clue how to greet people or carry on a conversation. 

I'm thrilled to hear this is being addressed, even though it shouldn't have to be an extra mini-lesson or a year long drill, but we know the reality.

It's not a smooth road when grade 6-12 kiddos have to work in groups for projects either. Even when working in class, the students don't share information or know how to collaborate/talk about their progress with one another. I've seen lots of "I thought you were going to do that part!" or "No, I said I would do XYZ" on the day of presentations. In front of the class. And me! 

Students who are absent really struggle because they have no clue what was covered to at least come back with an idea of what they need to make up. Sadly, I've noticed a huge correlation between failing grades and attendance, but not for the obvious reasons. Students will text one person (and usually one person only) from class. If they don't hear back from their friend, they don't do anything else. The higher the grade (especially 9-12), the more a student missed when "absent."  My site is on a block schedule, so I see students for one hour on Mondays & for two hours every other day of the week, which means bigger consequences for those who don't know how to communicate or understand the importance of it.

I've started to teach them to think about sending out a group text OR picking up the phone and calling someone, as awkward as they might think that is. I've know I've gone a whole day (many times) without realizing that I missed a text message, which I share with them and they can all relate. Technology isn't perfect. Teaching students the importance of how and when to call someone on the phone is another important lesson too. 

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This show is really bad.  Not sure if I can continue to watch (but I'm a sucker for shitty tv so I'm not making any final decisions just yet :)

Lina continues to bug, as does her brother, now.

The guy (no idea his name) seems infatuated with Tone.  It's like he's just going back to high school to be friends with the cool kids.

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After two months at Highland Park High School, the undercover adults become closer to students battling major life struggles, while a new undercover student named Gloria replaces Kourtnei.

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Still not really in love with this show, but this is the topic I was most interested in hearing about.  I have personal experiences with bullying.  First, I was bullied all through elementary school through 9th grade.  Also, my daughter was cyber bullied.  I feel like bullying is practically an epidemic now that kids can literally keep up their torture 24 hours a day with social media.  Kids just can't get away from it.  It breaks my heart that it's such a problem and I feel there needs to be stricter and enforceable laws about online bullying.  When my daughter was being bullied online I was told that the administration for her school couldn't do anything about it because the kids bullying her didn't go to her school.  The other school said they couldn't do anything about it because my daughter didn't attend THAT school so it was a real clusterfuck.

Did Erin look way too pleased with herself that she was the bully?  She should've been a bit more careful with her words.  She seemed a bit too smug. 

I also noticed several people smirking on camera.  I mean, I get that they're kids and they may be kind of hamming it up for the cameras anyway, but it just comes across as scripted with bad actors. 

Gloria at least seems to know how to get in with the kids without trying so hard.  But, again, cameras.  I don't know.  I just don't think we're getting anything real out of this show because no one is going to be really open and honest in front of these cameras.

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I think it was this episode (watched the two most recent last night and am getting them confused) when they went on the field trip to the college.  I like sleep more than most things in life but Danii needs some serious help.  Something is not right.  I think she said she suffered from depression.  Is she being treated? It's very sad.

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On 2/8/2018 at 2:30 PM, woodscommaelle said:

I think it was this episode (watched the two most recent last night and am getting them confused) when they went on the field trip to the college.  I like sleep more than most things in life but Danii needs some serious help.  Something is not right.  I think she said she suffered from depression.  Is she being treated? It's very sad.

 It almost seems as though she has adopted her depression diagnosis as her whole identity. (I speak from some experience - I’ve struggled with Major Depression since I was in my mid teens.) I wonder how much support she has from adults in her life. It doesn’t seem like her treatment for depression (if she is being treated at all) is working very well.  She is an enigma; she manages to make it to school, but is totally checked out when she’s there. I was so happy when she saw the bee exhibit - I hope that puts a bug in her ear about getting additional education after high school.

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All i am getting out of this show is how bad the school is ! The principal or administrator seems to pretend to be everyone's best friend but knows absolutely nothing and comes out with stock replies to every question asked. The teachers have no or very little control in the classes and don't seem to have the respect of the students. In addition, the teachers dress as though they are attending a weekend barbecue ! No wonder the school has a bad record.

 

The students have no role models or decent teachers to guide and educate them and the classes seem under subscribed. I wonder if they have tried to spread the curriculum too far ? There is nothing there for the students at all ! The only sport shown is basketball and there are no practical classes for students who are not into learning.

 

I don't know if this is a problem with US schools as i am from the UK, but even our worst schools have more discipline and guidance than this one !

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@Marvin Highland Park is an urban Title I school, which means it serves a very poor population, which usually comes with issues such as violence, drugs, and lack of resources. These issues are also very easy to see- shootings, teen pregnancy, ect. are, from what we've been shown, the norm for these students. In suburban schools, while some of these issues exist, they tend to be more hidden and I doubt many of the kids would be willing to talk on camera about them, because I can their parents refusing to allow their child to be filmed or telling their child not to say anything. 

As for the teachers, we have have seen some great educators at HP, but many Title I schools struggle to find experienced, professional teachers to employ because of the discipline and behavior issues that tend to come with Title I schools. Teachers don't want to put up with disrespectful students, so they either quit teaching all together or find a job at a wealthier suburban school where the kids value education and are well-behaved. That means the only teachers left to employ for Title I schools are brand-new teachers, which don't have the experience to handle some of the behavioral issues that come with the students at these schools. 

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4 hours ago, PoshSprinkles said:

@Marvin Highland Park is an urban Title I school, which means it serves a very poor population, which usually comes with issues such as violence, drugs, and lack of resources. These issues are also very easy to see- shootings, teen pregnancy, ect. are, from what we've been shown, the norm for these students. In suburban schools, while some of these issues exist, they tend to be more hidden and I doubt many of the kids would be willing to talk on camera about them, because I can their parents refusing to allow their child to be filmed or telling their child not to say anything. 

As for the teachers, we have have seen some great educators at HP, but many Title I schools struggle to find experienced, professional teachers to employ because of the discipline and behavior issues that tend to come with Title I schools. Teachers don't want to put up with disrespectful students, so they either quit teaching all together or find a job at a wealthier suburban school where the kids value education and are well-behaved. That means the only teachers left to employ for Title I schools are brand-new teachers, which don't have the experience to handle some of the behavioral issues that come with the students at these schools. 

Excellent description of the current situation of what is being shown as a "typical American high school." I totally agree with your point about the teachers at many Title I schools. It kills me to see new teachers eaten alive or shocked at certain things that are bound to happen. I wish there was some type of "boot camp" for new teachers to prep themselves, such as reminding them not to argue with students because it won't end well and all of that other stuff we have picked up along the way.

I have only ever taught at Title I schools (middle & high school) and wouldn't ever want to leave to teach at a "better site" because I would struggle with "helicopter parents"! Although... I might change my mind tmrw, it depends on who is absent. (I'm awful, I know.)

One of the biggest challenges for teachers who have the "rough students who make inappropriate choices" is that Admin doesn't support teachers when it comes to appropriate consequences for the students. They cuss out a teacher, nothing happens. They're 30 mins late to class every day, nothing happens. They use a ChomeBook in class and are caught using it for messaging with others, using profanity, viewing racist sites or any number of other violations, nothing happens.

I know the big thing is "restorative justice" , but I have to tell you all honestly: it's a joke. The kids take it serious for 24 hours and are back to doing the same crap. Admin does nothing.

New EdCode law (as of 1/1/17) in Calif says we can't suspend students from class for two days (for the usual mouthing off/interruption stuff). The students have the upper hand and they know it. That's what leads to a lot of the teacher burnout that I see and go through myself. The teachers who have more seniority typically teach the older kids (grade 11 or 12) in honors classes or AP classes, so they're not going anywhere. Their students are the kids who want to be at school, so their days are way different than mine.

I believe it takes a village to teach, especially when so many of the students experience hardships that many of their teachers have never dealt with. It doesn't excuse a student for their rudeness or disrespect because someone's from a single parent home. That's what I wish Admin understood. I've yet to meet an Admin who has taught in the last ten years (when I started teaching.) Things have changed. Big time. They have no clue what we're trying so very hard to work with.

I see so many teachers who do care, and don't want to leave, but they end up leaving because of lots of different things. Sadly, the non-existent support from bosses and zero verbal praise during any part of the year, especially when debriefing after an observation, doesn't make it a hard choice.

One new teacher only lasted 1/2 of the day last year! That's how awful her students were. I don't blame her. At all. I was shocked, but If it were me and I didn't need health insurance and a salary, I'd probably walk too.

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On 2/9/2018 at 3:40 PM, PityFree said:

 It almost seems as though she has adopted her depression diagnosis as her whole identity. (I speak from some experience - I’ve struggled with Major Depression since I was in my mid teens.) I wonder how much support she has from adults in her life. It doesn’t seem like her treatment for depression (if she is being treated at all) is working very well.  She is an enigma; she manages to make it to school, but is totally checked out when she’s there. I was so happy when she saw the bee exhibit - I hope that puts a bug in her ear about getting additional education after high school.

1. Bam! You nailed it perfectly. You're so right about not just her, but so many others. You perfectly expressed what I saw with her (along with what I see at work every day). So clear and concise yet distinct and profound!

I can't remember if Danii said she was officially diagnosed with depression (I want to say she was not), or if she is aware of her family history and "adopted depression as an identity" (brilliant statement!) and declared or self diagnosed herself as depressed?

In student records, all we have access to with regard to their health is if they're allergic to anything or not.

I know many students are exhausted and sad and mad and go through awful things, but to label oneself as "officially depressed" is a big deal.  Many people who have battled/are battling different types of depression are usually in a therapeutic routine with self care, seeing doctors and using tools go be successful. I'd hate for Danii to be some type of advertisement for "this is what depression looks like" for her peers/age group and for it to potentially scare any young people from talking about mental health with their doctor or at a clinic . I'm not hating on her at all, but to profess "I have depression" at that age could be her trying to articulate anything from "I am too tired at school because I'm addicted to online XYZ and I don't sleep" to low self esteem to being lonely to possibly having a learning disability and school is ten times harder than it should be or tons of other options.

Does that make sense?

2. Parents are so scared to put their kids on anything, even when kids would benefit greatly (i.e. Adderall) from medication, that I hate to say that she's probably not taking anything for her depression. I doubt she's in therapy at all, which is unfortunate. School counselors (the ones I've worked with) usually hide in their offices and work on planning students' schedules for next year, so they're not really good to "counsel" anyone. Danii would be better off finding a free/sliding scale fee bases clinic to have a doctor examine & diagnose her, offer free or low cost meds (with parental consent) and encourage her to go to some group therapy or 1:1 counseling. 

Edited by Bridget
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I know she's a kid with issues and all that, but, oy, Dani is so irritating (I am sorry--I am not the most patient person around). I do hope she gets whatever it is she needs in the way of guidance (because clearly someone or someones in her life are not cutting it at all) and that she does find her way to college; maybe she's one of those people who does much better there. I was.

Edited by TattleTeeny

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I adore Gloria. 

Shane (think that's his name) seems like he's reliving his heyday (sp) of being the cool/dorky drama kid.  He got so psyched about doing a morning radio show.  Cool, I guess, but, I don't know.  I can't figure out the point of this show...yet here I am...still watching.

You know what I just noticed in this episode?  There's a detector of some sort in the school library to make sure you don't steal a book.  But at most schools you can walk in with a gun and start shooting bc there's no metal detector at the door.

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Just watched this episode today, and it was very eerie to know this aired the night before the shooting in Florida.  I really can't imagine being in high school today.  I graduated in 1987; if I had to go through that again, with active shooter drills and and social media whipping everyone and everything into a frenzy 24/7, I'd have to be institutionalized.  Sometimes I cannot even bear to adult in this world!

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On 2/16/2018 at 12:55 AM, Bridget said:

New EdCode law (as of 1/1/17) in Calif says we can't suspend students from class for two days (for the usual mouthing off/interruption stuff). The students have the upper hand and they know it. That's what leads to a lot of the teacher burnout that I see and go through myself. The teachers who have more seniority typically teach the older kids (grade 11 or 12) in honors classes or AP classes, so they're not going anywhere. Their students are the kids who want to be at school, so their days are way different than mine.

Years ago I theorized that if the punishment for student misbehavior in school was MORE SCHOOL then maybe kids would get the picture. We've done in the opposite direction with summer school pretty much disappearing where I live, replaced by online credit replacement, and kids getting months long suspensions with no requirement to continue maintaining their education. 

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31 minutes ago, Rlb8031 said:

Years ago I theorized that if the punishment for student misbehavior in school was MORE SCHOOL then maybe kids would get the picture. We've done in the opposite direction with summer school pretty much disappearing where I live, replaced by online credit replacement, and kids getting months long suspensions with no requirement to continue maintaining their education. 

Exactly! I've taught both middle and high school for almost ten years now. I've noticed that right around grade 7 (for the girls) and definitely by grade 8 that students have decided, subconsciously or not, what path they will take in high school. They have already decided how hard they will try or how little they will care. 

What really blows my mind is that in the rare event students are suspended, teachers of the student get an email saying their assignments/HW needs to be sent to the office in five minutes because the parent is on the way to pick up the student. I typically miss the e-mail because I'm busy teaching and not sitting on my butt checking my e-mail, so I don't feel bad about not sending anything.

I really with that someone in Admin would sit & talk with the student and parent before the student leaves campus and have some sort of "Come to Jesus" meeting. Things that parents don't know is that when HW is sent home with a suspended student (I don't know why parents don't see the HW) and if a teacher is willing to go out of their way to put work together for a student, the expectation is that the students works on it, completes all of it and hands it in when they get back. I'm done breaking my back to make sure Johnny has enough work for the week he's suspended when he doesn't do anything in my class anyway. OVER IT.

Upon their return, EdCode Law in CA also states that students who were suspended are "allowed" to earn a zero on everything they missed due to being suspended. Teachers don't have to go out of their way to make sure students make up anything. I can say with certainty that 99 times out of 100, the students who are getting suspended don't even do their classwork/HW anyway and sadly, are failing anyway. If they're failing in a classroom with a teacher, how in the hell do they expect to be successful at home without a teacher?

I've seen different version of In School Suspension (ISS) to discourage behaviors that land a kid a week long break from school. The flip side is that no credentialed teacher (that I've ever met) wants to "teach that class." Instead, it's usually run by security guards or other adults who aren't always in the best position to help the students academically in case they stumble with something.

I've personally always been a fan of the "parent is required to attend school with student who cannot make good choices" practices. The student reverts to crappy behavior when parent eventually leaves, but at least they know their parent is not playing around and will take the day(s) off of work to shadow their student. There's got to be some sort of "healthy fear" of adults or an understanding that mom/dad will dish out consequences. Those are the only two examples I can think of that correlate with successful students. I hear students say "I would be grounded for my life if I ever talked to a teacher like that" or "I won't be able to play soccer if I don't have a certain GPA, including citizenship grades." There are some great kids AND parents out there, it's just sad to me that they're so few and far between.
 

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 Students and participants stand in the spotlight when Highland Park High School hosts a student-led talent show, but the Showtime at the Apollo theme has everyone scared of getting booed off the stage. 

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Whoever gave final approval on a talent show for children with a Showtime at the Apollo vibe is a moron.  As we've seen, some of the kids are living on the razors edge for various reasons and to give them an opportunity to be boo'd mercifully on stage in front of everyone was a sad sight.  It did turn out better than it could have, but I do think being on camera may have helped that outcome come to pass.   I feel like there has been some wasted potential on this concept, yet I'm hanging on through the season.  

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11 hours ago, Mr. R0b0t said:

Whoever gave final approval on a talent show for children with a Showtime at the Apollo vibe is a moron.  As we've seen, some of the kids are living on the razors edge for various reasons and to give them an opportunity to be boo'd mercifully on stage in front of everyone was a sad sight.  It did turn out better than it could have, but I do think being on camera may have helped that outcome come to pass.   I feel like there has been some wasted potential on this concept, yet I'm hanging on through the season.  

Couldn't agree more with you if I tried!

The talent show probably had the basketball coach agree to be the faculty member attached to the show. (KIDDING!)

I did notice that the principal called it "Highland Park's Got Talent", so someone changed the theme at the last minute without telling the principal. NOT a good move.

I was watching the show today and kept thinking a few things that are slightly bothering me because they're not in sync with what I thought the concept of the show was.

I only keep seeing a few of the same kids on my screen. Is this a "secret adult tries to save one student" show? If the premise is to help change the school, these undercover adults (so far) have only been hanging with the same people (except Jorge had a new friend this week). It seems like the undercover adults have made it a mission to find "teenage versions of themselves" and make sure the teens don't make the same mistakes the adults did. I'm getting bored with this and it's sad because it's got potential to be so much more. 

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I'm sad with the path this show has taken as well.  Knowing a lot of the kids and HP adults shown, their stories are so much deeper than portrayed.  It also makes me angry that they sent these adults into the school to attach themselves to kids, knowing that this would cause some issues for the kids who were lied to.  

I also hated that they would allow kids to be booed off the stage.  

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On 2/20/2018 at 5:12 PM, Rlb8031 said:

Years ago I theorized that if the punishment for student misbehavior in school was MORE SCHOOL then maybe kids would get the picture. We've done in the opposite direction with summer school pretty much disappearing where I live, replaced by online credit replacement, and kids getting months long suspensions with no requirement to continue maintaining their education. 

I've seen a few approaches in my short time teaching. 

One school I shadowed at had a last-chance program for repeat offenders that were on the verge of expulsion. It was off-campus in a separate building. They were required to wear a uniform, allowed to bring nothing with them (except lunch, obviously), and were kept away from the other students. They had to gradually earn everything, starting with a pencil, then piece of paper, then desk, then chair, then a textbook, and so on by doing service, attending counseling, doing their individual work (either on computer or with a tutor) and being on their best behavior. Eventually, they could earn their way up to being in the actual classroom with the other students in the program and then earn their way back to the regular school. I have no idea if it actually worked, but at least it was a different approach. 

Other schools I have worked at had alternative schools that they sent their repeat offenders or students who committed egregious acts. All work is done online in separated cubicles, the students are not allowed to talk to each other, even at lunch, no electronics are allowed, and there is a strict uniform. Students are given a mandatory 30 days, though most are there for 60 days. A lot of students I've talked to about this say they preferred the environment because it was always quiet and they could move at their own pace with the online programs. They also stayed out of trouble because they were away from their usual crew. 

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On 2/21/2018 at 9:12 AM, Mr. R0b0t said:

I feel like there has been some wasted potential on this concept, yet I'm hanging on through the season.  

I wish they had split up the kids and sent them to different schools in the same district. If anything, it would show, very clearly, the disparities between schools that are in rich areas vs. poor areas vs. urban areas vs. rural areas, which is also part of the problem in American education. The education you get depends on where you can afford to live. 

It also would have shown a wider array of issues. Just because you attend an affluent school doesn't mean you escape many of the same problems the HP students have shown us- the issues just look and manifest differently. It would appeal to a wider demographic. 

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@PoshSprinkles you are correct.  TPS has three traditional high schools.  Topeka High is the largest and has a lot of diversity.  It pulls from the wealthiest and the poorest areas of the district.  Topeka West is the third and is somewhere between the two as far as socioeconomic and ethnic demographics.  There are also several other schools in the area (Shawnee county has five districts) and there is an immense discrepancy between them.   We chose to live within the boundaries of TPS because we wanted that diversity for our children.  I can honestly say that we feel the district has done a great job with our kids, but then we also chose the area of town we felt was the best.    

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On 1/22/2018 at 10:35 AM, woodscommaelle said:

Watching the one male participant reading out loud was heartbreaking.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately, especially because he's always talking about helping the members in his youth ministry. If he has struggled with this learning disability (that's what it is), I'd love to know what, if anything, he has done to continue practicing his reading skills. I wonder if he  tried to prepare prior to heading into the experiment?

Surely there is a reading component involved with his job? Reading is one of those skills everyone needs in life. The need to read never goes away and it can't be avoided. From my professional point of view, it's a tad bit hypocritical for him to work with teens and try to motivate them if he's not working on his own struggles to read. (That's how it comes across to me. "I have always had a problem with reading. The End." No mention of him getting help or practicing by reading a little bit each day.)

There are tons of classes available at community colleges that are taught by instructors who have specialized in teaching those who struggle with reading.

I know you can't study to beat dyslexia (or any other reading impairment), but if he was a regular reader, or had taken a few specially designed college reading classes, his entire life, along with reading out loud in class, would be smooth sailng. I hope he walked away from this with a desire to work on his own personal struggle.

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Lina is enjoying this too much. This experiment, man oh man is it weird.

The girl directing the morning announcements was funny. "Now get yourselves to class." Like she was their mom. She's going to be successful in life. ??

Edited by woodscommaelle
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Also, pretty shitty of Shane to not text his 'friends' to let them know he wasn't going to be at school for a few days. I realize his family member was about to die (very sad) but people worry.  He had 10 minutes somewhere in his day to send a text.

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