Thursday, April 15, 2010

A vile outrage at Gompers? Some would say so.

Marsha Sutton, education writer at SDNN, has uncovered what some locals claim is a vile outrage: an educator drawing analogies between the Holocaust and events that happen in a school.

I believe that evil starts out small and grows, and needs to be identified in its early stages and nipped in the bud. Ms. Strom was wise and good to teach children to do this.

Keep up the good work, Ms. Strom. It's clear from her article that Marsha Sutton is also impressed by your work. Perhaps some locals only said that such analogies are "absolutely vile" because they wanted to gain an advantage in a court case.

Below is the story from Gompers Preparatory Academy (Charter Middle School).

Stars come out at Gompers gala
By Marsha Sutton, SDNN
Thursday, April 15, 2010

...[Katie Strom] also teaches students about the
Holocaust during World War II.

“They haven’t ever had it before,” she said. “I always
do lessons about the Holocaust because I want them
to understand it.”

She said she lets the students wander in smaller
groups in other museums, but she has them stay
together in the Holocaust Museum.

“In the Holocaust Museum I actually make them go
through with me and we stop at each place and I
explain to them what’s going on,” she said. “We look
through the readings together and I take questions
from them, just so they really get the whole
experience.”

She said they talk at length about the quotes on the
walls.

“For example, one of my favorite quotes is: ‘Don’t be
a victim. Don’t be a perpetrator. But above all don’t
be a bystander.’ And then I talk to kids:
‘What does that mean to you, and how
can you connect that to what happens at
your school on a daily basis?’”...

MORE FROM THIS STORY:

Celebrating five years of positive change, Gompers Preparatory Academy – formerly Gompers Middle School – held a gala event Sunday to raise money for the school, honor its leaders and recognize the success of its students since turning charter in 2005.

The gala, attended by about 155 people, was co-chaired by Gompers board chair Cecil Steppe and former California State Senator and Gompers board member Dede Alpert.

The Honorary Advisory Committee included Calif. Assembly member Marty Block, United States Congress member Susan Davis, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Congress member Bob Filner, Calif. Senator Christine Kehoe, San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts, Mayor Jerry Sanders and Patricia and Christopher Weil.

Attending the event, which was held at the University of California San Diego’s Institute of the Americas, were Steppe, Alpert, Block, Filner, Kehoe, former City Council member Toni Atkins, University of San Diego director of the Center on Education Policy and Law Scott Himelstein, San Diego Unified School District interim superintendent Bill Kowba, USCD professor and Gompers board member Bud Mehan, and other local dignitaries, community members, parents and students.

Located in the Chollas View neighborhood in southeast San Diego where 85 percent of students qualify for the free or reduced-price lunch program (an indicator of poverty), Gompers successfully transitioned to charter status after a raucous school board meeting on March 1, 2005. Last year, the San Diego Unified School District approved the school’s request to expand from sixth through ninth, to sixth through 12th grades.

Gompers leaders report that, since going charter in the fall of 2005, test scores have risen 80 points, from 541 on the state’s Academic Performance Index in 2004, to 621 in 2009. Suspensions have plummeted in that same five-year period, from 1,000 to 200. And teacher retention, which was 24 percent in 2004, now stands at 72 percent...

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