The Beautiful Story of a D-Rated School

EDUCATION

 

Letter grades can’t possibly tell the whole story of a school. An inside look at the passionate work of a school our state says is a letter away from failing.

(Author’s note: this story was originally published in September 2015.)

A few weeks ago, my wife began her fifteenth year teaching elementary school music. She’s been in the same classroom and the same school for her entire career, and she’s seen thousands of kids come through her hallway.

She enjoys her job; she teaches every kid in the building, so she’s kind of like a local celebrity. We rarely can make it through the grocery store (or anywhere around town) without someone running up to her, hugging her leg, and running off with a smile. It’s a happy thing to see.

This week, though, her school received a North Carolina school performance grade of D. Continue reading “The Beautiful Story of a D-Rated School”

Before and After

FAITH

Facebook is like a party, only everyone’s invited.

Whenever Lent rolls around, I look for something I’ll miss and choose to give it up for awhile. There were always a handful of things I considered third rail Lent items, chiefly coffee (I drink two or three cups a day) and internet things, like Facebook.

My hesitation about giving up Facebook was rooted in hobbies like this one–writing for a blog. Publishing online, after all, requires one to have a well-sourced distribution network. Facebook is king. How could I give up the biggest readership group for forty days? (Irony duly noted.)

But this year, particularly after a political season that hounded my news feed like an abused dog, I felt more than ready to try the experiment. I changed my profile over to an ashen cross and turned the Big Blue F off.

I learned a few things along the way. Continue reading “Before and After”

Good Dog.

Zoe in 2012
FAMILY

Of life, and death, and a dog that was there for so much of it.

When I came downstairs last night to check on the dogs and lock up the basement, I had a sense that something wasn’t going to be right.

It had been a beautiful Saturday, warm and bright, and I’d spent the day working in the yard, putting out mulch and cleaning things up. The kids joined me at times, swinging and running around the yard, but most of the day it was just the dogs and me. Taylor, our youngest dog (although still coming up on her tenth birthday), followed me around. Zoe, our oldest, mostly slept in the sun.

Zoe, whom Kelly adopted in 2002, had had a rough go of it for the last six weeks. Just after the Christmas holiday, I’d come home to find her hobbling around on three legs, one of her back legs jutting out at an awkward angle. A trip to the vet confirmed only grim details: it would take surgery to fix the leg, and given that she was nearly 15 years of age and that she’d developed an obvious heart murmur, there wasn’t much point. Continue reading “Good Dog.”