“The secret of Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy” in the New York Post tells the story of a charter school system in New York. It tells how the school has inner city kids performing well on standardized tests and grades.
Success Academy breeds success: Its inner-city students outperformed every other school district in the state in the 2017 exams. And one big secret to that success has been the application of the kinds of tactics and strategies that helped bring the city back from the brink more than once — this time, applied to education.
Both “broken windows” policing and Success Academy schooling target minor infractions that create a culture of chaos.
Writing about dealing with disruptive students in 2006-07, Success Academy’s first year, Moskowitz notes that when teachers are unable to stop even one student’s incessant misbehavior, it “can have a domino effect . . . and soon the teacher is playing whack-a-mole rather than teaching.”
That meant imposing “cultural expectations” on the classroom, which soon developed into a barometer Moskowitz calls “culture data.” Standardized test scores can only tell you so much so quickly. But monitoring “latenesses, absences, uniform infractions, missing homework, incomplete reading logs, and whether our teachers were calling parents about these problems” can serve as a “canary in a coal mine.”
It also manifested in instruction styles that required the kids to pay attention in class — such as randomly calling on students to respond to other students’ answers during a lesson — rather than just hoping they absorbed the information and then testing them to find out.
Consistent standards are also key. Unlike union-dominated schools, Moskowitz’s charters could fire bad teachers and administrators, ensuring those standards are applied evenly.
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She explains: “Excellence is the accumulation of hundreds of minute decisions; it is execution at the most granular level. Once you accept the idea that you should give in to things that make no sense because other people do those things and you want to appear reasonable, you are on a path towards mediocrity.”
In scouting, we are not trying to be data hounds or playing BigBrother to make sure all is well with our scouts. But even laying aside the data, there are insights we can learn from this story.
If a scout regularly misses campouts, what does that tell us about the scout’s experience in scouting? What is that scout’s absence on his fellow scouts? Is it reasonable for a scout to miss a campout because he doesn’t “find it interesting”? If a parent accepts this complaint from the scout, what should the Cubmaster or Scoutmaster do in response?
These details matter. Not every scout can participate in every event, meeting, or outing. The Guide to Advancement makes clear that a scout can be considered “active” in his unit without attending anything for months on end.
But there is huge difference between having a conflicting schedule or homework load that prevents regular attendance and a scout who does not want to go on the outing or come to a meeting because he would rather play video games that weekend.
Part of the solution is setting the expectation with parents about what the benefits of participating are and how they should handle a scout who wants to skip certain trips. A well-trained parent understands that the scout has an obligation to his patrol and to his troop even in his absence. He needs to make sure that he is getting his scout duties done. Missing the outing should not be treated as an excuse to skip scouting duties. If he is a patrol leader, he still has responsibilities to his patrol to be organized for the trip and to assure his proxy is prepared for the outing. He needs to assure that the patrol scribe is communicating with his patrol regularly and accurately.
In some respects holding scouts accountable for their duties when they don’t attend outings or events is one of the biggest life lessons we can offer in scouting. (The same can be said for adult leaders, too.)
A similar one is the expectation that membership means participation in events that may not be anticipated to light their fire. Packs and troops should set high expectation that membership means participation when no scheduling or homework conflicts exist.
Set high standards for your unit. Then look forward to being delighted with the results.
North Star in cooperation Del-Mi District are running an Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills (“IOLS”) from Friday evening, October 27 to Sunday morning, October 29, 2017 at Camp Belzer. This is taking place concurrently with the Del-Mi District Camporee.
This training is required for all persons registered or registering as a scoutmaster and assistant scoutmaster through the Rechartering process. This training is now the only training that must be done in person.
This training session will be a great opportunity to have adults truly understand what makes the scout outdoor program so successful as a citizenship and character development program. You will have a chance to meet fellow scouters from around the Crossroads of America Council. You can experience the power of scouting first hand.
We will have a faculty composed of scouters from around the council who are very knowledgeable about the topics they address. Meeting these scouters will be worth your time, even if you have already taken the course at summer camp.
For Roundtable we will have two excellent programs.
We will kick things off at 6:30 pm with a short Youth Protection Training (Y01), open to all scouters. This is all you need for Cub Scouts and Boy Sccouts. It does not qualify for Venturing Youth Protection.
At 7:00 pm, we will open with our normal General Session. We will try to keep this brief (under 15 minutes).
After General Session, the Cub Scout Roundtable will focus on Den Leader Training. This is designed to qualify the Cub Scout Den Leader as fully trained for Lion through Bear years. (Webelos Den Leaders should also take Outdoor Webelos Leadership Skills (“OWLS”).) Den Leaders should have received emailed invitations from Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner Bill Buchalter. Pack Chairs should call their Den Leaders to encourage attendance. Remember this training is mandatory for rechartering for all currently enrolled Den Leaders. The class will be taught by Bill and District Chair John Wiebke.
After General Session, the Boy Scout Roundtable will have a guest presentation on the new-ish Nova Program from Troop 56 Committee Chair and Wood Badge Candidate (Eagle Patrol) Sandy McNutt and his fellow Eagle, Hou-Koda Committee Member and Troop 307 Committee Member Kelli Brooks. This presentation is relevant to Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturing. So if Cub Leaders don’t need training, this might be the session for them.
Please help us have a big turn out for Roundtable.
Since a refrain at an Eagle Court of Honor is “once an Eagle, alway an Eagle,” can adult Eagles wear their Eagle Scout Pin?
We all know that the Eagle Scout patch should be retired from a scout uniform, when the scout turns 18 and becomes an Assistant Scoutmaster. He then can wear the Eagle knot for the rest of his life.
But can the adult wear his Eagle Pin to an Eagle Court of Honor.
Bryan on Scouting tried to address this in 2014. Unfortunately, his article was slightly incorrect. I met Bryan at National Jamboree this past summer. Having read his material for years, I can vouch that he does his research thoroughly, and his personality in person is very humble and self-effacing. Consequently, I believe his error is less a lack of diligence than a lack of clarity in the scouting literature.
Simply put, the Boy Scout Insignia Guide allows an adult to wear the pin for “formal Eagle occasions.”
So if we are trying to make sure that a new Eagle Scout feels part of a larger circle of scouts and scouters, we can encourage all Eagles to wear their pins to the Eagle Court of Honor.
This accomplishes two key goals, among many others. First, it allows the new Eagle Scout, the non-scouting visitors, and the newer scouts to see the people who are Eagles more clearly. The men whom they respect wear the pin. Second, it allows more people to identify the Eagle knot. This means that some of the mystery of an adult’s uniform is removed. With greater real recognition, more adults may seek the company of existing Eagles as mentors in scouting, and more youth will seek to join their company as fellow Eagle Scouts.
Have you had your Boy Scouts take their Den Chief Training? In-person is always best.
But online is better than none. This requires Flash, so it will not work on Apple mobile devices. If your computer does not have Adobe Flash already, you can download it for free from Adobe.com.
Den Leaders, Scoutmasters, and future Den Chiefs should all take the training just to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Den Leaders should have a short bullet-point list of expectations to share with the Den Chief and Scoutmaster to provide accountability and ease of cooperation. Here is an example of where you can start.
Our District’s highest performing units put a heavy emphasis on the senior members of the Patrol Leaders Council having complete National Youth Leadership Training.
This course is open to Venturers, too. The Spring 2018 NYLT Course Director Brian Spellman of Del-Mi Troop 199 told me last week that he will be putting a heavy emphasis on recruiting Venturers. Put a bug in their ear for Spring, if they can’t go in the fall.
For future planning, remember that NYLT students are highly encouraged to complete Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troop or for Crews.
Just a quick reminder that Roundtable will be Thursday, August 10, 2017 at Luke’s Lodge, the outbuilding on the northeast corner of campus of St Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 W. 6th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260.
Cub Scouts: Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner Bill Buchalter will be leading the Cub Scout breakout. He will be giving a prototype Den Meeting. This is designed for Den Leaders to see a Den Meeting being run. This is especially valuable for new Den Leaders; confused, veteran Den Leaders; and prospective, future Den Leaders (aka “parents you would like eto recruit as Den Leaders”). We will have a short discussion of how Lion Den Meetings (i.e., kindergartners) are different than Tiger (1st grade) through Webelos (4-5th grade), too. We will look at existing resources and strategizing how to use these resources and parent assistance.
Side note: To get your Den Leaders to the meeting, the most important step is to invite them to come with you. One of the biggest reasons Den Leaders do not attend is they don’t know about Roundtable. The second biggest reason is that they think Roundtable is meant for Cubmasters and Pack Committee Chairs. To put it gently, this is wrong. Roundtables are most valuable for Den Leaders. They have the most face-to-face contact with Cub Scouts of any scouter. An invitation helps resolve these problems. Cubmasters, pick up the phone and call each Den Leader. Ask them to come. Then follow up with a blast email.
The third biggest reason your Den Leaders don’t attend is child care. Think about joining forces to take care of childcare.
Boy Scouts: Jeff Heck will be leading the Boy Scout Roundtable. (We are still looking for a Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioner.) The Boy Scout Roundtable will be focused on Fall Recruitment Planning. Please invite your Troop Membership Chairs to attend. This topic will apply equally well to our Venturing Crews, too.
From District Executive Con Sullivan:
North Star Scouters,
Please join us (and/or send your pack recruitment chair) for breakfast on Saturday, July 22nd between 9 am and 11 am at Luke’s Lodge (outbuilding on northeast corner of campus of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 W 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260). This will be an open house format, come when you can. I would like an RSVP so we can pack up once everyone has attended.
Packs will pick up their Registration Night boxes, Open House bags, and Community Yard Signs. Troops can sign up for which Packs/Schools their Troops can assist in the fall. Both can learn about our new Open House style and all about the theme “Catapult into Scouting!” Some Troops may get catapults they will want to bring to schools to create additional interest in Scouting and their Troop.
Packs, if you have not yet already, please tell me when your school’s “open house, ice cream social, etc.” is AND the date of your Registration Night ASAP! Special orders on signs and flyers are due by July 22nd at the Open House. If you can get this information to me earlier, I can have them printed and ready for July 22nd.
Please register for this rally here: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/30E0F4FAEAC2AA7F49-fall
Thanks and I hope to see you there!
Con Sullivan | District Executive – North Star