“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.
* * *
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.
Last night, Thursday, September 14, 2017, at Cub Scout Roundtable, Roundtable Commissioner Bill Buchalter and District Chair John Wiebke led a Cub Scout Den Leader Training.
Thank you to the following Den Leaders who participated:
- Alaina McSherry (Pack 175, Christ the King RCC);
- Tyler Christman (Pack 18, Second Presbyterian);
- Alexandra Hoogestraat (Pack 747, St Richard’s School);
- Jay Lorentz (Pack 18, Second Presbyterian);
- Vince Biedron (Pack 175, Christ the King RCC);
- Jeffrey Hamilton (Pack 171, St. Luke’s RCC).
We received wonderful reviews on the quality of presentation that Bill and John gave. All participants were happy to share the experience in person rather than doing the training online through my.scouting.org. They felt better connected to the local scouting community and received ideas, such as taking Tiger Cubs to Holiday Park to let the park docents help the Tigers complete some of their advancement requirements.
Pack Committee Chairs, please encourage your Den Leaders to get trained. Den Leaders who train in person get a richer and more informative experience than the generic online experience. They will learn about local resources and be more likely to continue as Den Leaders, since they will feel part of something larger than themselves or their pack.
Remember training is required for all leaders as part of rechartering, which begins in less than 20 days!
From Ryan Kellaher, Del-Mi District Director:
Good afternoon! If you have not already seen, there are some changes in the Lion program for this current program year. These are all changes that you have been asking for, and are changes that I think will strengthen your Lion programs. Most of them center around involvement within the rest of the Pack. There are no changes to the requirements. Here are some highlights:
- Pack meetings and activities will be open to Lion families who want to participate
- Pinewood Derby is open to Lions
- Fundraising will be allowed as a family option
- Uniform t-shirt won’t change, but families can buy button-down if they want
Click here for a Bryan on Scouting blog post outlining the changes.
There is also a more in-depth look at the changes in this PowerPoint presentation (link will download the presentation).
You can also find information on the Lion Program website at: scoutingwire.org/lion
Please feel to contact your unit commissioner if you have any questions!
Yours in Scouting,
Ryan Kelleher | Del-Mi District Director
BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA
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.
(1) District Committee Meeting will be held Thursday, September 7, 2017 at Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N Meridian St, Room 405, Indianapolis, IN 46260 at 7:00 pm.
(2) District Commissioner and Unit Commissioners will be held the same day at 6:00 pm at Second Presbyterain Church at the north end of the parking lot in the picnic shelter next to Williams Creek, weather permitting. In case of rain, it will be in Room 401.
(3) Roundtable will be held Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 7:00 pm at Luke’s Lodge, the outbuilding on the northeast corner of campus of St Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 West 86th Street, Indiananpolis, IN 46260. Youth protection training will be offered at 6:30 pm in the same location. After the general session Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner Bill Buchalter and District Chair John Wiebke will be teaching Den Leader Specific Training in person.
Please encourage your Den Leaders to attend to get your Trained status for all your Den Leaders as quickly as possible. You should have received an email from Bill about this. Please forward it to your Den Leaders to emphasize the point.
(4) There will be a Boy Scout Roundtable, too. Topic information to follow. October will focus on rechartering.
The new BALOO training curriculum was published this year. A copy is available here.
Here are some of the points of emphasis from Council Training Director Jay Soucy:
A few major points in the new BALOO syllabus
- Pack overnighters and Webelos den campouts require a BALOO trained Scouter at the campout.
- This new course requires an overnight campout. Starting at 8 AM Saturday to 11 AM Sunday.
- This course has 85 pages of handout for each participant.
- Participants should complete the 6 on-line BALOO lessons prior to taking the practical portion. If not, a “Train” status will be withheld until the on-line portion is completed.
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.
We are now in the midst of Cub Scout Recruiting. Some quick reminders to all Packs and Troops.
(1) Make sure to send your list of names to Con Sullivan from any list of prospects. This list will allow Con to get those prospects on the Council email and text reminder system. The goal is to make sure your prospects show up at your recruitment nights. Photograph your list and email to Con before you leave the ice cream social or other recruitment activity. They may be blurry and need follow up. Sometimes they don’t. To improve success, use an app like CamScanner to change photos into PDFs. They remove background noise and darken written words. You can see the preview before you send it.
(2) Take something to give to kids. You can get a large bag of candy from Sam’s Club or Costco. You will have flocks of kids around your table. Cub Scout pencils and the frisbies from Council are good, too.
(3) Make sure that your prospect has the date, time, and location of your joining night.
(4) Have prospects sign Membership Applications wherever you can. If they want to sign up at an Ice Cream Social, give them the application. Have a credit card reader (like Square.com) on hand to allow immediate dues payment.
(5) Have as many adults in uniform at your recruitment night as possible. If you don’t have many adult leaders in your pack, ask your most supportive troop to send leaders. Troop leaders want to help, but they don’t want to step on pack leaders’ toes. If you ask, troop leaders will be there. Uniforms help re-assure prospective parents that your pack has solid leadership and support.
(6) If you don’t have enough pack parents to cover a school, make sure to ask troop leaders to fill gaps. Make sure they know your program’s basic’s well: cost of dues, annual calendar, recruitment night logistics, proposed den and pack meeting times. Remember most Troop leaders have never dealt with Lion Cub or the current Cub Scout Advancement program, since the programs are so new. Bring the leaders up to speed.