Archived Story

Not everything in school is measurable

Published 10:59am Thursday, March 6, 2014

I heard a story the other day about a family that is leaving our area. They haven’t been here long. In fact, they just moved to the Brandywine area last summer, when one of the parents got a job placement here to work on the new pipeline construction project. The worker’s part of the project is finished, so the family is returning to Oklahoma.

The mother personally thanked our Merritt Elementary Principal, Karen Weimer, for the positive experience they had provided for their two children the past six months. This family has traveled a lot, and their way of life and career has meant moves and enrollment in multiple schools.

The mom teared up as she told Karen that Merritt was the most caring and friendly school her kids had been to.

Nowadays, we put a lot of emphasis on standardized tests and we try to measure how much our students grow academically while they are in school. Career and college-readiness are the expectations that drive the Common Core Standards we are all beginning to teach and that our students will be tested on next year.

These are all worthwhile endeavors — we certainly want our kids to grow; we absolutely want them ready to go to college and not have to take remedial classes their freshman year. Measuring our progress on that scale is essential.

Yet, we must never forget the other experiences we must provide for students. The memories of a caring teacher, the good feeling you recall about the best class you had, the friends you made in school — all these are the intangibles that will never get marked on a bubble answer sheet or a computer test.

They are the ingredients of a school that the “pipeline” kids and their parents will take back to Oklahoma, and we are proud to have provided a positive experience for them.

 

John Jarpe is the superintendent of Brandywine Community Schools. He can be reached at (269) 687-7150.

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