The Problem with TV High School

I really am not much of TV watcher, but I do love Gilmore Girls. I own them all and tend to rewatch them often. I was recently watching season three, and a particular series of scenes really agitated me. During the second half of the season, Jess starts skipping school and working instead. When he finally went to buy his prom tickets, he was sent to principal’s office. There he found out that he was not graduating and had to repeat the year again. The principal in a disdainful tone said, “You mean the nine warning slips we gave you weren’t enough? All the meetings that I tried to set up between you and your guidance counselor, between you and me that you blew off, that wasn’t warning enough?”

Obviously, this is TV, and the Jess needed to leave, but I am bugged how the school was portrayed. This is how a school should work then or now.  So below is how I view how the school would function as a Professional Learning Community.

Stars Hollow High

  • Jess’s teachers use the PLC process and notice through formative assessments that he has mastered the standards quickly. As teachers plan their lessons, they start to discuss how to extend the lesson to challenge Jess and other students.
  • During the intervention period, Jess has a wide variety of extension opportunities as well as time to read his current book.
  • The counselor knows that he was in three different schools last year and informs his teachers about the impact on academics this could cause.
  • Jess is flagged by the data system to be discussed at the next Student Intervention Team meeting because he has missed five days unexcused. The team puts in place an intervention and monitors it. He will continue to be on the agenda if the intervention is not enough.
  • The school does not allow Jess to make decisions like skipping meeting that would impact his adulthood. They stop at nothing to make sure that Jess succeeds.
  • If Jess decides to leave town to chase down his father, the school makes sure that there is a plan for credit recovery.

As I lay out how a school would function, I wonder how many Jess’s are in our schools now. Does their school believe that ALL kids can learn and their actions prove it or does their school function like the TV show?  Every student deserves the later because the consequences are dire for the student otherwise.



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