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Thu Aug 11, 2016, 02:45 PM

 

Every school day morning Patti and Ron Reagan did this:

The Salutation of the Dawn

Every morning, before classes start, the entire student body and faculty gather on the lawn. While facing the American Flag and overlooking the city of Los Angeles and Catalina Island, the School community literally raises its arms toward the sun and recites "The Salutation of the Dawn," which is taken from the Sanskrit. While reciting this ancient poem, all members of the community think of ways to make the day as fulfilling as it can be. The following words are spoken:

Look to this Day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the verities
And realities of your existence:

The glory of action,
The bliss of growth,
The splendor of beauty.

For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision.

But today, well lived, makes
Every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this Day!
Such is the Salutation of the Dawn

I have no idea why the Reagans chose to send them to one of the most liberal schools you can imagine existing in the early and mid sixties. I'm glad they still have that tradition. (looks like they cut out the maypole dancing on may day, though)

Now JTD only goes through the 6th grade but at that time it was K-8.

Peopleís most vivid memories of Aunty Cathryn and Uncle John, the founders of The John Thomas Dye School, are their great personal warmth and their absolute determination to bring to life a first-rate, yet homey school, first in Brentwood and later in the hills of Bel Air. Theirs was a mix of intellectual engagement, family values and personal commitment that continue to define the school today, years after it first opened its doors. They persevered and succeeded despite great personal loss: the death of their only child, John Thomas Dye III (after whom the school was named) in World War II and the 1961 Bel Air fire that destroyed the school. The John Thomas Dye School has transcended the tragedies and challenges because of the support of generations of families who have acted with fortitude, determination and dignity in the spirit of its founders.

<snip>

http://www.jtdschool.com/page/About-JTD/History--Traditions

It was a wonderful place to go to school- (the fire was exciting, we were evacuated in the middle of the day, just in time). I went through 5th grade there, and then my family moved east. I still have most of my old report cards from JTD. I can remember Aunty Cathryn and Uncle John visiting us after we moved. They were just special people and educators who truly loved children.

I suspect that attending JTD has quite a bit to do with why both Patti and Ron Jr, grew up to be liberals.

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Response to cali (Original post)

Thu Aug 11, 2016, 04:23 PM

1. I'd love to see

every student in America go to schools that, among other things, are small, intimate communities: 336 students, and keep classes small: 15 in K, 24 in 1-6.

Unfortunately, public schools don't get $30,000 a year per student to develop those kinds of things.

I like the Salutation of the Dawn; I'd much rather do that each morning than the mandated flag salute.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 11, 2016, 04:30 PM

2. Yeah, the salutation to the dawn, which the kids actually called "good morning sun"

 

was a great way to start the school day. But doing something like that costs nothing. We didn't do a pledge to the allegiance thing there.

I'm lucky. My son went to public school here in Vermont and the classes were small and he had many creative, wonderful teachers.

But it was so much more than that. It was the whole environment. We didn't call our teachers by their last names. It was Miss Janet or Mr. Phil. And I actually loved the uniform- which I note looks much the same as it did 50+ years ago.

It was a school that made room for quirks and different ways of thinking and learning.

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Response to cali (Reply #2)

Thu Aug 11, 2016, 04:46 PM

6. I've spent

most of my career in non-traditional public schools, and we strive to do those things, within the limits of funding and legal mandates. And the thing that makes the biggest difference, regardless of any kind of instructional philosophy or methodology, is building relationships and community, between teachers, students, and their families. Accomplish that, and the rest follows easily. I've found it much easier to do so in smaller schools.

My current school is a smallish (400+ students) K-8 serving a rural community. Our families are under-educated, and poverty rules. We have a much higher percentage of students with special needs that the average. Public schools in general always have students and families in crisis; we seem to have more than you'd expect per capita, but that may just be that we know more about those crises because we are a smaller community.

I'm excited about the great things we have planned for this next year, even though we'll be scrambling to find enough staff, time, and $$ to meet every need.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #6)

Thu Aug 11, 2016, 04:52 PM

8. It sounds like you're in a good environment, and yes, of course, smaller is better.

 

I look forward to hearing more about your plans for next year.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 11, 2016, 04:32 PM

3. I heard Thom Hartmann describe Danish schools a few days ago.

Funding for each school isn't dependent on where it is located. All schools get funding. Teens of a certain age meet in small groups to discuss problems with school or home. Kids learn empathy by looking after one another.

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Response to Ilsa (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 11, 2016, 04:36 PM

5. Sounds very much like JTD- but for everyone, not just people who can afford it

 

One of the traditions at JTD is a all 1st graders are paired with a 6th grade buddy.

The Dyes were way ahead of their time.

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Response to Ilsa (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 11, 2016, 05:10 PM

10. More on empathy: "Teaching kids empathy: In Danish schools, itís Ö well, itís a piece of cake"

American students are falling behind on valuable social skills. In Denmark, one simple classroom tradition works
JESSICA ALEXANDER

http://www.salon.com/2016/08/09/teaching-kids-empathy-in-danish-schools-its-well-its-a-piece-of-cake/

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Response to LWolf (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 11, 2016, 04:33 PM

4. Right. My elementary school had...

2,000 students and that was back in the fifties. They put temporary buildings in the schoolyard to accommodate us.

I drove past there last week and the temporaries are gone because they replaced them with a five-story permanent extension.

Bye bye school yard. And they just built another 2,000-student K-6 school 5 blocks away.

There are apartment complexes in NYC that have 2,000 plus elementary school kids.

BTW: New York City DOE spends $18,000 per student and about half goes toward instruction.

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Response to meaculpa2011 (Reply #4)

Thu Aug 11, 2016, 04:52 PM

7. It's really

hard to build relationships and community in schools that size.

It's also very expensive to provide more facilities, and staff them, to bring that size down. New York spends, if I'm remembering correctly, more $$ per student than any other state in the nation.

My state spends $9,000 and change; about half of what New York spends.

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Response to cali (Original post)

Thu Aug 11, 2016, 05:01 PM

9. I have no idea why the Reagans chose to send them to one of the most liberal schools you can imagine

... maybe it was the only way that the kids could get a good, well-rounded, education ...

... and learn critical thinking ...

... and appreciation of the life we have and the worth of others ...

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Response to Jopin Klobe (Reply #9)

Thu Aug 11, 2016, 05:20 PM

11. I suspect that it had more to do with it becoming fashionable for people

 

in the movie industry to send their kids there.

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