MODELING SUCCESS AFTER A SCHOOL THAT LOOKS AND FEELS LIKE A PRISON
You can model success after a school that looks and feels like a prison!!!
When I speak to audiences about public education I cannot help myself from sharing with them the wonderful experience I had leading the public school inside the Philadelphia Prison System - Pennypack House School. I offer insight into the instructional and resourceful leadership strategies that I applied to transform a correctional environment into a high-functioning academic learning environment.
I've had some great principalships throughout my career, but being the Principal of Pennypack House School was the most rewarding and successful. I was able to expand my leadership and collaboration reach, and develop students and teachers like never before. The correctional environment was just yearning for learning. As a result, I could exercise greater flexibility, stand up against strict standardization, and, in consultation with prison system officials, implement approaches to designing a learning environment that other public schools may not have the ability or capacity to accomplish.
Don't get me wrong, the correctional environment is not fun and games. It is a very dangerous place. However, I was very diligent about addressing the ills of public education that I oftentimes observed in the inmate learners. For me, it was all about implementing an educational experience that could thrive within the prison community and encouraged inmate learners to escape to. I received a video from one of my Twitter followers showing Gary Stager presenting his experience with young students in a prison setting, and he touches on some of the educational strategies that I share in my book. I am very strong believer that teachers and educators of all levels can learn something from correctional education.
Do you think it is possible to model success after a school that looks and feels like a prison? I want to hear from you.
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