Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mississippi High School Holds a New Kind of Prom

Charleston High School held its first interracial prom in April. Previously, the school's proms were privately and separately organized for blacks and whites. One black student was even kicked out after trying to attend the white prom.

The event was filmed for an upcoming documentary called Prom Night in Mississippi. A photographer commented:
She [the photographer] describes one encounter in an African-American beauty parlor, in which an elderly woman who'd been part of the civil rights movement stopped in to see what the hubbub was about. The woman ended up giving an impromptu testimony about the history these young people were about to make. "It was almost like it didn't occur to a lot of the kids, until the day of the prom, how important what was going on really was," Farquharson reports.
Says one student:
"It was just magnificent," Buckley says. "That night, when we stepped in that door, everybody just had a good time. We proved ourselves wrong. We proved the community wrong, because they didn't think that it was going to happen."

NPR on Teacher Peer Review Systems

NPR reports on Toledo's peer review system for teachers. It's spread to 70 school districts in Ohio, Connecticut, and California.
Every year for the past 27 years, a panel of Toledo administrators and teachers has met behind closed doors to discuss teachers who've been deemed "incompetent."

Under peer review, a team of master teachers called "consultants" meticulously monitors and evaluates teachers in several areas: how they prepare, plan and present lessons, how well they know the material they teach, how they engage and discipline students — even a teacher's punctuality and dress are scrutinized.