Tuesday, March 24, 2009
After another week where we ran into frustrations, our group was really looking forward to a story we were able to get our hands on. We'd spent hours doing research, picking apart the numbers and figuring out the facts. Our focus was on Germantown Settlement Charter School. The school was facing troubles when it failed to meet state requirements, both financially and academically, and we wanted to know why.
Last Wednesday Tom and I ventured to Germantown and approached the school. We hadn't thought ahead and realized later how stupid it was to try and go up to a school without scoring an interview first. Needless to say security quickly shooed us away and told us to come back on Friday.
Thursday afternoon I called the school. After being connected with one person after another, and then having my phone die, I finally got in touch with the principal. She was not what I had expected. I was used to the stern principals I had had when I was growing up, but instead found Principal Riley to be warm, inviting, and friendly. She invited us to come back Friday if I had a letter of verification.
Don't you know I forgot it. She didn't want anything to do with us then. I think because she was afraid of more negative press. She wanted something in print telling her of our story angle and what our purpose was. Even after explaining and pleading, I knew I had made a mistake in forgetting the letter. She told us to come back Monday, this time with a letter in hand on official Temple letterhead.
And that I did. Tom picked up the letter for us from Professor Harper, and I had mine. Jenn and I ventured to the school on Monday and got the interview we had been waiting for. We talked with the principal in the library and then she took us on a tour of the school, which was more than we could have asked for, especially after being such hassles the past few days.
The tour of the school was the most surprising aspect of our research. I had expected the interior of the school to match the outside. The outside of the school buildings were confusing. The first building, which contains the main office, is an old converted church. It is unclear what church this was beforehand, but there are stained glass windows throughout the library and a sanctuary in the back.
When we entered the actual school building, I smiled. Everything was so cute and clean. Even though the outside of the building was a bit dingy and dark, with its dull gray paint and wide rectangular windows, the inside was bright and colorful. Students in the art class had posters and papers taped up and down the hall ways. There were even art pieces on the wall bordering the lockers. My favorite part of the school were the paintings on top of all the doors. There were painted awnings and light post, which made the doors look like small shops. It was the perfect set up for a middle school.
After all the trouble we had gone through, it was definitely worth it, which is like a lot of things in life. We had a whole different view of the school and staff, something completely opposite from what we had read in our research.
Jennifer Campbell, Anna Conzelman and Thomas Wolfe
Posted by Anna Conzelman at 6:59 PM