At my core, exists a competitive spirit that drives my desire to succeed at everything I set out to do. As a child it drove me to want to improve, in high school it supported my goal of winning a state championship and as a college football player, it’s what got me out of bed for two-a-days during the hottest month of the year. Now as an adult, it was drives me to be the best husband, father and principal I can be.
As a society, the same competitive spirit feeds the use of ratings and rankings for a multitude of things. We rank sports teams, we use ratings to determine which car to buy, which restaurant to eat at or what to order when you get there. Ratings and rankings help people make decisions all over the world, but is it the definitive piece you use to determine the best team, car or restaurant or are there other aspects to define the success of that team, car or restaurant? It may be in the eye of the beholder. It begs to question, how do you define success? I recently wrote about that very question here: http://matthewarend.blogspot.com/2015/04/how-do-you-define-success.html
A more important question may be, “Do ratings and rankings have a place in education.”
As this year comes to a close, we begin to focus on the next, hosting parent nights for our incoming kindergarten families and meeting prospective parents who may be looking to relocate into the neighborhood.
This past week, at the conclusion of one of our kindergarten family nights, two separate parents stopped me and asked a question about why they should come to Sigler over another campus who has a higher rating or ranking. In my four years at Sigler, I can honestly say it is not the first time a parent has asked a similar question, but for some reason, this time it struck a cord in me. The parents asked great questions and looking back, I appreciate them asking and forcing me to reflect and defend the staff and students who I hold in such high regard. I use the term defend, because I do not feel the rating or rankings that are out there tell the whole story and it is my job to do just that.
I won’t share the whole conversation with you, but at the end of the conversation, I told them both, at the end of the day, choosing a school for your child is all about what you value. If you value high test scores and that is what is most important to you, my campus may not be for you. I went on to add, I want each of our students to be successful on the state test they take at the end of the year, however their success does not define our students, teachers or school and we do not spend the whole year preparing for the test. We want our students to have experiences at school that they otherwise may not have. We care for our students and families, we help meet students’ emotional needs and do our best to equip them with the skills they will need to be successful outside of our walls. Through that process, we just happen to educate them.
I had a sense of pride at the conclusion of that conversation because I am proud of the work our students and staff put in everyday. While the growth we see in our students may not show up on a standardized test, conversations like the one I was able to have is really what makes our story real.
I understand why ratings exists and know they are not going anywhere. The same competitive spirit that drives me, drives thousands of people around the world, which is why, as a society we rate and rank. I also understand parents will continue to use these ratings and rankings when making decisions about where they live and where their children will go to school. Regardless of our rating or rank, I know our teachers and students will work hard to ensure our students needs are being met.
I wanted to share a few of the ratings and rankings I found in just a simple internet search, which is what most parents do, who are looking into their son/daughters school online. For the sake of transparency, you will see the ratings and rankings for Sigler Elementary below. Feel free to check them out. If you are an incoming parent or even a current one and these site raise questions, I welcome them and will do my best to answer them. In fact, I encourage you to share your experiences for others to see, which help us share our story. If you do not, we are letting the ratings and rankings do it for us.
The resources below will NOT provide you any insight into the experiences we provide, the types of students we serve or the spirit of our teachers and staff. To learn more about that, visit our Facebook page and see pictures of our campus and read comments from current families. Better yet, come spend some time in our building. After spending time with us, if our campus is not what you are looking for, I wish you the very best.