Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How to turn a remarkable success into something else...

As this should be nothing other than a success story, a feel good event, let me begin by congratulating the T.C. Williams Odyssey of the Mind Team and their coach on their remarkable achievement.  The team, made up of 
Sydney Schaedel
Stephanie Slaven
Brendan Kerwin
Christian Contreras
Rosa Procaccino
Emily Schulman
Te Ann Seidorf
and their coach, Carol Schaedel excelled, taking first place in one of the Odyssey of the Mind competitions, last weekend.    They are to be congratulated, emulated and exalted. 

But leave it to our illustrious leader to turn the moment of glory into personal grandstanding and crowing along the lines of, "My kid can whip your kid, any day!"  Sure enough, heard on WAMU-FM today was Mort "I never met a microphone I didn't like" Sherman, who rushed to the airwaves to proclaim:
"Our kids beat the number one high school in the state...and we have the number two science scholar in the country," 
Maybe, just maybe Mort could have gone on air and mentioned a couple of names.  Perhaps he could have used the moment to reach out to some corporate sponsors who were listening, securing funds for future endeavors like this.  Maybe he could have talked of how fortunate we are to hang on to a coach like Ms Schaedel, give her a little attention...naah.
Never mind the fact that the complete results, listed below show the full picture of the competition's results.  Never mind the fact that Thomas Jefferson took two first places and two second places...or that they did nothing less than a good sport would do, congratulating TC repeatedly on its showing.  Forget the fact that West Potomac (our Alexandria neighbor) took a first and a second place (look at the quotes by their administration...very classy).  
How about the next time that Alexandria does something remarkable, we put those who accomplished the remarkable feat in front of the camera, or the microphone or the reporter?

"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere."
— Voltaire

Extreme Mouse MobilesILong Branch ElementaryWestminster ElementaryStratford Landing Elementary
Extreme Mouse MobilesIICarl Sandburg MiddleSt. Mary's Catholic SchoolN/A
Extreme Mouse MobilesIIIThomas Jefferson High N/AN/A
As Good as Gold...bergIAMary Ellen Henderson MiddleClaremont ImmersionCanterbury Woods Elementary A
As Good as Gold...bergIBStratford Landing ElementaryCanterbury Woods Elementary BBelvedere Elementary
As Good as Gold...bergIICarl Sandburg Middle SchoolSilverbrook ElementarySwanson Middle
As Good as Gold...bergIIIT.C. Williams HighThomas Jefferson High N/A
Le Tour GuideIAWestridge ElementaryWakefield Forest ElementaryTuckahoe Elementary
Le Tour GuideIBStratford Landing ElementarySt. Ambrose HomeschoolNottingham Elementary
Le Tour GuideIIWakefield Forest ElementaryImmanuel ChristianGunston Middle
Le Tour GuideIIIThomas Jefferson High West Potomac HighN/A
Unhinged StructureISt. Louis CatholicMcKinley ElementaryBlessed Sacrament Catholic
Unhinged StructureIISt. Louis CatholicCarl Sandburg MiddleN/A
Full CircleIACanterbury Woods Elementary BMaury ElementaryFrancis Scott Key Elementary
Full CircleIBWilliam Halley ElementaryFort Hunt ElementaryBelvedere Elementary
Full CircleIISkye Ridge HomeschoolStratford Landing ElementaryClermont Elementary
Full CircleIIIWest Potomac HighThomas Jefferson High N/A


  1. Maybe he can get Disney to make a movie about it.

  2. Mort takes credit for all of the good things in ACPS - a recent Washington Post article has him taking credit for creating Saturday School. Haven't we been doing Saturday School for more than 10 years? IAPs are nothing more than Intervention Plans renamed and reformatted. PLPs are professional goals, again renamed and reformatted. Mort takes credit for both repeatedly.
    Yet I don't hear him crowing about summer school or Super Summer. Super Summer is gone. And where is Sherman's desire for more time for student learning when it comes to summer school? Elementary summer school used to be four weeks - now it is only two. What major gains are supposed to be made in only two weeks?

  3. my child has 4 days a week of core subjects....rotating middle school schedule is a mess..if the school can't make gains in the are they going to do it with 4 days of reading, writing and arithmetic? instaed of increasing the school about we start with 5 day a week classes!

  4. I heard there is a "consultant" at a school, who while in the company of the department of accountability from Richmond claimed these services were experimental and complimentary but suddenly are now of mandatory participation from the teachers and costing ACPS hundreds an hour of which the consultant has spent a ridiculous amount of hours sputtin' around the school. how much more of the lies can one take?

  5. Mort is full of shit. if he gave a rats ass about 'the odyssey of the mind' competition he would have been there to cheer on the T.C. competitors.

  6. TC was not the only ACPS School competing - please note that Maury placed as well. Other schools participated, but weren't in the top three for their categories. Let's give credit where credit is due. All students and coaches who participated, even if they didn't place, deserve recognition for their dedication and efforts.

  7. First, congrats to all of the students, regardless of place.

    Second, am I wrong, but isn't the Odyssey of the Mind program run outside of school and at a cost to school PTAs and individual parent/teacher coaches and sponsors?

    Wouldn't seem right for ACPS to seek credit where credit is not due.

  8. Maybe just maybe you are taking your opposition to all things Mort Sherman to far. Analyzing each and every word he utters and finding some angle to attach a criticism. If he hadn't said anything he'd be wrong too.

  9. I actually see the point in Voltaire's latest post. Noone doubts that there are gifted students at TCW. Noone disputes that there are stand alone programs and competitions that 'do us proud.' What is up for debate are the senseless, inefficient, costly, morale and resource sapping programs that our superintendent has crammed down our throats.

  10. But that isn't what this latest post is about. It was a cheap shot and pulls a good news story, one we could all celebrate, into the never ending, I hate Mort bashathon.

  11. It is very significant that Dr. Sherman takes credit for items like these when so few of his own initiatives offer much to crow about in the press.

    The emergence of OM in ACPS started a few years ago - pre-Sherman- with an active Maury parent who participated in the competition as a child and wanted his kids to have the same experience. He brought the idea to the parent-led Talented and Gifted Advisory Committee of the School Board which helped him organize an information campaign and parent meetings to get other ACPS schools involved. The committee recognized the program as a great opportunity to engage gifted students while including all children who had an interest in a challenging, creative experience. Although the teams are run primarily by parents, a few teams are coached by teacher volunteers. Carol herself is a teacher in another school system, as well as an ACPS parent. The TAG Coordinator for ACPS also coached a team in partnership with Higher Achievement.

    This effort has succeeded because it was inclusive and truly collaborative among parents, an administrative liaison, an existing outreach program with a proven record of success and positively energized teacher volunteers. Not at all the earmarks of efforts Dr. Sherman has made since taking over, run more along the 'do as I say, do it yesterday and keep it to yourself if it doesn't work' management style.

  12. When the pinata drops, swing away.

    This is not bashing for bashing sake, it is recognizing the grandstanding actions of a Super who does not check his ego at the door. If all we do in ACPS were truly for the kids (as the man behind the curtain likes to point out) then the gracious and proper thing to say would have been a simple "congratulations to all of the students." Instead, you get boasting and poor sportsmanship. This bash is well deserved.

  13. Did you hear? Mort invented "End In Mind Design!" Dude's a genius!

    Never mind that it's just backwards design with a new title.

  14. If you are the superintendent, pulling in nearly $300,000/yr., and you trumpet your every move, then you deserve every bit of the credit and every bit of the criticism. Keep up the coverage Underground!

  15. This is ridiculous. I listened to the broadcast, as well. Voltaire, you lose credibility every time you snipe on a petty topic like this. I wish you'd make up your mind about whether or not you want to be serious regarding reforming this district or if you just want to play whack-a-mole every time Dr. Sherman opens his mouth.

    First of all, why shouldn't he say that ACPS has great science students? I didn't hear him take credit. I heard him bringing it up as an example of the shortcoming of NCLB in NOT measuring science achievement.

    Second of all, you have NO IDEA how the interview was edited after it was given.

    Stick to the important stuff, please, in a responsible fashion or just admit that the name of your blog should be "I Hate Mort."

  16. ACPS will take any opportunity to take credit for the accomplishments of others. Now ACPS is sinking low and is making up facts to take advantage of the accomplishments of their teachers.

    The most recent example is the ACPS press release praising one of our teachers for receiving the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award. The story begins with the false title "Jefferson Houston Teacher." Then goes on to identify the teacher as a "5th grade teacher at Jefferson Houston since 2009." The sad fact is, this wonderful teacher is one of the ACPS science coaches, who works with students at many elementary schools, engaging students in science. This talented science teacher with a gift for reaching all students has had to step into the full-time classroom roll, not once, but twice because Jefferson-Houston teachers have jumped ship before the end of the school year. ACPS is making it sound as though the teacher is at Jefferson-Houston full time and has been there in the classroom role since 2009. This is not true. This is no way takes away from the teacher's accomplishments and well deserved award, it just shows how ACPS will spin positive news to benefit it's own image and the image of a school plagued by one issue after another. The sad fact is that this Agnes Meyer winner won her award because of her work as a science coach. Now because of continued issues at Jefferson-Houston she has been taken out of that role and will no longer have the same impact on all ACPS students. This is the type of decision making which continues to negatively impact our students.

  17. Hey Voltaire:

    Mort is giving a speech to the VA Legislature this coming week so I've been told. Several of my students are going along with him. He apparently is having them along for a reason one can only imagine. Hero worship perhaps. Did you know about this?