Our Lady of the Valley School

by Grace

My elementary school is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and I was amazed to learn that some classroom practices have remained constant over the years.  A story from my hometown newspaper describes a recent scene at my old school.

As Sister Caroline Vasquez entered the first-grade classroom, the students respectfully got up from their desks and greeted her.

“Good morning, Sister Caroline,” they said, almost in unison.

Back 100 years ago (a very rough estimate), we used to rise from our desks and recite  “Praise be the Incarnate Word; good morning, Sister Ignatius” when our teacher entered the classroom.  At that time the Sisters of the Incarnate Word were in charge, and respect for our elders was inculcated to a degree completely unfamiliar to today’s school children.

We sat in rows, something many schools today dismiss as harmful to learning.

I count 45 students in this class.

Our Lady of the Valley School continues this tradition, also.

,,,
Many things have changed in K-12 education over the last 50 years, some for the good.  Although I sometimes lament that my schooling was woefully lacking compared to today’s standards, the truth is I did quite well.

One notable difference is that back then most parents did not need to become as involved with homework as is typical today.  The resources needed for homework and its complexity now seem to require much more of parents than simple supervision and making available a quiet spot for working, commonly the extent of what parents used to do.  This excessive reliance on parental involvement today would seem to be a significant factor in the wide achievement gap between rich and poor students because in low-income homes parents often lack the resources needed to supplement classroom instruction.

Of course, the rise in single parent households probably has a signficant effect on today’s gap in achievement levels.

ADDED:  Another difference is that my old school now has a technology room with 50 computers.

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One Comment to “Our Lady of the Valley School”

  1. I’ve observed and read about seating arrangements making a difference in students with attention issues (which may be most kids!). Seating at a table face-to-face can create more adverse distractions than sitting in rows.

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