50 Books each year

Chapter 2, Prepared, Diane Tavenner

June 24, 2020 Mijndert Burger Season 1 Episode 2
50 Books each year
Chapter 2, Prepared, Diane Tavenner
50 Books each year
Chapter 2, Prepared, Diane Tavenner
Jun 24, 2020 Season 1 Episode 2
Mijndert Burger

In chapter 2 of the podcast 50 Books each year we review the book 'Prepared' by Diane Tavenner. Diane is the founder of a public schooling network in the United States of America and has received multiple awards for the exceptional performance of her students. If you are looking to be inspired and care for the future of our children than this episode is one to listen to. Or just buy the book! Contact me at info@50bookseachyear.com or on twitter @50_books

Show Notes Transcript

In chapter 2 of the podcast 50 Books each year we review the book 'Prepared' by Diane Tavenner. Diane is the founder of a public schooling network in the United States of America and has received multiple awards for the exceptional performance of her students. If you are looking to be inspired and care for the future of our children than this episode is one to listen to. Or just buy the book! Contact me at info@50bookseachyear.com or on twitter @50_books

get to number two.

Here we go.

Hello, and welcome to 50 books each year, the podcast show where we read 50 books each year. So you don't have to. This is your host Mijndert Burger.

Yes. And we are off chapter number two. And this week I'll be reviewing the book prepared what kids need for fulfilled life by Diane Tavenner. And this book I read in two and a half days. So this is a pretty easy book, and it's about the future of kids. So if you want an easy book to read about the future of education, this is one to pick up. And why do you want to pick up this book? I will read the blurb for you. And I quote Diane Tavenner is the co founder and CEO of summit public schools, one of America's most easily Innovative public school networks. In prepared she shares a blueprint for how parents can stop worrying about the children's future and start helping them prepare for it. an educator a mother, Diane taverner, co founded the first summit school in 2003. summit Public Schools has won national recognition because 99% of summit students got into a four year college and summit students finished college at twice the national average. Book close dairy go. This is why you need to read this book. This book is so good. It makes you wish that you went to a school of dance after summit schools prepare you for life in such a way that the original old school schools the traditional systems can't even do if you were sitting in the benches, listening to your History class going on for an hour, and you had to recite numbers dates. When did this war happened? When did that war happened? And that was your test as well. And you didn't learn anything of it. Then this book makes you wish you had history in a way to Diane Tavenner is teaching her kids.

And there's no

other explanation for it that this programme is really working because as the blurb says, twice the national average of the United States of students of summit finished their college. There you go. There's nothing more to say about that. So you have to read his book. If you care about education. The book is 262 pages. I've read it in two and a half days and it made me think about my future kids. And speaking of the future, I have a request. If you like the podcast or if you like the subjects of Reviewing books on the podcast then please leave a review and give us the stars that we deserve on the review Part of iTunes and Spotify, or any of the other providers on which you are listening to this podcast. We are new show a new podcast and we are not yet recognised by the algorithm. And reviews and stars really helped to get this podcast podcast show recognised. So thank you for considering to leave a review. And with that being said,

and now, back to the show.

Yes, back to the show. And I'd like to start off this book review with who is Diane Tavenner. Diane Tavenner came from a normal family. And actually, I shouldn't say normal because there was a lot of violence in her family. And unfortunately, this is normal. Not only India. United States but also in Europe, Australia, Asia, in a lot of families around the world, there's a lot of violence. And Diane taverner describes this in her book as well that she was a child of a abusive family. And I'd like to start the book review with a quote from this situation. What my teacher didn't know. And she spoke those words, delivered, perhaps to motivate me, or at least to scare me into action was that there had been another fight at home earlier in the week. And this one was particularly about my mom had been hurt and the police had taken my dad away. This time, he hadn't returned the next morning. I was afraid. And I didn't know what would happen when when my dad finally came home. I didn't want to be caught off guard. I wasn't sleeping because it was anxious, forcing myself to stay awake. And I wasn't bathing because I didn't want to be caught exposed. And unprotected. My teacher was right. I wasn't focused on doing my work. I was dirty. I was terrified. And now I was ashamed as well.


Wow, Diane, what a What a way to lead your book with a quote like this because this quote is from page 15 of the book. And she starts off the book with describing the situation in which she was brought up in and why she wanted to change the system. Because with perhaps angels on our shoulder, who knows Diane was able to graduate from high school and start studying psychology. And during this process, she became a volunteer for a local elementary school. And this motivated her so much to be teaching young children that she made it her job. She became a teacher in Hawthorne. And in this school, she saw that children were barely getting their degrees, barely their diplomas. Some of them aren't even finishing the years, which were leading up to diplomas or grades. And she had to break up a lot of fights at the school. And she saw the worst side of public schooling. And this motivated her, but she was not able to do something about it, because the system is set up in a certain way, that it's almost like a factory. You get a kid in, not one, not two, not three, but you get hundreds each year, you're barely able to remember their names, let alone their problems. And only two worst cases will stay with you. And this was the situation in which Diane found herself

as a teacher.

Of course, she could only take so much. And she switched from schools. She went to Mountain View High School because it was in a suburb area, it had better facilities. And on the website of the school, it said that there was a 90% graduation and students that were going to college. So they thought this is a perfect school. They have great numbers. It's a great area. I don't have to break up fights as much. Here I can really be a teacher. But when she came to the school, yes, she didn't have to break up the fights. Yes, there were better facilities. But she found out that the number what the school was using the 90% of students getting to college was inaccurate. And let's give the school the school the benefit of the doubt, of course, but the reality is us is that only 40% of the students were, in reality going to college. Now and I say in reality on purpose, because the school had asked the students, are you willing to go to college? And the students answered? Yes, 90% answered yes. And that was the number that the school published. But in reality, only 40% were accepted into colleges. Diane was so shocked by it is a low number and by the low average of the United States that she wants to do something about it. And when researching this problem, she found out that a lot of people and a lot of institution blame each other. You have finger pointing blaming to everyone. First of all, the finger pointing blaming to the parents. That they send their kids to school hungry, or that they are tired, or the children are addicted to their phones or iPads. Or then there's finger pointing to the


They set standards that are too low, like the example I just gave you, or that they keep the kids unsafe. Now, of course, we can have debates on this subjects for many hours, what is safety in school, and that will be different in any area in the worlds. But some schools in the United States have metal detectors. And if that's needed, that already says something about the environment environment that you're in, but is a metal detector keeping you safe? That is, of course the next question.

But also,

there's a lot of finger pointing to the government because the government does not spend enough money. And if the government is spending money, they say they're spending it in the wrong places. Diane Tavenner found herself in the middle of this hole and wanted to do something about it. So what did Diane do? Diane place an ad in the middle school newsletter, and the ad said something along the lines of these are the problems that the United States education system is facing. These are the problems that this school is facing. You as a parent are probably facing another type of problem. What can we do about it? I am organising a day an evening where we can come together and debate the problems that we are facing in our schools. When the night came 30 parents showed up and this is of course already amazing because 30 parents are volunteering their time to think about the education system for dare school. These 30 Parents, you're already lucky as a kid, if you have one of these 30 parents, because they are invested in the future of their child. They want to make the school a better place for them. And soon, this group of people, gross keeps growing, and it becomes 200 parents that are debating and thinking about the future of the education system and their school. And they make a foundation. They make a Community High School foundation. And the sole purpose of this foundation is to start a new school because they need to start from scratch in all the debates that they were having. They were having so many issues, so many money problems, so many inspirational issues that they agreed that they had to start a new school to address all of these problems at the same time. So the Community High School Foundation was born and In the first couple of days, Diane was not the leader of this foundation. But soon enough, of course, she was asked to lead the foundation, while she just discovered that she was pregnant with her first child. And in the beginning, Diane was afraid.

I think,

as afraid as any pregnant woman is, because you might lose your job or your future if you are pregnant in some states, and she had to confess to the foundation Look, I am honoured that you're asking me for this position, but I am pregnant and to foundation on search with approval appraise. They were so happy that Diane was pregnant because they say, now you're going to be a parent to you're going to be even more invested into the future of our child's our children because you will have too, and you would want the kid to go to this school too. And so Diane became the leader of the foundation. And with that came some issues. She needs to start funding. She needed to sign up families for the new school, they need to design a new curriculum, and they needed to hire a faculty. Wow. Can your problems be any smaller while being pregnant? Let's start with the funding. You don't have your curriculum yet. You don't have any numbers to prove yet. How are you going to get your funding from the government? Because they n wants to start a public school. So where are you going to get your funding from?


you have the case of the children. The children need to come to your school, but who is coming to your school if you don't have the numbers yet. You don't have any proof yet that your school is going To be good for your child, then the problem of the curriculum, if you want to address the education system in a totally different way, which is not yet proven. You want to write a curriculum and get it approved by the government, and then have to bring it into reality that every teacher will understand and every student will understand.

And of course,

you have to have a facility because if you want a new school, you need the room for that.

Diane tackled all of these problems

with her foundation.

And when she was going door by door to sign up the families for the school, you can already imagine what the parents were saying. No, I cannot go to your school. blahdy blahdy blah, my child is different. She has this issue or my child is different. She is special. My child is different. She's gifted. You can only imagine the variety of things that Diane Tavenner hurt,


because she heard so many different stories, she made this work for her and for her new idea for this schooling system, because she promised to every family to every child that after this school day would be accepted to a four year college. Wow, that is a very big promise. Because I'm looking up the current data from the United States educational system, and from the website, education data.org. I can find the numbers that in 2017 67% of students enrolled in college 67% interest didn't Whereas the rest Where's the other 33%? Yeah, and Diane promises the families that 100% will be eligible to go to college to a four year college. But then she'll said the issue of my child is different. My child is special, my child has this difficulty. And Diane came up with the idea that every child would get a personalised learning plan. Now, I don't know if you have come in contact with a personalised learning plan, but this takes so much work for the student, but also for the teacher. Because every child in your classroom has a personalised learning plan, personal issues, personal goals, and every of those issues, every of those goals needs to be met. So does gifts, a lot of work. But Diane promises that every child will get a person The last learning plan. And not only that, but to ensure that all those goals in order all those issues are met. She promises that all the children will get the same mentor for four years. Now does Laos promise, also the personalised learning programme, but this last promise would have benefited me so so much.


we can all imagine that you go from one year to another mentor to mentor, teacher to teacher, everybody knows a little bit about you. But nobody knows the truth. Nobody knows what's going on behind closed doors. Nobody knows who the real mandate is. And when you have a mentor for four years, you cannot keep that mask on for so long. This mentor will find out who you are, what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are, and how to deal with that and what motivates you. And this was so important to Diane, that even now They still have that same idea 100% of the children of summit schools needs to be able to go to a four year college. Every child gets a personalised learning programme, and four years of having the same mentor and with these promises in the first year of summit school


80 freshmen and rolls.

So 80 students starts their first year at summit High School, and how are they feeling this time? How are they meeting the new criteria that they have set themselves the 100% summer school, Diane and all four teachers thought of a curriculum, which was based on project based learning. Now project based learning is not you're sitting in a classroom, listening to your history teacher for one hour reciting numbers leaving and that's that note project basis. Learning is setting your own goals, creating expectations, doing your research, presenting your findings, and then using those skills and depth knowledge in your tests. Because, yes, of course, in a new school, but project based learning, of course, you have your test, you need to have a certain amount of knowledge. But Diane and her team set the bar even higher. They made sure that the kids had skills to present to do research to set goals to do time management. I can assure you, I did not learn those things in high school. I was more concerned with my computer programme or biking home or my friends. I was not concerned. And I was not learning the skills of time management, setting goals and doing research. I was only learning the words that you had to learn For a French class, or the numbers that you had to learn for your history class, and so on and so on. But project based learning, made sure that every kid worked on certain projects. Now, of course, they still had a history class. They still have a math class. But they also had classes where children could work on their own projects. Which means that some kids were working on math, some kids are working on economical questions, and some people are just working by themselves. Some are working on a computer, some are talking, some are headed having airports in might seem chaotic. But in these classes, there is a structure and I will tell you how. Because in the book Diane tells a story about parents coming to the school with the dream of letting her children become students at summit high school and she sees this class. She See the chaos. For her. It's chaos, what she sees. She sees one teacher, and all the children are doing something for themselves. But Diane explained to her that everybody's working on their own. And if the mother looks to the front of the class, she sees that there's a screen a screen with goals. And at the beginning of the class, the students got two or three minutes to set their goals for dead hour. After those two, three minutes, there wasn't a lot of evaluation. The teacher would give feedback. Other students would give feedback are your goals, goals that you can meet in one hour? Are they reasonable? Are you doing the job that you need to be doing? And the children and a teacher give each other feedback after debts after the eight minutes, maybe even 10. They will start working on their goals. And once they've reached their goals, They can change this into the computer, and their goals will turn green. And it will be in a blouse or not every body will be happy or not. But everybody can see that you finish the goal. So, not only are you learning to set goals, to do time management, you're also learning the subjects, to give feedback to your fellow peers and to work with others. Now, this is project based learning to the maximum If you ask me, this is real world learning. Because who in the real world really had something useful? out of the numbers that they recited in their classes of history, math, economics, physics, you name it. There's only a few amount of people that really had something useful about it. But Diane teaches her kids to have skills besides the knowledge as well, and those skills will make great adults. And how do I notice and that's because of the next quote, because in this school in this class, you also need to do an internship.

And in the book,

there's an students who is dreaming of becoming a computer engineer. I might have been this students because I was crazy for computers when I was growing up, but I will tell you that I was not this student because he's gonna evaluate himself and I would not be able to do that at that age. So this gets once you become a computer engineer, and does D apprenticeship. He is in the business. He has a liking to work with others. He is liking the facilities that the business out because in Silicon Valley, those startup staff of course Football tables, snacks, whatever you want, they will have it. So as a young person, this must be some sort of wahala. And the meetings, he would love to working with the people getting the feedback. He also says getting the respect people were were respecting him for his skills and his knowledge. But then, the teacher also asked him, What did you not like? What didn't you like in this internship? And that is what the next next quote is about. So problem solving and working with others on brainstorming and creative thinking. What didn't go as well?

coding, I answered.

Oh, well, okay, then tell me about debt. I hate sitting at a computer for hours and working by myself. No, I'm not good yet. But even if I get better, I still can't imagine doing that all the time. Some of the engineers I met Well, most of them actually love it. It's their favourite time.

That's helpful.

So what specifically Don't you like about it?

I don't like working alone for long periods of time. I don't like how you do all of this work. And if you get one tiny thing wrong, it does not work. It was so frustrating. Okay, so I hear you learn to don't like working alone for long periods of time. And worked at requires absolute precision can feel frustrating.


But I learned about this other role that isn't an engineer. It's a product manager. They work with the engineers and most of them know basic coding. But as far as I can tell, their job is to help figure out what the problems behind the technical difficulties are, wow, this kid is doing his internship is learning about coding, finding out that the real world is not pairing up with his dream. And not only that, he's not throwing in the towel. He's evaluating the system, evaluating what are the jobs are available here. And he sees the product manager. He sees that product manager is talking to a lot of people working with others, not being alone for a long time. And he thinks, this is what I can do. This is what I can do in Silicon Valley. This is what I can do in a startup environment. This is what I want to become. Now, these skills are priceless. Because anyone who has gone to high school and just had some basic knowledge about some subjects, is coming into the working environment and thinking What did I do? How did I spend four years of my life studying something, and I hated the job. I think many of us can relate to this feeling. But this kid learned the skills to evaluate himself and to change his course. Now, Diane was obviously very successful with this way of teaching, because right now, there are 11 summit high schools, and she set up a summit learning website, which shares all the knowledge of these schools and it's summit learning.org. So if you want to find something about the project based learning, go to this website, and they will share the knowledge with you. Now,

with that being said, it's

Diane shares one more thing in the book that I'd like to share on this podcast as well. That is the sink or swim teaching method. And she is not a fan, to say the least. As a child, she was being pushed into the water to learn how to swim, literally. And she gained a trauma. And she says sink or swim strategies are the worst that you could do, because it can tear a child apart. She says we all need failure to grow. She recognised that statement that you need failure to grow. So if you're conservative, and you think yes, but my child needs to learn about failure as well. She will say you are right. But she also says you will do it in a controlled environment. The child shouldn't be traumatised while in the process. And she gives an example of her own child that Her own child learns how to cook at an age of 12. And she gives the her own child the opportunity to cook once every week for her. Now, the funny thing about being traumatised is I think Diane and her husband were traumatised in the beginning when they saw the child cook for the first time because they were seeing things being done to the food, of course, which we don't like to see to being done to our food. But she was with him in the kitchen, doing her own thing sitting behind the computer minding her business. And when her child had a question about cooking, it would come to her ask a question and then could continue cooking. Now of course the first couple of dishes were probably not restaurant quality, but in the end, the child learned and if you just throw a kit into a kitchen I'd say, cook me a meal, and you leave the kitchen. So many things can happen. Let's start with safety. Because nice fire guess everything is in a kitchen. And mind you, it's just the same as learning a kid how to swim. If you throw a kid in the water, that kid can get hurt. We all know that. So why would we do it stop this. Diane is very clear about this sink or swim tactics do not work. Failure works, but you need to do it in a controlled environment. And with that, I would like to end this podcast. I really loved reading this book, only two and a half days. It gives me an insight about learning. It gives me a dream about how I would raise my future kids. And it gave me a smile and a tear in my eyes. So with that, thank you for listening, thank you for the review and two stars on iTunes or Spotify.

And with that being said,

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Transcribed by https://otter.ai