The Lottery: A case study

I thought I had published this note a while ago, but am not finding evidence I did. I did something similar, but it only covers the summary worksheet. The following is using an example from the 2010 Kindergarten Lottery, and helps to show the inner workings of the Point System for the Lottery.

So for starters, Read the rest of this entry »

This is how San Francisco does it

Earlier I mentioned how Wake County does “Schools of Choice”.

I got a better one now. I sent this off to the Board, the FIC and Wiegand this morning:

I came across yet another school district (San Francisco) that does a most excellent job of explaining the registration process. They pretty much describe exactly what we do without using the words “choice” or “proximity”. They also have an online school selector that tells you which school is in which area and allows you to choose various features.

Wednesday @ Houlihans: recap of Jan 4th and PTA tech invite for Jan 25th

First the announcement: I am inviting a bunch of PTA folks in to get some web pages up and going. We will be taking over the Jan 25th timeslot. So for you others that were thinking of coming, you have been warned. 🙂

Yesterday at Houlihans, Pattsi Petri and I hashed out our thoughts. I am not going to be able to remember everything, so if there are any holes in my story….

I told her about CUWiki (a summary of which I have moved to a new “umbrella” blog) and we discussed the merits of finding community spaces, but we totally lack the understanding of using a wiki to accomplish that. I shared how the CUWiki group has looked at examples like DentonWiki and ArborWiki, and we talked about how similar attempts around Chambana have never really worked out.

We then Read the rest of this entry »

Large Kindergarten class sizes for 2010-2011 (and beyond)

Back in August, WCIA ran a story about the increased Kindergarten enrollment. It did not occur to me at the time what the ramifications of that were. Recently, I have been chatting with some current Kindergarten parents; apparently, they were informed as early as August 5th about the need to shuffle and squeeze in yet more students, bringing the totals up to 25 at 10 of the 11 schools and 24 at the 11th. 25 kids for one teacher is a lot. It is a lot when you only plan for 20 or 21. It is a lot when you have several kids that require a little more attention. The district responded by stating that they would add an extra teacher’s aide to each elementary school. Throughout the past semester, the aides were released at the end of the quarter (both quarters) and were only taken back on a couple weeks later. Also, this is one teacher’s aide per school;  a three-strand school would have to share the aide among three different classes.

 

It is not exactly clear what is going to happen this semester. I know that at Carrie Busey, several parents have stepped up to the plate and have been helping out in the classrooms. Parents have also been in contact with Administration and they seem to have a favorable impression of Trevor Nadrozny, who is trying hard to find solutions and also keep a line of communication open with parents. When I emailed Judy Wiegand with these concerns she replied (and gave me permission to quote):

We have been holding discussions around this issue and plan on adding a Kindergarten and first grade class for 2012-13 to address class size.  We are discussing location of the additional classrooms at the Leadership meeting tomorrow [Jan 5th] and once the BOE has been notified we will certainly work with Lynn to publicize it.  Our timeline is to have decisions made prior to Choice forums so parents are aware.

 

Yet this does not exactly spell out what will happen for Spring 2012. It is awesome to see parents getting involved, and I hope that trend continues. It is awesome to see folks in Administration taking parents seriously and responding appropriately. And I am ever thankful for our teachers – I have not heard a peep of complaint from them at all! 🙂

 

Another little interesting tidbit to come out of this centers around Registration itself. I have more to say about registration (imagine that!), but the purposes of this post, I was given a story of how one parent was not even aware of the need to register in March. Apparently, in 2011 there were a significant number of parents registering in August, and some of those allegedly already had children in school. So whatever Unit 4 did in early 2011 did not reach some parents. For whatever reason. Are there other ways in which Unit 4 can communicate with the community? Put up brochures in libraries/churches? More exposure on TV/radio?

Ombudsperson

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ombudsman

An ombudsman (conventional English plural: ombudsmen) is a person who acts as a trusted intermediary between either the state (or elements of it) or an organization, and some internal or external constituency, while representing not only but mostly the broad scope of constituent interests.

 

I asked the BOE and Wiegand if Unit 4 currently has an ombudsperson, and while they had talked about it during the “Great Schools, Together” (circa 2008), Sue Grey stated the ombudsperson is “not a position that is on the front burner at this time”.

 

I wonder, should it be?

 

In a Jan 2nd interview with WILL’s Sean Powers, Judy Wiegand acknowledged the lack of trust in the community and the need to build bridges (she did not say rebuild). From my perspective, it is encouraging that Wiegand is walking in Malito’s footsteps, rather than the worn paths of previous administrators. Yet how will it happen?

 

As I think about this topic, I wonder whom the community would want to wear the mantle of “Ombudsperson”? How many in the community would even voice their opinion?