Heading to the Board Meeting tonight

I don’t really want to go to a Board Meeting, but I am hoping to make a comment during the Public section. Here is what I intend to say:

“In early November, Board President Mrs. Grey and then Interim Superintendent Dr. Malito cosigned a letter to Unit 4 parents that gave a synopsis of what the Administration and Board were doing. I am unaware of such a letter being sent in previous Administrations; since this letter was an excellent first step in communicating what is on your mind, I would implore both the Board and the Superintendent to sent similar letters on a regular basis (perhaps bi-monthly). The letters should continue to update parents on the top priorities that Unit 4 is addressing.
Likewise at the same time, many Board Members were present at the PTA Council President’s Dinner, at which attendants were given the opportunity to interact with Board Members as a panel. Please create such opportunities several times a year, and please open them to the public at large.
Lastly, on January 2nd Dr. Wiegand participated in an interview with Sean Powers of WILL in which she acknowledged a lack of trust in the context of the community and expressed a desire to build bridges and open two-way communication. I realize the Public Comment time is not meant to ask questions, so allow me to say that I will be watching to see what steps the Board and the Administration take in the direction of building trust from scratch.
Thank you for your time.”

I wanted to say more, but I could not figure out how to say it in such a way that it would be easily heard and fit within 3 minutes. I think this is a good start, though.

UPDATE: My summary is in the comments below.

UPDATE: Reading Recovery video added: http://www.champaignschools.org/academic_spotlight/2012-01-09_academic_spotlight_Reading_Recovery.mov


One Response to “Heading to the Board Meeting tonight”

  1. charlesdschultz Says:

    Saw a number of familiar faces, but more importantly, it was a pretty full Board Meeting, which I am very glad to see. True, a number of them were school staff and District employees, but still a fair amount of community people as well.

    I chatted with Roger Grinnip about a few things prior to the meeting.

    He thinks I’ll probably have to FOIA the DVD’s if I want to copy them. He didn’t know for sure. I am making a note to myself that I need to find out for sure, since it seems bogus to FOIA each and every single Board Meeting for the purposes of making them publicly available to everyone
    He reiterated why a 3rd-party, neutral resource is important to administrate the Lottery. This point I have conceded many times in the past. However, I wish the discussion would not end there; is Alves the only viable 3rd-party on the planet?
    Nobody has ever tried to map the data before (ERD, not actually plotting points on a graph). Grinnip seems amenable to this idea, but I did not get any commitment. Yet.

    Both Lynn Peisker and Meg Dickinson were manning laptops in the back. Looking forward to what they have to say. 🙂

    After a couple minutes of logistical things, we dived right into the first presentation (not on website nor BoardDocs – wonder where it is). If memory serves, it was an Academic Spotlight on the Reading Recovery program. Awesome stuff. I believe the whole thing focused on the work happening at Garden Hills, but I might have missed other schools. Makes me want to learn more about Reading Recovery. Chuck Jackson, this has your name all over it. 🙂 Unfortunately, I cannot find much on the Unit 4 website, nor on the school site, about this awesome program at all. 😦 I did find some external sites:

    a blog: http://bega3.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/martinez-and-spanglish/
    Somebody’s CV: https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/joneal2/www/portfolio/resumeu.pdf
    And this really old (circa 1993) College of Education paper: https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/17606/ctrstreadtechrepv01993i00580_opt.pdf?sequence=1

    Next we heard about an awesome “urban” debate group called New Optimistic Legacy of Achievers (NOLA). What I really like about this group is the transforming power of taking “negative-head speaking” and replacing it with “positive-head speaking” (something my daughter learned at Tae Kwon Do tonight). It takes “you are nothing, you are worthless, you always get in trouble” to “you have value, you are talented and you are necessary”. While this group presentation did take a long time, it was packed with awesome stories and powerful testimonies. A gentleman was speaking to his troubles with authority and how he was suspended because of his mouth. He said “I had a gift, but did not know how to use it”; until he joined the debate team to be productive with his talents, he had used them to achieve bitter ends.

    Unit 4 has more information about this group. For instance, I found a nice write-up with pictures. They have also been featured in a Weekly Bulletin. In fact, I remember reading this and not thinking much of it. It is amazing what beauty and understanding can come from context and personal experience.

    After that, there were some more recognition and then Public Comment. I was #2 out of 4; forgive me, but I mostly forgot what the others were talking about. I believe the first guy was representing One-to-One Mentoring in some fashion, the lady after me spoke about some special focus for her son and the last guy I think was part of some Union. I had my mind on other things. 🙂 Board President Mrs. Sue Grey had some kind words to follow-up with my little speech. It was interesting to see Dr. Wiegand and Sue Grey sitting next to each other; the two figure-heads of our School District, both with quite a history in our community, both at the helm to usher in a new era for Unit 4. I should say, with the chance to bring in a new period. I think they can pull it off, with lots of help from the community and from the hard-working staff.

    In any event, I really look forward to seeing, more than a verbal response, what steps and actions the Board and Administration take.

    Lynn Peikser was been diligent about Board Meeting recaps (for example, the last one in December); I appreciate that she, and many other Unit 4 employees represented at the meeting, put in so many long hours.

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