Another take on Tuesday’s Social Justice Committee meeting

This from Chuck Jackson, who also attended the Social Justice Committee meeting on Tuesday, September 30th (see the agenda):

 

School to Prison Pipeline presentation by Jenine Wehhbeh, Illinois Safe School Alliance. Look for her presi presentation on the social justice page on the unit 4 website (LT said in about a week).http://www.champaignschools.org/pages/social-justice-seminar/social-justice-seminars
One link from it that I can recall is http://fairtest.org.

Her focus was on reforming the no tolerance policies that target severe consequences for minor infractions.
Then bullying, schools aren’t handling it well. Bullying needs to be handled better-in a way that creates dialogue rather than is simply punished.
Systemic oppression. Disproportionate contact. Black students 4x more likely to be expelled than white students, etc.
LGBTQ teens make up only 5-7% of the population. 3x that percentage are disciplined.
Prison moratorium project, website.

Restorative justice
1. Repair harm caused
2. Cooperative amongst stakeholders
3. Transformation

Try to teach socio-emotional learning, empathy, etc.
1. Adopt a social emotional lens
Teach to the whole child
2. Know your students and develop your cultural competency.
Learn and affirm the social and cultural capital your students bring to the classroom.
3. Plan and deliver effective student-centered instruction.
Teach with the purpose and urgency your students deserve.
4. Move the paradigm from punishment to development.
Model, reinforce and praise polarities healthy behavior
5. Resist the criminalization of school.
Keep kids in the classroom and police out.

Scenarios and conversation about them.
End of schools to prison pipeline presentation

Restorative justice
Patricia Avery
Good things in unit 4, e.g. Social justice committee
Alarming things too, e.g. Harsh discipline practices
Three most severe practices (suspension, out of school suspensions, expulsions) have doubled in middle school and tripled in high school here.
Tragic story of her personal experience with the school to prison pipeline

Sara Balgoyen
IBARJ
Restorative Qs
(went by too fast to make notes of them, but they were helpful)

Board Candidate interviews tonight WILL NOT be on CGTV 5 live

Apparently, CGTV 5 has a conflict for live streaming tonight, and the Unit 4 Board Candidate interviews did not come out on top. To catch the interviews, you can wait anxiously as David Hohman rushes to get it on Vimeo, or catch it on CGTV some other day.

Also, I am sure the NG, Twitter, Facebook and other “outlets” will be broadcasting their versions. So no worries there. 🙂

Candidates:

•             John Bambenek

•             Azark Cobbs

•             G. David Frye

•             Chuck Jackson

•             Mike Somers

•             Jonathan Westfield

References:

http://www.champaignschools.org/news-room/article/6511

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2014-02-11/school-board-candidates-announced.html

http://ci.champaign.il.us/departments/information/cgtv/

Who to vote for on April 9th

In less than 7 days, we will be wrapping up the 2013 Consolidated Election. Unfortunately, most races are uncontested. There are a few that are in fact contested, including the Parkland Board of Trustees and the Unit 4 Board of Education. This post will focus on the latter, but the theme I wish to put forward is “embracing change.” To that end, there is only one candidate for the Parkland BOT that effectively meets that criteria.

You will be voting on April 9th, right?

For the Champaign School District, there are 5 candidates running for 3 seats (each are four-year terms). One of my desires in writing this post is to join in and aid the ongoing discussion about these candidates; it is exceptionally difficult (if not impossible) to be purely objective, so I am throwing in with my subjective thoughts as well. Some of you will disagree with me, maybe even strongly – that is good. I invite those who disagree to speak up. That’s the whole point. (NOTE: I already voted so I am not engaging in this conversation for the sake of figuring out who I want to vote for). Overall, I think each candidate has good intentions and brings something to the plate. The question is, do they bring what you want?

The candidates

Chuck Jackson: I have written before about Chuck, whose campaign I am very much involved with. He brings a desire for improved and enhanced bilateral communication, which of course I am hugely in favor of. 🙂 Chuck helped me out with pitching a proposed change to Board Policy to include Conversational Meetings last year. He has a bit of good experience and rapport with teachers and a true desire to see all kids excel, not just the ones for whom our current educational models work well.

Lynn Stuckey: Lynn is the only candidate who has been attending board meetings “forever”. She obviously has a passion to speak up as a community member, a quality I respect very much. As such, some people will consider her stance and approach as either very good and much needed, others will think she is hard to work with. To me, they are different sides of the same coin; personally, I think she could really shake things up, which I find a very interesting prospect. She is very good at doing her homework and researching the facts, and then telling people about it whether they like it or not.

Laurie Bonnett: Even when I was running for the board appointment last year, I respected that Laurie not only is concerned about her constituents (granted, she is not serving in a public capacity but is employed for an elected official)  but she has a bit of experience, in a number of different contexts, in listening to and interacting with her constituents. It is interesting that she has slowly evolved her platform closer to themes that I want to see in a board.

John Williams III: (EDIT: Updated with new website) In all my interactions with John, I have been pleasantly pleased with his congeniality and open nature. I respect that, like current board member Jamar Brown, John Williams is very concerned about discipline issues within Unit 4. Some may ask, is discipline really that big of an issue, big enough to invest in two African-American men on a board of seven people? Given all the racial issues that exist in our society, given the overwhelming disproportionate number of people of color in various forms of correctional systems, I have to say “yes!” Read the rest of this entry »

What do you want out of your school board?

datesThis is both an announcement/reminder post, but also an attempt to provoke your grey matter and maybe even generate discussion.

First, I am going to assume you do realize that you, as a tax-payer and vote-caster, do indeed have a voice that the school board members, as your publicly elected officials, are obligated to pay heed to. 🙂 This means that we voters have to hold them accountable, and the board members have to allow themselves to be held accountable. In an ideal and somewhat Utopian fashion, this relationship would be built on trust and mutual respect. Unfortunately, our State has done us a disservice in terms of being role models in this regard; none the less, let us remember our obligations.

Having said that, there are elections coming up on April 9th, 27 days from now. Within the next 27 days, do you know who you will vote for and why? Perhaps at this stage of the game you had not even planned to vote. Or maybe you had the election on the back burner of your brain and figured you would get around to contemplating the candidates “tomorrow”. Well, this is your lucky day! For in fact, tomorrow there is a candidate forum – an excellent opportunity to hear more about the candidates that are running:

PTA Council Candidate Forum tomorrow night (March 14th) @ 7 p.m. at the Mellon Administrative Center. The forum will also air on Champaign Government Television starting Friday.

In addition, Meg Dickinson will be running an article in the near future on the candidates, so keep your eyes peeled. And finally, Laura Bleill of chambanamoms.com talks about some of the qualities that she, as a parent, would like to see in a board member:

http://www.chambanamoms.com/2013/03/12/at-the-editors-desk-if-i-was-running-for-unit-4-school-board/

Just as a reminder, there are two sub-races for the board this time; three 4-year seats and two 2-year seats. The 2-year slots are uncontested and filled by incumbents. The three 4-year seats will be decided between five candidates (alphabetical by first name this time):

 

For the sake of disclosure, I Read the rest of this entry »

Houlihans today @ 11:30

I am hoping to be at Houlihans at 11:30 today, but with a new baby I might be a couple minutes late.

 

Anyway, I am hoping to start some serious planning for a charrette (workshop) on the high school siting thing-a-ma-bob. Chuck Jackson has some questions and thoughts he wants to throw around about pre-school.

 

Hope to see you there!

Guest Commentary by Chuck Jackson

Board member candidate Chuck Jackson has written a guest commentary for the News-Gazette:

http://www.news-gazette.com/opinions/editorials/2013-02-24/guest-commentary-school-board-community-must-work-together-kids-sake.

Review of Feb 11 regular board meeting

I was shocked that David Hohman posted the vimeo video right after the meeting! 🙂 Kudos to his team. I am syndicating his video from my archive as well.

I had a brief chat with Scott Leopold prior to the meeting. He gave me an update on my request for the raw Fallon data, specifically to help answer the question of how many people surveyed changed their mind about wanting a $206 million “bond issue” once they heard their taxes would climb a bit. He mentioned that Mr. Fallon wants to delay in delivering that information until the February 25th special board meeting when he (Mr. Fallong) will be presenting and is able to deliver that information “in context.” Again, I don’t like that approach, but it is what it is.

Turns out it was a relatively short meeting – I think it clocked in at 53 minutes. The comments (both public and by the board) took up half that time. Since it is less than an hour, I highly recommend you watch it – the board members speak a bit and you can get a sense for where they are at and form your own opinion (as opposed to drinking my kool-aid *grin*).

The recognitions, as always, are a feel-good reminder of good things that are happening in our district. I wonder what it would be like if we also highlighted “challenge areas”. Right now, the folks that speak during public comment generally fulfill that role. But what if the district and/or the board had a running “leaderboard” of, say, the top 5 things they see as the issues of the month. Or year. They could even chart their progress against it; “Last month we identified and resolved these two issues, thus we are moving two more concerns onto the leaderboard for us to tackle this month.”

I gave the first public comment; I volunteered to deliver it since another representative was stuck at home with a sick child. I also sent this to the board and Kristine Chalifoux responded. So to qualify, I am not on the CB building council, and I do realize that the board has not made any official plans to expand CB – it’s all kinda up in the air at the moment.

Chuck Jackson spoke next about the need to be mindful and to intentionally “program” school for all kids. We have to pay attention (perhaps in different ways) especially to those who routinely are not well represented or spoken for.

The Board Read the rest of this entry »