Feb 13th BOE meeting: more on community involvement

The agenda posted for the Feb 13th BOE meeting has a couple community engagement pieces you might want to learn more about: “My Family’s Promise Plan Pilot” and a draft of a new policy to support Community Schools “Policy 831 – Community Schools“.


I had an excellent chat with Orlando Thomas and Angela Smith last week. I had asked a few questions about discipline, and came away from the meeting being very much encouraged about the work going on in Unit 4. One of my take-aways is that the school district yearns for more collaboration with the community. And it seems that the two agenda items listed above is very much in line with the need for more partnerships.


Another take-away was that our public schools could really use more mentors (eg the one-to-one mentoring program and also TALKS mentoring). So much so that when I asked Orlando how the community can help right now, that was his number one request. In fact, Orlando has been asking for more mentors for many years now. As a one-to-one mentor myself, I would be happy to talk to anyone else if you are interested.

Learning from others: "Crossing the Streams"

I apologize for subjecting you to yet another bout of news from Springfield; I had some excellent conversations today and am compelled to share them. This is a long post;  the top 2/3rds deals with Peggy Cormeny, the bottom 1/3rd with Pete Sherman. The overall theme is of bringing parents and teachers together. I am reminded of Ghostbusters and the power of crossing the “streams”. What you read below is very much like that.

[note: any factual errors are bound to be my own – if you know of any discrepancies, please let me know]

The first one was with Peggy Cormeny, the Coordinator of Family and Community Engagement (FACE) at SSD 186. I have been trying to get a hold of her for a little while and our schedules finally overlapped. My first question to Peggy was about the history and genesis of FACE. To provide a full context, she had to rewind all the way back to the early 90’s.

Roughly 20 years ago the Ball Foundation contacted the Springfield School District and started a partnership that is just now winding down. The Foundation provided grant monies to fund teacher home visits and teacher collaboration initiatives, opportunities that allowed teachers the incentives to visit with children and their families. Peggy related a story of one elementary school in which the 5th grade teachers were able to meet and visit with all the 5th grade families before school began. Wow. Around the same time, the “Parents as Partners” program was kicked off, a vital bridge between home and school.

When Peggy joined the team, Read the rest of this entry »

A look at an alternative to the Kindergarten Lottery

Here is some insight to how Urbana does School Assignment:



I was keen to read about the ideas they had concerning “community schools” and “sister schools”. In fact, the latter almost sounded similar to the Academy Prep idea in Unit 4.


PS – the problem described by the author seems endemic to most community meetings I have witnessed.