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 »

Jan 28th board meeting

Video posted: http://www.cb-pta.com/wp/wp-content/plugins/download-monitor/download.php?id=53

 

This was a monster meeting – about 3 hours. The video has about an hour of black afterwards because I recorded on Tivo and I didn’t get it shut off soon enough. Also, you might want to fast-forward the first 10 minutes or so, as it looks like the Board came back from Exec session a little later. David Hohman is working on making the Jan 7th and Jan 28th videos on Vimeo (soon).

 

I don’t have the mental stamina to comment much (watching that thing really taxes me). I’ll be brief. The preview I did also covers a bit of stuff.

[PS – Houlihans tomorrow]

 

 

Cathy Mannen gave a statement on behalf of the CFT. The CFT typically does not say anything at Board Meetings, so my ears perked up when she got up. Ms. Mannen shared about the need to focus on appropriate assessments as opposed to standardized tests. I felt myself very much agreeing with her statements. I have asked Ms. Mannen if she is willing to share the short survey they did.

 

I didn’t really get the talk by Dr. Rice; it was obviously just for the board’s ears, about how to be board members. I was a bit surprised when Stig segued into giving public acknowledgement to the board member candidates that were currently in the room; he had them stand up and he even introduced them (Stuckey, Williams, Bonnett).

 

The committee presentations (Parent Advocacy, Transitions and 504 plans) were pretty much straight from the documents saved on BoardDocs; I was tickled that Tony Howard highlighted the weebly website. The irony is that Joe Williams pointed out how much overlap there is between the committees, but the committees don’t even know what the others are doing (at least, as a committee member, I didn’t have a clue). I mean, there is lots of sincere and good intentions, but it seems to me that a ton of work and research is silo’ed. How many people will even become aware of these Committees? (you blog readers have a slight advantage, I like to think *grin*) Much less what they even do. If nothing else, this is why I jumped on the opportunity to create a public website and a public google group for the Advocacy Committee – I want people to learn more about it.

 

Ken Kleber tried hard to make his AEEOO report interesting. It’s just hard. Or maybe I have horrible attention span. It’s good stuff to talk about it, but the meeting is already long.

 

Having said that, Read the rest of this entry »

April 2013 BOE candidate races are shaping up

Chuck Jackson, Pattsi Petrie and I met at Houlihans yesterday and talked about Chuck’s bid for one of the School Board seats. A quick call to Tammy Sowers (Administrative Assistant – she knows everything :)) confirmed the following (btw, I am listing all names alphabetically by last name in an attempt to remove bias):

4-year candidates (3 seats available)

  • Laurie Bonnett
  • Chuck Jackson
  • Scott MacAdam
  • Lynn Stuckey
  • John William III

 

2-year candidates (2 seats available)

  • Stig Lanesskog
  • Ileana Saveley

 

Meaning that the two incumbents will automatically win the 2-year seats (uncontested), and the 5 new candidates will have to battle it out for the three 4-year seats. Just to make it clear, Chuck has asked me to help with his campaign (we are working on websites, hand-outs, etc now). For the sake of reference and completeness, the remaining board members after April will be Jamar Brown and Kristine Chalifoux. Sue Grey and Tom Lockman have both stepped down, and the Board is accepting applications for a 4-month board appointment – I would not be surprised if all 5 incoming candidates submitted applications.

 

So think about this. After the April 9th election, the incumbents will be Jamar Brown, Kristine Chalifoux, Stig Lanesskog and Ileana Saveley. There will be three new faces at the table (two of which may be semi-incumbent if appointed). It is up to us to decide who those three new faces are. What do you want this board to do for the next 2 or 4 years? Keep in mind that we are probably looking at a big huge tax referendum in April 2014. Also, there is a ton of shuffling going on right now as Unit 4 figures out how to handle unexpected growth in numbers of students. Oh, not to mention Common Core will be more ubiquitous and we are gearing up for all-digital standardized testing (by 2015 at the latest).

 

So I ask you, what do you want this board to do?

December 10th Board Meeting

Yesterday there were quite a large number of recognition.  First up was the talented Likith Govindaiah; perfect SAT and ACT scores. Wow! That makes my head hurt. Lots and lots of other things going on, including the cute “skin care” line from BTW sponsored on WCIA. Justin Uppinhouse was present along with some Edison parents for the Edison Academic Spotlight. And then we jumped into commentaries.

I happened to go first. I intended to address the board about Transparency and Accountability, using two specific cases; one was a challenge to have a Unit 4 5th grader able to understand the finance reports, and the second was about how the committees are not well known, nor what they are doing. I fear I totally bumbled what I wanted to say – I had a number of anecdotal stories and illustrations, by I lost ’em while at the podium.

Next up was a gentleman speaking about the School Resource Officers and a challenge of his own. He cited a recent NYTimes article about SROs (which I have been unable to find), and shared his own thoughts about how SROs are not academic officers.

Lynn Stuckey was next and final; she shared her angst about how hiring Dejong is (was?) a foregone conclusion, that we are merely repeating Great Schools Together.

I apologized if I oversimplified what these citizens spoke about. I was able to record the show on my TiVo, but I cannot get it off to post online. I am told that Unit 4 will be did popping it up on Vimeo “any second now”. 🙂

And then I Read the rest of this entry »

Review of June 29th Latino community forum

We had a great turnout for our first attempt at holding a gathering of parents in Shadow Wood; “great” as measured in opportunities and experience. We were prepared for 50+ people, but didn’t get quite close to that. 🙂 Ileana’s husband played a key role as grill master for which we were extremely thankful on a sweltering hot evening. The AC in the Community Room was taking a while to condition the room, so we ended up just pulling out the chairs and sitting in a lopsided circle in the shade. Which turned out pretty well – still hot and sticky, but not unbearably so.

I thanked folks for coming out and joining us in a conversation about the community. Ileana translated and then proceeded to introduce the non-residents. Other than herself and me, we had with us (going clockwise) City Council Member Will Kyles, Chuck Jackson, U4 Board Member Jamar Brown, NG reporter Meg Dickinson, Reverend Dr. Eugene Barnes of the local Metanoia Center and Lynn Stuckey. The first topic to come up Read the rest of this entry »