Champaign PTA Council now on Facebook and Twitter

The Champaign PTA Council recently stepped into social media and can now be found on Facebook and Twitter:


twitter:  (@champaignpta)


From Vice President Sheri Williamson:

Yep. I’ve started working more on the Twitter account and the Facebook page. We’ll be using social media to aid us in promoting the different initiatives we’re working on such as parent workshops and student activity nights.
We hope to get more families following us on social media as we want to also use Facebook and Twitter to talk to parents about all sorts of things… changes they’d like to see, ideas they have, questions, etc. For instance, Dr. Wiegand has agreed to incorporate our idea for a town hall meeting into her Supper with the Superintendent events. We’ll post dates, times, locations for those events as we hear from Unit 4. Parents can then submit questions to via Twitter and Facebook that we can then pass along to Dr. Wiegand to be answered at her next Supper. Questions would be posted as a PTA question, not from any parent in particular. We hope that encourages parents to submit questions and concerns they have.
Lots going on. And we would love to have district parents involved in all of it!

“Everything You’ve Heard about Failing Schools is Wrong.”

The subject of today’s post is from a recursive series of quotes; Dr. Wiegand’s latest newsletter highlights an Atlanta Journal-Constitution (ajc) educational blog which is highlighting an essay by University of Georgia professor Peter Smagorinsky about the bane of how media often portrays the dire plight of the public education system and he manages to ring the bell of anti-Bill Gatian assessments. Dr. Smagorinsky refers back to “The Manufactured Crisis”, which sounds like myth-debunking work aiming to de-teeth the many klaxons of war-mongering politicians.

I have asked Dr. Wiegand what she thought of the piece, since, to be honest, most of it is very general for me. I do acknowledge that Dr. Smagorinksy paints a very salient point; “to show one example of the perils of making judgments about people based on media images and accounts.” Which makes me wonder, what does the media hope to gain by pointing a crooked, shaking finger at tax-payer funded public schools in the first place? Does it really help to round up all the riff-raff and get people complaining? We will see what Dr. Wiegand says.

Obviously, there is a time and a place to disclose, or even uncover, the chinks in the armor, the weakest link, as long as the intent is to patch it up and make it stronger. On the flip side, there is also a time and a place to acknowledge all the many awesome accomplishments and positive direction, as long as it is not used to whitewash a rotting interior. Having said that, let us take a look at a few things.

On the “Pro” side, Stephanie Stuart (Unit 4 Community Relations), and Lynn Peisker before her, has done an excellent job of highlighting many positives; if you watch the Unit 4 website, the Unit 4 Facebook page or the twitter feed, you will find a frequent stream of recognitions, awards, certificates and accomplishments. Just today Dr. Taylor was recognized for receiving the McKinley Foundation Social Justice Award. Stephanie always collects success stories that are going on each school, as evident at each board meeting during “Recognitions”. Stephanie also co-hosted a “twitter chat” last week; the transcript is a little challenging to follow, but you can see how she (and Dr. Wiegand) interacted with various “chatters”.

On the “Con” side, Read the rest of this entry »

The big push: Unit 4 hosts Community Dialogs on Tuesday, Feb 12th

There is a deluge of email, Facebook updates, tweets, radio spots (tv spots?), flyers and word of mouth about the Community Dialog this coming Tuesday at the I-Hotel. If you are one of the few folks who has not heard about it, I would be very curious how they missed you. 🙂 They have arranged bus rides from several schools, translators for three different languages, and even a literacy activity to keep the youngun’s occupied.

In every message I am seeing/hearing, the school district is emphasizing the importance of feedback and input from the community. There are two sides to this coin.

On the one side, I think this is totally awesome! For too long, the school district has given the impression of operating under the guise of its own expertise. That landed us with a costly Consent Decree, and now we have too many kids and not enough seats, not to mention buildings that are horribly behind on maintenance. Oh, and a selection of schools that, for the most part, has not tracked with the shift in demographics. So, kudos to the district for seeking the voice of the community. I have really appreciated how DeJong (via Scott Leopold) has been quite open about the data they have collected and has kept us generally up to date on what is happening in the Steering Team meetings (which are also open to the public). Scott has been really great about talking to people, even to the point of carving away some time to meet us at Houlihans (hard to knock that, eh?).

And now the other side. Scott and I have agreed to disagree on how to present the options to the community. For me, I think it would be best to put the current options up on the futurefacilities website now (actually, last week would have been better…), since the Steering Team has already discussed and pretty much voted on what we are going to see. Scott has argued that he wants unbiased and virgin thoughts during the big reveal at the I-Hotel on Tuesday, so that the options may be presented objectively and in context. Obviously, there are pros and cons both ways. Sine this is my blog (cue evil laughter), I am going to expand a little on some issues with this approach.

We as a community Read the rest of this entry »

another social media experiment

Looks like Unit 4 has teamed up with the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation to host a series of twitter-based chats. The first one features the Future Facilities Process.

February 15 at 2:00pm, #AskUnit4

I don’t know much about the CC EDC, but I am curious what role they play in co-sponsoring a twitter chat with Unit4/DeJong-Richter. On the EDC’s “About Page“, I read the following as one of the “Primary Functions”:

Site Location/Expansion Assistance – Look to us for help in finding just the right spot to locate your new facility and/or for assistance in expanding your presence in Champaign County.

Hmm…. interesting.