I attended the parents meeting presented by Superintendent White on Thursday the 4th. I had hoped to get some assurances regarding the process and how parents will be given a voice in the major changes we have all seen and heard about. Unfortunately it was heavy on reasons to explore different curriculum, Project Based Learning, the ground work that has been done and a variety of other long lens optics. However, it was lacking any explanations as to how we got here in the first place and what tangible changes would be made to ensure it didn’t happen again. This lack of explanation and solution is very concerning. The only reference was a slide that mentioned that, allegedly, no decisions have been made.
The Wheel is Gone
The wheel has been removed and replaced with electives. Thus 6th graders will no longer be exposed to all six classes, but have to choose four. And music is no longer required. Many parents were troubled by this last night. They were also troubled about there being no input from parents and no chance for parents to weigh in prior to this change. When asked if he could point to a single document that was publicly released to inform parents this change was being considered, Dr. White replied while there was a piece here and piece there, parents essentially had no notification or chance for input on this change. Thus a fairly important change was made to the curriculum without any input from parents.
Why Parents, Students and Teachers are so upset
We are here because at the Board of Education Workshop on April 10th a PowerPoint presentation was listed under Agenda Item 7.A. That agenda item stated “All 9 middle school principals will share the results of the MS study and plan for 2018-2019“. The next day, all 9 principals took that PowerPoint presentation and presented it to their teachers uniformly as a plan that WAS being put into place. I haven’t received a single denial this took place from anyone. These changes included increased time for core classes and a cutting in half of time for electives. From what I have been told from multiple sources, they were also delivered with a strong message that this IS happening and teachers needed to get on board.
Once word of this leaked out it was clear that some massive changes in curriculum were taking place and parents were completely in the dark. Days after this site went up and people started to complain, the District scheduled the three meetings. Had word not leaked out, these meetings would not have occurred. They were slated for November of 2017 just two months before registration for the 18/19 school year.
Coupled with the fact that the wheel was removed from the 2017/2018 school year with no discussion with parents, I believe we have a reason to be angry and concerned. There is an obligation to not just inform us about what it going on, but to INCLUDE us in the conversation. This obligation was and still is lacking in the District Office,
At the end they requested we go fill out the survey that was sent out in April of 2016. Per my previous post, this seems disingenuous considering the current circumstances. Hundreds of parents have shown up and the only response is take a survey. I invite you all to take a look at it and ask yourself how it possible pertains to the current situation.
No Changes to Ensure Parents Have a Voice
When reminded of why so many parents are upset and asked what specific plans the District had to ensure parents will be given a place at the table in these major changes to curriculum, Dr. White had no answer. After all that has transpired, there is no admission that this is a problem or specific action plan to ensure parents will be listened to. The only answer about how we got to this point was it was all misunderstanding and wasn’t ready to be presented. Considering it was actually presented to the teachers and there has been no attempt by the administration to roll back from this position with the teachers, I feel that is disingenuous at best.
This is troubling and the reason why parents need to be vigilant and vocal. It is also the reason for this site and our movement. Please join the newsletter, spread the word to other parents and keep informed.