Op/Ed by Howard Eagle
Tue, Apr 15, 2014
What’s happening at East High School is nothing new (SEE LINK BELOW)
Op/Ed by Howard Eagle
Tue, Apr 15, 2014
What’s happening at East High School is nothing new (SEE LINK BELOW)
PLEASE LISTEN TO THE VERY, VERY, VERY INTERESTING RADIO INTERVIEW WITH BROTHER SAM RADFORD (PRESIDENT OF BUFFALO PUBLIC SCHOOLS’ DISTRICT PARENT COORDINATING COUNCIL) AT THE LINK BELOW.
If I didn’t know any better, I would swear that he is describing the Rochester City School District. I’m willing to bet that conscious, active, and involved parents in Syracuse, New York City, Yonkers, Albany, etc… would all say the same thing about their school districts.In fact, I would bet that parents in predominantly black and brown URBAN school districts vis-a-vis predominantly white suburban school districts in and around Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Newark, D.C., Atlanta, Charleston Miami, and/or MOST, if not ALL mid-sized and /o r large districts throughout this thoroughly racist / classist nation-state (in every direction — North, East, South, and West) — would say essentially the same thing. The PERVASIVE, URBAN EDUCATION CRISIS IS TRULY (AS EDUCATOR AND WRITER JONATHAN KOZOL HAS LABELED IT) —- “THE SHAME OF THE NATION,” AND IT WILL NOT CHANGE UNTIL, AND UNLESS WE ORGANIZE OURSELVES, AND CHANGE IT. NO ONE IS COMING TO SAVE US. WE MUST DO IT OURSELVES.
The Struggle Continues…
Parent Engagement Advisory Committee: Meeting (Thursday, January 30, 2014 — 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. @ 131 West Broad Street, Room 1-E 134)
Makita Saloane: President of district-wide Parent Advisory Council
Fred Tanksley: Parent of an RCSD student
Meghan Delehanty-Reddington: Parent of RCSD Student
Joyce Duckles: Assistant Professor of Counseling & Human Development Warner Graduate School of Education
University of Rochester
Ann Braverman: Licensed Clinical Social Worker
George Moses: Community Activist
Howard Eagle: Candidate for Rochester Board of Education
Pauline McCleary: Business Manager, Minority Reporter
Parental Engagement Ad Hoc Committee
January 30, 2014
Restructure the parent liaisons and home school assistants to report directly to the Board with oversight being provided by Board rather than building principals. [I believe the idea here is that – once the Office of Parent Engagement is reorganized so that it reports directly to the Board of Education — then parent liaisons / home school assistants would report to the Office of Parent Engagement — as opposed to reporting to building principals]. It should be noted that, if my understanding is correct, parent liaisons and home school assistants perform the same duties. As far as I understand, the only difference is that at the Elementary level, they are called parent liaisons, and at the High School level they are called home school assistants. This is part of the reason why (as noted below, we requested job descriptions for both). If it is in fact one job description, (with two different titles) in my view, that’s illogical, and one small example of creating unnecessary bureaucracy, which Superintendent Vargas has been citing as a factor relative to the lack of effectiveness and efficiency].
Reorganize the Office of Parent Engagement so that it reports directly to the Board of Education with Board oversight.
Ensure that three (3) elected parents, via elections, sit on School Based Planning Teams (SBPT) at all times; and that there is audit and compliance enforcement to ensure that this is taking place. [This is a very important point — because School Base Planning Teams (SBPTs) are charged with the responsibility of developing School Comprehensive Education Plans (SCEP) — formerly known as School Improvement Plans (SIP). Each school is legally bound to have a Plan, which is suppose to represent the “road map” for improvement at each school. SBPTs are composed of administrators, teachers, support staff, parents, students (at the High School level), and sometimes other community members (optional). Each constituency chooses it’s representatives. In the case of parents, representatives are to be elected by parents, as opposed to being appointed or merely volunteering. In many cases, no efforts are made to hold parent elections. People are merely appointed or volunteer. Once SCEPs are developed, each constituency is suppose to sign off on the Plan — indicating their participation in developing the Plan, and their agreement with it].
In addition to the items listed above, I also have the following in my notes relative to a potential recommendations, which we all agreed on at the meeting.
Ensure that staff is available who speak the language of parents order help them navigate District processes and system. [including those from numerous African nations].
Have the Student Placement Office provide orientation for parents who speak a language other than English when they register their children.
Request that parents speak to other parents at churches to get them involved the parental engagement process.
Develop different measures to determine the success of the Office of Parent Engagement.
Have parent liaisons report to the director of the Office of Parent Engagement.
Provide training (professional development) for principals to work with the Office of Parent Engagement.
Request that principals who model good parent engagement train other principals to model them.
Develop a way to measure the usefulness of Parent Connect. It is found to be inadequate it should be eliminated.
Create a Parents’ Bill of Rights in parent friendly language written by parents for parents that principals must adhere to.
Ensure that parents understand their role in educating their children; make pathways available to parents. [Even as a brainstorming item, I raised concern about this — because, in my view, it has the potential to be condescending, paternalistic, and counter productive].
Ensure that funding for student services is directly managed by the Board.
Provide list of schools that currently have parent liaisons / home school assistants
Provide list of schools that currently do not have liaisons / home school assistants
Provide job descriptions for parent liaisons/ home school assistants
Describe the hiring process for parent liaisons/ home school assistants
Describe how Title 1 money is currently being utilized
Have the March 4th community forum recorded and streamed live
I have attached the email address for the Parental Engagement Ad Hoc Special Committee members as you requested.
As you know, you also requested to have an additional meeting other than the one that is scheduled for Tuesday, February 18, 2014. A date was set for Monday, February 3rd to convene that meeting. At last evening’s meeting I stated that was not available to facilitate meetings on Mondays and Wednesdays. If you’d like to proceed with the meeting as scheduled for February 3rd, I will not be able to attend. It has been brought to my attention that if that is the case the committee would have to find an alternate location to hold the meeting as district employees would have to be in attendance that are held in the District’s buildings.
My availability to attend another meeting prior to February 18th is as follows: Tuesday, February 4th; and Thursday, February 6th. I am not available any other days prior to 2/18 as I will be out of town from February 7-14, 2014. I am also available during the day between 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 every day, with the exception of Thursday, February 6 from 4:30-6:00 p.m., to meet with the committee if that fits into your daytime schedules. Please let me know via email if you’d like to change the meeting date to one that I am available to attend.
Also, I am working on the recommendations, and suggestions that were submitted last night and will forward them to you today upon completion.
Thanks for the thought and hard work that went into last night’s meeting.
Confidential Assistant to the Board
Rochester Board of Education
131 W. Broad Street
Rochester, NY 14614
Mr. Tanksley, you are right, but I stated that I would not be available on Mondays and Wednesdays and the committee elected to meet without me. Mr. Eagle said that you could meet without me, so I scheduled the meeting on the day that the committee selected. However, President White would like me to be in attendance at the meeting. That’s the reason for the change; in addition that the committee would have to find another location to me other than at Central Office as there has to be district staff on site if the meeting is to be held here.
TO: ROCHESTER CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT PARENTS, AND OTHER COMMUNITY MEMBERS WITH WHOM I WORK, AS WELL AS THE BROADER ROCHESTER COMMUNITY IN GENERAL
As you know, I had suggested (via the correspondence above) that Rochester Board of Education President, Van White publicize the names of individuals serving on the four (4) ad-hoc committees, which he recently established. I was not aware of the fact that he had already done so — via the article at the link below.
OBSERVATION: In my view, it would have been good to provide contact information for the members of all committees — in order to make it convenient for people who may want to contact committee members regarding suggestions, questions, input, etc… I assume that some members can be contacted here on Face Book, but I’m not certain if this is true for all.
As noted above, the Parent Engagement Committee had it’s first meeting earlier this evening (6-8 pm). It was generally a productive meeting. PLEASE LOOK FORWARD TO A FORTHCOMING, FULL REPORT.
Also I thought that some of you may be interested in the information below regarding potential opportunities to serve as parent / student representatives on the following Board Committees:
*Excellence in Student Achievement Committee
*Community & Intergovernmental Relations Committee
*Finance & Resource Allocation Committee
TO ROCHESTER CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT PARENTS, AND OTHER COMMUNITY MEMBERS WITH WHOM I WORK, AS WELL AS THE BROADER ROCHESTER COMMUNITY IN GENERAL
First, I would like to apologize for the lateness of this correspondence. It was my intent to communicate about this — way before now. In any case, I will make every effort to report updates in a timely fashion.
I am writing to inform you that I have decided to participate in one of the ad-hoc advisory committees (“parent engagement”) mentioned in the article at the link below.
As many of you know, I have probably been one of the biggest, and most consistent critics of the Rochester Board of Education’s “leadership” and members. Thus, I assume that some would question my participation in this sort of initiative.So, I wanted to explain my reasons for doing so.
I have always maintained that I am ready, willing, and able to work cooperatively and collaboratively with anyone who is serious about actions designed to produce much-needed, and much-deserved, widespread, permanent change and improvement for Rochester City School District (RCSD) students and families. Whether this particular initiative has the potential to accomplish this — is yet to be seen. I have also (for many years) maintained that until, and unless WE establish a well organized, and well financed / resourced, broad-based, mass movement of parents, guardians, students, educators, activists, and anyone else who is really serious about academic and general change and improvement — it will not happen. The latter point is articulated in our 2013 Board of Education Election Platform, and has been articulated in all previous Election platforms that I have been a part of. Rochester Board of Education President Van White knows that this is my belief, which was reiterated during a phone conversation earlier this month concerning my participation in this initiative.
As noted in the article at the link below:
“White also said he has reached out to every candidate who participated in the 2013 [General] school board election to offer an opportunity to serve on one of the advisory committees.”
“These people represent constituencies; had thousands of people vote for them, and spent the better part of last year listening and learning from the people of our city. It only makes sense that we would tap into that resource as we look to develop a list of solutions to address the district’s most pressing issues.”
With regard to the quotes above, I had informed Commissioner White that I take very seriously the responsibility of attempting to represent those who give me permission to do so, and that (with regard to my participation in this initiative) I would make every attempt possible to identify, and communicate with, and seek input from those who supported me in the Election and/or otherwise. Therefore, this represents my first effort to do so.WITH REGARD TO THOSE WHO SUPPORTED ME IN THE 2013 GENERAL ELECTION, OF COURSE, I DON’T KNOW WHO ALL OF YOU ARE, BUT I DO KNOW THAT THERE ARE AT LEAST 2,194 OF YOU, AND I DO KNOW THAT MANY OF YOU ARE HERE ON FACE BOOK. If you know of others who supported and/or still support me, but are not here on face book — please share this correspondence with them.
I also articulated to Commissioner White during the above referenced phone conversation that my participation is dependent on the condition that there will be ample opportunity for what ever recommendations these ad-hoc committees come up with — to be vetted (subjected to examination and evaluation) via the broader community — BEFORE they are formally submitted / recommended to the full Board of Education. He agreed that this is an important step, and that it will happen.
Thus far, the parent engagement ad-hoc advisory committee has two meetings scheduled. THE FIRST ONE IS THIS EVENING, AND THE SECOND ONE IS SCHEDULED FOR FEB. 18TH. I sent Commissioner White a note expressing my belief that it is NOT realistic that any committee could come up with quality recommendations in the course of two meetings. His response was that he is leaving it up to the various committees to determine additional meeting dates. Thus, this represents one of the first issues that I will put on the table this evening, i.e., the need to schedule additional meetings. AGAIN, I SINCERELY APOLOGIZE FOR THE LATENESS OF THIS CORRESPONDENCE, BUT PLEASE KNOW THAT (FROM THIS POINT ON) — I WILL MAKE EVERY POSSIBLE EFFORT TO KEEP YOU ALL INFORMED — IN A TIMELY MANNER.
At this point, I am not aware of who other members of the parent engagement committee are. However, I will report this information as soon as I know. Nor am I aware of who any members are of the other three ad-hoc committees (student achievement, student and community safety, and concentration of poverty). However, in my view, as part of keeping the broader parent / family / general tax-paying community informed, and maximizing opportunities for broad-based input, support, and buy-in — I would suggest that the names of all committee members should be made public.
I KNOW IT’S LATE, BUT IF THERE ARE PRESSING, SPECIFIC, CLEAR ISSUES THAT YOU BELIEVE I SHOULD TAKE TO THE TABLE THIS EVENING, AND / OR ANYTIME IN THE FUTURE — PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO LET ME KNOW.
The Struggle Continues…
SEE THE FOLLOWING LINK: http://minorityreporter.net/fullstory/fullstory.php?id=1700