We will be posting a recap of last night's Board Meeting as soon as we can recover from what we heard last night. The meeting ran long, thanks to the fact that Mr. Turek was absent and Vice President Jill Vorobiev took the reigns of the meeting and allowed board members and community members alike, to ask questions, make comments and discuss (to some extent) the issues that were raised regarding the Learning for All Plan, School Rankings, School Improvement Plans and proposed major fundraiser to raise money for a new gym floor at CHMS.
Thank you Ms. Vorobiev for not shutting anyone down, not making "rat hole" statements and for listening. Perhaps you can permanently switch roles with Mr. Turek and become the meeting facilitator for all future meetings.
And most importantly, thank you to all of the parents who attended the meeting and stood up and made a public comment about the Learning for All Plan and/or School Rankings (ISAT scores). Your questions and comments were on point, appropriate and hopefully have opened the eyes of some of the board members.
While we prepare opinions and observations of what transpired last night, we suggest you all take the time to listen to the Podcast of last night's meeting, which is available on the District website. Until then, we leave you with one burning question and invite anyone who attended or listened to last night's meeting to submit a comment on what you thought of the discussion.
Question for consideration:
Why didn't Dr. Moon or any of her University of Virginia colleagues participate in the "Conversation" about the Learning for All Plan that took up most of last night's meeting, and that instead included "guests" from the Regional Office of Education and a former Secretary of the Department of Education?
We will come back to that question in our upcoming recap.
I attended the BOE meeting last night hoping to see how D181 was going to address special needs through push-in. Then I saw a lengthy presentation that shed no new light on how Learning for All is working...
The presentation was a bunch of statistics to support CCSS with speakers who support inclusion. Did I miss something is inclusion on the table? The one striking statistic was the IEP students progress in D181 (only around 50% meet targets) - that statistic alone says D181 is not meeting the IEP kids needs. I thought the Learning for All Plan was supposed to meet our children where they are... with appropriate instruction.
And unfortunately, one of the presenters from DuPage County's Regional Office of Education told us that parents had attacked him on our blog - which I could not find. Then he proceeded to take all the parents concerned about their kids to task for questioning D181.
The over and under on the meeting - I don't care about the numbers, I care about the kids learning... I do not need numbers to know my son is struggling with math... His tears and getting sick before math says more than the numbers.
What D181 is doing impacts our kids forever... not just the 5 -7 years that we are supposed to patiently wait for D181 to get it right. D181s test subjects are our children... Please focus on these children with faces, names and different learning styles. Want something to CELEBRATE: show me kids that own their learning - with 21st Century Skills... I hope that is the goal of CCSS and Learning for All!
Kim Nibeck Notaro, Oak Parent
I still am confused as to whast the district is talking about. I thought we had great special ed services. I thought people moved here for those services. Is this all about special ed, I don't think anybody wanted to change that except incrementally over time. This sounds as though the administration is creating a fantasy to justify its agenda, claiming that some people in the community don't support inclusive special ed.
Is there a clause in the board bylaws that a board member needs to attend a certain amount of board meetings to remain an active board member? There should be. We need to find this out. Maybe we can get rid of Nelson on these grounds. His statements at the last two board meetings were so out of line.
Dr. Schuster sent multiple parents this letter on Thursday.
Thank you for your email. It has been brought to my attention that some parents felt my letter was too positive. I do believe in studying success in order to lead the continuous improvement process, which does lend itself to a positive perspective. I also believe in acknowledging areas in which we need to improve. I tried to communicate this under the section of the letter titled ISAT Data Shows Areas to Celebrate, Improve when I wrote:
As our team of educators continues to review data from the 2013 ISAT, we will find many strengths and reasons to celebrate. Additionally, we know there will be areas needing improvement.
Tonight during the Superintendent's Report, we will be addressing the state rankings of our schools and district. In addition, we will be presenting a report about the district and school improvement plans. During these reports, we will be reporting how we plan to make improvements based upon data from multiple measures including the recent ISAT results. In addition, during the November 18 Board of Education meeting, our Department of Learning will be presenting a more in-depth analysis of the District's assessment results and plans to maintain areas of excellence and improve areas of need.
Even though our lowest performing school according to the Sun Times and Advantage Analytics rankings of the 2013 ISAT results, is still within the top 5% of Illinois schools, one of our goals is to increase consistency between all of our schools. This will be the focus of our continuous improvement efforts.
Dr. Renée Schuster, Superintendent
correction: Dr. Schuster sent the letter to parents on Monday.
Monroe Parent Said,
The simplicity of this Superintendent's letter is alarming and should be upsetting to all parents in this district. She refuses to see reality, only her interpretation of it. And she is encouraged by her willing cronies, Nelson, Turek, and Yaeger who also can't seem to see reality. Nelson, who has no children in 181 is totally disconnected and is against public comment and transparency, a word he "hates." He needs to go as does Schuster.
Interesting question... Where was Dr. Moon? My guess is that it wouldn't make sense for Dr. Moon or her colleagues to participate in a discussion about Learning for All. According to the News section on the Curry School of Education at the University of Education, Dr. Moon advised D181 on the most effective methods of gifted education, not "learning for all" as we have been told over and over again.
Pasted from Curry School website:
Curry Professor Tonya Moon and Associate Professor Catherine Brighton, both of whom serve as principal investigator for the Nation Research Center on Gifted and Talented, recently worked with the School Board of the Hinsdale-Clarendon Hill Elementary District 181 in Oakbrook, IL to determine the most effective methods of gifted education.
Correction - previous comment should say "Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia," not the "University of Education." My apologies...
Wow. I was at the board meeting on Monday. The board summary on the district website was not the same meeting I spent 4 hours at.
This mess is turning into a dire situation. MANY parents spoke up at the last board meeting but we were told that we are not educational experts - that we were not qualified to question the administration. That is the posture the majority of the board is taking. Also, TONS of parents have written letters, but still nothing is changing. The teachers need to start talking up through the union reps. I'm worried that nothing will change unless both the parents and the teachers start speaking out.
It would be wonderful if teachers felt they were safe to speak out. However, with the 'witch hunt' that is happening to find 'the brave teacher' who wrote to this blog and the nurse at CHMS, who had to endure a shouting rebuke from her principal for speaking honestly with a board member, the atmosphere for teachers is just not safe.
The previous post is scary. First parents are ignored, then threatened for speaking up and writing letters of complaints. No one answers questions, so parents and other board members are forced to file FOIAs, which then, are denied by the "majority" of the board. Now, teachers are being shouted at? What is going on in this district? How can the district say they support SELAS when things like this are happening? Someone on the administrative team needs to actually read Dr. Ginsberg's and Dr. Dweck's books and realize that admitting failure, and attempting to learn from mistakes only makes you stronger and better. Denying the results and downward trend of the district's own report card, and trying to put the blame on the common core is not making D181 any more Resilient.
Perhaps someone should alert Board Member Clarin, who is supposed to be reviewing the Donaroo "investigation" the administration conducted, that the "nurse" "had to endure a shouting rebuke from her principal for speaking honestly with a board member." Was the board member Mr. Clarin? If so, then the principal must be rebuked by the board for his intimidation tactics. Why would any principal shout at someone for being honest, unless of course, the nurse's honesty compromised his version of the story?
Nelson and Turek are bullies. Schuster is a bully. if you don't go with them, they haul out every signle middle school meanie trick to attack, names, hold your ears and go "nah nah nah nah", and feigned red faced rightgeous indignation to divert attention from legitimate criticism. What makes it even worse, is that the now have adopted the posture of the victim, poor misunderstood victims of community bullying to justify their tactics. That is why people don't speak out generally. They need to stop thinking about themselves and start thinking about the children.
Bull E. Ing
The purpose of this blog is to "assist our children and support their education, as well as to set a positive example, we ask commentators to avoid name calling or unfounded and sweeping allegation". REALLY? I have never seen anything but negative comments, name calling, and bullying. The few people that continuously post on this site do nothing but that. Maybe you should focus all of that negativity on something more productive. You are actually the real bullies here. If you have the solutions to all of d181's problems, why don't you step up to the plate and take on this thankless job!
I am an elementary school parent who "steps up to the plate" every day, when I go to my own job. My wife "steps up" when she works, and still makes time to volunteer at school, explain homework to our kids, and hires tutors when we can't figure if out. We vote and pay our taxes whenever it is required. No one forced us to have children or buy a house, so we fully acknowledge, and accept, the responsibilities, and joys, that both of those responsibilities entail. But for the life of me, I can not figure out why person who wrote the bitter post above sympathizes with the administration of District 181.
From your last sentence,"If you have the solutions to all of D181's problems, then why don't you step up to the plate and take on this thankless job!", I take it that you are an administrator, or extremely sympathic to the administration. Maybe you are a brainwashed board member. At least, I give you credit for acknowledging "all of District 181's problems". That is more than Dr. Schuster and Dr. Schneider are doing. But you are very mistaken in that it is a "thankless job".
We parents have our own jobs, and every month, are expected to perform. "Thankless" jobs belong to those of us who are not paid equitably, work without perks like health insurance and benefits, or who work for nothing at all. Unlike you, when we lose clients, or when our profits fall, year after year, we lose our jobs. Don't you think WE work with demanding clients? Of course we do. And because we need to convince them to come back to do business with us again, we actually listen to them so that we can better serve their, not our, needs. You, on the other hand, know that every day, your customers, our children, will come knocking on your door whether or not you are prepared for them. You will reap the benefits of our hard earned dollars, and not ever have to worry if you "made earnings", "won the trial", or "closed the deal". You are untouchable! What a luxury in this ecomomy and era of government shut downs, to get paid a guaranteed salary and pension regardless of performance. The few people who have jobs like this truly have quite a bit to be thankful for.
While I listened to the podcast at home, my wife was still at work. I didn't feel like paying a sitter to go listen in person so I could hear more spin. I heard Dr. Schneider trying to impress some visitors. He should have been trying to impress us, the taxpayers and parents - his bosses. He should have had answers for the many parents that wrote last week, or at least, had an action plan for the "complaints" on this blog, but he did not. He just convinced someone who had no knowledge of our district, to get up and chastise us for complaining on a blog. We we were accused of having been born with "silver spoons in our mouths", and of having unreasonable expectations. After all the parents spoke, no one said anything . Finally Dr. Schuster admitted she "heard" us, but what will she DO! It is offensive and negligent for D181 to contine ignoring us while the administration continues to "celebrate" their rankings!
To whomever wrote the previous post, I can tell you are frustrated. You don't know what to do. So please, do yourself and our children a favor, and leave. It would be the right thing to do. It is time for this administration to get off the field and go home. Your time at our plate, at our park, with our players is up. Give yourselves a generous, 5-7 years in the minor leagues to learn some skills and improve your game. It is time for a new team with the knowledge, the know-how, and the WILL to serve our children so we can quickly get the district back on track. There a lot of people out there who would be thankful for the opportunity.
The commentator who actually considers the bloggers bullies ( or pretends to) lives in an up is down down is up world just like Schuneiderussell. The blog cites to facts. Virtually every single post is supported by actual documents. If you actually thought the bloggers werw wrong, you could check out the facts and offer a contrary view.
Since when in America are facts bullies. SInce when in America are we afraid of facts. By contrast, the administration hides everything, if you asked where to find Hinsdale Middle School they would refer to you the policy report of a joint task force, and then block out the actual address and say trust us, its there. They can't tell you why they do things, what the results are, what results to expect, or what data or theories support what they are doing. Why don't you ask them these questions,? They won't answer them because, as the blog makes clear, they don't know. Thats not how I think we should do things in this country.
Does this sometimes invite commentators to use humor to identify the failings of Schuneiderussel, yes. I am sorry if you left your sense of humor behind in Missouri or Arizona or wherever you came from, but that is not bullying either.
What makes your comment so, frankly, embarassing for you "anonymous" (if that is in fact your name), is that the post itself noted that we actually had a consultant who made proposals, we paid the consultant money to make the proposals, and the payment included a return trip which was never made. So, if you actually read the post before banging out your comment you would have seen that we had actual plans that were jettinsoned.
What is also striking about your comment, and what likley tags you as an angry administrator, is that all your empathy goes toward highly paid, secretive, adminstrators and none for the children.
Don't Let the Door Hit You On The Way Out
"Schuneiderussel" is so clever! Let's be more inclusive, though. We don't want to leave anyone out. How about "Schuneidsselligoitis"- that's better. It sounds more like a disease.
I am a former board member who "stepped up to the plate" many times during the 4 years I served on the D181 Board. What did it get me? Unless I agreed with the Administration and the Board "majority," any questions or criticisms I voiced or concerns I raised regarding the program changes that were being proposed, were discounted and then, to compound things, I was "bullied" both during open and closed session meetings by my fellow Board Members -- both verbally and physically. When I decided to "play ball" and vote yes on the Advanced Learning Plan, I only did so in the hopes that the board would hold the administration accountable if there were issues raised with the program as it rolled out. When problems were brought forward, I and other current board members and community members asked questions and asked for data. Rather than answer these questions in a truly transparent fashion, we have been chided, criticized and called bullies. It's no wonder people in this community are not willing to identify themselves.
Mrs. Meyer, after hearing your public comment at last week's board meeting, we heard that, for stepping up for our children last spring, you actually had a filled water bottle thrown at your head! In front of the superintendent, former board president Mike Nelson, and the rest of the board! Witnesses saw that it actually happened, and the whole event is on tape......somewhere. Too bad D181 doesn't think FOIAS apply to them. So now we know, when the public dissents with D181, they will get physically assaulted! If physical attacks like this are swept under the rug in D181, what else is? If this was done to you, a board member, what chance do we regular people ever have of having our dissenting views considered? Too bad the only person with the spine to admit seeing it was board member Brendan Heneghan. Now, do blog readers understand why bloggers in 181 don't sign their names? If vigilante justice, threats, assaults and lies rule in the school district of that Kirk Dillard's kids go to, just imagine how bad it is in the rest of Illinois.
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