Monday, January 27, 2014

BOE Meeting at 7pm, Elm School Tonight 1/27; The Real Status of HMS and Other District Program Changes Continues to Slowly Drip Out, If At All

(Taken from Wikipedia dripping faucet images)
As we reviewed the agenda (Click to open meeting agenda.) we were shocked to see a lack of detail, yet again, on the status of district changes and the ongoing repairs that are occurring at HMS. Since the last BOE emergency meeting, there was a contradiction from Dr. Schuster regarding the possible return start date for HMS students and other concerns that we hope the board will raise this evening. The BOE parents and community members might also want to consider the following important issues:
  1. Why were teachers told last Thursday 1/23 that HMS would not reopen until Monday Feb 3 and parents not told simultaneously? Shouldn’t Schuster communicate the same information to parents as she does teachers?
  2. How much more mold was actually discovered and where?
  3. Why is there no mention of the additional costs that the district will incur as a result of this additional mold remediation work? No advance statements of additional costs have been mentioned. Will this be given as a surprise tactic at tonight’s meeting?
  4. We continue to see a lack of updates by Schuster and her administrators who have   been sitting silently for weeks while children and teachers struggle with automatic math acceleration. Why are there no updates?
  5. How are middle school students who have “opted in” performing in math this year? How are the new programs of Reading Fundamentals, Writer’s Workshop and Words Their Way working for students and teachers? Where are the presentations Kevin Russell and Dawn Benaitis should be making regarding student performance?
  6. What is the status of our Special Education students who, according to MAP and ISAT test results, are not performing in acceptable ranges? Why isn’t Kurt Schneider presenting updates?

Our administrators are being paid way too much to sit idly in front of computer screens, surfing the Internet or reading during board meetings. We have not seen updates in months all the while there are serious issues, as we have documented previously, concerning curriculum and student performance. Mark our words: Schuster will try to use her spin and downplay the time lines and amount of mold discovered at HMS while expecting very little from her administrators. Heck, we wouldn't be surprised if shel tries to “celebrate” herself and the assistant superintendents, even though it was mainly due to the hard work exhibited by Principal Pena, Martha Hendrickson, Rocky May, Gary Frisch, Doug Eccarius and Board Member Clarin that allowed students to begin their split schedule at CHMS. Were it not for these individuals, there is no telling what HMS students and families would be contending with at this point.

Bottom line: like our home faucets continue a slow drip to offset freezing in this extreme weather, so too does the information Schuster chooses to communicate continue to be watered down, scrubbed, and cleansed.

Drip, drip, drip…the lack of accountability continues….


Mr. Everett said...

While it may be said that the district administration is not fully answering the many questions that some concerned community members may have about decisions that are being made about the repairs at HMS as well the more consequential direction of academic matters, the fact remains that the BOE is headed by someone whose major qualification for office seems to have been an atheltic championship about three decades ago and a nice long email list...

Similarly the BOE has been less than forthcoming in explaining what motivated the majority to support a levy that was less than that recommended by district staff. Did they have some special alternate data that suggested the community would reward this fiscal conservatism? Even more odd the minorty of the BOE, that did seem to support the recommendation of staff seems to include some members that seemed most hardline in previous contract negotiations...

In short the lack of any kind of clear direction from the broad community as to whether the district expenditures are widely supported / widely seen as wasteful / somewhere in-between seems to suggest that few people really care one way or another.

The dysfunctional behavior of "squeaky wheels" swaying a BOE that lacks any real guiding principles continues to reflect poorly on a community that ought to be doing much more to proactively advance the outcomes for kids from every strata.

The creation of the agenda for BOE meetings has traditionally been the responsibility of the president working closely with administration. It is always difficult for those outside to really know who is not up to the task...

The traditional calendar for the district addressing either current curricular successes or future modifications is still several months out. It may be helpful if folks that like to increase participation in such discussions would recall when there were regularly scheduled sub-committees for such things and perhaps urge the BOE to return something that would allow broad participation in such discussions.

Finally the "daily updates" that Mr. Clarin has asked for almost certainly would serve no useful purpose to be dessimanted beyond the BOE itself -- folks that expect every bit of raw info to be spewed forth from district adminstration have a poor understanding of how any entreprise, public or private, really operates.

Anonymous said...

Has Jim Prusa been put on Administrative leave?

Anonymous said...

Why don't we have a firm date when Dr. Moon is coming?

Why are we hiring a TASH presenter(social justice crusader) for this district?

Why do we have a substitute teacher shortage? Maybe the teachers' contract needs to be looked at more closely.

Really when is a good time to consider curriculum changes?- since it seem as if it takes forever -

Why didn't the administration let us know that this Learning for all plan was based on the non-negotiable priniciples of inclusive learning? Probably because we'd vote it down-differentiation and tiered learning has served this community well-not to say there wasn't room for improvement and some changes. Learning for All just makes our district like many of the lower ranked districts in the state. Does this mean we should pay our administrators and teacher less-hmmm something to think about.

Anonymous said...

Isn't likely that "inclusive learning" means different things to folks that authored the report than the critics may think? Like maybe that district is certainly not going to have segregated rooms for special education or ESL ...

Changes in public schools should take a methodical, deliberate approach and the former practice of having open sub-committee meetings allowed for more careful consideration of how any change might be beneficial.

If the members of the BOE do not have time for sub-committees they ought to rethink their decision to serve.

Anonymous said...

Oh give me a break! No one is advocating segregated rooms for special ed or ESL.

Concerned d181 and d86 parent said...

How about the impact long term on the community? When the current elementary students and middle school students reach high school we may possibly see a sharp decline in high school performance. HCHS has carried this community in being known as one of the best public high school districts in IL. What happen when test scores start slipping? Who will be blamed then? In my opinion, it starts at the elementary school level.

Anonymous said...

What about other tile that may have been removed as part of the clean up when the students were at school during the water intrusion event?