Thursday, January 30, 2014

Schuster Finds A Way to Delay the Reopening of Hinsdale Middle School until Tuesday, February 4.

Dr. Schuster plans to prolong the split shift schedules at CHMS one more day, with the "Open House" at Hinsdale Middle School for the community not taking place until Monday night (2/3) and HMS not reopening for students until Tuesday, 2/4.

WHY you may ask?

Dr. Schuster emailed her daily update on the HMS mold remediation progress to the D181 community at 6:15 p.m.   It is copied below.  FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, she states that before HMS can reopen, representatives from the architecture firm of Healy Bender and the Dupage Regional Office of Education will complete a walk through on Monday "as an extra measure to ensure the school is ready."


Why would Healy Bender OR the ROE need to "complete a walk through?"  Why are their eyes needed to "ensure the school is ready?"  What has their involvement been in the mold remediation process that has kept HMS closed since January 17?  The answer is NONE!

At last Monday's Board meeting, Healy Bender got the Board to approve nearly $400,000 in soffit work and wall replacement work still needed to close open air gaps at HMS that are allowing cold air to enter the building.  But those gaps will still exist when school reopens because the repair work is not scheduled to happen before then.  But that's it for Healy Bender's involvement with this crisis!  They are not a mold remediation or water extraction company.  They are not the air quality and swab testing company.  What can they possibly do on Monday to "ensure the school is ready" to be reoccupied by teachers and students?

What about the ROE?  Yes, it has been involved in helping Dr. Schuster's administrators understand the requirements of the school calendar and has facilitated getting the permissions needed from the Illinois Board of Education to allow split shifts at HMS.  But that's it!  They have NO AUTHORITY of any kind to dictate whether or not HMS is "ready" to be reopened.

Did Dr. Schuster EVER allude to this type of "walk through" being needed or required in any one of the THREE board meetings held in the last two weeks to discuss the HMS crisis? Did she EVER say ANYTHING publicly or in any of her "daily updates" about adding an extra step to the long mold remediation process BEFORE the school could be reopened to students?  NO SHE DID NOT!


Why should the HMS students be forced to miss another 1/2 day of instructional time on Monday?  If the building is ready for TEACHERS to be in the building on Monday morning, it should be ready for the students!!

This leaves us scratching our heads and asking if Dr. Schuster is really so blatantly irresponsible to the educational needs of our students that she thinks she can test the patience of the D181 HMS parents with this ridiculous extension of split shifts at HMS? Or is something else behind the need to keep HMS closed until Tuesday?  Let's not forget that tomorrow is Friday, followed by a weekend.  Perhaps Dr. Schuster is once again planning to leave town for the weekend and would not be back in time for a Sunday night "Open House."  Certainly the community would expect that she be physically on site for this event.

We all deserve an explanation, because the "spin" and new "condition" that must be met before HMS reopens to students is ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE!!

It is time for parents to rally.  Call your D181 Board Members and DEMAND that HMS reopen on Monday, February 3.  Write them signed letters demanding accountability! We cannot sit back now and allow our students to lose any more instructional time.  This would not be in the best interests of anyone, except perhaps Dr. Schuster.

Here are the phone numbers and email addresses for the D181 Board Members:

Marty Turek:  630-654-1506
Jill Vorobiev:  630-325-9452
Mridu Garg:  630-468-2989
Gary Clarin:  630-920-9001
Brendan Heneghan:  630-920-9271
Michael Nelson:  630-323-8472
Glenn Yaeger:  630-887-7909

Email from Dr. Schuster:

"January 30, 2014
Dear District 181 Community,

This is our latest update regarding the progress at Hinsdale Middle School. Today, the SERVPRO crew continued the duct cleaning (to be finished mid-day tomorrow), completed another cleaning of the MRC carpets, and continued work on the floors in the science labs, second floor hallways, and stairwells adjacent to the Student Services office. The temporary heating units will leave the school tomorrow. Final cleaning will take place tomorrow and conclude on Saturday.

Integrity Environmental Services will begin sampling on Friday evening; they expect to have results in hand either Sunday or Monday. (We will post their report on the HMS Facility Updates webpage with the previous reports we have received.) The Integrity experts have expressed their confidence that, based on previous testing they have completed, the school will be cleared for student and staff use.

As an extra measure to ensure the school is ready, we have asked architects from Healy, Bender & Associates and representatives of the DuPage Regional Office of Education to complete a walk-through of the school on Monday.

With this timeline in mind, the final day of the split schedule with Clarendon Hills Middle School is very likely to be Monday, February 3. HMS staff would have the opportunity to be in the school Monday morning, we would hold the Open House Monday evening (6:30 – 8:00 p.m.), and classes would resume at HMS on Tuesday, February 4. It is still possible this timeline could be shifted, but we feel confident that HMS will be open to students next week.

We will continue to provide daily updates until that time, and we look forward to welcoming the community back to HMS!

Dr. Renée Schuster


Anonymous said...

I am an HMS parent. I am completely disgusted. Who does Schuster think she is? Why is the board of education not calling an emergency meeting? I thought they were supposed to if HMS was not going to reopen to students next Monday? Do any of them really care about the students?

Anonymous said...

I am an HMS parent.

Schuster needs the Monday walk through with the architects and other school officials as part of her ongoing strategy to avoid all manner of responsibility.

Obviously we are not "Schuster Boosters."

Yvonne Mayer, D181 Parent and Former Board of Education Member said...

Here is a letter I sent to the BOE tonight. The kids need to get back to full time learning at HMS starting Monday. Please write the BOE members

To: Marty Turek,,,, Glenn Yaeger,, Michael Nelson

Dear Board of Education Members:

My husband and I received Dr. Schuster's email today informing parents that Hinsdale Middle School will not reopen until next Tuesday. In her email she says that the ROE and Healy Bender representatives will first complete a walk through on Monday to make sure the building is ready. She says they have already been invited to do so. I have attended the last 3 board meetings. This requirement, for lack of a better word, was never raised by Dr. Schuster or by any of you. It is absurd. My 8th grader needs to go back to school full time. So do the other 800 students at HMS.



Yvonne Mayer

Anonymous said...

I would also suggest sending this to the Illinois State Board of Education. The superintendent is Christopher Koch. Look it up on google, and you will see how many governmental agencies exist to support public schools in Illinois. Our kids could really use their help.

Matt Joyce said...

Parent of HMS student.

What's disgusting about the HMS environmental situation is the behavior of the "anonymous" posters on this site.

I hope no HMS students are reading these posts because the level of meanness and spoiled sense of entitlement is overwhelming.

If you don't like District 181 take your child out. We have one of the greatest school districts in the world!

Let the Board and Dist 181 do their job and quit second guessing them. Losers sit on the sidelines and snipe anonymously.

We pay 1%-2% of our home value for an award winning education. It's a good deal.

Quit whining and dragging us all through the mud.

Matt Joyce

The Parents said...

Mr. Joyce: You are certainly entitled to your opinion. We would encourage you to read through the entire blog so you might have a better understanding of why we choose -- as do many who submit comments -- to remain anonymous. Also if you do read our posts from the beginning you might realize that D181 home values, in our opinion, run the risk of falling over the next couple of years because of the curriculum, and now facilities mess, that exists at this time, under the Schuster administration. All is not as rosy as you make it seem.

Anonymous said...

I will agree with Matt Joyce on one point and that is that parents can't just complain anonymously. They do need to come forward. And I believe there have been many parents who have voiced their concerns, as well as teachers. And they need to continue to speak up. What I have to disagree with Matt Joyce on is the fact that if the Board and the Administration would do their job, there would be no problem. Matt Joyce, were you aware of the ongoing facility issues at HMS? Are you aware of the ongoing curriculum issues at the elementary level. Matt Joyce, do you attend board meetings? Sounds to me like you need to do some homework.

Whiner said...

Well I hope no HMS students were listening to the podcast last Monday since there was a crude remark made by an elected official! Folks may not be aware of the drive by nature of Dr. Schuster's presence in our district. The mess at HMS has only been brought under control it seems by the efforts of one board member, Mr. Clarin and not Dr. Schuster's ability to provide leadership in a crisis. She has proceeded to leave town in the midst of the chaos and used the HMS staff to hide her absences. These are the same people it seems who she told that she has a sensitive nose and there was no mold in the building. I mean really, are you kidding me. Our kids and staff were in a "sick building" and we should let this administrator continue to lead our district? I'm sorry but we are entitled to a safe school and we are entitled to a quality education if we are continuously being asked to pay more taxes and donate more money. You can find a number of utube videos of board meetings and blogs about other districts and see that parents are holding their administrators and elected officials accountable. We're not all going to sit here and pretend there aren't problems for the community members who don't send their children to the public school district and can afford private schools on top of the high taxes and for those homeowners who are just concerned about their home values. Our kids have been guinea pigs at HMS and they continue to be guinea pigs in an educational experiment.

Anonymous said...

Well said Mr. Joyce!! Why don't the owners of the blog provide your names and phone numbers so we can call you. It is clear that you do not represent "the parents" of d181!

Anonymous said...

I sure would like to know who “we the parents” are because you do not represent the overwhelming majority of parents that I network with that all have kids in D181 and support the efforts during this trying time. Please use your names when you represent “we” as you do not speak for the “community” of parents in D181.

Anonymous said...

Nice lipstick.

Anonymous said...

Based on the number of page hits this site gets it appears that a large number of people do support the views expressed on this site. If you don't, alternative view points are expressed in the Hinsdalean and the district correspondences. It is called free speech. Differences of opinion and critical thinking are okay.

I am a huge supporter of this site. It is a wonderful source of transparent information. However, I would urge the bloggers to remove the personal phone numbers of the board members. I do not think it is appropriate to publicize those or to phone board members at home. Emails are great, and you can include your phone number if you would like to personally chat with a board member.

Anonymous said...

As HMS parents, we post anonymously not for fear of attribution but out of fear of retribution.

Not fear of retribution for us, but for our two children at HMS.

The possibility that our two children could face retribution for the free speech of their parents is very real indeed.

Anonymous said...

To Mr. Joyce:

I respect your decision to state your name on the site. However, you make assumptions that are unwarranted. First, you are wrong to assume that the people commenting on the blog are just sitting on the sideline. I have not, but having been s--- on by this administration I choose not, at this time, to subject my child to further issues. My family has been very active for many years. Second, we don't have one of the greatest school districts in the world. We don't even have one of the greatest school districts in Chicago or even DuPage. That is the point of this blog--we used to have such a school district. If you have kids in the high school--see what district puts kids in the honors courses. Third, and most importantly, this blog sets out the facts for you and any other person to review. If you disagree, then you should rebut the facts and not make random angry attacks. From time to time, various persons have expressed your opinion--"let the geniuses do their work"-- and they have been challenged to present facts in support of their position. So, I challenge you to tell us, the readership of this blog, what facts you are aware of that support your view that the administration should be blindly supported. I respectfully suggest that you are woefully misinformed.

For example, the actual facts show that Marty Turek Yaeger and others have directly supported a sixties inspired "social justice" curriculum that is derived directly from left wing philosophies that are being pushed throughout the country. Do you support "social justice" philosophies that value purported equality above achievement. I don't. If you are pushing left wing philosophies in this district like Turek and Yaeger than I disagree with you.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Anonymous said...

As an HMS parent I believe that the traditional methods of petitions, speaking at board meetings, letters to the editors are passe and inneffective ...

Creating the potential of a financial impact are far more reaching to these educational deadbeats. Let's start by withholding real estate tax payments for 3 months. The late payment penalties are a small price to pay for the desired effect. Simultaneously, provide advance notice to D181 creditors in an effort to drive down the districts credit rating. Next identify holders of D181 debt and petition them not to buy D181 debt or extend credit to D181. Next, hold a local "Mold Day" where students become truant with parental support, maybe head to the Art Institute for the day. Keep the kids out of school to start the process of D181 not receiving Federal funds.

Anonymous said...

OK, we're HMS parents (6th grader and an 8th grader) ... Are we looking at this the right way ???

District 181 is ...
Not responsible;
Not reliable
Not trustworthy
Not honorable
Not really for the kids

Notsies ?

Anonymous said...

The ROE (or Regional Office of Education) issues Certificates of Occupancy for all public school buildings. The students cannot re-occupy the building until the ROE & most likely the Fire Marshall give the OK. I would think all parents would want this approval!

John Norton said...

Hi folks,

I'm concerned that the push to reopen HMS could jeopardize the efforts to remediate the building.

Specifically, I'm not confident in the testing protocol that the contractor is using to determine if the building is "safe" or not. I have emailed them and asked for it but have not received a response. (For what it's worth, I spent a decent amount of time talking to the ServePro folks and feel they are doing competent work, e.g., I believe the building will likely be in decent shape, but the tests may or may not confirm that.)

I would like to be more personally involved with the folks helping to propose a solution. Please feel free to email me. :)

- John Norton

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous post. Specifically, concerns raised about co2 levels and the HVAC system have not been addressed. Experts have raised these concerns at board meeting, but to date no air tests have been done to address this issue. Moreover, a simple cleaning of the ducts will not remedy the ventilation problems. Co2 in high levels can lead to headaches, concentration problems and mold.

Anonymous said...

Dear Matt Joyce,

I do not agree with you at all, but you are entitled to your opinion - regardless of whether or not you write your name. However, if you want to be factual, your estimate that only 1-2% of the value of your home goes towards D181 is wrong. If you check your tax bill, you will find that 91% of your property tax bill goes directly to the operating budget of only D181. This does not include the high school.

And as far as "award winning", basically anyone who goes through the lengthy application process for a blue ribbon gets it. There are quite a few schools within even just a 5 mile radius that have won it in the last few years. However, most schools do not bother to apply for it. It is sort of like Miss America - just because you won doesn't mean that you REALLY ARE the most beautiful and intelligent woman in America. Similarly, just because a PR person, or commercial, for example, claims that a certain product is "the best", does not mean that it is an unbiased reflection of reality. Of course, our schools are good, but you really are not fooling anyone when you keep dropping the standards every year, or if your audience has no idea what they should be comparing themselves to.

Finally, I was offended by you comment to "quit whinning" and "you are dragging us through the mud." You are basically blaming the victims, our children and their parents, for the crimes of our poor administration. Would you say, " Shut up and be quiet" to anyone who was not given what he paid for and was promised? Wouldn't you become upset if you called the police for help, but they never responded? Or if you paid your cable bill and never received the services advertised? I don't know you, but I have a feeling you would. And compared to what what we pay in taxes, and the much more significant value of education, I think your neighbors have every right in the world to be mad.

Please read up on the issues and begin listening to board meetings. I suggest that you listen to the recorded meetings from even just last April to now. You might be surprised by what you hear. Better yet, if you really want to help, volunteer your time like Mr. Norton just did. He even went to the board meeting last Monday and spoke. It will be interesting to see how the administrators handle his offer. Thanks, Mr. Norton! We appreciate your help!

Village Mom

Anonymous said...

Really? Why did the ROE and the Fire Marshall inspectors ever know that the roof wasn't up to code and that the pipes weren't insulated correctly?

Anonymous said...

Ignorance of the problems are not really an excuse. Just because you don't want to take the time to listen to a board meeting or read this blog, it does not mean the problem doesn't exist. Nor does it mean that if we shut our eyes tightly enough, the problems will eventually go away.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr. Norton for speaking up at the board meeting and for offering your help. Did the administration ever take you up on your offer of help? Did they follow up on your concerns about co2 levels and the ventilation system?

jay_wick said...

I very much respect the opinion of folks like Mr. Joyce. He has been an active member of both the school community at The Lane as well as overall Village of Hinsdale and his points about the foolishness of wearing "robes of anonymity" should be well considered. Such hiding makes too many people seem like the folks on the wrong side of history in places like Neshoba County, Mississippi. (google it if you don't know ...)

Fact is one can and should at least post in a way that links to a real identity if one truly feels strongly about these things.

I was at a recent school event and made a point of asking neighbors about how they felt about not just the current crisis at HMS but the overall questions regarding curricular issues and most folks were simply not as "inflamed" as those that hide behind sheets here. These are parents with students from across the spectrum of achievement that are very involved by any measure. That said, several parents did say that there is a lack of clarity about why some changes are being pursued as well as frustration over lack of input into the direction of the district...

Further I have asked several teachers in the district if the feel there is any significant disharmony among the staff. They feel no such thing. Their answers have been uniform in saying that they neither feel threats of retribution for voicing their frustration with lack of clarity / direction in curricular changes. They feel these are largely in response to the incoherent demands of aggrieved parents and a detached BOE that have unrealistic expectations.

I lay these problems largely on the BOE. Despite efforts to supply more of the "working info" on the district to interested parties through Board Docs the BOE members that ought to be be setting the agenda are instead engaged in hypocritical arguments against concerned parents. BOE members should be less afraid of getting too enmeshed in district operations and instead be driving the direction of the district forward. This requires using both a skeptics eye shoot down silliness and a clear sense of purpose to urge staff on to higher achievement in much the same way that respected members of the boards of Fortune 500 firms hold their employees to high standards whether their business is high tech products or high finance.

Anonymous said...

In the Village of Hinsdale, if you are just repairing your home, there is no need for another occupancy permit. I'm not sure there is any requirement for the ROE to inspect HMS. Maybe when it was first built, but I doubt it is necessary now. If it is necessary, then Dr. Schuster should have known about it before and let the parents know that this would be an additional requirement prior to opening the school back up.

Anonymous said...

So Mr. Jay--Wick, let me get this straight, the proof that the staff is not intimidated is that you asked them and they said they were not. Of course, if they were intimidated, then would they say anything to you. Perhaps you should walk right up to Dr. Schuster and ask her if people are afraid of her, if she says no, than would you believe her. Your proof is circular? Is it proof that other teachers, that don't have to talk directly to you in the open, have said just the opposite.

If you read through the blog, you would see evidence of the fear, including the results of administration surveys.

I think you are right that "most" people are not "inflamed." I am also sure that "most" people including yourself have not thought through the issues. What I find most interesting about posters such as yourself is that you never ever comment on the facts set forth on this blog.

For example, are you concerned at all with the fall in test scores and rankings? If not, why not?

Are you concerned at all that the curriculum that is being put into place is based upon a "non-negotiable" social justice philosophy that pretends that children do not have significant differences and asks the teachers to conduct all differentiation within the classroom. I see it as a far left wing philosophy pushed by left wingers like Turek and Yaeger. Do you think it is in mainstream. If so, why?

Are you concerned, or "inflamed" that as this curriculum has been put into place the test scores and rankings have dropped. If not, why not.

It is all well and good to talk about sheets, and moan about anonymity but having followed this blog for a while I note that people whining about the blog never ever say that the facts, directly available on the blog, are wrong. They never say the administrators are qualified, the test scores good, the curriculum changes beneficial for the children.

And that is why your comment is misguided. This blog is not really about the opinions of the commentators or the bloggers. It is about the facts that are collected and presented for all to see--the facts are not anonymous, although good luck getting the administration to turn them over. The facts don't have "sheets' (nice klan reference by the way) and if you actually believed that the administration was doing a good job, you would point out the facts that show how well they have done.

I doubt you will identify any such facts--that is why the administration relies on retribution and some, but enough, people are "inflamed."

I invite you, as I invited Mr. Joyce, to identify the facts that support the administration and the board.

Mr. Everett said...

Firstly I find this blog with its mysterious host cloaked in shadows to be sadly lacking in real facts. Instead through an abundance of innuendo and sensationalism that are the common tools of pamphleteers and rabble rousers a few valid issues have been brought to light. The hypocrisy of Mr. Turek is certainly one such issue as is the shockingly poor attendance of Mr. Nelson.

I assure you that I know the issues in far greater depth than folks that vote for BOE members based on specious email campaigns and similar popularity contests.

This is far from the first time I have seen the "squeaky wheels" loudly call for "action" and my fear is that just as past efforts pushed the BOE in directions that have proven not to be in the best interest of all students / community members the reckless calls to dump the administration while the BOE has no clear direction for improvement will result in not just more time and money wasted but further harm to the real issues that need to be addressed.

Many hear decry the "drop" in ranking some of our students. A more honest analysis of our district reveals what are arguably the most uniformly high test scores of any district with a similar number of schools /students. The degree to which this reflects either the poor quality of the tests themselves or the irrefutable relationship between parental income does give one pause as to the how much weight to give such measures. That said there ought to be a focus on choices made not just mathematics instructions but alll subject areas based less on "rankings" and more on sound principles. The noise of the aggrieve makes it harder to legitimately discuss things in a serious tone.

There is less controvery over some things that the state does not ojectively assess. Undeniable is the degree to which our schools have superior commitment to art and music instruction as well as welcoming parent volunteers and fostering a spirit of respect for all kinds of learning.

In the face of these laudable realities there are legitimate questions that one hopes might be answered.

There is never any real opportunity for the administration to articulate the direction in which they believe the district should be headed. Given the fury with which some folks react to hints of what the adminstrators may support, one need not wonder why administrators keep their cards so close to the vest.

In contrast there is quite a bit of opportunity for BOE members to demonstrate not just a specific direction but also an approach to governance / leadership. Unfortunately with the notable exception of Garg and Henegan the BOE members seem to go out of their way to avoid articulating their positions. I fully advocate the skepticism and commitment to complete answers that Garg and Henegan exhibit.

If there are specific instances of retribution this of course is unacceptable however one would think that given the ample protections afforded members of the district collective bargaining units any such abuses would be more widely known.

Similarly the boogeyman of supposed retribution would be the grounds for the kind of Federal lawsuit that other parents have undertaken if there was any valid claim ofd enied equality of educational opportunity ...

Maybe if folks focused more on the unanswered questions and less on other things a more unified voice could be more effective...

Anonymous said...

Eberhard, I mean Everett, you crack me up. After you posted the longest posts in the history of the blog, and you were challenged to provide facts to support your position, you claim that the blog is "sadly lacking in facts." What in the Matt Joyce are you talking about? What facts are sadly lacking--test scores, check, board minutes, check, internal board documents, check, resumes of administrators, check, curriculum plans, check. If there are any facts you think are missing, just come out and say what facts you want to see. To date, despite being challenged, and able to write the long posts, you have yet to identify a single fact that suggests that the bloggers opinions are incorrect.

I think debate is good, but simply claiming facts are lacking without citing any, or identifying the missing facts, shows you still are not informed.

Mr. Everett said...

The assertion that all this sheet-wearing is needed to protect against retribution is in someways the only thing that needs to be debunked. Poke holes in that and the pettiness of everything else is all that remains...

The logic I laid out, of the staff being well protected by their collective bargaining unit and any family/child that has a credible claim of harm by retribution would wise to seek redress in the Federal courts -- other district parents have noticed swift reaction to fillings that bring equal protection violations to light...