Monday, March 24, 2014

Selection of Parent Members to Superintendent's Learning Committee Delayed

We have received the following comment from Parent Jill Quinones who asked us to publish it as a free standing post. Because we believe the topic covered is significant and addresses the "process" being used to select parent members to the Superintendent's Learning Committee, we have agreed.

Comment from Ms. Quinones:

"You can post this as a stand alone under Superintendent learning Committee and see how many other Blog readers applied and if any "missed" the communications....

Below is my email to Dr. Schuster when she announced today she was extending the deadline for applications to the Superintendent's Learning Committee and her response. I would have had more respect if she had just said, "you are right, we felt the applicants were too controversial and we were hoping there were some neutral folk out there.""

#1 on my wish list for a new Superintendent - one who is honest and transparent.

Dear Dr. Schuster and Board of Education,

Without looking to jeopardize my own application, I feel as if I have to write to you to express my displeasure over today’s decision to extend the deadline to submit applications to be considered for membership on the Superintendent’s Learning Committee. This extension will only serve to delay the committee from starting its work.

While I hope my conclusion is incorrect, this extension appears to be a thinly veiled attempt to manipulate the parent membership on that committee. I have drawn that conclusion based on the reasoning sent out today as to why it was necessary to extend the deadline and what I know about each "reason."

(1) Some schools are not yet represented in the applications received by the original deadline – while I applaud you in trying to seek out a parent representative from every school and the diversity that will bring to the committee; the fact is, you may never get a parent to volunteer from each school. Moreover, I personally know of parents who have applied for membership on the committee from both middle schools and four of the seven elementary schools. I am sure there are others of which I don’t know about as well. If you need to leave the application period open to try to get parents from the three unrepresented schools, I understand that, but parents who met your original deadline should be the ones who are considered from the schools they represent – unless, of course, you are trying to manipulate membership.

(2) There have been requests from parents for an extension as they had not seen the opportunity in our recent communications – for the life of me, I cannot imagine how a parent missed the communication on this one. News of the potential for a committee was included in the February 7 Newsletter sent around by Ms. McGuiggan to families and Key Communicators. It was discussed and included in the Board Docs for the February 10 Board Meeting. The call for applications was posted to the D181 website and included in the D181 E-News sent by Ms. McGuiggan to families and Key Communicators on March 7. It was publicized in the Suburban Life and Hinsdale Patch online on March 11 and 17, and probably other places as well. At Walker School and others, it was linked on the PTO website either directly or by a link to the District website .A reminder of the deadline for applications was again sent around on March 21 from Ms. McGuiggan to all families. If many parents missed this communication prior to March 21, it would be surprising. And if a few did and contacted you, then give them an extra few days to submit their application, but do not stop the entire process for another three weeks (two more weeks to accept applications and another to choose membership). The school year will be almost over before a first meeting can be called.

(3) The search for a new superintendent is progressing rapidly, and by extending the deadline for applications, the new superintendent may be able to participate in the committee member selection process – What? Even the most aggressive search will not have a new Superintendent approved much before May 31, and it could be later than that. If the new Superintendent is already employed somewhere it is doubtful that he or she will place selecting parental curriculum committee membership as a high priority prior to July 1. If the intent was to get this committee up and going this year (I think it was originally posted as membership term of 2013-14 and 2014-15), then this third reason is really a reach.

I would urge you to reconsider this extension to the general public and limit it to parents who contacted you and schools from whom you have no candidates. The original posting did not have you announcing membership until March 28. Using that original date the committee can start its important work soon after Spring Break. Additional members from missing schools, if any apply, can be added as you select them.

Thank you,

Jill Quinones

Her response (and no, she didn't sign it):

Dear Jill,

Thank you for your email. I appreciate your perspective and expected some of the people who met the deadline to feel the same way. I weighed that perspective with that from the parents who missed the other communications when making the decision to extend the deadline.



Anonymous said...

This is not surprising. Why not allow all who apply? The ones that are passionate and committed will attend the meetings. This way there isn't the politically chosen few.

Anonymous said...

I agree that there has been plenty of time for parents to step up. If they haven't by now, in most cases they won't, and, as Ms Quinones suggests the application period could be left open for a few days or weeks in specific circumstances. THe parents on the committee will not have any decision-making authority but, I believe, will be there to provide input from a parents perspective. Parents who have been in the district a long time, have/had children in more than one school and who regularly attend BOE meetings will be in the best position to contribute to the group and should be allowed to do so.

Anonymous said...

Doug Eccarious resigned, effective end of May.

Anonymous said...

This is a tremendous loss for our district, more so than the others who have recently bid their farewells. While most of his work was behind the scenes and out of the public eye, he kept our district running smoothly at the Human Resource level. This is one central administrator who did his job and did it extremely well. Well respected and highly regarded by staff, Mr. Eccarius will be greatly missed. District 204 is lucky to have him.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Doug's new position starts July 1st and he mentions, "During the remainder of the school year ...".

Anonymous said...

I always liked Doug sad to see him go

Anonymous said...

Anything mentioned tonight about administrators contract renewals for next year?

Anonymous said...

Contracts were renewed all of them

Anonymous said...

Mr. Eccarius was smart enough to know a sinking ship when he saw one! Good for him. Now he will work for a superintendent who has morals, knowledge, and the best interests of children and staff in mind. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Not sure what you mean. Really, how could the HR person's job be more important than the superintendents who are in charge of learning for our children. Perhaps if you are an employee, as I suspect you are, losing the nice director of HR would be the greater loss, though.

John Norton said...

Hi there,

I'm considering running for school board. I'd like to talk with folks concerning the various issues.

- John Norton


John Norton said...

Hi all,

I've applied to the Superintendent's Learning Committee.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Postdoctoral Doctoral Fellowship, Chemical Engineering, May to December, 2006.
PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering, May 2006.
MSE, Geotechnical Engineering, (non-thesis option), December 2004.
MSE, Industrial and Operations Engineering, (non-thesis option), May 2004.
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
MS, Environmental Engineering, June 1999.
BS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, 1993.
• University of Michigan Engineering Academic Scholar (2005-2006). Academic Careers in Engineering and Science (ACES) Program, University of Michigan.
• Rackham Outstanding Student Instructor Award (OSIA) nominee, (2003). University of Michigan, Rackham Graduate School.
• Outstanding Student Instructor Award (OSIA) winner, (2002). University of Michigan, College of Engineering.
Shawn R. Freitas, Master’s degree student, Applied Environmental Science and Technology, University of Alaska, Anchorage, AK. “The optimization of LED-enhanced biosequestration of flue gas carbon dioxide. ”
Benjamin Polak, undergraduate, Industrial and Operations Engineering, University of Michigan, (2004-2006), University Research Opportunity Program.
• 2005-2006 project: “Innovation and efficiency drivers in municipal systems.”
• 2004-2005 project: “The economic feasibility of decentralized water treatment systems.”
Ashley Rudolph, undergraduate, Economics, University of Michigan, (2004-2005), University Research Opportunity Program. “The economic benefits of distributed water treatment centers throughout the world.”
Kai (Lily) Wong, undergraduate, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan, (2004-2005), University Research Opportunity Program. “Efficiency of a drinking water treatment train.”
Lisa Gore, undergraduate, Chemistry, University of Michigan, (2004-2005), University Research Opportunity Program. “Optimal selection of chemical disinfectants to minimize DBP formation.”
Adjunct Faculty (Winter, primary Instructor, 2007; co- Instructor, 2008, 2009), Departments of Chemical/Civil Engineering/Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, ChemE/CEE/ENSCEN 686 Sustainable Engineering Systems. Course covered decision-making, system metrics, and economic evaluation of alternatives.
Instructor (2004, 2006), Co-instructor (2005), Summer Engineering Academy, Minority Engineering Program Office, University of Michigan. Introduction to Computer Programming course for the Summer Engineering Institute summer preparatory program.
Co-Instructor (2002, 2003, 2004), Summer Engineering Academy, Minority Engineering Program Office, University of Michigan. Introduction to Engineering course for the Summer Engineering Institute Professionals in Training Program (PTP).
Instructor (2002). International Graduate Student Workshop (IGSW), Summer 2002, Center for Research on learning and Teaching (CRLT) and English Language Institute (ELI). Coached teaching and presentation effectiveness for international Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) nominees.
Graduate Student Mentor (Winter 2001 through Winter 2003). College of Engineering, University of Michigan. Provided mentoring, support, and problem-solving and resolution to Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs), including classroom evaluation and feedback.
Graduate Student Instructor (Fall 1999 through Fall 2004). Teaching Assistant, College of Engineering, University of Michigan.
ENG 100 - Introduction to Engineering,
ENG 101 - Introduction to Programming,
CEE 445 - Engineering Properties of Soils,
CEE 351 - Civil Engineering Materials.
Adjunct lecturer (Spring 1999). School of Engineering and Applied Science, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. EGR 211 - Static Modeling of Mechanical Systems (Statics). Developed and delivered syllabus and course content, supervised student grader, assigned final grades.