The online Superintendent survey that the Board of Education is conducting to gather information from the community is now "Live" at the D181 website at the following link: http://www.d181.org/board-of-education/surveys-and-engagement/index.aspx. When the page opens, scroll down to the paragraph titled Superintendent Search and click on the word "here" to access the survey.
The survey window is from today through March 25, 2014.
We want to express our disappointment that as of this morning, no official notice to the parents or community members has been issued by email. Nor did the board announce the survey dates during last Monday's (3/10/14) board meeting.
Does the BOE really care what the community thinks? Their lack of TIMELY notification speaks volumes.
With respect to the actual survey, we have just taken it. We are surprised that BWP did not include a "comments" question that would allow the responders to explain any of their answers or express concerns about the current leadership that they do not want to see repeated. BWP does provide the address below that people can mail additional commentary to, but in this age of technology, how many people are really going to MAIL a letter to the search firm? Why didn't they at least provide an email address?
BWP & Associates - Community Consolidated School District 181
872 S. Milwaukee Ave. #221
Libertyville, IL 60048
So we have taken the liberty of providing our readers with the email address available on the BWP website:
In addition, the D181 website page with the survey link has been updated to announce the Focus Group BWP will be hosting to gather more input on the qualities the community is seeking in a superintendent. The announcement states:
"A community focus group is being held March 24 at Elm School (7pm). All residents are welcomed to attend. BWP anticipates presenting a slate of candidates to the Board of Education in April."
We encourage you to spread the word on both the survey and the focus groups yourselves, rather than wait to hear from the BOE. Overall, a very disappointing start to the superintendent search.
What is the Board's problem? Look's like there is also another survey that went live today that is also "announced" on the D181 website page referenced in the blog post. That survey is called "Illinois 5 Essentials Survey." Why haven't we been told about that survey this year? I remember last year the administration literally bombarded the parents with reminders that we should all take that the 5 Essentials Survey. Why isn't the administration doing that this time around? Is Schuster such a lame duck that she doesn't think she needs to do any part of her job? Why isn't the board insisting that the D181 website at least announce both surveys on the homepage and send out an email announcement?
No transparency, again.
I just checked my email archive and last year, between January 11 and March 22 HMS parents received at least 8 emails from Administrators announcing and then reminding parents to take the 5 Essentials Survey. The first one came out long before the survey was even available and then all during the survey window, we were bombarded with reminders. Why the change this year? Nothing at all has come out this year (that I could find) announcing the 5Essential surveys. What's the Administration's excuse for dropping this ball?
I agree that the board of education must do more than bury the survey link and focus group announcement on the D181 website where the only way to currently find it (unless you read this blog) is to first open the Board of Education Link, then Open the Surveys and Engagement Link.
If the board wants to regain the trust of the parents and community members in this district, they need to be more open!
I just receive an email from my child's principal announcing both surveys. Why didn't the superintendent survey announcement come from the board president? The board, through its president, needs to encourage parent participation in the survey and focus group!
Me too, from Monroe principal.
So parents are now getting emails from their principals. Great. But how is the rest of the community going to find out? Wait for Thursday's newspapers to come out? That will leave very little time left open in the survey window, although a bit more time to put the focus groups on the calendar.
Perhaps certain administrator(s) and board members are "out of town" or just getting back from a long weekend out of town? Could explain why they dropped the ball on timely announcements. If not that, its even more inexcusable!
I think we need to stop thinking the worst and try to give our feedback constructively.
While we appreciate our loyal readers suggesting possible superintendent candidates, we would invite you to send an email or a letter to BWP, the search firm that has been hired by D181. Our purpose, as always, has been to create awareness and to seek transparency on many issues facing our district; we do not wish to influence or have an impact on the integrity of the superintendent search process. So, with that being said, we are removing any comments that reference the names of possible superintendent candidates as way to ensure the district search process upholds the utmost integrity.
We invite followers of this blog to send narrative comments and recommendations directly to BWP via email: email@example.com
Or by traditional mail:
BWP and Associates – CCSD 181
872 S. Milwaukee Ave.
Libertyville, IL 60048
You will also be able to voice your concerns or suggestions at the upcoming BWP Focus Group forum on Monday, March 24, 7pm at Elm School.
Please note that when you complete the 5Essentials survey, unless it asks specifically about the District, you are answering about your SCHOOL, NOT the DISTRICT. If there are things you like about your school, but not the District, and you answer negatively it will result in your school being viewed negatively. If enough people fill out the survey, it is valuable data for the building, but was never meant to be a District satisfaction survey, unfortunately.
What ever happened to the results of last years 5E survey? They were not very forthcoming about The results of those surveys. Was it because the results were so bad?
Then you are in a catch 22. If you are happy for your school but not the district and you answer positively for your school, we all know the admin and boe will proclaim people are happy. But if you answer badly for your school to avoid this your school suffers. Having been burned by this before I am willing to sacrifice my school.
Remember the fall survey where the BOE and admin decided NOT to include a satisfaction question on L4A? Well, the BOE and admin (and Dr Moon) are now using that survey to try and say that 84% of parents are happy with L4A. I have learned that the BOE and admin cannot be trusted with these survey. Therefore, I agree with anonymous above - the individual schools must be sacrificed otherwise the admin and BOE will say people are satisfied with L4A. They could have avoided this by sending out a satisfaction survey - like many parents repeatedly requested. They have no one to blame but themselves.
Sacrifice the schools? Wow some people have lost their minds in all this. By "sacrificing" our schools you are punishing our teachers and principals for your own personal agenda. Remember this isn't a survey put out by our district, therefore you will be damaging the careers of the people at the bottom of the pyramid. Your "threats" against the board will go unnoticed and the rest of our community will suffer. Anyway a big THANKS for being a part of the problem and not the solution!
I just took the 5Essentials Survey. The problem I have with this one, as well as the Sup. Search Survey, is that there is no Comments question or opportunity to explain your answer. Why is that? It makes it very difficult to really select a valid answer to many of the questions. Also, why wouldn't the 5Essentials Survey ask about the district leadership and only the building leadership? Principals simply follow the district directives in the area of curriculum. So if I have a problem with curriculum and my only choice is to slam the building leadership and not the district leadership, what am I supposed to do?
"Personal agenda"?!? Sounds familiar, especially from the administration. Why don't you please do our children a favor and resign? Our children are personal.
We have given the administration many chances to help, yet they have continued to turn a blind eye. Unlike you, who have put your own needs above those of children, you are the one with a personal agenda - to contine receiving an undeserved paycheck.
The above post hits the nail on the head and correctly describes the problem with the survey that the "sacrifice the school" comments were referring to. No one is going to deliberately write awful things on a survey, but it is hard to separate out building leadership and district leadership in those questions. Also I am tired of people referring to parents who courageously speak out to protect our children as having personal agendas - especially when no one is protecting and helping these children. So stop with the shame on yous please.
If you "sacrifice the schools" you hurt the very people who are trying their best to help your children. Teachers and principals didn't create this mess and shouldn't be punished/held accountable for it. Educate yourself about the origin and purpose of this survey. It is not the place/opportunity to address the L4A concerns many of us share. The best course of action is to answer the survey on a building to building basis and then send a comment to the admin. and BOE expressing your frustration. Until parents are willing to stick out their necks a little and write/speak to the BOE, Marty will continue to proclaim that all is well. Attacks on teachers and principals who are trying their best to educate our children just turns them against parents. We need to be on the same side of the table and move forward together to fix this problem. To do otherwise is short-sighted and, ultimately, will not help our students. Facts and information to the BOE (the rational ones who will listen) are what is most helpful. Additionally, letters to the search firm will help to ensure that we hire the best candidates.
Educate yourselves? Where have YOU been the last year, because you onviously haven't been to any board meetings or listening to podcasts. Nor have you been in the approximately 20 meetings with teachers, principals, lawyers, and administrators that I and others have been to all year. When the men (except Heneghan) are so chauvenistic to disregard the very mothers (who have more education that those same male board members) who care for the children who they supposedly represent, I need the teachers and principals to have our backs. If these employees don't stand up AGAINST the problem, then they are part of the problem.
I agree with the above comment. Parents can not do this alone. Yaeger said himself at the last board meeting that what teachers are telling parents are very different from what they are telling the board and administrators. We understand they need their jobs, but we are not asking them to lie. Teachers need to tell the truth and show parents that they truly care about what is best for children.
At least 2 new administrators are coming in a couple months. Now is the ideal time for staff to step up and make a change for the better. Parents want to support our schools, but we need some respect and cooperation from them, not excuses.
I just took the 5 essential survey and I agree that it is flawed. It asks you to link your satisfaction of the curriculum with the leadership of the school. And that is what all the above comments are getting at - it is impossible to answer the question because curriculum relates to administration/district level decisions. I also agree that a few posters need to review podcasts of recent BOE meetings. Parents have been writing letters, offering suggestions, and trying to be a part of the solution for some time - only to be ignored and personally attacked. We are the stakeholders of the community and continuing to ignore parents is simply not okay.
I also had trouble answering some of the questions on the 5 essential survey. It says to answer once even if you have multiple children. It then asks you specific questions about the communication style of your teachers. It you have 2 or 3 teachers with different levels of communication, how do you answer the question?
With all the discussion going on about the lack of "satisfaction surveys," it occurred to us that perhaps we could create one and post it on the blog for people to fill out. Before we work on creating one, we'd love to hear from our readers. If enough people show interest, we will write up a separate post announcing that we are developing one and asking people to submit questions they might want included. So please weigh in!
Great idea about creating a survey, but if you don't have the names of people on it, no one will listen. I think this is a job that the Board of Education needs to make the administration do. We are paying them to do it, so they should. Parent volunteers should be allowed to supervise the process and help create the questions.
I agree that we need a satisfaction survey, but I worry that it will not get attention if the blog does it. I think it should be a BOE survey not an administration survey. They should do it to help them formulate an educational philosophy and they should solicit questions from the community. And the BOE should send out letters encouraging people to complete the survey. Now that would be transparency!
Totally agree with last comment. The BOE should request the survey from our extremely high paid administrators.
Any suggestions on how to convince the school board to do this? There's been discussion about it at board meetings by Board Member Garg and so far nothing has come up it.
That is the million dollar question.
Does anyone know if the BOE plans on meeting before April 1? There are a few contracts(Learning Dept) that will be automatically renewed if they don't meet and vote. If they trim some positions, they may have more money for an excellent superindendant. Just a thought.
Oh NO! Is the BOE really planning to renew the contracts of these administrators? Please someone stop the madness that is taking place. We are the most top-heavy district in the area. These people all have a vested interest in keeping L4A going, from doctoral thesis to speaking circuits.
Word on the street is that the BOE was flooded with emails not to renew our administrators' contracts, but that the majority of the BOE did not think that it was an issue that the community had a right to weigh in on. It looks like they chickened out of taking a public vote on the issue and are relying on a safety clause in the contract that specifies that they automatically renew if the BOE does not renew them before April 1. It is the BOE's job - and primary responsibilities - to renew these contracts - but they took the easy way out. In all prior years the BOE has had a public vote on these contracts. The majority of our BOE is out of control and there should be some checks on their power. Do they not have any respect or consideration for their neighbors?
They do not. They do not even have respect for D181 Policy 8.095, which clearly says the administration and the board of education are required to keep parents informed, but they have chosen to ignore it.:
District 181 Policy Manual Section 08 - Community Relations Parental Involvement Number 8:095
In order to assure collaborative relationships between students' families and the Board of Education and District personnel, and to enable parent(s)/guardian(s) to become active partners in education, the Superintendent shall develop administrative procedures to:
1)Keep parent(s)/guardian(s) thoroughly informed about their child's school and education.
2)Encourage involvement in their child's school and education.
3)Establish effective two-way communication between all families and the Board of Education and District personnel.
4)Seek input from parent(s)/guardian(s) on significant school-related issues.
5)Inform parents/guardians on how they can assist their children's learning
.6)The Superintendent shall periodically report to the Board on the implementation of this policy.
We still have no idea which specific teachers are even on our district's infamous Math Committee! In 1st grade, our children are taught to write their names on their reports. Yet for the second time in a year, this committee has made a public presentation and report without even writing their names on it? Very unprofessional. Why does the board not require this basic requirement from our well paid staff?
The BOE does,, however, become angry at meetings and demand "respect" from parents to be quiet, yet they feel free to ignore us, contracts, policies, and historical precedence.
They are failing in their duties to children and constituents.
Oak's fourth grade class is on unit 5.8 for math and is slated to complete fifth grade by the end of the year. They have high scores and all appears to be well. Last year they outperformed all the other schools.
The other elementary schools have fourth grade classes on unit 5.3, 5.4 and 5.5. Why is one school half a year ahead and still continuing to outperform the other schools? Why a year later have we not analyzed the differences?
Is it because Oak is smaller and has less struggling learners and therefore it is easier to move at a faster pace (remember each school has to move as a group to the next unit). That would suggest that larger schools or schools with more IEPs are at a disadvantage. Do advanced learners in those schools need to move to Oak to get appropriate differentiation?
Or does Oak group differently? Do they group students based on aptitude and not exposure? Are the the groups static or do they change with each unit? How much teacher switching is there? Why is no one answering these questions and why do we have such differences across schools?
This is year two and again Oak is outperforming the other schools. Yet there has been no analysis as to why. And collaboration is not working - it just means more substitutes in the classroom.
Fourth grade parent who wants answers
There are many questions, and data that we have at our fingertips yet as far as we know it-those questions aren't being asked.
I've said this before, and I've emailed the BOE-It's March-why are most of our children only on Chapter 5 in Everyday Math-there are 11/12 Chapters. What is the likelyhood they are going to complete the work. Why are certain grades/classes on Chapter 9 (one of my children) .
I've been concerned about the language arts program as well-feeling that there really isn't any vocabulary lessons, or grammar lessons. Ms. Garg submitted my questons and Dr. Shuster said we are using Reading, Writing Fundamentals and Write Source. Well, last year that Write Source grammar book came home at the end of the year completely UNCOMPLETED. Okay-grammar isn't fun, if that book didn't work for the teachers/students why not? are they too busy, do they need a better resource? those questions need to be asked. My children say they NEVER use the Write Source book (again, this year) Vocabulary, and grammar are mainstays of a Language Arts Curriculm -or am I wrong? Who is in charge here? Now our remaining administrators' contracts are up for renewel and the BOE isn't going to vote.
Maybe they are privy to much more information than the parents out here-I don't know.
HEY -- I am sitting at Elm school now. Quite possibly one of the least dynamic speakers ever, flipping through literally grey background slides about the Next Generation Science Standards it is no wonder that evaluators see too much classroom time being spent on "rote" learning methods...
Jay Wick: Thanks for the update. How many parents are there? Administrators? Teachers?
Jay, ask why we don't have science books yet and when they are planning on getting them? Is there a Science Committee too? I didn't bother going because I figured a new administrator would switch everything up anyway so I didn't bother going.
Jay wick-we feel your pain!
It's as if the administration and BOE( the majority) are just going through the motions to create the illusion that they value our imput, our concerns-yet their actions tell a different story. From the poorly constructed suveys, to the poor presentations, to the lack of probing, insightful questions from the majority of the BOE .It's all very telling. Sadly.
I'm sure there's a Science Task committe but no demands or timelines have been placed on them so who know-maybe in 5 years.
There were a pretty good complement of central office adminstrators, some principals, and teachers. Fewer than two dozen parents (wonder what certain members of the BOE would read into that...) and at least one BOE member that has been consistent in her clear desire to get more answers...
The problem is not just the not "non-dynamic" speakers that seem less than "laser focused" on improving science education, it is that the "next generation standards" themselves are filled with the kind of language that seems more designed to placate poltical constituencies than actually get more kids interested / excited / proficient in science -- look at this document: Next Generation Science Standards certainly fits with buzz word filled educationalese that some of our adminstrators seem so steeped in...
Why isn't our district already primed for really good science instruction? Is is realistic to expect that a district like ours MIGHT already have all the materials needed for hands-on science? Teachers skilled in methods of instruction that encourage inquiry and creative problem solving? Adminstrators that actively encourage a learning environent that encourages staff to work on delivering a top notch experience for all? I would argue strongly that some of those things were already in place prior to the district's foolish decisions to "degroup" learners.
Make no mistake, the current push for STEM Fact ought not come as a surprise to anyone. The NSTA has been "beating the drum" about a mismatch between our increasingly tech oriented world and instructional methods that are often indistinguishable from pre-Kennedy era "space race" science reforms. Has no one in our district been a champion for more modern methods & materials?
Honestly my expectations for this little presentation were not high, but when adminstrators act like the shifts to having kids read across subject areas and use mathematical skills to measure things are some kind of "major shift" I have a hard time not getting angry -- 35 years ago I myself recall have better science education! Mind you I went to a pretty run of the mill schools where "educational technology" included a black & white Zenith TV and phonographs that looked they could have been built by Thomas Edison himself!
Probably the most "enthusiastic" of the district's staff is sadly the one that has already announced they'll be leaving. Incredibly disheartening, and not much comfort in hearing even him say that they understand parents' concerns about only having their kids experince 5th grade (or any grade...) just once.
I also have to say I'm a little perplexed about even Mr. Bousquette's comments regarding the foundation -- am I alone in thinking a district like ours ought be funding the needs of the classrooms without help from a third party? Don't get me wrong, if there are costly "extras" that are way outside the range of "normal" educational expenses then the help of the foundation is a great resource, but if the district literally has not not "retooled" the materials for things like middle school "applied technology" in some time I have to ask why the heck not? I mean you would need to have been living under rock to not have some sense that everything from Lego Mindstorms to 3D printers have been part of the most technologically forward thinking schools for quite some time now...
It as though the more I look at things in our district the further behind the curve we appear to be in more areas. WHY IS THAT?
Wic, that last sentence......you're so spot on!
Exactly correct, Jay Wick. For your own sanity's sake, you probably don't want to start scrutinizing the language arts program anytime soon. Shocking how our district only turned to what last year, our administrators touted as the "new" balanced literacy, when other schools in much poorer districts have been teaching with balanced literacy techniques for over 15 years! HOW do our highly paid Department of Learning Administrators get away with this? Doesn't the Illinois State Board of Education monitor anything? Why isn't the ISBE out here monitoring why our board is allowing our administrators get away with such blatant incompetence?
You are not alone in wondering why The Foundation and PTO's are pumping in hundreds of thousands of dollars to D181, but our kids don't even have a a roof over their heads at HMS. Nor do they have science books or hot lunches in elementary schools. Why?? Oak Brook offers catered, organic lunches. Problems like this happen when there is not enough accurate communication between the community/donors and the administration. When no one listens to the teachers and parents complaining, and you only forge ahead with what's flashy and impressive rather than what's really important, a solid base of knowledge, problems occur.
When The Foundation and/or PTOs invested so much money in iPads, for example, they didn't take into consideration that teachers would be spending their professional development time on learning how to use iPads instead of figuring out how to compact 2 years of math into 1 without consulting the University of Chicago Everyday Math folks. Nor did we donors have any idea that no one from the district level would ever try to create some modicum of consistency throughout the schools.
Instead, a good superintendent should have insisted on teachers becoming experts in how to teach math, science, and language arts before lending shiny new toys to our 4th and 5th graders. Or that they would let a special ed administrator run around at conferences promoting a "social justice" agenda. 5th graders with atrocious spelling skills, not learning vocabulary words, or using the Write Source books? No problem! Pads can look up unknown words. Poor handwriting - so what, that's what keyboards are for! Too bad our high schools don't have iPads, though. And too bad our kids don't even have keyboarding skills before they leave 5th grade. Parents have been begging for more foreign language in elementary school, and especially Chinese. So why isn't the Foundation offering that? Instead, it is offered during our children's lunch time at expensive Language Stars rates. They should poll parents parents or, better yet, qualified experts on what the best things to invest in education are, not just allow themselves to be sold on the latest gadgets that sophisticated tech companies are hawking. And we certainly don't have to pay a fool from Virginia $50,000 to give us some clues.
Dumping so many gifts on our undeserving administration has allowed them to funnel cash reserves to their salaries instead of towards books and building maintenance. The Foundation should cut off all donations to administration until the BOE starts taking its obligations more seriously. Because we all give so freely, we have created a district that is spoiled and irresponsible in its responsibilities. The price of privilege doesn't JUST affect children.
I couldn't agree with the above comment more. Well said. And, in re: the Oak kids, they have a couple of things going for them: many super involved and informed parents who have been active in these BOE issues for years, great teachers and a knowledgeable principal who put off Ipads and other teacher distractions to focus on the basics and all of the curriculum changes. He was severely criticized a couple of years ago by some parents for "holding our kids back" but, in hindsight, he did the right thing. Oak kids aren't tutored any more than any other school's students and their third grade class last year was the largest in the district. I hope that the newly purchased Ipads don't prove to be a distraction now and take precious teacher training time away from the new math curriculum, science and implementation of the common core.
Oak is the only school that does not have fourth graders being tutored after school. This suggests that they have less struggling learners. This makes it easier to move through the material because there are less diverse learners. Advanced learners are being held back at the larger schools and schools with struggling learners because the group cannot move on until all the learners are ready. One size fits all only works at a school like oak and is not fair yo the other schools. They are half a year ahead and that is not due to iPads
It is not the iPads. Third graders do not have iPads. Oak's compacting success is mainly in third grade. It is something else.
I don't know if it's actually true that Oak has no 4th graders doing the after school tutoring. At least 10 kids were offered tutoring and all turned it down. Then what I have heard directly from a parent at Oak is that another "round" of kids were offered tutoring. I don't know if any of the second round kids accepted the free tutoring. Why was a second group identified only after the first group said no? How many in the first group are getting tutoring privately or having extended after school homework help from their parents? There are multiple ways to get tutoring.
Oak identified students who would benefit from the 4th grade tutoring program after school, but those parents declined the service for whatever reason....could be they are already tutoring their children after school on their own dime.
The inconsistency among the schools is a definite problem, but the real issue is whether or not these students in schools who are so far ahead are actually retaining the information. Common Core means diving deeper and Oak, for example, has plowed through the 5th grade curriculum. There's no depth and certainly things have been skipped. That's what compacting means and that's what has been done. Compacting should not be applied to entire populations of children. Oak parents (and all of us for that matter) should be concerned as to whether or not their children have in fact learned what they need to out of the 4th and 5th grade curriculums. Time will tell....PARCC starts next year based on Common Core and this district is not aligned in any way, shape, or form to Common Core. Whether or not we agree with what Common Core is doing to education, if this state has adopted it, then this district has to implement it. And they have not done so correctly.
After last night's depressing "presentation" about Next Generation Science Standards I watched some sports and the Blackhawk's win put me in a decent state of mind.
Unfortunately I started using google again this morning.
Here is middle school in Pennsylvania -- State College PA Middle School -- MakerBot
Another story about a Middle School in San Diego that teamed with UPS UPS 3D Printing Middle School Design Contest
Nearby Lisle Middle School is hosting a mini-conference this Saturday, one of the presenters from Fremont Middle School in Mundelein will be relating his experiences with 3D printing in the classroom Illinois Computing Educators is the leader in supporting and promoting innovative education for all.
Another story from Edina Middle School in Minnesota Edina School District has placed a high priority on “twentieth century literacy,”
I would ask a simple question: What has our district identified as our "high priority"?
Can the bloggers move all the science comments to a free standing post please with some kind of science title so people can more easily follow this topic? Thank you.
On the issue of the 5Essentials Survey and the board/admin's refusal to do any kind of parent satisfaction survey, here is an email I just sent to Bridgett McGuiggan, the D181 Director of Communications. I couldn't find the parent results anywhere on board docs or the D181 website. Has anyone else found them?
Subject: 5 Essentials Survey Question
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2014 09:43:27 -0500
Good Morning Ms. McGuiggan:
Parents have been asked to complete the 5 Essentials survey. I have done so. Last year, we were asked to do the same thing and at the November 18, 2013 board meeting (the survey results were on the agenda for discussion), Dr. Schuster and your Report to the the board made the following representation:
"State Report Cards, released October 31, include the participation rates of eligible teachers and students on the Illinois 5Essentials Survey, as well as a link to each school’s summary responses. School districts were able to determine independently if they wanted to release parent survey results. We are choosing to release the data, and we are currently working on compiling the responses ourselves, as the State left that work to schools and districts to be completed because the parent data reports were otherwise not publicly released."
I have highlighted in red the sentence in which you told the board that D181 was choosing to release the parent survey results data and was "currently working on compiling the responses."
Has the work you represented to the board would be done been completed and if so, have the parent survey results been published anywhere on the D181 website or presented to the board at a subsequent meeting and are available on board docs? I could not find the parent survey results anywhere and would like to see them, especially if I have now been asked to complete a second survey.
I look forward to hearing back from you with the link to where the parent survey results can be accessed.
D181 Parent, Taxpayer and Community Member
Did Dr. Russell mention at the science meeting last night that there would not be any collaboration with FermiLab, at all, if it had not been for a group of moms from The Lane School who went there to secure materials and speakers for their own Science Olympiad? Mridu Garg spearheaded the Science Olympiad last year, and she and her committee stumbled upon an entire library of STEM (math, science, and technology) books and materials there. Furthermore, there is a woman on staff there who, for free, consults with school districts in order to help them update to current STEM and common core standards. The only thing districts have to do to receive her help is make an appointment, and pay her gas money out to Hinsdale from Fermilab!
Incredible that our district had no idea about this information until we parents pointed it out to the board, in surveys, to teachers, and to principals. We must thank the parents on last year's Science Olympiad committee at The Lane, especially Mrs. Garg, who took it upon themselves to help our schools create a 3 hour evening of interactive science experiments. To see parent volunteers, many who were doctors and scientists, getting our children excited about science was something that schools across the country have been doing for years. Our own PTO vice president, an OB, brought in laprascopic instruments to show how surgery is performed. This year, an orthopedic doctor showed children to cast up fingers. A grandfather of a student, who was a former medical school professor even brought in a human brain, and Fermilab hand delivered a whole truckload of huge, hands on materials (for free), with thick teacher's guides! It was amazing. None of us parents on the Science Olympiad Committee have Phds in education, but we were able to provide a fun, educational, and common core supported event for around than a thousand dollars. I really wish our district would take more advantage of the free resources available at Fermilab, too, so they could help our kids in
math. Who would not want someone to come out to help our schools choose the best math materials? Or let us know if compacting Everyday Math books is really such a good idea? If we all work together cooperatively to find the best resources for our children, the whole community benefits.
Fay Demakis, The Lane School
(One of the Members of the Science Olympiad Committee who visited FermiLab last year.)
I did not receive any response from Ms. McGuiggan to my request on the parent survey data from last year's 5Essentials Survey, so I have now filed a formal Freedom of Information Act Request. I don't understand why she didn't respond quickly with the information. If it was prepared, it should be readily accessible and posted on the D181 website. Very disappointed.
Board of Education - Special Board Meeting
When: March 24, 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Where: Elm School
Isn't that during the focus group?
Anonymous: The agenda is not posted on Board Docs yet. How do you know this meeting has been scheduled? Is an agenda posted somewhere and if so, what is described on the agenda as the purpose? Perhaps this IS the focus group. If board members are going to participate, then they have to notice it up, don't they? Or might this be the meeting at which they vote publicly on the administrators' contracts?
Superintendent Search Focus Groups
When: 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Where: Elm School
Board of Education - Special Board Meeting
When: 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Where: Elm School
No Board docs or agenda...posted on the d181 calendar. One would assume this meeting is planned to vote on the administrators contracts.
I just received the following email response from the D181 Director of Communications to my inquiry about the parent results for last year's 5Essentials Survey. Looks like the district posted the results today on the D181 website. You can access them at the link she gives in her response to me. When the window opens, go to the right side of the screen and scroll down for additional links to the 2012-2013 survey results. I've replied back asking her why the administration waited four months to post them (after telling the board in November 2013 that the parent results were being compiled). I'll let you know if she answers that question.
Email from McGuiggan:
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2014 18:25:52 -0500
Subject: Re: 5 Essentials Survey Question
Thank you for your message and for completing this year's 5Essentials survey. The items you referenced with the parent survey data from 2012-13 are attached here and are posted online.
There were two categories of survey questions. The two attached files represent each school's parent responses in those categories. We chose not to compile the responses (i.e. adding "mostly and completely" together) for more transparent and statistically accurate data.
These files were added to the website today as they are being referenced in my all-family and Key Communicator e-newsletters going out tomorrow, in which we are alerting community members that the surveys are posted and again encouraging parent participation in this year's survey.
Bridget McGuiggan, APR
Director of Communications
Community Consolidated School District 181
6010 S. Elm Street, Burr Ridge, IL 60527
Starting from the bottom up, here is my follow up question, Ms. McGuiggan's response and my reply. I copied the board. Personally, I don't think it's fair that Ms. McGuiggan "fall on her sword" and assume responsibility. I find it unbelievable that no one in the administration would have followed up with her in 4 months and asked her where the parent data report was, and ask that she bring it back to the board for discussion. Just doesn't add up, if you ask me....
Email chain -- read from bottom up:
Subject: Re: 5 Essentials Survey Question
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2014 20:00:34 -0500
Ms. McGuiggan: You state that you made an error by not posting them or bringing them to the Board's attention. While I appreciate you assuming responsibility, I have a hard time understanding how this much time elapsed (4 months) and your error was only discovered when a parent (me) asked for the data. That is very disappointing as a parent, tax payer and community member. The Administration and Board express anger at community members who question the lack of transparency, however, this is a perfect example.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Respectfully submitted, Yvonne Mayer
Sent from my iPhone
On Mar 20, 2014, at 7:51 PM, "McGuiggan, Bridget" wrote:
I just replied to your prior message, but did not answer this question specifically. We did not follow up with the Board in posting this information after our November meeting. That is my responsibility and my error for not sharing the information with them sooner. We have notified the Board that the information was being posted today and being publicized tomorrow.
Bridget McGuiggan, APR
Director of Communications
Community Consolidated School District 181
6010 S. Elm Street, Burr Ridge, IL 60527
On Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 7:44 PM, Yvonne Mayer wrote:
I just looked at the D181 website and found the results were posted today. Thank you. Can you please explain why the administration waited four months (since the November meeting at which you said they were being compiled) to post them for the public? Why weren't they posted sooner?
Thank you in advance for your answer.
Just to clarify. UofC labels study links 5.8 meaning UNIT 5, LESSON 8... This in no way means 5th grade, unit 8! Oak is on unit 5, lesson 8 which places them right where some of the other schools in the district are as well. I talked to my child's teacher about this and I suggest you do the same before spreading gossip.
Oak Parent, is your child doing fractions and ratios?
In defense of whomever was confused about the chapter, if the district could be a bit more proactive and explain to parents what is going on, then parents would not have to ask their friends or post on blogs to find out what they are doing.
It is great to see that our district is starting to finally show come consistency among the schools. Please understand that there is no way the district ever would have ever voluntarily shared this information with us if it were not for parents being forced to take such an active role in what the plan for math is this year. When the district chooses to not be transparent, which they are obligated to be, they force parents to, as you say to "gossip", as we say, find out what the truth actually is. Parents can not be expected to support and support all the time, yet never be included in the process.
Well said Anonymous.
Thank you, HMS Parent. Although I have no idea who you are, I appreciate your recognition. I just wish my children's teachers, the BOE, and administration would recognize it,
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