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 Proposed Changes to Howe Magnet School

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SrrMom



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PostSubject: Re: Proposed Changes to Howe Magnet School   Wed 28 Jan 2009, 5:21 pm

RPierre wrote:
I am devastated to hear what the school district is planning to do to the Howe School. I'll have you know that I am a single father of two boys, one son who now attends Howe and one that I was HOPING would attend Howe. My oldest son who was attending the Burnt Hill school has improved in his school academics and attitude about school since attending the Great Howe school. My son is learning a second language which he couldnt recieve at his former school. I am a big fan of the Howe school and very proud and impressed with everything about the school. I would like to see my boys attend a school with other student that are the same age group and have the same interest as kids there age. I feel sending little children to school with older children will only lead to concerns for parents. We all know how teenagers talk and act. We were all there at some point and either heard or seen these types of behaviors. Let our littleones grow with littleones , not with teens. A dream come true for my boys is to attend the Howe school.

They still will be attending Howe School, just not the physical building you are currently use to. Your children are exposed to older children now, but they are kept seperate now. Do you honestly think that any teacher or adult would allow a five year old and thirteen year old to mingle?? If so, you are wrong.
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Rob



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PostSubject: Show'em Howe!   Wed 28 Jan 2009, 8:43 pm

Pouring Howe into Central Park would be upsetting the apple cart.
Alot of good apples will get bruised in the process, parents, teachers and children.

We know Howe is a safe place. Child development experts tout consistency and constancy
as important elements for happy healthy children. We know young children are set back with
unfamiliarity.

Also, Howe - the building, is an excellent school, but I'm not sure that SSD appreciates why.
Parent's, faculty and children work collaboratively. Provide structured programs
that cultivates structured, collaborative learning and you'll have Howe schools all
over the place. Broad stroking this by merging a model program with a larger less effective
one dilutes the idea of the transfer of a successful program. Instead, promote individual talent at Howe on Baker St. into positions at Central and merge a school that could stand some experimentation. Don't move the Baker St. kids, train staff in Howe's model and spread them over the city. Next, place college interns and graduates in Howe to shadow effective and collaborative teachers there. Yes, train new talent how to collaborate with families,
then the school's rating will always be phenomenal.

The fact is, without parental buy in the Howe model will be diluted at Central. Howe on Baker is a success because parents teach their children at home and beleive that Upper Union is safe.

Please don't insult our intelligence, the area between State St. and Eastern Parkway is
sketchy at best. Why not continue to bring a diverse population to Upper Union, which is
one of the safest areas in Schenectady. Go figure, increased safety for the children who come from unsafe neighborhoods. Howe on Upper Union is home. Howe is home! The building is Howe. The magnet aspect is good, but the collaborative spirit is awesome - don't upset the apple cart.
Hold Howe up as a model for the city, heck the state. Show'em Howe!
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RPierre



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PostSubject: Re: Proposed Changes to Howe Magnet School   Thu 29 Jan 2009, 7:58 pm

SsrMom!
Yes I do think the teachers and adults will let the children "Mingle". You said you had a problem with that very thing happening. Need I say more? Yes, my children are around older kids now, but I don't think there are over 200 teenagers in the Howe school. I found it comical when Superintendent Ely kept repeating how "We are going to just pick them up and move them over". Wow! He makes it sound so easy. How about all the other issues that go with just picking them and moving them over. Like the busing issues... Are our little ones going to be traveling around the city with teenagers? Are they going to be standing on the street corners with teenagers waiting for the bus? I don't want the same thing happening to my child that has happened to your child SrrMom! Oh, ya thats right. I'm wrong because the teachers and adults won't let the kids mingle. Ya right. How about the outdoor playgrounds with swings, slides etc., how about separate entrances and exits, separate dismissal times and times when the school day begins, the list continues all the way down to bathroom issues. I can’t wait till the first day of school when I pull up to drop my five year old off and there are over 300 kids waiting to enter the school, I have to trust what Srrmom says that the teachers and adults will keep the kids separated. SrrMom, How can you promise things, when Superintendent Ely can't promise anything. Remember he said it himself multiple times. For all you parents who think this is a good idea, try reading the news papers. It seems the same teens you are sending your babies to school with are making the front pages, and it’s not for their good behavior and being a standup roll model, it’s for robbery, possession of firearms and cheating on test. It is too bad you find people against this proposal so annoying! I wasn’t born with rose colored glasses on.
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ATAC



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PostSubject: Re: Proposed Changes to Howe Magnet School   Fri 30 Jan 2009, 1:26 pm

I'm not going to voice my opinion on changes to Howe Magnet School and its potential move to Central Park Middle School - I am not as up to speed on this issue as my son is now in the High School
However, from what I understand (and forgive me if I am incorrect, the issue here is not that the education for Howe kids will change (as the entire International Studies methodology will move along with the kids) but rather the change in location.

We too live in the Upper Union area of Schenectady, but our son went to Paige Elementary (even though Howe would've been our local Elementary had it not been a magnet. It is a great are to live, as many you have said the "nicest and safest" in the city.

So the issue comes down to Central Park and it's location, fears of older kids mixing with Kindegarteners, and I'm afraid to say it a fear of kids from "the other side of the tracks" so to speak.

Whilst, I can certainly understand the issue of older kids mixing with Kindegarteners (I am sure I would admit to this if I had a young child), it is the other fear that I find more than a little upsetting.
It was my understanding that Howe was teaching children to an International theme, to help the kids understand other cultures, to help them see that other people do not come from societies as fortunate as our own. Yet in reading this board, it is apparent to me that we seem to have parents/guardians who are obviously intolerant of people from the other side of Central Park, let alone people from the other side of the world.

As for Central Park Middle School, and its location, I can only speak through my son's experiences (He went from Paige to CPMS and now is at SHS).
We had our initial concerns too, but found the "stories" to be greatly exagerated.
He found that the "Paige Kids" stuck with the "Paige Kids" and the "Good Kids" stuck with the "Good Kids".
So I would imagine that your kids will form similar bonds if the move is made.
Yes, there were "incidents" at the school, but he was never caught up in any of them and he felt very safe throughout his entire time there.

My son is white/caucasian, one of the most important reasons we have stayed in Schenectady schools is the true multi-cultralism that proliferates our school district. That is, and should be, the true spirit of Howe Magnet, wherever it is located.
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butterball



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PostSubject: Re: Proposed Changes to Howe Magnet School   Fri 30 Jan 2009, 2:51 pm

ATAC wrote:
It was my understanding that Howe was teaching children to an International theme, to help the kids understand other cultures, to help them see that other people do not come from societies as fortunate as our own. Yet in reading this board, it is apparent to me that we seem to have parents/guardians who are obviously intolerant of people from the other side of Central Park, let alone people from the other side of the world.

As for Central Park Middle School, and its location, I can only speak through my son's experiences (He went from Paige to CPMS and now is at SHS).
We had our initial concerns too, but found the "stories" to be greatly exagerated.
He found that the "Paige Kids" stuck with the "Paige Kids" and the "Good Kids" stuck with the "Good Kids".
So I would imagine that your kids will form similar bonds if the move is made.
Yes, there were "incidents" at the school, but he was never caught up in any of them and he felt very safe throughout his entire time there.

My son is white/caucasian, one of the most important reasons we have stayed in Schenectady schools is the true multi-cultralism that proliferates our school district. That is, and should be, the true spirit of Howe Magnet, wherever it is located.

I feel the same way. My kids went from Paige to CMPS to SHS as well. When my first went to CPMS I was concerned about the "Big bad middle school" but as it turned out, CPMS and it's caring teachers were exactly what my son needed to come out of his shell and blossom into the fine young man he is today... good natured, confident and thriving in the AP/IB program.

This past Spetember my youngest child was slated to go to CPMS but the "wisdom" of the administration held him into Paige one last year to be in the first sixth grade class. He's been enjoying this year but sometimes talks of the things his older siblings did in 6th grade that he's missing out on. The teachers, clubs and afterschool activities, home and careers and other specials, jazz band... not to mention being allowed to walk in the halls with the 3 minutes of freedom when changing classes and being taught by a teacher who specializes in the subject they teach, not one teacher who teaches all topics.

My youngest has been treading water until he gets to go to CPMS. Now he's learning that he may not go there at all but might go to Onieda. While I'm sure that school is just as good as CPMS, it won't be CPMS. The teachers, unique clubs and afterschool activities that he's hoping for may be gone.

I'm not thrilled with having CPMS be K-8 for many of the reasons I've seen here - inadequate space, rooms without bathroom facilities for younger children, having small kids in the same building with big kids, etc. However, I cringe when I see some of the postings here. Schenectady is a great district. CPMS is a great school. It is totally appropriate for 6-8th grade. I only wish my youngest was a few years older so he could have the ability to attend it before it got messed up with all this "progress."
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HoweMom2



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PostSubject: Re: Proposed Changes to Howe Magnet School   Fri 30 Jan 2009, 3:13 pm

Below you stated it would adopt the Central park name... So does that mean you are going to make it Central Park International Magnet School? The programs at Howe is about International and for it to be a magnet school. By the Way i HATE the idea of changing the name Plus i don't like it being relocated to CP. you want to disrupt this school and move the program to a area where there is violence unlike where howe is now. Did you take into fact about the violence being there before moving the program there? Did you think about relocating it to one of ther other middle schools like MP or oneida? Lately there is less violence in the mont pleasent area then that area. Even the state (my father works with the mental handicapped and they have a program in that area) are trying to relocate from that area do to violence why would you want to send all those innocent children to a not so good area. I like the part on making a k-8 but can't you find a better location and keep the Howe Name?


A: While rumors and stories do circulate, I challenge the conclusion you assert about our middle schools. Middle school students certainly do exhibit challenging behaviors all over the country, but the students in Schenectady should never be characterized as having "no morals" or uncaring. These descriptions are overgeneralized and harmful. I would certainly invite you to visit any of our middle schools and see for yourself instead of listening to and believing inaccurate rumors.

The magnet program would continue to be managed by a lottery as with any magnet program to fill open slots in particular grade levels. The name of the program would adopt the Central Park name as the name is dictated by the building and not the program itself.[/quote]
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Rob



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PostSubject: Re: Proposed Changes to Howe Magnet School   Fri 30 Jan 2009, 3:28 pm

Your assumption that everyone is intolerant is inaccurate. The families at Baker Street Howe welcome diversity. This part of the issue lies with the idea that we want the diversity to continue to be brought to Baker Street Howe Magnet. We've experienced the elements that bring together a non-violent, clique free multicultural community; insecurity is not one of them. I am a mixed race parent who fought and scraped his way through a violent neighborhood and school district to succeed educationally. No one is intolerant for wanting something different for their children. You said it, upper Union is safer. Bring diversity here where children from unsafe environs can see what it is like to learn in
a safer one.


Last edited by Rob on Fri 30 Jan 2009, 3:40 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Admin
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PostSubject: Re: Proposed Changes to Howe Magnet School   Fri 30 Jan 2009, 3:38 pm

A: We can as reasonable adults disagree with each other about things respectfully and at the same time understand the reasons we hold the opinions we do. However, I think there are some assertions made in several posts that need clarified that are not opinion based.

First, we are not merging two schools/programs. Yes, for one year the current Central Park students, mostly next year’s eighth grade students will need to be accommodated by the expanding International Magnet Program teachers and students. However, those students will then graduate and move on to the high school. This will leave a school that is nearly entirely made up of the current Howe community. So in essence, the Howe community is being allowed to expand as the current Central Park students are allowed to take their natural course into high school.

Second, it appears that some want guarantees on future academic success of particular students. Nobody can guarantee this because there are innumerable factors that affect a child’s learning. If someone give you that guarantee as an educator look at that very skeptically.

I believe the International Magnet program expanding into a K-8 program gives students who are experiencing success in their K-6 program an excellent chance to continue that success through eight grade and subsequently through high school. A transition will be eliminated from elementary to middle school and there is much research and anecdotal documentation that supports the idea that reducing transitions helps children succeed. A few years ago there was much concern about allowing sixth grade students to remain in elementary schools and that has worked out very well for those students and our school district. That evolution of a school into a K-8 is the next natural step. However, some parents don’t want that setting for their middle school age child. This is why a magnet approach is the best. It provides the option without forcing anyone to be part of this evolution.
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Rob



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PostSubject: Re: Proposed Changes to Howe Magnet School   Fri 30 Jan 2009, 3:45 pm

That is not what you said at the meeting, when asked the difference between the
two programs and how they would be merged.

But if what you say now is true, then why not wait?
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moab



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PostSubject: how can a charter school be explored   Fri 30 Jan 2009, 4:38 pm

How can the parents work together to explore whether an international charter school could be instituted once again in Schenectady?
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ATAC



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PostSubject: Re: Proposed Changes to Howe Magnet School   Fri 30 Jan 2009, 5:11 pm

Rob,
My intention was never to say that "everyone" is intolerant.
It was only to say that there certainly appears to be some intolerance being shown in some of the postings.

I cannot speak to your experiences as to your growing up - Mine were certainly different than yours.
However, I am sure that we both share (despite our own different backgrounds) the same thoughts of wishing more for our own kids.

My only hope was to try and allay some of the fears and misconceptions surrounding CPMS in its current form.
As I said, my son never experienced any situation in which he felt afraid or in danger during the 3 years he was there.

Also, like yourself as a schoolage child, there are many children in the current CPMS area who wish to get themselves out of that situation and want a better future for their families when they grow up. I know my son has a number of friends like this.
A strong arguement could be made that these kids need the diversity just as much as those kids at any of the magnet schools (perhaps more so) - They just didn't have the luck to win a lottery to get into one of those schools.

I hope things work out for you and your children, and wish them all the best as they progress through whatever system the school district puts in place.

As one last point, my son has also had a very good experience at SHS to date
He is thriving and is preparing to move onto the full IB Diploma courses next year.
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butterball



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PostSubject: Respectfully disagree   Fri 30 Jan 2009, 6:18 pm

Admin wrote:
A: A few years ago there was much concern about allowing sixth grade students to remain in elementary schools and that has worked out very well for those students and our school district.

It's worked out well according to whom? Have you polled the parents about how they feel about the 6th graders being in the elementary school? Have you asked the 6th graders what they think? They are old enough to express themselves quite nicely.

The Paige Motto is "when home and school work together, children flourish." That can be applied to the district level too. When the administration and families work together, the students will flourish.
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A Schdy Lifer



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PostSubject: Take a moment and digest this proposal   Sat 31 Jan 2009, 11:58 am

I have been an active member of the Schenectady City Schools for the past 34 years. Of course the first 13 of them was as a student. I attended Fulton Elementary K-5 and then was sent to Van Corlaer K-8 as our feeder middle school. Having the K-5 program on the first floor and the 6-8 on the upper two floors worked. We never mixed with them during gym, lunch, and yes we were on two different time schedules so arrival and dismissal was done separately. The school in the 90's wasn't made just an elementary school because the program wasn't working, it was made an elementary school because enrollment went down and there wasn't a need to have Fulton school and Van Corlaer both open to service the Bellevue area. One of the major benefits the younger kids at Van experienced was peer admiration. The Middle School had bands, orchestra and a Musical each year and we put on shows for the whole school. Yes there were kids in our classes that were disrespectful but the staff and administration made sure we were safe. As a matter of fact my gym teacher at the time was the same gym teacher that my children had while attending Howe School before her retirement and I think she would agree that there wasn't a lot dysfunction with the whole K-8 program.

During my senior year at MPHS the Board Proposed creating one high school. What an uproar did this stir up. As a class officer I was asked to visit Linton for a day and they visited Mont Pleasant for a day. As a student we saw that the schools were pretty similar and that it most likely would work, but of course the Mont Pleasant students and parents were still skeptical. My younger sister was the first class to graduate the combined high school and said that overall the experience wasn't horific but programs that she participated in in 9-11th (Electrical Engineering) wasn't available for her to complete her senior year because the school wasn't equipped, disappointing but not a major problem. Unfortunately, flash forward and today we are suffering alittle bit of overcrowding in the high school but due to the four house communities the overall population in each house isn't that detrimental.

Two years after graduating I gave birth to my first child and the father left me. Being a single mom and having to work I turned to Washington Irving's daycare program (it is closed now) because my mother was a para for the Pre-K program. I know what you are thinking, she brought her child to the hill for daycare. The Schenectady City School Administration had in place the best security and peace of mind any parent could ask for. Yes I drove there everyday but never once did I fear for my safety. The programs that the school district provided for our children is astonishing. When he was four I applied to all four magnet schools, since I was still a single mother and I needed full day kindergarten. I got into HOWE and boy was I excited. My son thrived in the program and was a 90 average student all the way through but remember when he was in 5th grade they didn't have 6th grade so he went to Mont Pleasant Middle School. Academically, he suffered. He went from being one of 60 to being one of 350+ in the sixth grade alone, not counting the 7th and 8th grade students that were also there. These three years of school is critical in disciplining our children for high school. Changing classes and having different teachers for each subject is very difficult and if they were able to gradually adapt to it in a smaller environment they would benefit tremendously and be better prepared for high school.

Seven years separate my oldest from my middle child so unfortunately I had to go through the lottery system again. My middle son also went to Washington Irving for daycare and Pre-K because they had a great program. At this time I could afford other options but I choose to have my kids attend there and never once feared for them. He didn't make it into Howe initially but thank god in October of his kindergarten year they reached his name and asked if I would like to move him to there. I was once again excited and couldn't wait. Some of the teachers were still there that my older son had so I had teachers/staff that I was familiar with and boy was I relieved because now my youngest son would be going there in two years too. I was there when the proposal was first introduced and I was not 100% certain if I liked the idea like most of you parents who have the younger students at Howe are now. I was concerned about the violence that is reported in that neighborhood and about sex offenders and I did stress over and over again that I didn't think the neighborhood was safe, but you know what I learned last year. You can live in the better part of town and still have craziness around you. I live in Woodlawn and just over a year ago during the day while everyone was at school/work my house was robbed. I thought, how could this be happening. I never thought I had to worry living over here close to Niskayuna and Colonie and that I was far away from where the trouble was. Trouble is everywhere!!! It was then I realized that we as parents can keep our children safe and make sure we stay involved with where they are and what they are allowed to do. Constant involvement with their education and the staff at our schools. Volunteering to attend functions and help out in the classroom and have conversations later with your child about things that you saw that were awesome and things that you saw that were wrong and disrespectful is what your children need to be successful.

I am 100% in support of this proposal because I want my two younger sons to have a better chance of getting into the colleges they want to go to and I truly believe that the smaller 7th and 8th grade environment will be beneficial. My 6th grader will be entering 7th grade in the fall and I think it will be awesome that he can still see afterschool his elementary teachers whenever he wants to brag on how well he is doing or maybe to just ask them for advice. Most students admire each and every elementary teacher they have when they are little....to have them as role models a little bit longer when they are going through puberty is an awesome feeling.

As for my oldest son, he is a graduate and in his first year of college. He did well and the majority of his friends through middle school and high school were other Howe graduates. He had to work hard to correct some grades from his middle school years and I am very proud of him after his first semester of college he is doing wonderful. Everything has it's way of working out if we stop fighting it and start working together as a community to make it an easy transition for everyone.
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teachermom



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PostSubject: Reality Check   Sat 31 Jan 2009, 11:35 pm

I have been reading the message boards this evening and I find it interesting the comments being posted. After attending the meeting Tuesday evening I left truly feeling that although Superintendent Ely stated again and again that this is only a proposal that this has already been decided. So with that in mind I would like the Superintendent and the Board of Education to be aware that although you may feel this is the best course of action, there will be parents like myself, who have younger children at Howe that will be watching and scrutinizing every part of this "proposed move" because if this is going forward it better be done right, and again that means not turning our K-5 population into an experiment. And to all those parents who are so happy that our 6-8 graders will benefit so much from this move, what about the rest of the district's middle school population who will now be attending a 7-8 junior high at Oneida and Mount Pleasant when ALL of the research shows this is the WORST model for this level? No one seems too concerned about those students. I heard all the 6th grade parents stress over and over that they have good kids and the younger kids mixing in will not be a problem. I understand that they are good kids, but I teach middle school and have for 16 years, and kids act different when they are in school under peer pressure and the teachers cannot be in all places at all times. I strongly urge the BOE to consider putting the 6-8 graders on a different time schedule and most definitely keep separate bus runs, as well as keeping them physically separated in the building as much as possible. These logistical factors need to be addressed at once and with parental participation.
As suggested at the meeting by another parent I also think that with the merging of the two schools a brand new name should be established, it's supposedly the Howe program in the Central Park school site so why not start fresh with a new name....let the Howe students give suggestions so that they feel included in this process since they are the ones most affected. I also would like some assurances from the Board of Education that the “Howe program in the Central Park building” will remain a magnet program so that the class numbers stay small and that if the district’s population increases that this new entity will not be turned into a “neighborhood magnet” school like was done to Yates, and from what I have heard not with very positive results.
I am very unhappy with the closing of Howe Magnet school as it is today, unfortunately for my child it will be her third school move within the district in four years since we finally only got into Howe this year. Too many parents at the meeting Tuesday think that this will be the cure all to help their 6-8th graders thrive in the middle level, for their sake I hope it is, but this age group has many challenges as they cognitively, socially, and emotionally try to find their way into adulthood. It is unfortunate that my younger child’s education, as well as those in her age group, is at risk to a "picked up and moved program" that cannot guarantee the success found at the Howe Magnet School as it is presently.
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PostSubject: Before- & After-Care for Younger Kids   Sun 01 Feb 2009, 10:50 am

Hi Mr. Ely,

If this proposal goes forward, please consider the need for a Y before- & after-school program for the elementary-age kids. There are programs at Howe currently, so there is a demand. I realize that such a program can't be a major consideration when doing building/playground work, but I did want to point out how nice it is at Howe to have the main location (the cafeteria) be right in between the playground and the gym, so at least the afternoon kids can be active, or sit for quiet activities, throughout the afternoon (as long as there are 2 Y staff there). Thanks.
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PostSubject: teachermom   Sun 01 Feb 2009, 11:41 am

I realize that you are a teacher of children in the upper grades and with today's society have experienced the disrespect of them but I am still 100% certain if the children are in a smaller group and that group begins as K-6 and finishes 7&8 in the same environment it won't be the same atmosphere as what you have experienced. I also realize you think that all this is going to be so traumatic for the younger kids, but from what I read in research it clearly states that the younger the kids are the more resilient they are to change. If the parents can put aside their negativity and look at more positives and only talk about the positives infront of these children it will be a success. They look up to all of us adults and trust us, if we try to make the best of it then the best of it will happen.
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PostSubject: Re: Proposed Changes to Howe Magnet School   Sun 01 Feb 2009, 2:43 pm

"If the parents can put aside their negativity and look at more positives and only talk about the positives infront of these children it will be a success. They look up to all of us adults and trust us, if we try to make the best of it then the best of it will happen."

I have to agree to disagree with your train of thought. Wishing and trying the make the best of something does not mean it will happen. Let's apply you logic to the current economic situation in this country. How about we all just think positively and try to make the best of this recession and maybe it will all just go away and work out for the best......how about applying it to the current situation with Iran, maybe if we just send the Iranian President nice letters and make the best of the situation and trust that this will all just work out we will not have to worry about Iran producing nuclear weapons by the end of the year. I deal in reality and I have told my child both sides of the situation, the positive and the negative, because I do not choose to go through life with rose colored glasses does not mean I am less informed or tolerant to change. I teach children of many socio-economic backgrounds and I know that ALL students deserve a chance to succeed in the best environment we can provide for them as teachers and parents. I have done the research as well, I live the research every day.
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Excited parent



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PostSubject: Re: Proposed Changes to Howe Magnet School   Sun 01 Feb 2009, 10:43 pm

First, I would like to correct Teacher Mom, Howe is already K-6, not K-5. I also am upset that you think my 6th grader will automatically become a bad influence the next year. As a matter of fact, I think my child would be a great role model as well as the majority of the class as well!!! Yates became a neighborhood magnet school for a reason while the other magnet schools did not.

My own feelings are that as long as parents are involved on a regular basis in their child's education, the children will succeed. There are many ways that can be acheived! Belonging to the PTO, going to the different events, going on field trips, & volunteering in your childs classroom. The more parents know the children in the school, the parents, teachers and staff, the more comfortable they will be. As long as my child is in school, I will be involved and know what is going on no matter what building it is.
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PostSubject: Re: Proposed Changes to Howe Magnet School   Mon 02 Feb 2009, 10:54 am

tdrparent wrote:
Hi Mr. Ely,

If this proposal goes forward, please consider the need for a Y before- & after-school program for the elementary-age kids. There are programs at Howe currently, so there is a demand. I realize that such a program can't be a major consideration when doing building/playground work, but I did want to point out how nice it is at Howe to have the main location (the cafeteria) be right in between the playground and the gym, so at least the afternoon kids can be active, or sit for quiet activities, throughout the afternoon (as long as there are 2 Y staff there). Thanks.

A: There is really no reason we can’t continue to work with the YMCA and the Boys’ and Girls’ Club to continue our before and after school programs.
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Mary Kay Fenner



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PostSubject: Re: Proposed Changes to Howe Magnet School   Mon 02 Feb 2009, 12:26 pm

I feel the need to reply to teachermom who is stating that the parents of 6th grade children are not concerned with the other 6th grade children within the district. Do you work for a high performing middle school? If so you are very lucky. Middle School across the board does not work! Not only in Schenectady but across the country. Instead of thinking we don't care you should think of it as thank goodness someone is addressing that middle school is failing a huge number of children everywhere. Before you know it your child will be 11,12 13 would you not want them to be in a school that works! For whatever reason whether its peer pressure, children growing up, parent burn out, teacher burn out who knows but the middle school concept does not work. My son is in 6th grade and does well and I expect him to continue to do well. He does well for many factors, the kind of child he is, our family, his school environment all work together. My daughter is in second grade and does well also for the same reasons, however the idea that if either one of them felt they needed some guidence or was either perhaps making some bad decisions or making good ones the fact that hopefully Ms. Bernadt or Mrs. Goyette, teachers who they know and respect and who know them would be there to remind them that it is either unacceptable or praise them for the good decisions, things that they do every day now, is what I hope for, for every child. We need to remeber that these are children and to continue down this middle school concept, when we know it does not work, but still expect them to make good adult decisions about, drugs, alcohol, sex, violence etc. is just setting more and more of them up to fail. It would be great if we could just wave our magic wands and say well just make the middle schools work but they have not worked very well in the past 20 years no matter how many changes have been tried. My hope would be to see that both Martin Luther King and Howe K-8 works so well that all of the elementary schools return to this idea not only in Schenectady but across the country.
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Excited parent



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PostSubject: Re: Proposed Changes to Howe Magnet School   Mon 02 Feb 2009, 2:21 pm

I agree with Mary Kay Fenner!! All of our children are going to be middle school aged sooner or later. Why don't parents want their children in a smaller environment, smaller classes, smaller school. To be role models for the smaller children in school to be looked up to and be held accountable for their actions!! I don't understand the parents that don't want this!!

You don't want your children in the Howe environment longer?? This is craziness! All these paents say how they love Howe, they love their teachers, they love the program. Well then why please tell me why you wouldn't want them there longer!!!??? I know the kids in the sixth grade, in the fifth grade in the fourth grade third ect. I would love for my children to be in school with these childre all through out school. What's the alternative?? to put my child in a larger school with several other feeder schools from around the city that you don't know!! Do you parents get it!!!!???

I want K-8!!! I want this to go through!!! I want the same program! I want the same teachers!
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Rob



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PostSubject: Re: Proposed Changes to Howe Magnet School   Mon 02 Feb 2009, 3:19 pm

Yikes.
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teachermom



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PostSubject: Yikes again   Mon 02 Feb 2009, 6:25 pm

Again misunderstanding. If I could get solid assurances from the district that Howe would literally be just moving buildings and that EVERYTHING that makes Howe Howe would be intact, then go for it. This is where our difference lies "Excited Mom", maybe I am just jaded when it comes to central administration and BOE claiming they are going to do things that will better our children’s education and then unforeseen circumstances, such as personnel issues, come up, and since no promises were made, things do not work out they way we were told they would to gain our support. I also do not think that every 6th grader is a bad influence, I teach 6th grade in a middle school and I have a great group of kids but their maturity level is different than that of let’s say a kindergartner and I do have some concerns regarding this age difference. I am perfectly aware there are benefits like having a “big buddy, little buddy” type of program. I do not work in wealthy perfect middle school and I am fully aware that the middle school model has a variety of problems. Right now I am dealing with a central administrator who wants to make our middle school the same as the high school in terms of scheduling etc, talk about a disaster. What I am weary of in this whole process is blindly trusting that all the wonderful teachers at Howe and Mrs. Coffey, who provides outstanding leadership, are going to all be able to or want to move to the new campus, and from what I heard last week at the meeting none of that can be discussed. Obviously the parents responding on this message board are concerned with their child’s education but in any district there are unfortunately a lot of parents who do not put in the same amount of time and effort that you all seem to. What I am looking for is that every effort be made to provide our younger students with the same quality education Howe does now that we all want to see for our middle level students, and yes I am perfectly aware that one day my daughter will be a 6th, 7th and 8th grader and yes I would want her to have a Howe like environment, but right now she is younger and I want to know that her needs are still going to be met as well in a safe age-appropriate environment. I just find it interesting how everyone is willing to jump on this without any specific details about what seems to be the most important reasons why you all support it so much.
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monday



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PostSubject: k-8   Mon 02 Feb 2009, 7:16 pm

my son is a first grader this year. last year as a kinder he was supposed to have mrs. gevecci. she moved up into the first grade slot before the kindergarten year started. we had no idea who the new teacher would be until the end of august. the new teacher to the program who took the position was and still is mrs. vecchione. this year he was supposed to get mrs. gevecci again for first grade but she is out on maternity leave, so once again we didn't know who his teacher would be. that teacher who is another new face to the program who came from the charter school is ms. izzo. I have absolutely no doubt that my son is getting the same education as the other kindergarten and first graders in the program. both of these teachers were new to the program AND adapted just fine.

the first 2 years will be a transition. there will be central park students left to finish out their 7-8. after that it will be all howe students from kinder and up. the administration will make the changes and adjustments necessary to keep students safe. we live in a city! there are different income brackets and 'burrows'. all of this is already a part of howe. we have the opportunity to bypass the middle school and keep our kids together for an extended period in a program we believe in! the pros out way the cons!
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Mary Kay Fenner



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PostSubject: Re: Proposed Changes to Howe Magnet School   Mon 02 Feb 2009, 8:51 pm

Teachermom- we are on the same page. In my happiness over the fact that finally someone was taking the Middle school mess by the horns I missed a opportunity to publicly ask the teachers and staff to address their pros and cons both personnaly and professionaly. I look to them everyday in guidance in my childrens education and feel I need to hear from them. I do believe that for this move to work as smoothly as possible we need both Mrs. coffey and the principle at CPM. Mrs. Coffey can deal with K-5 and the CPM Principle 6-8. this will help the CPM principle get to understand what is required for elementary school and mrs. Coffey understand what is required at the Middle School ages, even though I believe that mrs. Coffy already understands that only to well. I understand that all of the staff may not decide, for various reasons to make this move and that is their decisions. Every year we have been associated with Howe there have been staff changes. My children have yet to share the same teachers. However with this move I still counting on being able to request Ms. Bernadt for my daughter for 3rd grade and hope that she still loops for 4th grade, I hope that she can experience the very generous and kind Mr. Borger for 5th grade and the enthusism for life and learning from Mr. Sementilli. I hope that Mr. Brudos will still be walking the hall ways dressed in whatever crazy character he needs to be. I wish for children I do not even know that they can be with teachers as kind as Ms. butler and Mrs. Homenick and the always positive Mrs. Goyette. I need to be able to know that Mrs. Leone will be there with a change of clothing if needed or a phone call letting me know that someone is ill. that all of the para's will be there to help these wonderful teachers. Can't imagine a day without Mrs. P. It is comforting to know that mrs. coffey is there to greet the children in the morning and to make sure that everyone is sent safley home. I wish I could speak about the entire staff but these are the ones that I know. This is what makes Howe -Howe Mrs. Coffey and the entire staff and what helps make me a better parent. I would hope that a school district would realize how lucky they are to have teachers of this caliber and realize that they cannot afford to let them go.
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PostSubject: Re: Proposed Changes to Howe Magnet School   Today at 8:41 am

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Proposed Changes to Howe Magnet School
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