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 A parent's alternate proposal

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butterball



Posts : 23
Join date : 2009-01-24

PostSubject: A parent's alternate proposal   Wed 04 Feb 2009, 11:42 am

Mr. Ely,
After attending the meeting last night at CPMS, I can see validity in this K-8 program. I understand you want to use Howe because it’s a magnet school. I’m honestly not sure why you chose Central Park to be the host school. That was never addressed. Regardless, as was stated last night to loud agreement, this proposed change affects every child in the district -not just Howe and Central Park Middle School, not just the feeder schools to CPMS, but every child and every family in the district.

Last night, you stated that you waited 5 years to make this change and you don’t want to wait any longer. You want to make this change now or never. I think that is a bit unreasonable. If you have waited so long for what you believe will be the best thing for this district, I imagine you will want to do it right. Why rush it and make it a cob job?

This year, the teachers in Paige’s new wing moved into their classrooms with only a day to spare before the first day of school. The classrooms were not fully up and running for weeks after the first day of school. The classes did not get into a comfortable teaching/learning routine for a long time. The teachers were visibly stressed, not only the few days before school, but quite a long time after. This was precious time lost especially for the sixth graders who have a significantly more difficult curriculum this year than they had last year. Please don’t do this to the same group of kids for a second year in a row.

I propose you take and extra year to get all the building and grounds changes done- and done well. In that year you can transition the parents and let them bond with their new middle school. You shared you’re not a bonding kind of a guy. That’s your handicap in this situation. Parents need to transition and feel that their kids will be safe and have a truly successful educational experience. In the year lag time that I am proposing, the middle schools can invite parents into their schools to be a part of their events such as school concerts and the many and varied PTO and PPT events. In attending these, the parents can get to know not only the teachers (the people and programs I keep hearing about) but the buildings. It is essential that the families have a working understanding of how the school is laid out. There needs to be a comfort level in knowing where we are and where we are going, physically and emotionally in this process.

When my oldest child transitioned to CPMS, he attended a week long summer camp there where caring teachers, particularly Ms. Hartkern and Ms. Ng (sadly neither of whom are still teaching at CPMS) took the time to allow the kids to get accustomed to the school. They had scavenger hunts and races to particular class rooms and back. The had timed challenges to run to their locker with a certain item, open the lock, put the item into the locker and return to the point of origin. By the time the week was up my son felt completely comfortable in the school. This made me completely comfortable with the new school.

Taking the time out to put the “small stuff” into place before this amazing paradigm shift will reap huge dividends. In this way you will have what you need; all your programs (K-8, pre k, adult ed. and whatever else) will be a reality, you will have the support of more of the parents and the buy in of the students. Those parents who, after being exposed to this new plan and are still are against it, will have time to make the other educational arrangements that I have heard whispered – parochial school, charter school, moving to another district, etc. Everyone will be satisfied.
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moab



Posts : 14
Join date : 2008-12-20

PostSubject: Re: A parent's alternate proposal   Wed 04 Feb 2009, 12:56 pm

Let the whispers of a charter school turn into a reality. Why not have a small, K-6 charter school that is focused on international education with a small learning environment, nurturing teachers and stability? A new class could be added each year until it reached a K-8 status or even higher. The parents could get together and research charter schools, what failed last time and how together, we could create the best learning environment possible for district children. THis may be possible without a charter school but I do not see Mr. Ely supporting parents who dare to question but instead wanting to make changes without community buy in.
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Excited parent



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PostSubject: Re: A parent's alternate proposal   Wed 04 Feb 2009, 1:13 pm

Moab, are you aware that Schenectady had a Charter school that just failed and closed? We are not talking about a charter school but a Schenectady City public Magnet School, maybe you should look into the difference.

I understand the reason for the urgency and why the time is now or never. Because by putting all the 6th grade back into the elementary schools (aside from PV, I am aware)That this opens up many classroms at MV, CP and Oneida. They need to restructure this because you cant have 3 schools open and not one even close to full capacity. By splitting up the feeder schools and sending them to MP and Oneida there isn't a need to have CP open. To run a school the size of CP less then half full is a waste of taxpayer dollars. As Eric Ely stated last night, it's not going to happen!

So here's the deal............either this is done this year or something else will to fill CP. If they put something else into place, they will not move forward with this plan in another year after they just restructured.

I say let's make a decision so we can move forward and work out the kinks. The longer it takes to decide the less time will be spent on details!
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Mary Kay Fenner



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Join date : 2009-01-28

PostSubject: Re: A parent's alternate proposal   Wed 04 Feb 2009, 1:19 pm

Dear Butterball,

In response to your new proposal. Welcome to the world of construction clashing with education. Whenever a construction project is under consideration at a school the timing of everything is everything. One slight delay of sometimes even 1 or 2 days can put a project behind. Slight delays happen almost every hour in construction. Paige was very lucky it was completed when it was in such a short amount of time. Since there is work that needs to completed at CPMS there are many things that need to happen first before the actual construction can take place. I have no idea what the details are I have heard some changes need to be met in the restroom areas. And I have no idea if the work is planned for over the summer but if that is the case they would need to move ahead pretty soon. Also delaying this for a year may not be economical . children will still be in the building, the cost would probably increase, and there would still be a time crunch. I do like the idea of a week long summer camp, that your children were able to participate in, for not only the children but the staff to get accustomed to the new school. If this proposal happens perhaps this is something that could happen at all of the middle schools?
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butterball



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PostSubject: summer camp   Wed 04 Feb 2009, 3:12 pm

If this happens this year, Oneida and Mont Pleasant could have an orientation summer camp but CPMS would still be under construction. Ms. Fenner, you and I (and probably most other homeowners) know about construction delays. Your kids would not be allowed to enter the school in the summer due to safety hazzards. They'll be lucky if the building is ready (or nearly so) on the first day of school. That's why I propose the one year delay. The district could creatively fill the school vacant area of the schools if they wanted to. It's a compromise, yes. But our nation's history is full of successful compromises.


Last edited by butterball on Wed 04 Feb 2009, 5:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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A Schdy Lifer



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PostSubject: Re: A parent's alternate proposal   Wed 04 Feb 2009, 4:37 pm

What about when projects actually don't take that long to complete. If we get the ok now and not late February or early March then that is that much sooner that the planners can finalize their orders and start the process. They could hit the ground running the day after school is dismissed and be prepared to hammer it out. If we drag our feets and don't decide soon then yes we may run into not having it ready.

I am not sure what our board is thinking right now and I do want the proposal to get passed but I will respect their decision either way. The only thing I ask is please try to have one by the end of the study session so that we as parents and volunteers can plan activities if necessary to welcome our kids to this new adventure. I know that our PTO is open to suggestions on a gathering/social with faculty and children prior to the first day of school next year if this does pass and I am sure the other organizations at the other schools are thinking the same thing.
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un autre prof



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PostSubject: Re: A parent's alternate proposal   Thu 05 Feb 2009, 12:04 am

moab wrote:
Let the whispers of a charter school turn into a reality. Why not have a small, K-6 charter school that is focused on international education with a small learning environment, nurturing teachers and stability? A new class could be added each year until it reached a K-8 status or even higher. The parents could get together and research charter schools, what failed last time and how together, we could create the best learning environment possible for district children. THis may be possible without a charter school but I do not see Mr. Ely supporting parents who dare to question but instead wanting to make changes without community buy in.

Please check the research on charter schools. They are a failing experiment. You don't have the input with a charter that you have with the public schools. Talk to teachers that used to work in the charters. They will tell you the reality.
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Admin
Admin


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PostSubject: Re: A parent's alternate proposal   Thu 05 Feb 2009, 4:53 pm

A: The strength of this community is in our diversity. That diversity is certainly cultural and ethnic including opinion and ideas. There does seem to be support for the K-8 school concept, however many of you have important questions including how, where and when. These are legitimate issues and need to be discussed, argued and debated in the respectful way that I have been seeing over the past two weeks. We can continue to set this example for our children as we approach a decision on this proposal.

The circumstances of construction, student population patterns, a long term strategic goal that appears attainable for the first time, parental support, the district’s decision to reorganize the transportation routes and bus contracts, and other minor factors seem to make this the “perfect storm” of variables that point to this summer as the right time.

Can we wait? Yes. Can waiting help make the transition easier? Maybe. Is there a cost to waiting? Yes, primarily in the area of construction costs. Why would these increase? Because we are already doing a construction project at Central Park this spring/summer and the needed renovations can be made as part of this project. If we wait, a new project will need to be created and cost will be increased.

Other factors we are considering include the distribution of students and the current feeder patterns of elementary schools into middle schools.
While the sixth graders now remain in the elementary schools, the three middle school are left with much lower enrollments. Central Park will be half full. Obviously, this is an issue that needs to be addressed as we cannot operate a building that is half full. Therefore, we must also decide now what happens to the feeder patterns next year.

I would love to guarantee that we can move staff from one building to another. However, there are other staff members who are affected and contracts we must honor. There are many important factors that affect the ultimate decision whether or not to move forward this year.

Regardless of the short term decision, all of our thoughts will return to how this affects children and families and how we can make any of these transitions easier and children more successful. Debate doesn’t divide a community but a divisive debate will. Our differences make us a stronger community if we use each other’s ideas and strengths to find a way to make our school system better for all kids. Clearly, one thing we all have in common is that we care about how this will affect children. We must work together in order to continue to see progress in student achievement and improve educational opportunities for all Schenectady children.
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butterball



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PostSubject: Re: A parent's alternate proposal   Fri 13 Feb 2009, 11:31 am

butterball wrote:

I propose you take and extra year to get all the building and grounds changes done- and done well. In that year you can transition the parents and let them bond with their new middle school. Taking the time out to put the “small stuff” into place before this amazing paradigm shift will reap huge dividends. In this way you will have what you need; all your programs (K-8, pre k, adult ed. and whatever else) will be a reality, you will have the support of more of the parents and the buy in of the students.

I am not a fan of the K-8 model but I can understand that many folks really like this and want it for their children. I still think voting to make this a reality in the 2010-2011 school year has vaildity. Then the district (administration and teachers) will have time to make the classrooms and everything great. Rushing through this proposal just to "git-er-done" would not best practice for the education of our children. In taking the time necessary to make this work right we can teach our kids another valuable lesson "Anything that's worth doing is worth doing right."
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