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 Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal

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Howe Mom



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Join date : 2009-02-22

PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Mon 23 Feb 2009, 9:41 pm

Denise Della Villa wrote:


I feel sorry for the parent who thinks that the Howe program is just Spanish and just recently, Chinese. Howe does many things to teach and introduce cultures such as Breakfast around the world, where students "travel" to other countries to eat breakfast, Chinese New Year, International Dinner (BTW, is March 6th), English Tea Parties, Exchange teachers who rotate from classroom to classroom, teaching students about their clothing, foods, music, dances, ect. The art program teaches students about art in other cultures as well as artist from other counties and their style of design. I am sure that these same things can be done in ANY building and not just on Baker Ave.

Obviously I am aware of the many components of the international program. I was merely using Spanish and Chinese as an example. The point you missed was that all of the things you listed that your children experienced at Howe- came out of the minds and hearts of teachers. You cannot separate the program and the teachers who teach it. They are inseparable. There is NO program that says - "Have an breakfast around the world!" A Teacher thought of or found that idea!
And no matter what happens with the economy, we have a much better chance of having a VERY fractured staff and program if this move happened.
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wachala1



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Mon 23 Feb 2009, 9:48 pm

Aren't all the Howe Art Teachers going to be lost if Howe moves to Central Park? I believe the Superintendent stated that the "incidental" teachers such as art and music were those being cut. As Howe Mom stated, sure we'll have the program move, but it's the Howe Art teacher who implemented the ideas and creativity into that class. The class which makes Howe memorable to both parents and students.

Maybe teachers do move and switch all the time, but I can guess that if Howe was left alone, that same art teacher who taught art in other cultures may still have a job teaching my child in the future.

Thanks,
Joyce Wachala
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Denise Della Villa



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Mon 23 Feb 2009, 10:03 pm

I love the teachers at Howe! Teachers do come and go and the program does stay the same. The breakfast around the world is done for the kindergarten and first graders. In the past 3 years there have been 3 different Kindergarten teachers and 3 different first grade teachers!!! Guess what??!! There was still breakfast around the world.

There has only been one art teacher for the past couple of years. One year there were 3 Different art teachers teaching different days and you know what??! The art program stayed the same.

This year alone we have a new gym coach and a new music teacher. Still the same program. We also have 2 temporary teachers.

I do love our teachers but my point is change happens no matter what and we still still have the same program!
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teachermom



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Mon 23 Feb 2009, 10:19 pm

I can agree that teachers come and go and still an excellent education is provided for the students but that is because of the leadership of the school, which in this case is Mrs. Coffey, and if she is not a part of the transition there may be those changes to the program that may not be what we have come to expect and love about the Howe program regardless of its ultimate location. Strong administrative leadership and support is key for a successful program and I have seen that first hand in the schools I have taught in.
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wachala1



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Mon 23 Feb 2009, 10:20 pm

I do understand that teachers do come and go, but with this new proposal we're actually firing those teachers. There is no spot for them at Central Park. All the programming aside, we're letting teachers go when we don't have to. If this move is really "cost neutral" and not for economic reasons, why are we getting rid of teachers in this manner.

In my opinion, good teachers aren't going to stay in a school system where things are unstable and change all the time. A district where good schools are "moved" into a k-8 program (which was abandoned once in Schenectady at Woodlawn), where Central Park 7th and 8th grade teachers will be cut (once numbers decrease in the next few years and we will not need all the CP teachers) and where parents believe it's a program that runs itself, not the teaching staff.

I love Howe and although I have only been in the school for 6 months, I don't want to see it dismantled.

Thank you,
Joyce Wachala
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Howe Mom



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Mon 23 Feb 2009, 10:27 pm

I agree. Teachers do come and go. I do not know the details of the "Breakfast Around the World" (for example), but I am willing to bet that it continued because of the Kindergarten teacher and first grade teacher that stayed the same, and because the principal stayed the same. I think that schools can handle small changes from year to year and continue to build on their great programs. But I worry that a huge shake up where we lose our administrator and who knows how many teachers would take a long time to recover from.
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Denise Della Villa



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Mon 23 Feb 2009, 10:44 pm

I would hardly call a district where the same school has been there since 1911 and then turned into a magnet school 20 years ago unstable. The Superintendent did not say that they were firing those teachers just that they wouldn't move with Howe. There may be room at the new PreK-K or be moved to another location.
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A Schdy Lifer



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PostSubject: Administration at Howe   Mon 23 Feb 2009, 10:53 pm

I just want to point out that even though I agree that Mrs. Coffey is doing a great job I have been around for 13 years of the 20 years that it has been a magnet and through that 13 years I have worked with Mr. Zemser, Mrs. Therriault and then Mrs. Coffey. Each of them had a great impact on the school. Mrs. Therriault after retiring from the district stepped in last year and sub for Mrs. Coffey and it was like she was never gone and Mrs. Coffey returned to find the school unchanged. Changing administration will not ruin the program because our district has several great administrators.
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A Schdy Lifer



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Mon 23 Feb 2009, 11:14 pm

wachala1 wrote:

In my opinion, good teachers aren't going to stay in a school system where things are unstable and change all the time. A district where good schools are "moved" into a k-8 program (which was abandoned once in Schenectady at Woodlawn), where Central Park 7th and 8th grade teachers will be cut (once numbers decrease in the next few years and we will not need all the CP teachers) and where parents believe it's a program that runs itself, not the teaching staff.

I love Howe and although I have only been in the school for 6 months, I don't want to see it dismantled.

Thank you,
Joyce Wachala

You keep saying that it was abandoned but never the real reason why they were abandoned. Both Van Corlaer and Woodlawn were changed not because the K-8 system didn't work - the whole district went through some shuffling back in the late 80's early 90's when they made Mont Pleasant a middle school building and made only one high school since at that time the census didn't have enough students to warrant having two high schools open and the two middle schools were overcrowded. At this time it made sense to keep the students in the Bellevue and Mont Pleasant area and they divided the three magnet schools and assigned them to their feeder schools. I didn't understand though why King Magnet School wasn't feeding into Mont Pleasant and why Howe was. It would have made more sense due to the location of the school building that Howe should have been a feeder to Central Park instead of King.

Just think if that was our feeder school would we still be upset about moving the program????
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wachala1



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Mon 23 Feb 2009, 11:29 pm

I have addressed the question to the administration at least three times on this board asking why the k-8 program was abandoned. They have yet to respond. Was it the feeder system? Was it overcrowding? If it was, what is to say that the k-8 at Central Park won't end in the same manner?

If we have the research or test scores or anything which can show parents that the Woodlawn k-8 did well, why hasn't this been presented? If we want a k-8 again, shouldn't we have enough experience in the past to support this plan? Or if it was abandoned, what are we going to do at Central Park differently to ensure it will succeed this time?

This is what I do not understand. Where do we draw the line between having a firm grasp of what we, as a school district, have as proof that a k-8 model will work vs a blind leap of faith. Let's get the proof, let's get the facts and make an informed decision before we take any chances with our childrens educational welfare.

Thanks,
Joyce Wachala
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Mon 23 Feb 2009, 11:46 pm

The simplest, least expensive and perhaps most agreed upon proposal would be my third one:



JUST LEAVE THINGS ALONE

1.) Howe School remains, as is , K-6, with the programs , building, teachers and everything as they know and love, remaining the same . Who can argue? Hooray!

2. Central Park remains a Middle School with added enrollment from other schools so C.P. isn't "half full". I haven't been able to see in either proposal where the three new elementary schools (FDR, Blodgett and Keane) are going. Hmm, there's space at Central Park . Woodlawn parents rejoice!!

3.) Administrator and Board Members look like compassionate , caring individuals who listen to parents and constituents and get elected for new terms with a ticker tape parade going through downtown. Free lunch!!!!

Admin Rebuttals

1.) Yeah, but we've been working on 2 K-8's for a long time . Mr. Ely gave a definition of a proposal and said the definition means only a suggestion. I suggest one K-8 for now and see how that works.

2.) We have to look like we're doing something for the money we're paid.
Answer: Nobody is adverse to the salaries you get for a thankless job, until you screw up. See: any current newscast.

3.) It's going to save money. No wait. It's "cost neutral". Well, maybe , it may cost some money after all.
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Excited parent



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Tue 24 Feb 2009, 12:03 am

To not a Howe Dad,

Why wouldn'y you want to better the district in which your children attend? I think the Administartion is doing a great job and personally. How can you criticize and say they do nothing when you are trying to disallow them from doing something??

Do you think King school is being shown favoritsm as well? I don't hear your gripe about that school? Have you tried to get your child into Howe or King? Spots do open up every year in both schools.
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Tue 24 Feb 2009, 12:05 am

wachala1 wrote:
I have addressed the question to the administration at least three times on this board asking why the k-8 program was abandoned. They have yet to respond. Was it the feeder system? Was it overcrowding? If it was, what is to say that the k-8 at Central Park won't end in the same manner?

If we have the research or test scores or anything which can show parents that the Woodlawn k-8 did well, why hasn't this been presented? If we want a k-8 again, shouldn't we have enough experience in the past to support this plan? Or if it was abandoned, what are we going to do at Central Park differently to ensure it will succeed this time?

This is what I do not understand. Where do we draw the line between having a firm grasp of what we, as a school district, have as proof that a k-8 model will work vs a blind leap of faith. Let's get the proof, let's get the facts and make an informed decision before we take any chances with our childrens educational welfare.

Thanks,
Joyce Wachala

That's the frustrating part. You try to get information to base an educated (unbiased) decision and it 's like pulling teeth.

Maybe they're thinking if they can ignore you long enough or give vague answers that any opposition will eventually just shut up and go away.

It was stated the other night that all comments here are read but only the select few get answered.
I know they must be busy doing visual inspections for explosives , so I'll give them a little leeway.
That's another thing!
They just do fingerprints, "we don't actually do the background checks", but all of a sudden they're demolition experts?! Don't even get me started.
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Parent&Homeowner



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Tue 24 Feb 2009, 12:10 am

Don't let, Not a Howe Dad get to you, it seems he's just on here to stir things up all the time and I'm sure admin realizes that by now.
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Tue 24 Feb 2009, 12:17 am

Excited parent wrote:
To not a Howe Dad,

Why wouldn'y you want to better the district in which your children attend? ( They're Not bettering the district my children attend!) I think the Administartion is doing a great job and personally. (* Smooch, smooch* Pass the chapstick!) How can you criticize and say they do nothing when you are trying to disallow them from doing something?? (Sometimes doing nothing is better than doing "something")

Do you think King school is being shown favoritsm as well? I don't hear your gripe about that school? Have you tried to get your child into Howe or King? ( I thought about the lottery for Howe but really didn't want my kids going to Mt. Pleasant and that is what might be happening now and after reading the way you go after people who don't share your views, I'm not sure I would want to be at Howe now. ) (Any other questions?) Spots do open up every year in both schools.
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Tue 24 Feb 2009, 12:23 am

Parent&Homeowner wrote:
Don't let, Not a Howe Dad get to you, it seems he's just on here to stir things up all the time and I'm sure admin realizes that by now.
No. Believe me . I'm not here to just stir things up.
I'm here to voice my displeasure at the inequities of the proposals .
I want what is best for my children. No more, no less.
However, you seem to want everything.
I don't know what the admin thinks of me, but if you think all his decisions and comments lately aren't questionable , then you are the one that needs to come to realization.
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Mary Kay Fenner



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Tue 24 Feb 2009, 7:22 am

While reading these postings I was listening to the news and guess what? Ravena Coeymans school district are losing teachers positions, South Colonie is losing Teacher positions, anybody see a trend here? Whether the Howe program gets moved to CP - it is a fact Schenectady teachers not just Howe teachers, will lose jobs. To quote a past president " It's the economy" It just makes common sense that if the Howe program gets moved to CP that any of the teachers/staff who want to go will be able to go, if any of the staff at CP do not want to remain at a K-8 school- they can move. A cost neutral move indicates to me that the actual moving of the program- supplies, up dating the building etc., while continue to do something with the Howe building. Mr. Ely at the Howe meeting made it quit clear in his opening statement- Teachers and staff will have to let go due to the economy.
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wachala1



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Tue 24 Feb 2009, 7:50 am

Again Mary Kay, the Superintentdent indicated many times that this was a "cost neutral" move and not being done because of the difficult economic situation. If this really is the case and Schenectady does need to cut teachers, I would like to see the cuts happen on a district wide basis, not just to one or two schools.

Thanks,
Joyce Wachala
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sm12



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PostSubject: tecaher cuts   Tue 24 Feb 2009, 12:10 pm

As Mary Kay said "Two schools have been cut, there are more schools to come, it just hasn't been announced yet, but it will be. Teachers will leave because of cuts, teachers of all sorts, including principals, who will leave for many reasons, not just cuts. It's already happened through out the years. Some of our best teaching professionals will have to go, because they are new to the system.

Many, city and state workers jobs are at stake, and it is already happening. Budget cuts are out of our hands, and unfortunately, some of these wonderful people will have no choice in the matter.
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sm12



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PostSubject: parent and homeowner   Tue 24 Feb 2009, 12:37 pm

Parent and homeowner

Thank you for the comment about "not a howe dad", it needed to be said. When a meeting was held at the schdy library, and school board members were invited and went, we never complained about that. Now, that we have extended that same invitation out to the board, and Mr. Bill Roberts, Asst. Superintendent has agreed to meet with us, NAHD, made a negative comment about it. We should also be able to have other people besides Mr. Ely available to speak to us as well. At least we are doing what the Board President has asked us to do.
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un autre prof



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Tue 24 Feb 2009, 1:04 pm

As Mary Kay has stated, many school districts are going to cut teachers. I work in the Albany CSD and all units (admin.,teachers, and unit 3) will lose some people. The teachers with the least seniority are the first to go.
Kudos to MKF, Excited parent, Denise Dela Villa,A Schenectady LIfer,sm12 and Parent and Homeowner for their posts!
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Tue 24 Feb 2009, 1:55 pm

[quote="sm12"]Parent and homeowner

Thank you for the comment about "not a howe dad", it needed to be said. When a meeting was held at the schdy library, and school board members were invited and went, we never complained about that.

Seriously!
There were posts upon posts complaining about that meeting.
And unwarranted attacks on Ms. Wachala for having the courage to speak her mind.
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Mary Kay Fenner



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Tue 24 Feb 2009, 2:21 pm

sm12 wrote:
As Mary Kay said "Two schools have been cut, there are more schools to come, it just hasn't been announced yet, but it will be. Teachers will leave because of cuts, teachers of all sorts, including principals, who will leave for many reasons, not just cuts. It's already happened through out the years. Some of our best teaching professionals will have to go, because they are new to the system.

Many, city and state workers jobs are at stake, and it is already happening. Budget cuts are out of our hands, and unfortunately, some of these wonderful people will have no choice in the matter.

I need to reply- I hopefully never said 2 schools have been cut with more to come- and if I lead anyone to think that I am sorry- I have no "knowledge" other then what has been presented with the Howe K-8 or the CP K-8 proposals. - to me when a school is closing it means just that nothing in the building- I have never had the feeling that neither the Howe Building nor the CP Buildings were going to close- just change. I did however ask the admin- if there were any plans to close either Mont Pleasant or Oneida Middle School in the coming years. I'm very sorry if I mis-lead anyone.
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sm12



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PostSubject: schools to cut   Tue 24 Feb 2009, 2:44 pm

Mary Kay- No, you never said with more to come, you had heard said some schoools were going to be cut. I was saying that budget cuts with different schools are coming.

sorry for the confusion
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Mary Kay Fenner



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PostSubject: Re: Important Notice, Response to Input and Update to the K-8 Proposal   Tue 24 Feb 2009, 3:55 pm

SM12- Thank you for some-what clearing up what you thought I said- however I never said that any school was closing- in my mind none of them are closing- CP will become whatever it will be whether K-8 or remain the same and Howe will be either pr-k , adult ed or remain the same as per the proposals. I have always been speaking of staff cuts which are happening all around the capitol district not just in Schenectady. There is enough confusion without anyone thinking that I said schools are closing so hopefully this clears it up.
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