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 Option 3 for the public's consideration

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teachermom



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Join date : 2009-01-24

PostSubject: Option 3 for the public's consideration   Thu 26 Feb 2009, 12:27 am

Tonight at the BOE meeting I proposed another Pre-K-8 option for the board to consider. Having been a part of this discussion and listening to the multiple points of view I have another alternative which maximizes the positives of all plans.

Create a "sister" school system:
Create a Pre-K through grade 4 building at the Howe location
Create a grades 5-8 building at the Central Park location

Both schools would be magnet schools with the international theme like Howe presently has, it would be ONE program just split into two locations.

Benefits:
• Allows the expansion of the successful Howe program so it does not remain "stagnate" as described by the Superintendent.
• Allows the lottery system to be expanded so more students in the district have the opportunity to attend the magnet program.
• Allows the space of both buildings to be maximized if the lottery is expanded.
• Facilities differentiation to challenge all learners.
• Allows for appropriate peer mentoring experiences.
• School community is still intact as students would be moving together to the Central Park building.
• Allows for expansion of the Universal Pre-K program with a location on the north end of town.
• Allows for the class size to still be controlled because both buildings would be part of the magnet school system utilizing the lottery system
• More natural alignment of assessments with the 5-8 students in one building.

There is research that shows the benefits of having 5th graders with 6-8 grade student population.

Administration continues to say the older students will be separated from the younger students for safety’s sake. If so why not in different buildings as this proposal allows.

The BOE members were given a copy of this proposal and seemed to misunderstand. I do not propose two separate schools in terms of just expanding the middle school program at Central Park. This is a Pre-K-8 proposal. I am unclear why the BOE seems unwilling to even entertain this proposal which addresses the concerns of the other two proposals. At the public meeting last week at the library it was stated by BOE members in attendance that the Superintendent was in fact going to be coming back with SEVERAL, not one, additional course of action. Where are the other options? If proposal 1 is still an option then why was that discussion board locked? If you feel this is a viable option please let your voice be heard. The BOE is planning on voting on the Superintendent’s proposal one and proposal two this Wednesday, March 4 which is only a week away.
Thank you for your consideration.
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Option 3 for the public's consideration   Thu 26 Feb 2009, 1:18 am

I was unable to attend tonight's meeting and after listening to people that were there I will be hard pressed to be convinced that the first proposal wasn't a "done deal" despite what has been told and the revised proposal was only an attempt to say they gave every consideration to views and feel they did what was best.
The recommendation hasn't been made yet , but I hope the Board members do not bow under peer or political pressure and advocate to further explore other options (such as this).

The simple fact that there has been so much opposition to the original plan, should be enough to postpone a decision ( which I hear is off the table) or consider alternatives.
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Mary Kay Fenner



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PostSubject: Re: Option 3 for the public's consideration   Thu 26 Feb 2009, 7:23 am

I love this proposal- It still offers the "Howe" umbrella for both schools- it opens up the lottery to other families within the district- and it allows the district to have a pre-k program at the current Howe building. This is whay I have gone and continue to go to these meetings. Thank you teacher mom!
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wachala1



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PostSubject: Re: Option 3 for the public's consideration   Thu 26 Feb 2009, 9:16 am

This is the best alternative ever set forth! Cost effective, age-appropriate, covers all bases (gives us the pre-k option) and does not dismantle any existing program. At the meeting last night, it was said that this was considered.....but it was not stated why it couldn't come to fruition.

This is what happens when parents take time to review the facts, come up with opinions and are allowed to free-think. Where was teacher mom five years ago!

This should be strongly considered as it is truly focused on all children (other district children will have spots to fill in a lottery). If this was originally presented to Howe parents, I have no doubt that an overwhelming majority would have agreed to such a proposal.

Thanks teacher mom, you really did a great job putting this together!

Joyce
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tdrparent



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PostSubject: More thoughts   Fri 27 Feb 2009, 8:10 am

Hi everyone,

Teachermom’s proposal is well-thought-out, constructive, and an interesting alternative. I really appreciate the efforts she is making on behalf of all our kids.

I’m going to say a couple things against this proposal just as food for thought.

As I’ve said before on this discussion board, in the interests of disclosure, I support the initial proposal because I think it’s best for my son who is in second grade at Howe. I gratefully leave it to other parents to represent other children and to the Board of Education to make the decision at hand.

Now for full disclosure: my son has special needs and Howe is our desperately-needed village. We’re there because a school district psychologist who took an active interest in him well before he started kindergarten suggested that we try Howe. It was the third round of the lottery the second year we tried before his name was drawn. The first proposal is our best hope for keeping him in his village for as long as he needs it.

The only reservation I have on my son’s behalf about the first proposal (besides the possibility of some of the grown-ups not moving with us) is that a class section will need to be added to every other grade and Howe will not be as intimate as it is now. It has been critically important for my son that every teacher, administrator and staff person, and most of the students, know him and help him cope with his challenges. I realize that this downside for us is a positive for others because it will open up more spots. For us, it’s a downside we can live with because it’s outweighed by the positive of delaying his transition to a “big pond” until he’s more likely to be able to tolerate it. Each grade level will still be pretty small, especially if the section sizes are under 25.

This 3rd proposal would require a much greater increase in the number of sections added at the upper grades. There would need to be at least five sections of every grade, 5 through 8, to bring the total student population up to the target number for the building of 550. That would feel a lot different than 2 or 3 sections each of the K – 8 grades.

The 3rd proposal would also remove the positive influence of the K-4 teachers’ still being able to exert influence on the 5th-8th graders by their very presence in the building! One raised eyebrow from a beloved 1st grade teacher is worth a thousand messages for a 7th grader who is thinking about misbehaving!

As always, thanks for listening, and for looking out for our future.
Caroline Robinson
Mom to Theo, Grade 2
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wachala1



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PostSubject: Re: Option 3 for the public's consideration   Fri 27 Feb 2009, 8:58 am

tdrparent,

Your son (as well as my kindergarten daughter and 2nd grader) will all be going into a HUGE pond if the first proposal is chosen. If proposal one goes through, our children will go to a school this fall of 700+ children. I know my children are not ready for that, is yours?

Yes, the numbers will go down in 2 years, but that is not 2 years I want my children to experience. Right now Howe is at half that capacity and your son (as well as mine) are doing great! Let's not break something that is working so well.

If you're worried about your son having to be in a big middle school for 2 years, then what's the reasoning for putting him in even a bigger school for 3rd and 4th grade? If classes will be so separated, how will a 7th grader be in contact with his former 2nd grade teacher at CP?

Also, with teacher moms proposal, I really see no glaring flaws.

Thanks,
Joyce
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ATAC



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PostSubject: Re: Option 3 for the public's consideration   Fri 27 Feb 2009, 1:01 pm

Wow! What a "Howe-centric" solution!

What about all the other kids in the other feeder schools that currently attend CPMS (Paige, Woodlawn, King, Keane, and Lincoln)?
Or do we not care about these kids/parents at all?

Why don't we just go one "little" step further and have Howe remain as is (Grades K-6) and have CPMS be "Howe 2" for Grades 7-12!
That way all Howe kids can remain totally isolated a safe from the rest of the "other" kids in Schenectady!
It appears as if life outside of Howe must be so scary once you become part of its community.

What we need as parents and taxpayers of Schenectady is a plan that works for the WHOLE district, not one that works for a small, selected few, who were lucky enough to win a lottery!

I don't necessarily know what that is, but I can see through a proposal that is cleary only good for part of our larger community.
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JAG



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PostSubject: Re: Option 3 for the public's consideration   Fri 27 Feb 2009, 1:31 pm

Love that idea, thanks! I don't recall, a big fuss when the magnets added 6th grade or were all the other schools mad over that too, so why not let the magnet schools (king & howe) be the first to go k-8, let them figure out all the pros & cons then start adding to the other schools in the district. It's not about favoritism so get over it people! When is all this madness going to end!
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wachala1



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PostSubject: Re: Option 3 for the public's consideration   Fri 27 Feb 2009, 1:49 pm

Dear ATAC,

I really know that teacher moms intentions were anything but in the best interest to the entire district. As she stated, the classrooms in Howe and CP would be able to take in more district children through the lottery. As with the 2nd proposal, Woodlawn and Paige would probably get a better chance in the lottery for the upper grades (correct me if I'm wrong teacher mom).

This proposal alternative does address the pre-k, more chances in a lottery for all distict children (with more spots to fill in ALL grades) and keeping Howe in tact.

Again ATAC, I honestly believe this proposal was district friendly to any other proposal currently being considered. If something is going to be done (and the board said it would), this on the table would be refreshing.

Thanks,
Joyce Wachala
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tdrparent



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PostSubject: Re: Option 3 for the public's consideration   Fri 27 Feb 2009, 3:40 pm

wachala1 wrote:
tdrparent,

Your son (as well as my kindergarten daughter and 2nd grader) will all be going into a HUGE pond if the first proposal is chosen. If proposal one goes through, our children will go to a school this fall of 700+ children. I know my children are not ready for that, is yours?

Yes, the numbers will go down in 2 years, but that is not 2 years I want my children to experience. Right now Howe is at half that capacity and your son (as well as mine) are doing great! Let's not break something that is working so well.

If you're worried about your son having to be in a big middle school for 2 years, then what's the reasoning for putting him in even a bigger school for 3rd and 4th grade? If classes will be so separated, how will a 7th grader be in contact with his former 2nd grade teacher at CP?

Also, with teacher moms proposal, I really see no glaring flaws.

Thanks,
Joyce

Hi Joyce,

I was worried at first not so much about temporary total size but about the proportions of big vs. small/medium kids at CP in the first year of Proposal 1. (It's only the first year when the ratio and the totals will be so high.) I've since been reassured by the clarifications we've gotten from Mr. Ely on separate start and dismissal times, separate buses, separate bathrooms, separate cafeteria/gym times and separate parts of the building in general. Also by folks who have attended K-8s (like my husband) and described to me how it works. So if this proposal goes through, I'm convinced it won't feel like a big pond. I also believe that the teachers will not be required to stay in separate parts of the building. They will form friendships and collaborative ventures and use every trick in the book to help my son, including enlisting the influence of people he used to listen to.

By the way, I never said my son was doing well. This has nothing to do with Howe; they are making things as good as possible for him. We're in a very very bumpy patch, which increases my desire to scout out the best future path that I can for him. I'm very glad to hear that your son is doing well.

On that note, like my new idol teachermom, I'm going to take a break from the forums. It was great hearing from everyone and good luck to all.

Caroline Robinson
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katendonsmom



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PostSubject: first proposal   Fri 27 Feb 2009, 10:08 pm

I am a mom of a current second grader and fourth grader. I attended the meetings when this was first proposed. I am in favor of moving the Howe progam to Central Park to expand the school to eigth grade. The second proposal would split not only our children but those in Paige, Woodlawn and Lincoln. Wouldnt it be better for our kids to stay in the same school til eigth grade , then to be bussed over to MT Pleasant for 6th and 7th, then to the high school....... It seems to those of us with older childern are the only ones in favor of this. I hope they vote for it on wed..
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teachermom



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PostSubject: Re: Option 3 for the public's consideration   Sun 01 Mar 2009, 2:44 pm

ATAC,

I am sorry that you felt my proposal was "Howecentric" as you put it. That was not my intent in the least. My intent was to open up the Howe program so more students could be choosen from the lottery. It took me two years to finally get my daughter into Howe, this is her first year in the school, I had to apply each year as well. My plan was meant to benefit the ENTIRE district. I was not part of the process to set up magnet schools and a lottery system and if that is what you feel is inequitable then please take that up with the BOE. I have had to work in the confines of that system as well. Again all I mean to do with this proposal is present an alternative that benefits all, not the few and addresses concerns on both sides of the issue.
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butterball



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PostSubject: Re: Option 3 for the public's consideration   Sun 01 Mar 2009, 4:13 pm

katendonsmom wrote:
The second proposal would split not only our children but those in Paige, Woodlawn and Lincoln. Wouldnt it be better for our kids to stay in the same school til eigth grade , then to be bussed over to MT Pleasant for 6th and 7th, then to the high school

Don't feign concern over the other schools. Under any of these proposals, we Paige, Woodlawn and Lincoln families will be split up. At least under the second proposal, there will be a more "equal opportunity" splitting up. I see no reason why the Howe families should miss out on the "growth opportunity" of change.
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lafeal



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PostSubject: Re: Option 3 for the public's consideration   Sun 01 Mar 2009, 7:09 pm

I have a sixth grade and two younger grades. I do not want to take my chances with a LOTTERY. I want to keep my "Community Middle School" as is (CP). With proposal #1 and #3 Howe children automatically are locked in. MY son is not, because my son does not attend Howe.

This question was brought up before "What was the results of Woodlawn back in the 80's K-8 program"? And what has been the results of the sixth graders in the Elementary schools? Are the test scores better? Although My son likes his teacher and I absoluty love her. He is not learning to schedule his time and every life lesson that comes with Middle School.

Central Park is a wonderful Middle School. I've heard great things about it, and Now I have to throw that all away. Don't we have enough elementary schools? HIRE PARAPROFESSIONAL IN THE CLASSROOMS! I think 25 children to one teacher is your problem right there!!!
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sm12



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PostSubject: k-8 proposal   Sun 01 Mar 2009, 7:47 pm

Many of us don't want to take that chance in the lottery again, we might get in, we may not, and this goes for our siblings as well. The second proposal doesn't work at all.
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Option 3 for the public's consideration   Sun 01 Mar 2009, 11:30 pm

How can either proposal move forward when the majority of parents are against it?! Or at best, need more time ?
The gazette article states the Howe survey was almost split 56 in favor, 55 opposed and 34 undecided.
That's only 145 surveys and not taking into account the rest (majority) of the community.
If the parents that are benefited the most by the proposal (Howe School) are so divided , how can the Admin and Board go ahead with ANY vote.
If they bothered to survey the rest of the district, their survey wouldn't even be 5 % in favor. It is hard to imagine that some Board members are still considering (and pushing for) option one.
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katendonsmom



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PostSubject: response   Mon 02 Mar 2009, 11:28 pm

butterball wrote:
katendonsmom wrote:
The second proposal would split not only our children but those in Paige, Woodlawn and Lincoln. Wouldnt it be better for our kids to stay in the same school til eigth grade , then to be bussed over to MT Pleasant for 6th and 7th, then to the high school

Don't feign concern over the other schools. Under any of these proposals, we Paige, Woodlawn and Lincoln families will be split up. At least under the second proposal, there will be a more "equal opportunity" splitting up. I see no reason why the Howe families should miss out on the "growth opportunity" of change.
I am not feigning concern. you dont even know me and assume that. the only way that the kids from paige, woodlawn and lincoln would be split is the second proposal. the first proposal would move howe to central park and the other school would stay at their present school til 7th grade. they would alll be k to 6. the second proposal would offer howe k to 4 an option and woodlawn, paige and lincoln the option of moving their 5 and 6th graders over to cp. that would split the schools... the people ask the same questions over and over again. the k to 8 did not fail in schenectady but they redistricted and the schools were unable to hold all those grades and were forced, by population to go back to a k to 5..
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butterball



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PostSubject: Re: Option 3 for the public's consideration   Tue 03 Mar 2009, 10:55 am

katendonsmom wrote:
butterball wrote:
katendonsmom wrote:
The second proposal would split not only our children but those in Paige, Woodlawn and Lincoln. Wouldnt it be better for our kids to stay in the same school til eigth grade , then to be bussed over to MT Pleasant for 6th and 7th, then to the high school

Don't feign concern over the other schools. Under any of these proposals, we Paige, Woodlawn and Lincoln families will be split up. At least under the second proposal, there will be a more "equal opportunity" splitting up. I see no reason why the Howe families should miss out on the "growth opportunity" of change.
the only way that the kids from paige, woodlawn and lincoln would be split is the second proposal. the first proposal would move howe to central park and the other school would stay at their present school til 7th grade. they would alll be k to 6. the second proposal would offer howe k to 4 an option and woodlawn, paige and lincoln the option of moving their 5 and 6th graders over to cp. that would split the schools.

Oh, I see where you are comming from. Now I understand. But, honestly, Paige Woodlawn and Lincoln children will be messed up regardless of which Proposal is chosen. They are being sacrificed for what the district maintains is for the greater good - the problem is that I don't buy it.
My son is in sixth grade right now - in the elementary school because the superintendent thinks he's better off there. The test grades he and his classmates are recieving still stink. Even with much studying at home with him, my son comes home with grades in the 70's and when I ask him what happened he says "But mom, the highest grade in the class was a 78 so my 72 is really not that bad." This is a child who, when asked "Tell me about the Ancient Greece Civilization" can spout facts about names, places, politics of different regions, geography, etc for what seems forever. The tests he takes don't reveal this brilliance. That's a problem for me. I know the material that is sent home as well or better than he does with all our mutual studying and I couldn't even pass the test because the test asks questions not covered in the text. Again, that's a problem for me.

This is not a question of where the kids recieve the instruction (Middle school or elementary school, Howe, CPMS or on the moon) It's a question of how realistic (or unrealistic) the tests are and therefore how reliable (or unrelaible) the tests are. Shuffling all these kids around is not going to solve this problem.
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lafeal



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PostSubject: AMEN   Tue 03 Mar 2009, 11:23 pm

Thank you Butterball. With the class sizes being so big. Our teachers need Aides in the classroom to help that one ( or three) students that need the extra help. They need to leave things alone and put money to help our children learn better material, have better programs, (for everyone). Afterschool programs to help with studies. Not go spend $ on a new playground a décor for yet another elementary school. For goodness sakes look at our dropout rate. Let's work on that.
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E.Connell



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PostSubject: Re: Option 3 for the public's consideration   Wed 04 Mar 2009, 9:59 am

I can honestly say we moved here with reservations 4 years ago. My oldest is a kindergartner at Paige and I am truly concerned about what I see is transpiring here. We, as parents and a community should be concerned about every child in the district. I must agree that maybe our TAX dollars should be spent not on changing Howe, but adding essential programs, teachers and aides to the existing schools.

My son has almost 25 children in his class and 1 para designated to 1 child in the classroom. How are any of these proposals going to change the future class sizes in my school or any of the other schools in the district. This will drive people out of Schenectady along with the enormous tax rates we already pay, which are about to go UP for a MAJORITY of us. WHY SHOULD I STAY IN SCHENECTADY? I have 2 more children that have yet to start school and I fear that the people that are supposed to be looking out for the best interest of our children have their own agenda. It's no wonder the way people abuse the powers of their positions that our city, state and country it in the state that it is.

As posed by several people, is now really the time to be making these changes?
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KMCB



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PostSubject: Re: Option 3 for the public's consideration   Wed 04 Mar 2009, 7:41 pm

Here is a question, if the District is so "into" their five year plan then why hasn't there been an urgency to reduce the class sizes in grades k-4 as per the 2005 part of their stregic plan? My son is in third grade and there are 28 children in his class room. Which his teacher has stated, due to the large amount of unruly children the ability to learn is comparmised.
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sm12



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PostSubject: reply to not a howe dad   Fri 06 Mar 2009, 4:12 pm

I'm sorry, not a howe dad, but based on all your very negative posts, you have not been happy with anything that has been proposed. I see you attacking many people on these posts, and I tend to stay away from negative people, therefore, I am movng forward as are most people plan to do, to make these transitions in all schools go smoothly.
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Option 3 for the public's consideration   Fri 06 Mar 2009, 5:03 pm

sm12 wrote:
I'm sorry, not a howe dad, but based on all your very negative posts, you have not been happy with anything that has been proposed. I see you attacking many people on these posts, and I tend to stay away from negative people, therefore, I am movng forward as are most people plan to do, to make these transitions in all schools go smoothly.

You are correct that I am not happy with anything that has been proposed.
The desire of the majority of the parents were disregarded.
I have not been attacking people. I respond to questions asked and I answer them truthfully.
I don't have faith with the ( many) questionable desiscions made by the Superintendent and will continue to ask questions.

You asked me a question and I answered it.
Have you come to the realization that Central Park is located on a hill yet?
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sm12



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PostSubject: not a howe dad   Fri 06 Mar 2009, 5:18 pm

I have lived here many years, and I know where Central Park is, I went there. I am not going to worry about that. I will continue to help the children and faculty make transitions.
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Not a howe dad



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PostSubject: Re: Option 3 for the public's consideration   Fri 06 Mar 2009, 5:39 pm

sm12 wrote:
I have lived here many years, and I know where Central Park is, I went there. I am not going to worry about that. I will continue to help the children and faculty make transitions.
I 've lived here for 47 years.
If you went to Central Park-what route did you take that didn't involve hills?
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