Sunday, January 30, 2011

More Junior High Antics

When they first voted to close Daughter's middle school, I sent a note to her principal suggesting I help her do a survey of parents asking about the programs they don't want to lose and asking questions relating to the transfer of the students to the other schools to get their feedback.

*Crickets*

No, the principal was going to hold weekly coffee meetings with parents, garnering feedback that way. And how many of those were held before the superintendent prepared her recommendations regarding what to do with the kids?

None as far as I can tell.

And when I sent an email earlier this week asking her what to include in Friday's electronic newsletter for parents, she replied that she'd have something next Monday or Tuesday. Thinking it was a typo -- surely she was going to say something to parents -- I asked if she had meant Thursday or Friday.

Nope.

And so I sent her another email:

But don't you have anything about the closure? Right now, we've only heard from PTA PRESIDENT, who did one hell of a nice job on her note. But I really think you have to have something to say about it, even if it's along the lines of:

Truly sorry to see SCHOOL close because of the great community we have here and all of our collective achievements.
Honestly believe that the District had no choice but to consolidate middle schools, but it still is hard on everyone: staff, students, parents and myself.
Trust that the District will do right by our students and am working with the District on transitioning.
Know that all the wonderful 6th and 7th graders at SCHOOL will do so well at their new middle school.
Am open to talking with anyone -- students, parents, staff -- even if it's just to "hold hands."

Keeping silent for so long is not the right move. And while I know you've not been silent -- that you've met with staff, talked to students, talked to parents -- you've not communicated directly with "everyone."

And the PTA president piled on and said I was right; the principal had to say something.

I guess that did it because she sent a note on Friday saying:

Great idea on the consolidation message from me.  I finished a first draft---it is a little long (you know me) so I forwarded it to SUPERINTENDENT for review.  SUPERINTENDENT has a way with words and can help me strengthen my efforts to reach out and assure parents and families.  You can share for Friday’s edition that this message is forthcoming by early next week.  Thanks. 

But then she sent this:

I will need to re-write the message and focus on student and staff achievement, plus any upcoming activities at SCHOOL only. All information regarding consolidation has to come from the district office.

No surprise, then, that after all the bullshit that came down on Friday – about what the district actually intends to do with my kid and all the other kids at her school and one of the other two remaining middle schools – that I sent this to the principal:

I cannot begin to tell you how massively disappointed I am that the decision was made to move SCHOOL students, lock, stock and barrel, over to OTHER SCHOOL. I know that you are unable to speak about consolidation issues, that all communications must come from the district, but where were the voices of reason as this decision was being made? In addition to messing with all the kids currently at SCHOOL, the district has decided to mess with all the kids currently at OTHER SCHOOL. Meanwhile, everyone at THIRD SCHOOL gets a pass. How could this be? How could you let this happen? How could no one tell the parents at either school what options were being considered before heading into a Board meeting for rubber stamping?

We trusted you, PRINCIPAL. We trusted you to do right by our kids. We trusted everyone to give careful thought to where the kids would be placed, not just create one school of haves and one school of have-nots. I could have done a better and more equitable job of this by saying everyone on this side of SCHOOL goes to OTHER SCHOOL and everyone on the other side of SCHOOL goes to THIRD SCHOOL.

Re-draw the boundaries now. Take four weeks, six weeks, eight weeks to do it. We'll wait. I'd rather have something done right than done haphazardly in the interest of...in the interest of what? Whose interests are being served? THIRD SCHOOL's.

Frankly, I really think my third grader could have done better with a Sharpie and a map of the town. I think we need to have a new show, based in our town, called “Dumber than a Third Grader.”

1 comment:

Tara R. said...

Doesn't sound like any thought was given to this move. I feel frustrated and it doesn't even affect my kids.

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