Minutes of the AQE/Metro Justice Education Committee

August 15, 2014


Attending: Glenny Williams, Diane Watkins, Eamonn Scanlon, Candace Rubin, Rosemary Rivera, Robin Hammonds, Lisa Englert, Sue DeFabbia, Carla Carey, John Boutet, Jim Bearden

  1. Rosemary and Glenny reported on the first meetings convened by the Rochester Area Community Foundation to form of the task force to recommend changes in the Rochester City School District discipline policy and code of conduct.  RACF has a memorandum of understanding with the RCSD to act as a nonbiased convener for the task force. The meetings produced a list of 85 names representing potential members of the task force from various sectors: parents, teachers, RCSD, community groups (AQE-MJ Education Committee, Rochester Center for Teen Empowerment), etc.
  2. State-wide movement to change school climate and discipline
    1. U.S. Department of Education Guidelines for School Climate and Discipline http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/school-discipline/index.html
    2. Judith S. Kaye, former Chief Judge of the State of New York Chair of New York City School-Justice Partnership Task Force issued a report: "Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court" http://www.nycourts.gov/ip/justiceforchildren/PDF/NYC-School-Justic...
    3. Assembly Woman Catherine Nolan, Chair of NY State Assembly Education Committee is considering state legislation on our issue.
  3. Eamonn reported on two meetings convened by Dan Roller, RCSD consultant, on access to suspension data from the RCSD. Vivek Chakravarti is readying the data for us now. After he finishes there is a five-day legal review before they will be passed to Beverly Burrell-Moore, Deputy Superintendent of Teaching & Learning, who will make the final review and then give us the data. The time line is not fixed; it may take two or three more weeks to get the data.  (Comment from Eamonn on 08/18/2014 -- I have been talking to Vivek Chakravarti who is the system architect and is preparing the data. Some things we have agreed upon are to exclude Pre-k, summer school, and school types that do not report suspension data or are not under the direct supervision of the district (charter schools, special schools, etc.). I might consider doing a separate summer school analysis, but for now I would rather narrow the focus.  It appears that district level information will be available next week. Depending on how that looks we will quickly sort out the campus level info, which is a little more complicated because of FERPA, but will essentially replicate the district guidelines. As always there has been a slight disconnect because Vivek was not present at the Roller meeting and Nathan Dederick, the person Jim and I spoke with, has been on vacation. Still, things are moving along fine. Vivek said this is among his top priorities. )
  4. Jim reported the limited success getting "suspension stories" for our campaign. We have 15 to 20 prospects (Rosemary found a woman with 18 children who has written a paper about school suspensions and we know there are stories from the young people at Teen Empowerment, School Board members Cynthia Elliot and Mary Adams both know students with suspension stories.) We have to record and collect all the stories we can. Glenny volunteered to take the lead on collecting the stories. Jim will provide list of story candidates with phone numbers and email address for contact.
  5. We discussed other ways of making contact.
    1. We should contact Flower City Parents Network to find more campaign supporters and suspension story sources.
    2. Several of us agreed to go to the Clarissa Street Reunion on Saturday, August 15th to make contacts. (This was done and 25 or 30 new contacts were made.)
  6. We cannot release the data report by September 15th unless we get the data from RCSD very soon. Nevertheless we hope to have two events:
    1. A press conference/campaign kick-off during the day to release the report and to get media coverage.
    2. A rally with testimony from the suspension stories a couple of days later.
    3. We could not decide finally on the exact date, location, or format. Lisa will look into having one or both of these events at her school, Joseph C. Wilson Foundation Academy. We make the decisions at our next meeting.
  7. Next meeting on:

Friday, September 5, 2014

5:00 pm

Metro Justice (New office)

803 West Ave., Suite 370.

Rochester, NY

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