RCPE Zoom Meeting

Friday, December 11, 2020

4:00 to 5:30pm

Minutes by Dan Drmacich

Present: Howie Maffucci, Don Bartalo, Alicia Ward, Connie Flahive, John Strazzabosco, Ralph Spezio, John Boutet, Ralph Spezio, Carla Carey, Chojy Schroeder, Don Pryor, Mark Hare, Ed Donnelley, Donna LaMura, Lila Alshehri Jeff Brubaker, Dan Drmacich (Whom did I miss? Please let me know!)

Discussion & Decisions:
1. We reviewed our meeting with Supt. Myers-Small on 12/9, and had the following comments:
A. Dan sent a meeting request to Commissioner Rosa for discussion of high-stakes standardized testing alternatives & received a message from the Commissioner's secretary stating he was working on setting it up. This is a good sign, given the Supt.'s support & the impending appointment of a new U.S. Secretary of Education. 
B. The City/County RASE Education Committee for Racial Equity & Justice has approved recommendation proposals for integrated, inter-district magnet schools, alternatives to high stakes standardized testing and for all county/city school district staffs to participate in anti-racism PD and that all school districts develop & implement a K-12 multi-racial/cultural curriculum. These recommendations go to the Commission's directors & then to the Mayor & County Executive for approval & action. Don Bartalo, John Strazzabosco & Dan Drmacich are Commission members & will assertively defend these recommendations.
C. There were several recommendations from Linda Darling-Hammond that the Supt. did not have time to address, in particular the general theme of Darling-Hammond's article....why school districts should seize the moment presented by the pandemic & make strategic plans NOT to return to the old "factory-assembly line" model of education that is archaic & not meeting students' nor society's needs. Please review Linda's article & recommendations for ideas for a proposed 2nd conversation with the Supt.
2. We agreed that continuing our work on racial equity & justice is worthwhile, if we wish to continue our individual & organizational growth & eventually present a plan for other educators & organizations to grow & develop in this area. Bart presented a process for members to choose from a list of possible learning activities that the Coalition would, at each of our forth-coming meetings, participate in for approximately 20 minutes for the next few months. Each of us is requested to choose the 3 activities we believe would be most beneficial for our members to participate in & return them to Bart at dbartalo@rochester.rr.com   , by Wednesday, December 16th. Please see the attachment below for the choices & send your recommendations to Bart.
3. We discussed possibilities for recruiting & supporting 2021 BoE RCSD candidates. Don Pryor will seek a meeting with the Parent Training Leadership Institute (PTLI) to hear about our Coalition agenda & seek recruits for the BoE. We'll need other ideas as well to obtain a BoE that is supportive of our agenda.
4. We decided to send our letter objecting to the State Monitor's recommendations to cut RCSD staff to local legislators & request their support & reactions. Dan will follow through on this.
5. We agreed that we will invite Teen Empowerment representatives to attend our meetings. Dan will send an invitation.
6. It was announced that the RCSD BoE, in collaboration with other "Big 5" school districts is recommending to the state legislature that they initiate a moratorium on the implementation of any further charter schools, since they are draining funding from their school districts; $60 million + from the RCSD! Did new BoE member Wm. Clark, a former charter advisory board member of a local charter school, support this resolution?
7. Ralph, Donna, Jeff, Alicia (& perhaps a couple of other Coalition members whom I may have missed) agreed to meet with the Asbury Methodist Church Minister to discuss possibilities for involving other churches with our education agenda items. Donna & Jeff will meet with the Asbury minister to discuss setting up a meeting.
8. Did I miss anything? If so, please add the items & send to "reply all."
9. We agreed to meet again on Friday, December 18th @ 4:00 pm. Howie will send out zoom invitations.
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Replies to This Discussion

In response to question 8: "Did I miss anything?"  Near the end of the meeting I had suggested that we need to take advantage of the COVID disruption to finally get rid of the 1.5 mile busing requirement for state reimbursement.  We need to encourage students to attend their local schools and parents want busing for their kids for safety.  We have to provide local busing to improve neighborhood school attendance while giving parents the busing safety they want for their kids.

Dan requested that Ralph Spezio and I work out a proposal for making this happen and present that to the group.

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