Attendance: Alicai Ward, Connie Flahive, Chojy Schroeder, Victoria Roberson, Don Bartalo, Don Pryor, Mark Hare, John Boutet, Donna LaMura, Diane Watkins, Joe Simson, Caterina Leone-Mannino, Howie Maffucci, Lila Alshehri, Dan Drmacich
Discussion & Decisions:
1. We debriefed our 3/16 meeting with the Commissioner & generally agreed that:
A. She missed the message that we were trying to communicate; that there's a need for criteria for the Regents to use in judging applications for testing and alternative testing options & for schools or districts to use as guides.
B. She missed the messages our parents & Chojy made as far as reasons for the need for a testing variance.
C. Several Coalition members felt disrespected by the Commissioner. But, she didn't say "No" & encouraged us to work on a more informative proposal. But the problem is, that unless we know the Regents criteria, how does the RCSD know what elements to draft?
C. We liked Superintendent Myers-Small reference to starting a "Social Justice" school that would need a variance & will strongly support her in that effort & other possible pilot schools. Edison Tech has also expressed interest.
D. Dan will draft a letter to the Commissioner & Supt. & share with the Coalition for feedback, before sending.
A frustrating meeting but nevertheless, a meaningful step in the right direction. We know the Supt. supports the need for variances in order to meet student needs more effectively, & that the Commissioner now is aware of that.
2. Vicki & Bart facilitated a racial equity & justice activity concerning the role of "nice, white parents" dominating decision-making in schools that kids of color & white, middle class kids attend. We became more aware of the role "white supremacy" plays & our need to meaningfully facilitate more people of color in leadership & participation in policy decisions.
3. Bart, Diane, Don, Mark and Dan shared their perspectives & experiences with the RASE Commission recommendations; particularly the conflict over "Desegregated, thematic, inter-district, magnet schools" being relegated as non-priority. Don shared his conversation with Commission Chairman Bill Johnson, who was non-supportive of our position. However, we felt we did accomplish a great deal in that one recommendation involves the creation of an "Inclusive Multi-Language Magnet" school and that the Supt. has made reference to creating a "School of Social Justice." We're hoping that the GS4A reps can advance those two options with the Supt.
We also felt positive in that the Commission supported our recommendations for a RCSD variance from high-stakes standardized tests and the substitution of high standard alternative assessments. We also felt positive of our recommendation that all suburban & city schools develop a multi-cultural, anti-racist curriculum, K-12.
4. Dan has not heard back from new Regents appointee, Ruth Turner, and will send her a follow-up letter.
5. We have not new interviews scheduled with RCSD BoE candidates, since we are not aware of any other new candidates.
6. We agreed to meet again on Friday, April 2nd at 4:00 pm.