Attendance: Don Bartalo, Howie Maffucci, Connie Flahive, Diane Watkins, Donna Lamura, Mark Hare, Moniek Silas-Lee, Candace Rubin, John Boutet, Dan Drmacich
Discussion & Decisions:
- We interviewed BoE candidate, Tatiana Welch, and will consider her for endorsement.
- Dan announced that the Coalition will interview BoE candidate, Camille Simmons, on Tuesday, April 20th @ 4:00 pm. Please plan on attending, if possible.
- We acknowledged that our letter to the Mayor & County Executive regarding our recommendation that the RASE Education Recommendations be acted upon with all deliberate speed, was sent. Dan has also contacted the new County Chief of Equity & Justice, Deanna Kimbrill, to see if there are county plans to deal specifically with the education piece.
- Dan will seek contact information on new Regent, Ruth Turner, from Idonia Owens.
- Donna reported that there is no new information on RCSD school cafeteria food improvement.
We recommended that Don Pryor, Donna, Diane and Moniek communicate by email & seek to to determine what is being done by the RCSD to resolve the issue & if necessary, develop a recommendation that we will forward to the Supt.
- We heard several perspectives on the RCSD zoning question & decided that the more important question for our Coalition to address is how the current funding increases should be the RCSD used to transform all schools into "great schools." We agreed to review Connie's summary from a parent/student RCSD meeting that lists the major recommendations to improve RCSD schools, add our own recommendations & forward to the Supt. & BoE. (See Connie's report, below.) We should also review our "RCSD Intervention Recommendations," the RASE Recommendations as resources. (Attached.) Please send your recommendations to me by April 26th.
- Dan suggested that we endorse the Ossining, NY, BoE resolution that requires parents to "opt" their children in for this Spring's standardized tests, rather than a request to "opt" them out. Dan will seek a copy of the resolution & share asap for our consideration to advance to the RCSD BoE.
- Dan shared that Regent Norwood is committed to meeting with the Supt. to discuss key education transformation recommendations, including a variance from high-stakes standardized tests.
- Diane shared a video that expresses the need for education transformation, focusing on the skills students need to develop for our current society & culture. Bart also commented & we agreed to review our "RCSD Intervention Recommendations" to see what we may be missing & not focusing on.
- We agreed to meet again on Friday, April 30th @ 4:00 pm. But, don't forget our April 20th interview @ 4:00 pm, as well.
RCSD Board of Education Public Budget Hearing:
April 8, 2021 observed by Constance Flahive (Report for LWV-RMA)
There were 41 speakers signed up to provide input into the budget process The event took place after the announcement that the State Budget passed April 7th included an additional $367 million in funds from the stimulus package, the American Rescue Plan and an increase in foundation aid.
Ten+ students spoke in favor of the following priorities for the budget:
- Provide for culturally responsive and equitable curriculum and the teacher training & support necessary for implementation.
- Provide for robust restorative practice programs across the district.
- Provide money necessary to recruit and retain diverse teachers – teachers who look like the black and brown students in the district.
- Provide the healthier and more culturally relevant food that students need in school.
- Provide support staff in the schools such as counselors and paraprofessionals to work with students beyond the classroom.
About thirty parents and community members spoke as well. They commended the Board for allowing student voices to be heard and backed up the points students made, many saying the new money should be looked at as an opportunity to invest in the needs of the students as they articulated.
Additional points made by community:
- Stimulus money should be used to address issues due to the pandemic such as mental health issues caused by not being in school and loss of a love of learning.
- More teachers and staff, such as reading teachers, restorative practice experts and school counselors, need to be hired. The teacher to student ratio needs to be balanced across the district.
- Return funding for Refugee Newcomer and English Language Learning programs.
Connierocrase.com › report
Report of the Commission on Racial And Structural ... - RASE