The Education Committee of the SW Common Council
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
6:30 to 8:00 pm at
Arnett Branch Library, 310 Arnett Boulevard
Here are the meeting notes as a .pdf file: SWCC Education Committee Minutes 2018-11-28.pdf
Joe Baldino School #29 Principal, 490-2245, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pam Bollar 19th Ward Resident, Aenon Church Member, email@example.com
John Boutet SWCC Education Committee Chair, 328-4271, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eleanor Coleman YouthBuild & OACES/NEDP, 224-5119, email@example.com
Judith Davis RCSD School Board Commissioner Elect, firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Hallmark RCSD School Board, Elizabeth.email@example.com
John Laing 19WCA Schools Comm & Sch #16 Vol, 235-5236, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chojy Schroeder 19WCA Resident, Retired Teacher, 328-9596, email@example.com
Leading up to the meeting information had been distributed including RCSD Rochester Superintendent Listing - 1841 to 2016 , the November 28th SWCC Education Committee Meeting announcement with agenda and links, and accounts of meeting Adam Urbanski, Laval Wilson, Cecilia Golden and Peter McWalters in the early '80's. You can check out: Meteoric, Like McWalters and Is he the real RCSD superintendent? There had also been discussion of the Aquino Report. This led to several people sending in additional background and suggestions for discussion.
Discussion of Dr. Aquino Report
Chojy Schroeder, retired RCSD teacher, is part of Coalition for Public Education, and volunteers in schools now. Provides a tutoring program at UR for students that is free. Concerned by new Aquino Report content and the consistent lack of transparency. Chojy had sent in a commentary by Shawgi Tell on the Aquino report: An email to the RCSD Board from Shawgi Tell on the Aquino Report. She also referenced a D&C guest essay by Dan Drmacich: Tough questions must be asked, answered to truly transform the RCSD .
She has a major concern regarding the push to privatize school system. We pay for their students to get services (speech, transportation, etc.) and that funding is being taken away from public education. Charter schools can turn students away. Public school can’t do that.
Check out this portion of the discussion at: https://youtu.be/mK_VSO5fhkw
Discuss Superintendent Selection Process
Proposal was put to School Board by members of the AQE/Citizen Action of New York Education Committee to create a Community Advisory Committee to be adopted immediately and to announce appointees publicly by or on January 1, 2019. Proposal asks for each commissioner to pick 2 people to add to this committee, hold meetings, get input to submit to the Board, suggested names for superintendent. The appointees should be diverse: parents, individuals who are active in community organizations that work on education issues in the city and community members who have demonstrated a commitment to public K-12 education in our City. The community should be part of the process from the beginning. This was also submitted to City Newspaper as an Op-ed.
The issue is not whether the community should be involved but when they should be involved. Liz Hallmark described the current School Board proposed process: Public RFP asking for “headhunter” search group who will interview stakeholders (teachers, business, teachers, parents, board members); collect information on what the community wants from different stake holders. Board reviews and approves a Superintendent profile. The process with the community is open, “what do you want in profile?”; the process is closed as candidates are vetted, then opened again with final choices.
Best practices calls for vetting potential candidates privately as some candidates may be working and not want the information to initially go public. The larger the group gets, the harder it becomes to maintain confidentiality.
Liz said an Interim Superintendent has been selected but not yet announced.
Superintendent – would like candidate to have an education background, be young, experience with organizations that have a lot of silos. It was noted that a young candidate may have more potential to leave for a career upgrade.
Regarding Special Committees (Managed Choice, Climate, Special Ed) – Liz said we need to redo the bylaws so that the Superintendent is part of the process. Committees come off as “advisory.” Start with Superintendent approving a Special Committee be formed; although it is functioning as a separate committee, it is a more integrated process which would minimize silos.
Need to be vocal about lack of State Education Department flexibility; for example, their demanding a change in 3 years at School #41 but not taking into consideration having to bring in a new principal which consumed some of the 3-year time frame; disagree with the allegiance to numbers vs people and community.
There was a first meeting a couple of days ago to discuss Aquino Report on “Governance.” Total of 82 recommendations were reviewed. About 9 people were at first meeting, mostly administrators. Meeting notifications were announced via a press release. Next meeting is tomorrow, 11/29, 6 p.m.; Judy Davis pointed out part of tomorrows’ agenda is the Superintendent Selection Process.
Liz recommended downloading the RCSD app which has updated information about meetings.
Check out this discussion on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Gx-YPVRnpJg
Local Busing Initiative – History and Lobbying Plans.
On 10/26/2018 Mary Adams was able to get a report from the District that shows quite clearly that short distance busing saves money if we use it to encourage the use of neighborhood schools: School Bus Cost Impact Study FIN.pdf. The study dates back to 2013. Also look at 1.5 vs 0.5 mile map around School 16
The current busing reimbursement rule (1.5 miles or more from school) makes it impossible for many children in the 19th Ward to be bused to a neighborhood school.
Increased busing has allowed RCSD to close neighborhood-based schools.
New proposal being floated to have designated pick-up areas for neighborhoods so buses wouldn’t go directly to front doors. Concern around days the streets aren’t cleared from snow and how that would impact the pick-up areas.
Need to provide a variety of needed services within each of the 3 zones which would reduce transportation needs.
School 3, 10, 16, 19, 29, 44, Wilson – Updates
School #29 - Joe Baldino
Pushing for an inclusive new playground; have met with designer and will be meeting with RCSD Facilities; donations have been promised by Lawyers for Learning; will also explore what District will provide and other sources.
Student numbers are down; exploring reasons.
Population includes 38% students w/ multiple disabilities.
There is a Parent Welcome Center upon entering the building on the left.
The 19WCA held its annual convention at School 16 on November 16 and attendees were impressed with the renovations.
Volunteers continue to provide a reading program.
Recommend a “postmortem” of what has been learned during the first 3 months to determine what designs worked well and which may need correction (corridors where rooms get locked at both ends which traps you inside the corridor if you don’t have a key card). Need blinds to block sunlight in gym when stage is being used for an event. Good way to identify best practices.
John Laing and John Boutet visited 44 and talked with new Principal Rodney Moore. He is very happy with his new assignment and will try to attend some of our meetings.
CFC YouthBuild – Update
Open House at new location (121 Lincoln Ave, between Chili & West) on Thurs, 12/13, 3-6pm
Other Mailed-in Items
Pamela Bollar <firstname.lastname@example.org> emailed this in 11/28/2018 and was on back of agenda.
Would like see the breakdown of the RSCD board members during the time of each superintendent and the policy that shifted us to this moment. (Liz was contacted and will look into getting this info.)
We also need address charter schools and teachers assignment,and building use.
Erin Egloff <email@example.com> Secretary, Citizen Action of NY – Rochester and member of the RCSD R.E.A.L. Team emailed this in.
If its appropriate, it would be great if you could encourage your committee members to attend a REAL (Racial Equity and Advocacy Leadership) Team meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for Dec 11 at 6pm at Central Office, and the one after that is Dec 18 at 6pm at Central Office. (Normally the meetings are the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month.) I’ve been attending the meetings - which are open to the public - since June and I believe that this group may truly be a vehicle for long-term change within the district. Current priorities are professional education, personnel recruitment, and student discipline.
There are currently approx 25-ish people who attend regularly, but we really need more community members to come and be involved and show that racial inequity is a serious issue at RCSD. Parents of black or brown students have a particularly useful perspective, and we do not have as much parent representation as I think we should. Anyone concerned about racial inequity at RCSD should consider attending at least one or two meetings to see if they are interested in helping with the effort.
If anyone has questions, you are welcome to share my email address with them and I can talk with them more about my experience with the REAL Team.
Thanks for the consideration.
Scribe Services: Eleanor Coleman, YouthBuild & OACES/NEDP, 224 -5119, firstname.lastname@example.org
SWCC Education Committee Chair: John Boutet, 328-4271, email@example.com
19thWCA Schools Committee Chair: John Laing, 235-5236, firstname.lastname@example.org