[LCSD] Yes, Virgina, there will be liveblogging tonight

It appears I will be headed to Lebanon tonight for the LCSD board meeting, which means there should be liveblogging.  Rumors – as usual – are flying fast and furious.

Anyone know if the district would object if I brought a flask in?  It’s one of those days.

6:59 PM.  Here.  Lots of teachers.  More than normal.

7:06 PM.  Josh is noting that it’s ‘nice to see an audience filling the chairs,’ as compared to when he first started serving on the board.

7:08 PM.  Fandiño is the first substantial audience comment.  She is immediately talking about the unworkability of the schedule.  Here we go…. for the record, the big rumor about tonight was that Kim Fandiño was going to rewrite the entire Trimester 2 and 3 schedules and shove them through the board, conveniently eliminating them by administrative death.

KF is now talking about how her intent is good and how she wants to be collaborative.

Wineteer is now asking KF to remain available for the Superintendent’s Report – Math Update segment of the agenda, as Wineteer thinks it’s the most relevant part.  I think it’s a safe bet that this will be the big item of the evening.

7:12 PM. A parent – whose name I didn’t catch – is now also talking about how unworkable the class schedule is, and how it is important for teachers to teach the subjects they are most proficient in and most comfortable in.

7:15 PM.  Someone – I think Betsy Miller from OSBA – is noting an objection that’s been made regarding allowing public comment during the interviews.  According to her, attorneys have reviewed it, and the new recommendation – which the board agrees to – is to not allow public comment on Tuesday or Wednesday.  I wonder if that includes allowing public comments after all five interviews on the process in general?  Say, at the end of the meeting Wednesday?

Josh is claiming people who know him know he doesn’t like going to the lowest common denominator, but has reluctantly agreed to ban public comments so “we don’t do something stupid.”

7:18 PM.  Consent Agenda approved.

7:20 PM.  Item E1 has been moved and is now up.  Carol Dinges is explaining Oregon Reads, a celebration of Oregon’s 150th anniversary.  The idea is that all Oregonians read the same books next year, so we “have a common experience.”  That’s kind of cool.

…. 7:25 PM.  One of the books Dinges is covering is called stubborn twig.  Wineteer, very innocently, leans towards the mic and says “what was the name of that book?”  Dinges repeats the name, and Wineteer says “So that’s not Rick’s autobiography.”  There was a half second of stunned silence, and then the audience busted up laughing and even clapped.  I have to admit, that was good.

7:30 PM.  Kelley’s report.  He is beginning with the math update.

As a side note, if I was more on top of things, I would have used Cover It Live to blog this.  Maybe I will in the future.

Kelley’s going into some depth regarding math scores at LHS.  I can’t actually see the projector screen that well, which is part of the reason I’m not covering it.

7:38 PM.  Wineteer is asking why there are seniors taking Algebra I.  Maybe I’m missing something, but if a student just keeps failing Algebra I, there’s really not any point putting them anywhere else.  No, it’s not good for someone to fail A1 more than once, and it’s certainly not good for them to be in A1 as a senior, but it’s going to happen once or twice no matter what staff, parents and teachers do.  I’m hoping that the board and parents present realize that.

Kelley is making the point that this is ultimately not just about math, but about all subjects, and that to make students succeed, all subjects need to be addressed.  Faux pas on his part:  “It’s not just a math emergency – it’s a student emergency.”  Not very reassuring.

7:45 PM.  Several sketchy comments later, I have come to the conclusion that Kelley’s rhetoric is not perfect.  And it contains too many combat or war metaphors for a school.  For example, they have a math ‘war room’ at LHS.

7:47 PM.  Kelley is done; Wineteer is bringing up the scheduling issue.  Wineteer:  “What are we doing right now?  How are we addressing – so we can make classes available to students so they can take the classes that are required to graduate?”  He is clearly looking at Fandiño’s schedule.

Alexander (to Wineteer):  I think the new master schedule dovetails with what Mr. Kelley is saying tonight.  Can we hear from Fandiño how this works?  Can she speak to us?

7:49 PM.  KF is explaining how she derived her version of the master schedule.  Between what she is saying and Wineteer and Alexander’s following comments, there is no doubt in my mind the three of them planned this.  I don’t make that claim lightly, but my sense.

7:54 PM.  Kelley:  “I would place any major changes to the master schedule in the long-range category, the next-year category.”  The disruption is simply too big.  Wineteer counters with the point that if it’s such a math emergencyNext, Kelley makes the point that it’s pretty much impossible to make a perfect schedule that accomodates all students all year.

7:58 PM. Alexander:  Why wasn’t this addressed two years ago?  We have all these committees…. I don’t see how dovetailing this schedule into that system disenfranchises students.  He keeps using the word “dovetailing”… and now he’s saying he can’t see the downside of changing the entire schedule 15 days before the trimester starts. Jeebus.

7:59 PM. Kelley is responding… and he notes that he got a copy of KF’s version at 11 AM and was not allowed to ask clarifying questions or have discussion.  What does that mean?  Kelley:  “I am not trying to be a blocker.  I am trying to be a realist.” Then he moves into noting potential problems.

First problem he notes that might or might not exist:  Continuity, that students may change teachers mid-class.  Second:  NCLB and making sure the new schedule meets NCLB highly qualified standards.  Now he’s implicitly calling out KF for doing this and not being an expert and not consulting the people whose job it is.  It was a slight rebuke, but it was there.  Third:  It might be a contract violation – which is really ironic considering KF’s former role as LEA President.  Fourth:  Preparing for a class with 15 days’ notice, and how much of a problem that could be for teachers.  Fifth:  The technical/logistic problems with doing this on such short notice and running it all the way through the regular process.  The tech person Kelley consulted says it’s not possible to do it in 15 days.  Last appeal:  It might undo all the work that parents have done coming in and working with counselors to set up their childrens’ schedule.  That’s a lot of work wasted.  Kelley’s bottom line:  It may not be possible.

8:05 PM.  The board has invited David Champion to speak mid-meeting.  He points to the need to address the root of the problem, and the first thing he notes is skip rates.  This is good… but I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Drops his cred as someone who has to put into effect complex plans, and comes out against the schedule change as not addressing the root of the problem and being almost impossible to implement successfully in two weeks.

8:09 PM.  Wineteer wants to know what kind of timeline KF used to make it.  Her first response is to ask if she can respond to what Kelley said, but Wineteer pressed her into answering his question.  In doing so, she admits using prep time to work on the schedule and notes that she has had input from others.  Now she is blaming other people for not asking her about her working on the schedule – WTF?  Like they have an obligation to help her do something so irresponsible?  She is also talking really, really fast.

8:11 PM.  Now she is responding to Kelley.  I noticed when he was speaking, she had a big grin on her face.  KF is claiming that there is already a continuity problem.  Then she says:  “Who teaches it to me is kind of irrelevant.  It’s more important that every class is available.”  This came a minute or two after she claimed that she solicited input from other teachers on who was best at teaching what subject and what class.  I would imagine that there are teachers who disagree with that statement.

Notification of assignment: “I’ve been notified 24 hours before class.”  Like that makes it OK for KF to do it to someone else.  Similarly, KF doesn’t think short notice or short prep is actually a problem.  “They shouldn’t need to create a curriculum.”

Now KF is claiming there are other teachers who are willing to volunteer to handle the massive input problem that changing the schedule would require.  She’s sure making it sound like she has a lot of support.

8:16 PM.  Kelley: If you were to decide to enact that schedule tonight – Wineteer:  That’s not going to happen tonight.  THIS IS GOOD.

Kelley is now subtly – and correctly, in my opinion – rebuking KF for not telling either counselors or administrators about her proposed schedule.  KF has been excused from the mic; both Wineteer and Kelley thanked her, but I think Kelley is pissed about having this dropped on him with such short notice.

Observation:  THANK GOODNESS they are not just putting into place a new schedule on the drop of a hat.  Wineteer appears to have shut that discussion down, up to and including Alexander not saying a whole lot.

8:21 PM.  Wineteer is asking for a work session for the 17th to address the math issue as well as the scheduling issue.  Now KF has interrupted and just proposed to eliminate any modeling or testing and just inputting her schedule.  Wineteer is clearly not on board, at least not yet – he is concerned with the lack of collaboration and input on the part of staff.

Alexander:  I don’t think it’s all or nothing.  We can address the middle ground.  We’ve come a long ways, we’ve done a lot of work.  At least we’re headed in a positive direction. etc. etc. – he’s not saying anything new or meaningful.  “We have a problem and we need to address it” is not really adding to the conversation.

KF (interrupting again): Can we do this during early release this Wednesday?  Everyone else:  Let’s talk about the 17th….

8:26 PM.  Shimmin (speaking for the first time):  I want everyone to have an opportunity to review the material and ask questions.  We need to time.  Let’s do it at the work session.  Moving too fast is a bad idea.

GO DEBI SHIMMIN.

8:32 PM.  KF interrupts Wineteer again.

Jan Zarate:  “This is an unprecedented conversation.”  Burn.

8:34 PM.  Linda Denham (so I am told), who gave the comment at the beginning of the meeting, just interrupted to make a short but clearly heart-felt statement, saying that it was more important to do it right than do it fast, and if that meant putting off changing the schedule, so be it.  Good for her.

With the possibility of a schedule change sunk, several people, including some teachers and counselors, have left.

8:38 PM.  The board is unanimously approving continuining to suport Project Lead the Way.  Good for them.

8:56 PM.  I am still here.  Laurie Glazener went over some student achievement stuff, and Linda Darling is going over the results of a financial audit.  Neither is controversial.

Oh, and Chris Fisher is not here.  I don’t know why.

9:12 PM.  Stepped out for a few minutes.  Budget discussion is still continuing – they appear to be talking about how to handle what they perceive as a future budget shortfall.  This is definitely something to talk about…. I wonder how it will tie into the requests that have been made to bring all kinds of older classes and programs back.

9:15 PM.  Larry Tilford brings word on the Reed School issue – it’s being suggested that it be moved back to next June, as Mr. O’Driscoll’s wife just had a baby.  McUne moves to approve H-5; Alexander seconds.  Motion passes by majority.

9:20 PM.  Doug Miner, the President of the PIE board, is giving a report on Sand Ridge.  This is probably the main reason Jay Jackson is here.

9:27 PM.  Finch is stumbling over asking the board what to do about students wearing ICP clothing and accessories.  He’s looking for guidance.  He’s very much not relaxed.

Finch told the students he would take this question to the board.  Good for him.

Wineteer:  It seems like the board policy really does allow you to ban the clothing without a problem.  Parents have brought up having a dress code, and this is one small step in that direction.

Alexander:  If we’re not going to enforce a policy, we should take it out.

McUne: That’s something that we don’t see at the board level.  I support you in this.

Wineteer:  I’m going to barely refrain from lecturing Finch on how to do his job.  Oh, and the parents want to reduce classroom distractions, and this is an opportunity to do that.

Wineteer:  I have no problem with kids wanting to express things, but in school we need to make this as positive a learning environment as possible.

[Does he not see the contradiction there – that the board is using one definition of positive and that the students are not going to see a potential ban on ICP clothes as positive.  It raises the question of who gets to define a positive learning environment; clearly the board and Finch think they do.  I’m not so sure that’s the most effective way to go.  In any case, that discussion felt like it really could have used the input of students.]

9:32 PM.  The board is having a good laugh over having Debi and Russ motioning and seconding themselves to go to a conference for school board members.  I am glad both are going – in fact, Russ jumped on the opportunity and had signed up before the meeting, even.  Unsurprisingly, neither Alexander nor Wineteer seemed terribly interested.

That’s pretty much it.  Go home, folks.  I am.

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3 Comments on “[LCSD] Yes, Virgina, there will be liveblogging tonight”

  1. Alison Says:

    Hahaha! Stubborn Twig? That is beautiful.

  2. Tim Says:

    Hey Dennis-
    This guy:

    http://livefromthemancave.com/?p=41

    is using coveritlive to watch the election tomorrow, you might drop in and check it out in action.

    Blog away!!!

  3. Joe the scheduler Says:

    Dennis,

    This ‘the schedule must be fixed in 15 days’ is bullshit. Not much support from this teacher.


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