[LCSD] Liveblogging the Board meeting

UPDATE 2:  I hear Mary Bowman wants to get in touch with me.  My email address is rhetoricalwasteland@gmail.com.  I prefer email to the phone.

UPDATE:  The word count on this thing is about 4400 from beginning to end.  Wow.

I intend to liveblog tonight’s board meeting….

6:03 PM – Room at least 50% full.  Board members trickling in.  Sabrina Wood refuses to talk about any potential grievances that might have been filed in relation to grading.  I didn’t expect any different – she is very professional – but I was feeling cheeky.

6:08 PM – Wineteer calls meeting to order.

6:09 PM – Autumn Ray (?), senior @ LHS.  Participate in Beyond LHS and wants to share experiences based on her four years.  Critical of systems as cliquish; notes that Info is now called Suicide Hall, not Info.  “What 8th grader knows what they want to do with their life?”  Critical of master schedule, availability of counselors, slowness of changing schedules.  VERY critical of principals – “never see them” at pep rallies or except when they have done something wrong.  Never see Superintendent.  “Education is our right”.  “Do not feel comfortable with rumors of corruption among administration,” especially rumors about changing grades.  “Not only want change, but need it, desparetely.  Want people who care for us.  “Stop acting so childish and help us!”  “I had 70 students sign my speech saying they were in agreement with my opinions.”

6:15 PM – Zelda.  Works @ Cascades.  Talking about LACE.  Rumor is that “Rick, you are telling your business partners that we are not getting any more money.”  If that is true, why would you do that? [Alexander interrupts and tells her to get her facts straight, Wineteer quiets him.]  “We were there when you needed us, we stood up and said we want Rick and Josh on our board.”  HOLY COW.  Proceeds to talk about need for increased salaries; calls for board to stand up for classified staff.  “I know there has to be money some place that you can find for us.”

Alexander:  “I am going to hold a public forum, and if you want this all out in the public, be there to present.”

6:18 PM – Lyndon Brown – when you get to discussion about HS, is it going to be a discussion or is it going to be a dog-and-pony show and presentations?

Wineteer:  Some input, “a little more formal than you’re used to with me, but I promise there will be input.”

6:19 PM.  Wineteer closes audience comments.

Next:  Budget Committee.

Lanning: Five individuals applied for one opening.  How do you want to proceed?

Wineteer:  Let’s call them up to the front and answer questions without telling them this is going to happen in advance [Wineteer has to ask if they are in the audience] and without time to prepare.

WHAT?!  Really?  That’s pretty unprofessional.

….Board proceeds to call then in random order and see if they are present and has them tell a little abou themselves.  Charitably, this is a nice way to introduce them to the audience, and sort of to the Board, but without telling them this is going to happen, I can’t shake the feeling that this is unprofessional.

Order they were called: Benson, Cornell, Gaston, Rieskamp, Gestrin (the same order they appeared in the agenda).

6:25 PM – Wineteer notes that Chris Fisher is sick and therefore absent.

Wineteer:  Will now entertain a motion or discussion.

Alexander:  I think we have some good candidates.  One concern that I would like to have addressed is…. [rambles] …… I think that for my choice, he [Gaston] spends the most time here and is at least as well-qualified as anyone for the position.

Sorry, Gaston [who is sitting next to me], but an endorsement from Alexander is enough to make me skeptical at this point.

McUne:  Gestrin is a bank manager…. [audience laughs] …. ok, maybe not.  Overall, lots of positive credentials.

Alexander:  Move to approve Gason as Budget Committee member; Shimmin

Wineteer:  Appointment expires June 30, 2011.

McUne:  Continue on Superintendent Search Committee?  Because I believe in spreading opportunity around, and nothing against you, but I’d rather see you on the Budget Committee and not the Super

6:30 PM – Motion passes unanimously.

6:31 PM – Next agenda item is to approve Super screening committee applicants.  24 applicants.  Gravitate back to 12 people on committee. [I vote 2 admin, 2 students, 2 teachers, 2 classified, 2 parents, 2 non-parent community members; or drop the non-parents and add one teacher and one classified]

Board discusses 12-14, composition of committee.

Wineteer:  How should we proceed?

McUne:  Lone student and classified should be automatics.  Shimmin agrees.

Lanning:  Reminds Wineteer of something, Wineteer doesn’t even let him finish, but cuts him off just a little bit.

Board decides to look at ‘Patrons’ section of list first.

McUne:  I like Rieskamp.  Fisher likes Hanneman and Rieskamp.

[Lyndon Brown is on that list]

Alexander:  We got Lyndon Brown.  I vote for Lyndon Brown.

Shimmin:  She is a retired teacher with 30 years experience, I think she could bring good comments to the table.

Wineteer: Toomb as given.

Alexander:  Gestrin?

Wineteer:  Chris’s 2 picks were Connie Schmidt and Toomb.

Shimmin:  Campbell, she has a strong background in HR.  This is important.  Also Toomb.

Wineteer:  Rick, do you have another pick.

….. long, awkward silence, broken by Alexander getting confused about what he’s been asked.  He never answers.

[It appears to be a straw poll selection process – whoever they pick, with minimal discussion about why, gets to be on the committee.  The saving grace is that they are looking for some sort of equitable distribution across constituents.]

Parents

Wineteer: Fisher wants Bauer and Kennedy.

Shimmin:  Cornell and Heinich

Alexander: Bauer

McUne: Kennedy and Bauer

Vote count is 2 apiece, but that misses two votes.  They found another vote for Bauer.  Choice between Heineck, Kennedy, and Cornell.

McUne:  Kennedy has been really involved.  This is why I would like to see him on committee.

Wineteer and Alexander just look at each other, say nothing.

Shimmin: I am interested in Cornell.  I worked with him, I know him, I’ve worked with him, I think he is positive.  I think he brings good qualities as well.

McUne looks pained.

Wineteer:  I personally would rather have Heineck [over Kennedy].

Alexander: Heineck.

McUne: I am worried about the awkwardness, but I am worried that we might be excluding people just because they disagree with us.  Given some earlier exclusions, we need a diversity of opinion.

Kennedy loses.  Parents are Heineck, Bauer, Cornell.

[It was very, very clear that Alexander and Wineteer were not going to vote for Kennedy to be on anything.  Very immature and unprofessional of them; credit to McUne for pointing that out, however slightly.]

McUne:  I think we should move to 15, so we can have 2 admins and 2 teachers.  Both admins are good, and one is from the DO and one from a school.

Shimmin:  Carol Dinges, Wood

Alexander: Craig Nelson, Dinges

Fisher: Sabrina Wood, Joe Vore

McUne: Wood, Geoghegan.

Wineteer: Dinges, Geoghegan

Wineteer has to AGAIN prod Alexander for a second.  He’s clearly not thought about this at all and struggles to answer.  Teachers are Wood and Dinges.

Wineteer:  Checks with board, are reservations about who is being left off, but board seems OK.

6:48 PM – Motion:  Approve Super Screening Committee 15 people: Zarate, Noss, Dinges, Wood, Kraemer, Vandetta, Heineck, Cornell, Bauer, Toomb, Gestrin, Campbell, Hanneman, Rieskamp, Brown.  McUne makes, Shimmin seconds.

Lanning steps in and talks about the time commitment, up to and asking if they can commit the time necessary.

Motion passes unanimously.

[Again, not selecting Kennedy given his level of involvement makes the board – except McUne – appear petty.  As well, I think it’s shortsighted on the merits.]

6:54 PM – Alexander:  What day do we approve the new Superintendent?

Lanning:  April 20 given the current schedule and they start July 1.

Alexander:  Do we want his opinion on [unintelligble]?

Lanning: [paraphrasing] No.  We have to move forward.

Alexander:  Do we want to have any input at all from the new Super for the attorney?

Board:  No, we need to move forward.  I think the board is annoyed with Alexander for asking and persisting with this question, as is Lanning.

Motion:  Approve timeline as is.  Passes unanimously.

6:58 PM – Lanning:  Have already made recommendation.  Possible that it will change, but for now I still recommend Asst. Super and Zarate and two board members.  Shimmin?

McUne:  Asst Super is better than Super because Asst. will be here longer.  Student Achievement is good, HR is good.

Shimmin:  Motion to approve RFP with revisions outlined.  Eval committee = Asst. Super, Student Achievement, two board members.  McUne seconds.

7:00 PM – Wineteer: Discussion?  None.  Motion passes unanimously.

Two board members on Legal Services Eval Committee:  Shimmin and McUne.  McUne makes motion to select, Shimmin seconds, audience laughs.  Motion passes unanimously w/ McUne and Shimmin voting.

Lanning:  Short recess before HS structure discussion.  Reconvene @ ten after.

[I wonder how vocal the anti-academies crowd is going to be?]

7:10 PM – Wineteer:  You can see the group up front with various participants, the goal is to have a discussion about where we want to go with the HS.  This may seem a long time coming for many of you, but the goal is to get some kind of direction.

[Two things:  This is a great example of local control; not that I think local control is great, especially for something THAT SHOULD BE DRIVEN BY DATA (and expertise), not gut feeling, which is how it feels to be going down; I also think ‘local control’ is fetishized in this district.]

Finch:  Outlines work HS groups have done, on what fronts, etc.  Starts video.  Video is immediately painful and hilarious.

[My response to Finch’s outlining, not directed at Finch but at the process:  You are reinventing the wheel.  Plenty of these issues are addressed by existing HS policies, or better practices at other places.  What is driving this “let’s rethink everything!” process if not the community’s hatred of all things Robinson?  That hatred, of course, being unprofessional and not helpful to creating a good school.]

…video of “the bad school” really is a lot like LHS, in my experience in how it portrays bullies AND the administrators.  Bad school is called Charles Darwin HS.

[Video is painful to watch not only for the mediocre production values and acting, but for how out-of-touch it portrays admins… Oh!  “We are required to notify you if your kid is failing, so if you don’t hear from us, it’s a good thing.”  Isn’t this in place @ LHS?]

7:24 PM – [Also, I see a LOT of the worst of LHS in the ‘bad school’ video.  Heh.  Though in all fairness, there are a lot of teachers I have met there that bear no resemblance to the ‘bad school’ video.]

7:24 PM – The video attacks the Special Snowflake Syndrome!  Yes!

Video over.

Finch:  See where we’re at with students passing test scores.  By 2012 ALL students need to pass these tests (Math, Reading, Writing in 10th grade).  Room gets REALLY quiet.

Unknown student:  What about juniors and seniors?

Finch fails to understand question, student repeats it, Finch admits that they just don’t have the data on juniors/seniors.  Student seems crestfallen.

[Not that it is Finch’s fault, but student makes a good point:  How are you going to get people to pass it if you don’t know where they are after 10th grade?]

Various recommendations from HS:  Small 9th grade class sizes.  Diversity of electives.  Year-round Math and Language Arts. Eliminate academy structure and replace it with junior/senior career pathways.  Systemic interventions throughout whole HS.  Study skills courses within 9th and 10th grade day.

[Immediate Reaction:  More and more and more support and emphasis on basic skills – and while I have no doubt this is necessary, is anyone looking at what this means in the long term and/or big picture?  Is this because the demands on students are increasing, or their skills upon arrival are less, some combination, or something else?]

7:34 PM – two students are on the HS presentation committee/team.  Good call.  Furthermore, the two students in question are both great choices.

Finch:  Our recommendation is for a 7-period, 2-semester schedule. [And the wheel comes all the way around – wasn’t something like this in place, oh, 15 or 20 years ago?]

7:39 PM – trend is towards pathways, not academies.  Operating question is ‘what is the student doing after HS?  Where are they going?’

21st Century Skills Act is referenced.

Alexander:  How did you come up with this?  [This being the grad plan, since he didn’t specify and had to be asked.]

7:42 PM – Alexander: How was it weighted?  [Meaning preference of student vs. admin.]  They normally come out weighted.

[Clearly he doesn’t get how this works – it’s not quantified in the traditional sense, which means it’s not ‘weighted’ in the sense he intends.]

HS Committee is explaining the proposed schedules in in moderate detail in terms of electives, overall credits, frequency of study skills and reading stuff.

Health and PE would be bumped from 9-10th grade to 11th-12th.  That’s appealing in the sense that the time is needed earlier on for basic skills, but not appealing in the sense that many students want to get those classes out of the way early.

7:46 PM – Autumn Ray:  How are juniors and seniors going to be involved?  Advisory?  Senior projects?

Good question, and Finch adopts a VERY condescending attitude and tone (he slows down the speed of his speaking, even) in his response to Autumn, and in front of everyone.  Boo…. OK, he picked up a little with his followup answer.

Random parent:  Can’t we cut an admin without the academies?  That’s where we will save money!

7:51 PM – Finch: Risks our accreditation, so no.  [Immediately turns away.  A good answer, actually, from a PR standpoint, as it turns the blame from the LCSD to some agency somewhere else.]

…. I really want to go home.  Can they just go back into Exec Session now so they can come out and I can find out what the big deal is?

…. an observation, in reaction to someone’s gushing about the new senior tracking plan:  Information technology has progressed to the point where it’s essentially perfectly flexible and nearly-all-powerful.  The barrier is, ultimately, not really the technology anymore, but the willingness of the teachers and staff to learn new technologies.  (This parallels a work experience for me, interestingly.)  I’m thinking too of Jeff Jarvis’ series on what various things would look like if they were created under a Google paradigm.  For example, education: check this out.

7:54 PM Autumn:  Can we incorporate Beyond LHS?

Most of committee:  Yes!  Absolutely.

8:00 PM – …. Autumn has a lot of questions.  They are all at least reasonable and decent, if not smart.  Interesting.

Laura Baker:  Why are there no teachers on the panel?  “Why isn’t there teachers here?”

Response:  Teachers have been consulted.  “We don’t know why there are no teachers here.”  There was anonymous online voting.

Baker:  Did teachers have to give their names to vote?  And if you do this again, can you bring teachers in?  It would be nice to have teachers here talking.

[I agree with Baker; even assuming teachers gave a LOT of input to the plan, they should have been at the table.]

Now they switch to the ‘good’ school video.  It makes clear immediately that these are caricatures, which makes them even sillier and unrealistic.  Furthermore, I know that the sort of stuff that happens in the ‘good school’ video is already happening in portions of LHS.  So, I repeat:  Why chuck everything out the window and start over?

Furthermore, the ‘good school’ video adds a TON of paperwork and reporting requirements to teachers.  Not that such things don’t have educational value, but it’s just about impossible for staff to give that level of attention to each student with their current student loads.  More staff is needed, period – and that’s a budget issue.  Big picture:  That’s a state and federal issue.  Local level: The LCSD Board bought out Jim Robinson!

…great.  now it’s the old trope about needing to pass classes to participate in sports.  Not that there isn’t some correlation, but are they SURE this is the good school video?  Or that this isn’t from the 1990s?  I ask because there are lots of students for whom school-sponsored clubs are not a draw… and because athletics also can negatively affect grades.

8:14 PM McUne:  What’s the budget effect of each class schedule option, roughly?

Finch:  No point in guessing yet, given lack of knowledge about finances…

McUne:  What is the added cost of keeping the academy system?

Finch: Original estimate was 18 staff/academy.  We never got there, and with money being tighter, we can’t offer as many classes and will move to less staff.

Observation:  I am pretty critical of the LCSD board and have been for some time.  Not only is this because I have expectations of professionalism, but because I expect them to be more educated than me when it comes to education, and I don’t always see that happening.

8:17 PM – Wineteer:  Why pathways?

Committee Member:  Career pathways is really hot right now.  “It has marketing behind it.”  [Since when is this a reason to do ANYTHING?]  The real appeal is that it articulates what the student can do when they leave HS if they follow that pathway.

8:19 Shimmin:  I have concerns about switching in a single year.  Can we do more strategic planning, etc?

Finch:  We have to balance that with new state standards.  So yes, but….no.

8:21 Unknown audience member:  Going back to core system is really good. [Hah!]

8:28 Alexander:  We need to address discipline.  We need control of the classrooms and this is something that isn’t being done.  This is just common sense.  Without it, just wasting taxpayers’ time and money.

Sadly, common sense is often wrong.  Two, the audience sounds smarter than Alexander does at this point, since he’s just complaining (

Walter: You can’t do math until you can read, so thanks for addressing the reading stuff in light of a math emergency.  If kids just read SOMETHING every day, they will get better at it.  Build it in to schedules.  Almost doesn’t matter what – just needs to be something they are interested in.  Second thing comes from LA teachers – we see a real need for year-round LA.  Having time off puts students at a real disadvantage.

Walter:  I heard comment that privileged kids get their schedules fixed and unprivileged kids don’t.  I advocate for poor kids as much or more than others [but privileged and poor are not the same thing – and privileged kids in LHS have better access to this sort of thing].  Last thing:  I asked if there were going to be teachers at the table, and he said no because he didn’t want to put anyone in a politically difficult position and have anyone at the table due to budget cuts – meaning that his  [Interesting.]

Student #1:  I don’t think privilege has anything to do with it.  Me:  You are one of the most privileged students at LHS.  Of course you don’t think

Brad Bauer:  Is there going to be a discussion about the particulars in here before the course catalog goes out.  Social studies teachers are 100% in disagreement with what’s on the paper. [His voice was cracking and loud the entire time, though he might have also been sick.]

8:35 PM McUne:  Why opposed?

Bauer:  Keeps talking over another teacher – Mrs. Bauer.

Mrs. Bauer:  What was mandated to us for Social Studies does not make sense.  It eliminates a big section of our curriculum, and we didn’t get an answer for that.  We are kind of being told we’re going to get 3 credits of SS instead of 4, and the three don’t even make sense.

[I am sympathetic to this argument, but I also know that SS is handled poorly in my opinion @ LHS, and that might have the consequence of it having less lobbying power in the system, especially in light of the reading and math needs.]

8:38 PM Autumn Ray:   Will the powerpoint be online?

McUne:  Can be posted on the LHS website?

Brad Bauer:  Is the course catalog going out next week?

Commitee:  Early March to the printer.

Alexander:  If we are making these changes, is it going to affect the course catalog that Mr. Bauer is referring to? [WHAT?!  HAS HE HEARD A SINGLE THING – Oh, Wineteer said they are changing philosophical ideas.  That makes sense – Alexander doesn’t seem to think abstractly at all.  It explains a lot.]

Lanning:  Given the current budget, we just can’t know at this point.

…Alexander doesn’t seem to get that the interplay between a guiding philosophy and a class schedule and how the transition happens is a relationship that’s dialectic in nature.  He wants to do one thing at a time and in order, which is clearly impossible.

Wait, what? They are talking about making this switch for the 3rd trimester, not for next year?  WHAT?  Talk about changing horses mid-stream…. I have not seen enough evidence that the academies are so bad that the benefits of eliminating them one trimester early outweighs the cost of switching mid-year.

Wineteer:  Why not just decide what we’re going to do and then deveote our energies and time to that and make it work? [That sounds nice, but I wonder what would have happened if he had done that for either the academies or working with Robinson, instead of trying to undermine both from the beginning?  This makes it clear that what drove him was not a commitment to good process, but an a priori assumption about the course

McIntyre nails Finch for not answering a simple question.  Good for her.  She makes him answer it, and he still refuses to answer – despite referencing the options best and worst, when she asks which is which, he says he doesn’t know?

McIntyre:  If kids can’t manage five transitions, how can we expect them to manage seven?  Same as classes? [Good question that doesn’t get answered and McIntyre knows it.]

Random audience member – Mary Bowman? – angrily goes after Finch for having three admins and not two, and thinks that it’s rich that DO administrators don’t count.  [She has no idea what she’s talking about and she’s wasting everyone’s time.]

….. Bowman tries to tell the admins how many secretaries there are @ LHS.  “There’s no reason” to have that many secretaries.

Wineteer:  Can we move this to the Budget discussion?

Bowman:  No.  Let’s talk know.  Kids are talking about a rumor that 28 teachers are going to go. [She is belligerent as hell.]

McUne:  That’s wrong and was used to estimate the necessary size of the cut.

Wineteer:  The estimate is used because it resonates with the public.

Lanning:  We were asked to provide estimates to OSBA for days cut and teachers cut.  We are not advocating cutting teachers only [he’s slowing his speaking down too, which is still condescending].

Bowman:  It is always teachers and programs,  I have never heard administrators mentioned.

Lanning:  It will be across the board.  My philosophy …

Bowman:  Sorry. [Clearly not sorry.]  We have a student achievement director that makes a lot more than a teacher, why is that, if they don’t… I don’t know what your job is [THEN WHY ARE YOU CRITICIZING HER?!]

As a taxpaying citizen, I am paying my teachers $45K and you $123K… [EVERYONE cuts her off].

[That was painful.]

8:58 PM Bowman:  I had another question.  [Everyone ignores her.]

8:59 PM Bowman:  I have a couple more questions.  Two students that are on the committee?  Were they handpicked?  Voluntary?  [Answer:  Voluntary, were asked, part of ASB leadership, Voice asked, been part of process.]

[…. Oh.  Mary Bowman.  From PIE.  Right.  This lady is crazy.]

9:02 PM Margaret Campbell:  Where is the information being used to create the pathways coming from?  [Committee thinks this is a good question.  Answer:  Combination of existing curriculum guides and past experience @ LHS]

Campbell:  Big discrepancy between what employers want and what LHS offers.  [Masog/Volz agree.]

9:04 PM Linda Horner:  We’re under a time crunch because March 2nd we need to input courses, so we need to know trimester or semester before then, or ask district to move timeline.  [The fact that Linda is bringing this up in public before the board means that the LHS admin staff fell down on this – they should be taking this into account.]

Autumn:  With all the talk of budget cuts, is Beyond LHS on the chopping block?

Wineteer/Lanning:  No.  Probably no.

Wineteer:  Are we going to set timelines or play this by ear.  We need something, but what?

McUne:  Can we move away from academies and towards pathways but not give up some things that did work.  Keep positive things.

9:06 PM Alexander:  Can we make a motion? [Like I said, he can’t think in the abstract.]

McUne:  Does it have to be motion or can we just give direction?

Wineteer:  Why don’t we work towards something rather than against academies?

Alexander:  Getting rid of academies is a direction to go. [NO IT’S NOT YOU BLOODY IDIOT; by definition, it is a negative, not a positive.]

Wineteer is responsible.  Keeps telling Alexander that they need something to replace academies on March 2nd, presumably so he doesn’t keep trying to make sure his fans know that he killed the academies.  God, Alexander is bad at this.

9:08 PM Wineteer:  discussion over.

9:10 PM – Linda Darling update on the audit.

9:15 PM [Wineteer is clearly more comfortable in his role as chair and board member than he used to be, and he’s clearly better at chairing a meeting.  I don’t agree with a lot of how he does it, but he seems to know what he is doing a lot more than he used to.]

9:18 Consent agenda (hiring and transfers) approved unanimously and with no discussion.

9:20 Board calendar – meetings, trainings, etc.

…apparently Wineteer will be gone March 20-28th, which is really throwing a kink in the plans.  Despite McUne and Lanning’s insistence, Wineteer is not willing to change his plans.

10 PM Update:  My internet was taken away, so I am back @ home now to finish up.  Nothing else major happened, though the board did go into executive session again.  Since DH reporter Jennifer Moody decided to leave, I took a cue from her and decided not to wait.  Indications were that nothing really interesting would be revealed when they came back into public session anyway.

That’s all for tonight.  If I think about this more I might blog again, but with everything else that’s going on right now, I wouldn’t wait for it.

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25 Comments on “[LCSD] Liveblogging the Board meeting”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Guess I will see you there!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I haven’t had time to read everything yet and infact, just left there, but two quick notes
    1. Info. was called suicide hall back in the 70’s and early 80’s when I attended LHS. The nickname was due to the number of students trying to get from point A to point B and colliding with each other where the four halls meet. I witnessed many bloody noses and even a black eye as so many of my classes were down “double load” and I didn’t have an alternate route to get me where I needed to go.
    2. No mention of the modified closed campus and the proposed schedule changes. I expect they will keep it however, it would be nice if lunches could somehow be divided into Freshman and Sophmore in one and Juniors and Seniors in the other. I realize with all they have to plan for this is a minor issue but I was curious how it will be handled.

  3. Dennis Says:

    The cross hall between the main halls was called suicide when I was a student. I can see double load/info with that moniker, though.

    No mention of closed campus, indeed, though I am not sure one was needed.

  4. Annonymous Says:

    I’d like to address the confusion (at least confusion from what I felt) about the “best” and “worst” schedule questions that Ms. McIntyre asked during the discussion portion. I don’t recall Mr. Finch ever using those adjectives for the schedules, but rather for the two video clips. He did say that both schedules had positives and negatives about each, and of course a lot of decisions will be made based on budgetary outcomes. Also, I believe another administrator had clarified earlier in the discussion that those were the two winning schedules from the teacher vote. It had nothing to do with his opinion of the best or worst.

  5. Dennis Says:

    I didn’t get it down in the liveblog, but I thought Finch did use those terms for the scheduling. I say so because I thought it caused the audience member to basically raise her hand immediately.

    Other information, emailed to me, claims that Finch does have a strong preference, even if he was trying to hide it.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Dennis said:
    […. Oh. Mary Bowman. From PIE. Right. This lady is crazy.]

    Clarification:
    Mary Bowman is Laura Baker’s friend and she’s NOT from the charter school. Mary Northern is from PIE.

  7. Dennis Says:

    Right…. my bad. Thanks for the correction.

    And I should kinda-sorta take back what I said. I don’t know if Mary Bowman is crazy in general, but her behavior at the board meeting was atrocious.

  8. carmen Says:

    Odd that in the “good” school example kids have to be passing to participate in sports, because that’s essentially the rules of the OSAA already. It makes me think, again, that LHS exists in its own little bubble and the rules don’t apply.

  9. carmen Says:

    Also is anyone going to point out that unless things have changed, sex ed is in health/PE? With all the data we have on teen sex, why would we want to not give kids sex ed until their juniors and seniors?

  10. Dennis Says:

    I don’t think the rules don’t apply to Lebanon (and I don’t think any meaningful number of teachers holds that attitude), but I think there is something of a chicken and egg question:

    1. Sports (and extracurricular involvement in general) produce good grades.
    2. Good grades are required to participate in extracurricular activities.

    Where do the initial good grades come from?

    Second, this doesn’t address any students who don’t want to participate in any extracurriculars.

  11. almost anonymous Says:

    My son is in the HS wrestling program. He was identified TAG early grade school. His grades have been adequate until now, but no better. The wrestling program and Coach Cox have given him a better work ethic, that I could not do. I applaud what they have done for him. The outside influence has been nothing but positive. He is pulling close to a four point with no complaints about required home chores and school work. He is required to turn in a grade check regularly. I know that not every young person is influenced in the same manner, but some are.

  12. Anon Says:

    This is pathetic. It makes me think we need to just bulldoze LHS (figuratively) and start over. What a mess. One dog and pony show after another, complete with snide comments by Dennis about Rick Alexander, who we resoundingly voted to retain in a money-wasting recall attempt.

    I have recently moved my child to one of the PIE charter schools and I can tell you these schools are a breath of fresh air! Kids being taught with using a real curriculum (novel concept) that extends beyond one grade level! Small classes with parent volunteers — quality teachers. I have left the Lebanon Schools behind — the squabbling Jennifer Walters and Connie Schmidts and Tre Kennedys. Seems the focus there is really about educating kids!

  13. Dennis Says:

    Anon @ 10:46 am –

    Tre’ Kennedy? The one who did the comparative research on math scores and spent his time going to other, successful, schools to figure out what to do? (Something that the board, if not the DO administration, should have been doing?)

    Jennifer Walter, who I have found to be incredibly dedicated to her students and who, when she speaks up at board meetings, talks about students and the classroom – which is more than I can say for Alexander?

    I’m sorry, but if you want to find examples of ‘squabbling’, you might want to look elsewhere.

    And besides, since bulldozing things is not an option, as frustrating as it is, the only realistic option is to work to make what is here, now, better, using the practices and processes that are in place – like board elections. Not everyone can (or wants to) leave.

    Almost Anon – I’m not discounting the effects on your kid. But not everyone participates in extracurriculars, so the district can’t rely on them as a solution for everyone.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Dennis is right about Tre’. He has stepped up to get a functional school board. He also has been involved in tutoring at the high school. We haven’t seen Rick tutoring any students.

  15. anon Says:

    Rick puts in lots of time in service to the students of this district. I’d write more on this, but I need to listen to my child read (seriously). I think Tre has been way off-base in his efforts to recall Rick and Josh and Debi…guess I have no respect for him after all that. sorry.

  16. Dennis Says:

    Anon @ 6:16 pm – when you do have time, do you mind coming back and commenting on exactly how Alexander serves the students of the district? Or email me with that information? I’d really like to know, because my perception – like the commenter above you – has been sort of the opposite.

  17. anon Says:

    Good grief, Dennis. All time he spends on school board business; the time he spends listening to and problem solving with parents who call him with complaints or concerns; the time he spends preparing for meetings which I know you don’t believe he does, but I know that he does at least some of the time. Now I have real things to do, like again, listen to my child read.

    You might think about volunteering in a school instead of pontificating about our schools.

  18. Dennis Says:

    The thing is, I see no evidence of that in his public behavior. None. He frequently doesn’t understand – STILL – board or district policies or procedures or the issues that come before the board.

    If he is spending a lot of time on things, then I think it’s evidence that he is even less qualified to sit on the board.

    I work at a university. Also, I have a full-time job that leaves me no time during school hours to volunteer.

  19. anon Says:

    Your arrogance is unbecoming.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Rick’s efforts in problem-solving do not respect the chain of command. He does not try to collaborate with the superintendent(Robinson or Lanning), other district officials, or teachers. His problem-solving creates more problems than it solves.

    For example, his reaction to the implementation of the closed campus policy? To complain that there was a student who was going to drop out if he couldn’t get his Taco Bell for lunch. Wouldn’t the better response be to tell the student that he should suck it up and get to class and stop acting like an idiot.

  21. anon Says:

    Personally I favored closing the campus. I often disagree with Rick: I just respect that he was elected by vast majorities of those electing to vote and don’t see him as the evil idiot you and LT seem to. It’s so interesting how you two cry out for respect of meeting processes etc., yet disrespect Rick so viciously.

  22. Dennis Says:

    I don’t think Alexander is evil; that’s a high threshold. I think he sometimes hostile and sometimes malicious, but not evil. I think his vision for the district – such as it is – is not good for the district or its students, but again, not evil.

    Idiot, on the other hand – well, I have said previously that I don’t think he understands the issues facing the district or how to participate as a member of a school board (and Senator Frank Morse appears to agree with me). This does not make Alexander an idiot; I’m actually convinced he’s quite smart in particular ways and areas. I’m also convinced, however, that he’s not a good school board member. His right to be on the board is clearly granted by the voters of Lebanon, but that doesn’t mean I have to think it’s a good idea, does it?

    And being critical of Alexander is not anywhere close to the same thing as disrespecting process. Alexander is a public figure, and I offer comment on his public statements and actions in a public forum, this blog. I have also failed to approve a total of three comments (one being a message intended for me alone, anyway) since I switched to WordPress in late 2008; I’d say that’s evidence I let people say what they want. I would also argue that my course of action is more respectful of process than, say, standing up in the middle of a board meeting and berating the board, as others have done. Thinking that being critical of Alexander is being disrespectful of process is just wrong.

  23. anon Says:

    Frank Morse has disappointed me with his proposal — He is being a classic arrogant Republican doing the bidding of Sprenger. Very sad, and hopefully this anti-democratic plan will not get off the ground.

    You act like the OSBA is some group of proven intellectuals with no agenda. This is naive.

  24. Dennis Says:

    What in the world is wrong with Morse’s proposal? Can you explain that?


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