Comments on: AAPS Starts Year with Extended Agenda Talk it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Josber Josber Mon, 28 Jan 2013 05:30:29 +0000 I don’t particularly agree with a 4 member consensus being necessary for something to be placed onto the agenda to be discussed, that’s essentially tyranny of the majority for just discussion. However, if one or two people keep bringing the same issue(s) up and everyone else doesn’t agree, something different is necessary, and Deb Mexicotte’s point about consensus building is pertinent, but not absolute. It’s quite possible the issues of the few are very valid, but the explanation or data is not obvious to the others, or vice versa. It’s not the catch, but the pitch.

By: Rod Johnson Rod Johnson Sat, 26 Jan 2013 16:20:49 +0000 Like Ruth’s, my daughter has suffered through four years of trimesters at Skyline, and had been unable to take courses that she wanted to because of the incompatible calendars and class times (and transportation cuts). She’s heading to college in the fall, so in some sense my time as a stakeholder is over, but I wish the board could see how much damage this inane setup has done instead of just washing their hands of it.

Like many things around here, the policy was instituted without a lot of research behind it as an “experiment”–but experiments need some kind of appraisal at some point to see if they’re working. Many claims were made (such as the idea that some classes that take a full school year at the other schools will be completable in two trimesters), that quickly were demonstrated to be untrue. Unfortunately, the trimester issue is caught up in some cult-of-personality things at Skyline (but I’ve said too much) that have prevented it from getting an objective appraisal.

Supposedly the board is taking this up at the Feb. 2 meeting. I imagine we’ll hear lots of anecdotes about how great trimesters are, but he fact remains that one school has a different structure than every other school in the district, and the problems that causes need to be addressed at the district level, not at the level of the specific fiefdom, oops, did I say fiefdom? I mean school.

By: Ruth Kraut Ruth Kraut Sat, 26 Jan 2013 03:05:14 +0000 A few comments about this board meeting.

On trust and agendas: I thought it interesting that the discussion of agenda-setting ended with Lightfoot and Baskett dissenting (for reasons clearly delineated in the above discussion), and then shortly afterward the board goes back to discussing trust and relationship-building. . . and it would seem the sub-text of the first discussion was the text of the second discussion. There must be some best practices out there that other boards use that would work better than the suggested “a majority votes on an item to get it on the agenda.”

On trimesters vs. semesters: I’m not a fan of trimesters, but I think at this point the district needs to use the same setup for all the high schools–so if trimesters are the way to go, they all need to switch. That would allow students that need to take a specialized program at one school (Mandarin at Skyline…advanced science at Huron. . . etc.) to be able to do that at a different school. It would also keep parents and the district from going crazy with different schedules.

On the school budget: It seems like last year a big complaint was that by the time they proposed budget cuts (transportation, Roberto Clemente) it was super late in the year. And in fact, we’re on that same timeline again, except that last year, we actually started with budget forums in November and then didn’t hear about the proposals until early spring. This year, we didn’t have any budget forums in November and it doesn’t look like anything will even be presented to the board until early spring. I’m not sure where, when, or how the opportunities for community involvement will come, but it would be nice to see a plan and timeline for that–one that actually offered the opportunity for the district to thoughtfully respond to parental, teacher, and community comments.