Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, May 16, 2011

Renata bludgeons bloggers, press over PHS production

A Victorian-era truncheon.
Never one to use a scalpel when a truncheon will do, fellow Plainfield blogger and Board of Ed president Renata Hernandez chose on Saturday to lambaste the rest of the blogging community and the press (see here) for failing to attend the 'final run' (I assume she means final performance) of the PHS production of 'Doubt' --

PLAINFIELD we are SOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooo Failing our YOUTH with our lack of support! There was neither any of our infamous bloggers nor reporters in sight. In total, there MIGHT have been 15 people! What an absolute miss for this community!
Take that, bloggers! Take that, reporter!

I don't know about the rest of the bloggers, but I felt mugged. (Maybe they don't read Renata regularly; I read each of the blogs every day.)

First of all, who knew?

I am sure Mark Spivey would have put up a story as he has for recent school events such as the Youth Summit and tonight's 'Plainfield on Stage'. I'm guessing no one ever passed the word to him (nor to the rest of us).

If the intent was to support the production, why wouldn't folks have been invited to the dress rehearsal (the next best thing to the actual performance) to write it up BEFORE all the performances in order to give the blog audience a chance to get organized to go see the production?

Plan ahead?

Renata herself has a mixed record on that score. While she beat the drums for weeks for the recent Youth Summit (to good result it seems), she only noticed the fundraiser PAAAS carwash last Saturday on the day of -- and not only that, since I checked the blog shortly before 10 AM and the post was not up, her post appears to have gone up as the carwash was getting under way.

Is that any way to give readers a chance to support a worthwhile activity?

And if 'support' is measured by turnout of parents and community members, what is one to make of the fact that I appear to be the only community person who turned out for the administration's presentation to the Board on restructuring Hubbard and Maxson (see here)?

Meanwhile, today I learned by reading Dr. E=MC² (see here), that after lengthy preparations the Robotics Team showed up the day of the competition to find there was NO BUS TO TRANSPORT THEM.

What kind of support of our kids does that show?

The kids got their bus, but only after it appears (read the blog carefully!) the Interim Superintendent had to intervene to overrule her own administrators.

The Board made nice by inviting the Robotics Team to the April 19 session where the Cardinals boys basketball team and the Cheerleaders were honored. I was there, and I thought it was great the team was recognized (see my post here). Little did I realize it was a sop for their being previously mistreated.

Renata is right about the need for the community to show more support.

But the first responsibility is for the District to show its own support.

Should the Robotics Team have been better treated? What guarantee is there it won't happen again?

Would the student production of 'Doubt' have benefited from more and better ADVANCE promotion? And what guarantee is there future productions will get that promotional help to build support?

But accountability needs to start where it should: with the District administration and with the Board of Ed which is responsible for overseeing it.

I am reminded of the old joke about the man who complained bitterly to God each week the lottery winners were drawn and he did not win. Each week he offered to give a larger share of his winnings as the Lord would direct, if only he would win. Finally, when he got up to offering God a 75% share, a loud voice came from heaven: 'You have to buy a ticket first, dummy!'

Support for the kids begins by taking responsibility for the duty of building that support and then doing it. And don't bludgeon the people who might be helpful in the process.

PS: If you check the District's website out, you will see two news items on Middle School restructuring: Tuesday's Board meeting and Thursday's community meeting.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Dan let me help you with some facts…

I was invited to the Play… I didn’t host it. Own advertising it, nor was it a DISTRICT sponsored event. I owned the Youth Summit and Multicultural Day -- so I marketed it accordingly.

I heard about it via an email. Then Read a flyer (from my Board Packet)at 2:09 PM the day of yelled to my daughter to let's go and showed up at 2:15 to support. That’s the facts.

Imagine my horror upon seeing about 15 people in attendance (maybe)??!!

Plan ahead? Probably, but then how many of the news stories you readily break are planned ahead? After all, it was on the PHS Marquee; i'm guessing you didn't make it to that part of town.

As for the carwash fundraiser, Renata had only found out about the fundraiser via a global connect call placed that AM by the principal. So she acted as quickly as she could to give the event coverage; if she caused 2 people to stop in that made it worth it.

You could have copied and pasted the same AD to your Blog to expand the reach – had you wanted to…

Count the hours 10 – 1; plenty of time to stop over, and if you couldn’t get your car washed -- a few dollars as a donation to support the class would have sufficed. Now there’s thinking out-side-the-box!

As for the attendance at the Play...Do you not think that those students who prepared day and night for this production did not feel slighted by being able to COUNT the number in attendance?

How absolutely insensitive of you to suggest that support in this instance is not measured by the number of people who show up.

The Robotics team situation was a disgrace and when I found out I personally reached out to them. That was a building based administrator's responsibility the BOARD has nothing to do with it. The Interim dealt with it immediately upon being advised. The Board also took action to remedy once apprised of the situation. Your use of the word “sop” in this instance is extremely disrespectful. It WAS A DULY NOTED and DESERVED RECOGNITION!

The guarantee that the Robotics team will be treated differently is that they NOW KNOW THEY have support among the BOARD of ED Members and should keep us informed.

Everything that is held on District premise is not owned by the District. The district should be used as a vehicle of communication NOT the center distribution point.

Sponsors of events must own marketing their activities. The District should offer them access e.g. marquees, website, schools for flyer distribution, poster signage, but certainly the District cannot PAY the cost of making flyers etc... There has to be a partnership.

And finally with regard to bloggers support -- the keyword here is Might...but more is the habit that the DON’T Support positive events within the district and they COULD!

Put a man on the beat like you have with all the negative press you garner up. Go ask around and find out if anything "GOOD" is going on. Now there's a thought...

Anonymous said...

Dan I'm concerned with your use of a billy club, baton or as you would have us believe your evolved sense of theatre -- a truncheon. You are much too arrived to not recognize this stick as a historically abusive weapon use against Blacks to 'keep them in line. You could have chosen a candlestick, a hammer, a pipe even but instead you chose such a potentially racial image. Is there a subliminal message here, or are you that unaware. Is this the true Dan and his nature?

Anonymous said...

HMMMM.....I think that it is the responsibility of the Producers of such events to garner community support. As professional in the Event Management business I am constantly reaching out to individuals to notify them of the good works taking place within the city.

As for the 15 people in attendance.....well....I am sure there were at least fifteen people involved in the production. Those who were apart of the production could have invited 5 each and had a better turn out than what occurred.

There are many costless means of evangelizing. In an age of social media, six degrees of separation is truly attainable. Plainfield Public Schools need to do a better job of promoting themselves and distributing press releases is a part of that.

Attacking the local press and blaming them for the shortcomings of others is not only unfair it is wrong. I have learned that if you want to engage the public and inform them then you must be willing to do the leg work to make your efforts successful.

No disrespect to Ms. Hernandez but could you be angry about something else and taking it out on the "bloggers" and Spivey?.....I don't know but her comments read that way.

Anonymous said...

Out of the 15 people who she says attended, Renata called out bloggers for not attending? The lady is so full of herself. I stopped reading her blog a long time ago.

Anonymous said...


You are a piece of work. You say that you found out about an event at 2:09 and then showed up at 2:15. Obviously, the organizers of the event did a poor job of advertising their event. However, instead of taking them to task, you attack everyone else for not supporting the event. It might not have been your fault that there was no turnout for the event, but neither was it the fault of the bloggers.

Anonymous said...


You and Renata bicker like the Hatfields and the McKoys! And you're both on the SAME SIDE! You're both about the business of seeing the Queen City, residents, schools and City Hall BETTER! You both want the SAME THINGS! You both have a passion for this city! Come on you two, you need to work TOGETHER, not AGAINST each other ALL the time.

In regards to your post, Renata is absolutely correct that the Board has nothing to do with advertising. Eric Jones is the PR person for the District, not Renata. If he did the job he's getting paid 6-figures for, I'm sure the community would know all about ALL the events going in the District. It is HIS job to make sure the community is informed for whatever the event, play, car wash etc. Many will agree, he is not doing his job very well at all... And it's a shame that he has been able to rip off this District for years and no one does or says a word about it.

Anonymous said...

You've been around long enough to know that in Plainfield participation at any event is hit or miss (mostly miss). Residents here are extremely apathetic to what is going on around them unless it effects them personally. Over the years of being involved in community projects, the number one thing I have seen that causes failure is poor advertising. People put so much time into running an event and then advertise it for a week before hand. This doesn't work.

With regard to the fact that only 15 people were at a High School play, there should have been more parents than that in the audiance. Parents going to school events just doesn't happen. I live near Cook School, on a parent night you might see 50 cars around the school. With probably close to 400 students, you would think that you could at least get 25% participation and therefore see maybe 100 cars. Hah! Hasn't happened in the 30 years I'm there.

Anonymous said...

Renata, get busy putting the blame on the parents. Can you imagine, blaming a blogger because there was no one in the audience? It's not wonder our school system is in shambles.