The needler in the haystack.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Schools 'reconfiguration' meetings: What's the rush?

Board President Hernandez posted the dates on her blog Saturday.
What's with the Plainfield Board of Ed?

Whether one thinks it is careening ('lurching or swerving', see here) or careering ('rushing', see here), the question arises whether there is any planned, thoughtful approach to what the Board of Ed and the Interim Superintendent are trying to accomplish.

After I complained about the short notice of last week's 'community input session' for the Superintendent search last Thursday (see here), Board President Renata Hernandez put up a post title 'We ARE Listening' (see here), which was a simple graphic linking to the questionnaire handed out at the previous evening's public meeting at Emerson School (see here).

(I will leave aside the question of why the District doesn't have a dedicated 'corner' for the Superintendent search on the front page of the website -- for which simply putting up a link to the questionnaire does not qualify as a full answer.)

Over the weekend, Maria posted on upcoming forums for parents and the community on RECONFIGURING the schools (see here).

Jefferson School's principal tried to be helpful...

Of interest is that she first found out from a principal's Twitter feed Friday (see above, and here, Dec. 9) which was intended to alert parents to this opportunity for participation. The Tweet says the forum is slated for tonight at PHS.

But Maria found that Board President Hernandez had posted on Saturday an 'Important Notices' post (see here), identifying TWO FORUMS, one for parents and one for parents and community.

Hernandez' dates are completely different from the Principal's: this Friday the 16th for parents at the School Administration Building (Jefferson School) on Myrtle Avenue, and NEXT Monday, the 19th at Hubbard School Auditorium for parents and community!

Stranger is that a PARENTS meeting is called for a WORK DAY MORNING (9:30 - 11:30) in a location that is convenient for administrators but probably no one else.

The news made the District's website 'carousel' this morning.
While no information could be found on the District's website over the weekend, sure enough a link popped as item number 1 on the news 'carousel' this morning (see here)

The question is not whether the District is LISTENING, it is about CLEAR COMMUNICATIONS and WHAT'S THE RUSH.

If the schools will not be
RECONFIGURED until next September, what's the rush about having forums NOW, during the height of the HOLIDAY SEASON and one of them on a WORK DAY yet? I mean, is this of such an urgent nature that it couldn't have waited until after the Holiday break?


The buzz has been making the rounds for weeks now that the planned RECONFIGURATION will involve (at the least) the following --

  • Both Middle Schools will be consolidated in the Maxson Building;
  • PAAAS, the special academy, will move from West Front Street to the Hubbard Building; and
  • Cook School will once again become a K-6 (since there is no planned construction)
So, is the District careening or careering?

Whichever you decide, mark your calendars for one or both of the forums.


Friday, December 16
9:30 - 11:30 AM
Administration Building Cafetorium
(The old Jefferson School)
1200 Myrtle Avenue

, December 19
6:30 PM
Hubbard School Auditorium
661 West 8th Street

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

I didn't know that the real reason for doing this is the not only reconstruct but move PAAS which happens to be the school of interest for Ms. Hernandez. It was just two years ago that they extended the elementary school prematurely giving parents a false sense of security that their children will be at their current locations until either 6th or 8th grade.
Now they are not only changing the format but certain schools are still having preferance. This short notice for parents who don't want their children to go to Maxson or Hubbard are not really getting enough to time to transfer their children. To get into most schools you need a year if not two to secure a place for your child. What are the children who are in fifth grade now going to do?
What really needs to be done is all the children who current are not residents for the school they attend need to be moved to their correct school. I say this because students who live in the correct location of their school are being pushed out due to overcrowding. Students from other areas are forcing the students who live even across the street to have to go to another school due the over crowding which is not fair not right. And to make sure that PAAS has a new location rather than dealing with the real issues is a just another way of this board mainly Ms. Hernandez to push through her own agenda.

Anonymous said...

Close down Plainfield schools and send these kids to schools where they have a change to learn and a chance at a good career and life. I have no idea how many members of our BOE can live with themselves.

Anonymous said...

First off, the sole purpose of the reconfiguration meetings is NOT to address relocating PAAAS. Secondly, it's NOT too early to host these types of meetings that will impact the 2012-2013 school. Actually holding the meeting this late in the school year, is too late. Parents have a number of options on where to send their student(s) if they are not happy with the district. Hosting the meeting this late in the school year lessens the opportunities for parents to enroll their students in a charter school or to even participate in the InterDistrict School Choice programs (most applications were due by December 1for some districts).

As for why there is a meeting being held on a Friday morning, it is to accommodate those parents who either are unemployed or work in the evening. Opportunities to participate in this type of meeting shouldn't only be held one day at a time that may not be convenient for others.

Anonymous said...

I heard Ms. Hernandez is moving out of the district so I don't think she is the one behind the push. And by the way, there are 3 current and 1 previous BOE member with children at PAAAS so why just blame her?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #1, straight to the point! It just goes to show you how incomptent the Board and Superintendent really are! They can't see the forest for the trees!! Last year they waited until August to reloate Principals, let's see how much notice they give parents about relocating their kids! I certianly don't want to mine attend Maxson or Hubbard!! And to move PAAAS is a ridiculous notion considering the only obstacle in their way is Early Childhood taking up space in that building. They have rooms they don't even use that are needed for classrooms! But because the director of Early childhood and the superintendent are friends, nothing is done! A ton of money was spent on that building for the students and they just want to throw it all away for nonsense!

Dan said...

@ 6:22 AM -- So, the real issue is that these meetings should have been held LONG BEFORE NOW,since parents must make such early arrangements for their child's next year.

The morning meeting for parents raised my eyebrows because it is so UNUSUAL. Tell me when was the last workday morning meeting for parents or community that you can recall.

So, if it really is for the convenience of parents who work at night or are unemployed, why hasn't this been done all along for years?

Secondly, why would be unemployed prevent me from coming to an evening meeting?

Thirdly, what about community members who work nights or are unemployed? Why aren't they invited to the morning meeting?

Something is not adding up here...