I attended the roundtable discussions at Tucker High School. A flyer was sent home with my child informing me of the meetings this week. It described the meetings as a way to “learn more about the status of current issues faced by the district and hear about new initiatives launching in the 2012-13 school year.” Parents were asked to email questions regarding their concerns.
After the 2 minutes from Dr. Atkinson’s division heads, it was clear that what their initial meeting agenda was changed. We were informed by Ms. March that it was a good thing that they got our email addresses on the way in so they could “get back to us” with regard the questions we submitted. You could actually hear the eyes being rolled in the audience. She made sure we all knew the chain of command though: start with the principal, then the regional superintendent and then if you still don’t have satisfaction, call her. Principals are apparently being skipped in this process.
We gave the area’s attending principals or their representatives a round of applause. Now, I love to put a name with a face but this was 5-10 minutes they could have used to discuss the many elephants in the room. (Calendar change, SACS investigation, Common Core differences, testing issues, financial issues, Organizational chart, you name it.) We broke into 5 groups and headed out to discuss their topics but not ours apparently.
We were given 4 four questions to answer:
What makes parental involvement so important in the schools?
What can be done to make others engaged in the schools?
What types of communications do parents want from DCSS?
In what way do we want that information delivered? How often?
Can you see the absurdity in these questions? Here they are asking parents who have yet again taken precious time out of their busy schedules to get some answers, only to be asked how DCSS can inspire more to do the same.
Here’s a thought DCSS, start by being honest and worthy of my time and trust. We wanted our questions answered, you asked for them. I am quite sure most of them had a very similar theme. I didn’t go to this meeting to tell DCSS how to get my apathetic or over-scheduled neighbors involved. I am involved, attentive and interested. Honor that, but don’t take advantage of my willingness to attend a informational gathering to tell you why I do it and then pick my brain on how you can do your job better. What nerve.
One of the biggest cheers came from the audience when one group said communications staff should be fired and new folks brought in. Also, when some echoed my sentiments here…why aren’t you answering our questions? Others felt we need to be sent an organization chart and HR data. Imagine that.
I took away three things from that meeting: One, Tucker High School looks fabulous. Two, the ladies and gentlemen of the ROTC that greeted the parents were outstanding, very impressive. They did a formal door opening for each person and cheerfully welcomed us and guided us to our next destination. They far out-shined the paid professionals in the auditorium.
And three, why are these people still employed?