Item E-1 at today’s Called Board Meeting asks for Board approval of the 2016-2017 Proposed School Organization plan.
Download the plan at the link below. This is simply a draft list of schools expected to be operational in 2016. It says nothing about redistricting, which is not required to be part of the report to the State. This is the document the Board is actually voting on today (2 pages):
2016-2017 Proposed School Organization
Here is a link to the Committee of the Whole December 6, 2012 proposal (114 pages):
UPDATE: Click the link below to download the final document approved by the board at the January 23 called meeting:
This is the plan that state law requires every 5 years and the board must make the plan public before voting, by hosting community meetings to communicate the plan and listen to input.
I attended one of these community meetings and was left with a clear picture of what is inherently wrong with our system. The meetings were set up as obvious legal, perfunctory events with little regard for the community members who attended. The system leaders in charge of these meetings simply read the 9 page Powerpoint presentation that is available for download at this link:
If you would like to see the accompanying document showing current and projected enrollments (not shared at the meetings) download that here (4 pages):
The meeting format is what is so bothersome. The mantra from leadership and staff continues to be ‘transparency’ and ‘stakeholder input’, however, there is nothing transparent about reading a readily available Powerpoint out loud and then opening the microphone to public comments, to which no one responds. They claimed that any written questions would be answered and posted online, however, they gave no URL for that and we are unable to find any such communication at the DCSD website.
I shook my head the entire time at the chasm between the public and the administrators. These meetings should have been far more casual and open – they should have taken a cue from the Presidential election Town Hall meetings. Someone with deep knowledge of the plan should have been on a stool with a microphone answering the public’s inquiries. There should have been back and forth. There should be a much greater level of trust and respect. There should NEVER be a panel of administrators seated at a dais, or a podium, reading a Powerpoint in a monotone and then allowing the public to speak, yet completely ignoring what is said.
This is EXACTLY the kind of issue that should be addressed via a school system blog. We have long advocated that DCSD host their own blog where people can get their very real questions answered. “Stakeholders” could subscribe to email news and posts at the system’s blog and be apprised of the latest news. Blogs can be totally monitored so that all comments are evaluated before posting – they wouldn’t have to post any questions or comments deemed insulting or rude.
As it is, the information coming from the system is rare, rehearsed and vague. What happened to the system’s Facebook page and Twitter? We have not received updates from either of those in months. Minutes from the board meetings have not been posted online since October, 2011 and we aren’t even certain who to ask questions of these days, as the ‘spokesperson’ has changed so many times and is now simply a contracted representative – whose job is more damage control than communication. To her credit, Dr. Atkinson has been recently attempting to communicate via her “Victory in Every Classroom” newsletter, however, these are very much hit or miss and rarely cover the topics people care about.
An interactive blog with a well-versed moderator who has unlimited access to the staff members who can answer the people’s questions would go a very long way toward that ‘transparency’ we keep hearing about and healing the huge chasm of trust between system leaders and the people of DeKalb.