All posts by Tom Staly

category-opinion

Why Not Ask Teachers How They Would Improve Our Schools?

This article is from Kenneth J. Bernstein who is a schoolteacher and a blogger whose work appears on Daily Kos and other sites.

We were sitting in a Starbucks in Arlington, Va. It was our first meeting. Previously, Iowa governor Tom Vilsack and I had talked by phone and exchanged blog posts on education. His campaign staff had reached out to a number of educational bloggers, as he was seriously considering running for president and thought education was a good issue for him. Since he was going to be in my neighborhood, we agreed to get together.

At one point I mentioned that the governors had just had a meeting on education, and he nodded. I remarked that each had brought a business leader to the meeting. The governor nodded again. And then I asked, “Why didn’t you bring a teacher?”

The governor was surprised, and acknowledged he had never thought of it.

That was in 2005. The nation’s governors had a meeting to talk about education and the voices of teachers had not been included.

Follow this link to the full article:

http://www.nationofchange.org/why-not-ask-teachers-how-they-would-improve-our-schools-1358348567

 

category-board-meeting-notes

Kennewick School Board Report for December 12

Kennewick School Board Meeting

December 12, 2012

Section 1: What transpired

                                      Section 2: What was not included

Section 1

 

Present were Dawn Adams, Heather Kintzley, Brian Brooks, Ben Messinger, and Alexandra Miskho (student) all school board members.  KSD staff: Dave Bond (Superintendent), Vic Roberts, Chuck Lybeck, Bev Johnson-Torelli, Greg Fancher, Linda Tucker, Ron Williamson, and Lorraine Cooper.  Fall sports coaches, athletic directors, athletes from the three comprehensive high schools, a representative of KEA, and several members of the public.

 

Absent: Ron Mabry

 

The meeting was Called to Order at 5:31 PM by Dawn Adams who led the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Recognition:  Lead by Ron Williamson, the board extended congratulations to all the district athletes who participated in state competitions.  For Kennewick High School, the swim team participated in two relays, Bill Templeton, football coach is Coach of the Year and Kevin Julian is a Mid-Columbia Player of the Year.  For Kamiakin High School, the dive team placed 11th at state, girls’ cross country placed 2nd at state, boys’ cross country placed 1st at league, district, regional and 2nd at state, girls’ soccer made the final 8 at state.  For Southridge High School, swim and dive sent seven members to state and they placed 17th, cross country sent one member to state, volleyball placed 3rd at state.  The athletes and coaches left immediately after their recognition.

 

Election of Officers:  Dawn Adams was unanimously elected president by the four board members present.  Heather Kintzley nominated herself for vice-president and was also unanimously elected.  After some discussion, Brian Brooks accepted the nomination for Legislative Representative and was unanimously elected. Continue reading

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A Superintendent Speaks Out About Standardized Testing

John Kuhn is superintendent of a small school district in Texas. But his voice is mighty and powerful. Those who have heard him wish he were Commissioner of Education for the state of Texas or in another position where everyone would learn from his wisdom.

Kuhn was the first person to be named to the honor roll for his eloquence and courage in support of public education.

The Dallas Morning News Published: November 2, 2012

 John Kuhn, superintendent of the Perrin-Whitt school district in Jack County, northwest of Fort Worth, is active speaking out and writing critically about public-education reformers. He’s gained some fame for his oft-quoted “Alamo letter” from 2011, in which he vowed never to surrender the fight for his students. Now that more than 850 Texas school boards have signed on to a resolution against over-reliance on high-stakes testing, we asked Kuhn what that movement is all about. (This is a longer version of the Q&A that appears in print.)
You’ve said some very pointed things about education reformers, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and their impact on schools. What worries you the most?
What worries me most as both a dad and an educator is the outsized influence of test-makers, statisticians, and economists on modern educational decision-making. Unfortunately, our wizards of data are not wizards of humanity, and they have foolishly elevated impersonal forces as the drivers of education.
The education of children is above all a human endeavor. We aren’t programming answers into computers; we are inspiring and encouraging and challenging and coaxing and pushing and pulling and hoping and praying and hugging and wiping tears and watching ballgames and telling them how nice they look in their prom dresses. The value of the factory model touted by today’s educational Taylorists is quickly disproved by its absence of the holistic and humane methods employed in the best private schools. Middle class kids need and deserve more art in their lives than the arrays of bubbles they pencil in. Elite reformers want what’s best for their kids, but they often only want what’s most efficient for yours and mine.
Ultimately, I want for my kids what caring parents, like our president, want for theirs: a thorough, non-standardized education of the whole child. Today we are so busy raising test scores that we are forgetting to raise children. The little red schoolhouse is fast becoming a little red widget factory, and that’s wrong for kids and detrimental for our future well-being as a people. Continue reading
category-board-meeting-notes

Kennewick School Board Report for November 7

Kennewick School Board Meeting

November 7, 2012

Section 1: What transpired

                                     Section 2: What was not included

Section 1

 

Present were school board members Heather Kintzley, Brian Brooks, Ben Messinger, and Alexandria Miskho (student).  KSD staff: Dave Bond (Superintendent), Vic Roberts, Chuck Lybeck, Bev Johnson-Torelli, Greg Fancher, Linda Tucker, Doug Carl, Ron Cone, Ron Williamson, and Lorraine Cooper.  Also present were a representative of KEA and several members of the public.

 

Absent: Dawn Adams and Ron Mabry

 

The meeting was Called to Order at 5:33 PM by Heather Kintzley who led the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Communication from Parents, Staff and District Residents:  Darin Twiggs rose to speak of the difficulty dealing with KSD about his daughter’s severe allergies and her safety at school.  She has not been allowed to attend school because a plan for the girl’s safety cannot be reached.  Kirsten and Darin Twiggs have hired an attorney who has contacted Cottonwood, Ridgeview and school district attorneys and there are no final answers.  The Twiggs’ physician is involved in writing a 504 Plan with accommodations.  The family is unwilling to comply because it requires the family to sign a waiver.  Kristin Twiggs has not seen a copy of the plan.  Dave Bond stated that their attorney has a copy which he encouraged them to see and reject before approaching the board for a hearing.  The Twiggs are frustrated because of multiple attempts to contact various individuals in KSD.  Dave Bond said that will change.  The board is not privy to the details according to Heather Kintzley.  She urged the Twiggs to make a decision on the plan submitted to their attorney and schedule a meeting with the board if not satisfied.  The family stayed for the remainder of the meeting. Continue reading

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Paul Allen group gives $50,000 to Delta High

Delta High School principal Deidre Holmberg has secured a $50,000 award from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation for the school’s educational approach and methods.

It’s the first year the foundation is giving out the Creative Leadership Awards, which acknowledge future-focused thinking and adept work by individuals and community organizations, according to a news release.

category-board-meeting-notes

Kennewick School Board Report for October 24

Kennewick School Board Meeting

October 24, 2012

Section 1: What transpired

                                  Section 2: What was not included

Section 1

 

Present were school board members Dawn Adams, Heather Kintzley, Brian Brooks, Ben Messinger, Ron Mabry and Alexandria Miskho (student).  KSD staff: Dave Bond (Superintendent), Vic Roberts, Chuck Lybeck, Bev Johnson-Torelli, Greg Fancher, Linda Tucker, Ron Williamson, Lorraine Cooper, Alyssa St.Hillaire and Kevin Pierce.  Also present, a representative of KEA and several members of the public.

 

The meeting was Called to Order at 5:30 PM by Dawn Adams who led the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Recognition:  Ron Williamson presented Dennis Boatman, Principal of Legacy High School, who was named “Distinguished Assistant Principal of the Year” by the Washington State School Principal League.  Dennis had served as assistant principal at Kennewick High School before becoming the principal at Legacy this year.

 

Communication from Parents, Staff and District Residents:  A man asked for the board’s consideration of the denial of his volunteer application.  The board will have a hearing on the matter before the next board meeting on November 7th to hear the complaint.

 

Kathy White encouraged the board to take an action regarding Initiative 1240 in the upcoming election.  Several school boards have made statements urging constituents to defeat the charter school initiative. Continue reading

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Kennewick School Board increases funding for pre-kindergarten program

I was out of town in June and July so did not see this when it was published.  This board action is significant so I am reporting it now.

The Kennewick School Board will increase funding for programs preparing students for kindergarten, though the district will have to dip into savings to do it.

Board members Ron Mabry and Ben Messinger voted Wednesday night to provide more than $244,000 to the Children’s Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia for the READY! for Kindergarten program, a roughly $50,000 increase over how much was provided the previous year.

“I’m normally a miser but these are really good programs,” Messinger said.

Board member Brian Brooks opposed the decision. Board members Dawn Adams and Heather Kintzley were absent. Continue reading

category-board-meeting-notes

Kennewick School Board Report for October 10

Kennewick School Board Meeting      October 10, 2012    5:30 PM

Board members present:  Dawn Adams, Heather Kintzley, Brian Brooks, Ben Messinger, Alexandria Miskho (student).

Absent:  Ron Mabry

Business:

  • Superintendent Dave Bond reported the reading foundation gave children’s books to new teachers starting classroom libraries.  Books were donated by Goodwill Industries.
  • Ben Messinger reported that he, Adams and Dave Bond participated in a Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA) conference in Kennewick.  Among issues of concern was the Charter Schools initiative.  Brooks reported that he is learning more about the role of the school board.
  • Bond reported the results of Kindergarten reading and math assessments for fall 2012.  See details below.
  • Lorraine Cooper reported on the Parent and Community Workshop which was attended by over 100 participants.  See details below.
  • Adams conducted a public hearing on the Proposed Alterations to Specific Expenditures from State of Washington Financing Assistance.  The board voted unanimously to amend Resolution 12 to approve the alteration.  See details below.
  • The board held an Executive Session to consider real estate. Continue reading