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Re: [March4Education] Re: [wccusdtalk] Fwd: Fwd: Re: Curriculum Forum

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  • SarahCreeley@aol.com
    Hi All, Glen mentioned this meeting this morning on KPFA. Mike McDonald and Diana Ponci, a parent, did an AWESOME, AWESOME job talking about what has happened
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 5, 2005
      Hi All,
      Glen mentioned this meeting this morning on KPFA. Mike McDonald and Diana
      Ponci, a parent, did an AWESOME, AWESOME job talking about what has happened at
      Downer. They, and Glen Price, spoke for 30 minutes. I encourage people to go to
      it by searching kpfa, then click on listen to shows; Morning Show, Dec. 5th.
      They were on from 7:30 to 8:00, the 2nd half of the show. Thanks,
      LOVE,
      Sarah


      n a message dated 12/3/2005 9:00:41 AM Pacific Standard Time,
      karenepfeifer@... writes:

      >
      > Good Morning,
      >
      > I would like to remind you that the Board has convened
      > an Academic Subcommittee to have exactly this
      > discussion. This committee is open to the public,
      > meets next on December 12 at 6 to 7:30 pm at Alvarado
      > School. You may find our agenda and other information
      > on the District web site. I chair this committee and
      > you may contact me or Jan Mettler (clerk of the
      > committee) to have items place on the agenda. there is
      > much work to do in this arena and I welcome you
      > participation.
      >
      > Thank you all for your continued efforts to improve
      > our district.
      >
      > Karen Pfeifer
      >
      > 510-417-5896
      >
      > --- Tammera Campbell <tammeracampbell@...>
      > wrote:
      >
      > >I had a meaningful conversation with some teachers
      > >and our administration this last week at PVHS on how
      > >important it is for us to communicate on curriculum.
      > > Funny how we are talking about similar issues that
      > >our Downer folks are voicing, but at the secondary
      > >level. Our teachers have some strong views on what
      > >works and what doesn't. Our administration has some
      > >strong views on what works and what doesn't. I can
      > >feel we are on the edge of open dialog. When a
      > >teacher speaks out and says that this does not work
      > >for them, I turn to the administration and ask them
      > >to give me a good reason as to why we should
      > >continue. The administration comes back with the
      > >data they have of how and how they view the issues.
      > >I counter to the teachers and say what do you think?
      > > And they come back with a response and then real
      > >discussion happens. The point is that dialog needs
      > >to happen in an environment where we respect one
      > >another. If we really truly respected one another,
      > >then we would find our
      > > way. We have gotten to the point where we are not
      > >communicating.
      > >
      > > Was it really imperative that we remove well known
      > >teachers from Downer because they voiced an opinion
      > >they strongly believed in. They were thinking of
      > >their kids because frankly, they know their kids.
      > >But then again, in the real business world, when you
      > >go directly against your management your get fired.
      > >As a teacher, would you allow your students to go
      > >directly against your best judgement? No, because
      > >you have a bigger picture, you see what they need.
      > >Maybe our school district management really believes
      > >that this is the right path they are currently
      > >traveling. So I ask you, maybe the key components
      > >missing in our discussions are communicating and
      > >understanding. I can tell you this much, if we
      > >don't begin embracing these two missing components,
      > >then we are not thinking of the kids.
      > > Tammy
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >Ali Medina <ladyluvslife67@...> wrote:
      > > Dear Glen,
      > >I want to commend you for always encouraging
      > >dialogue
      > >between all of us here in the district. Sometimes
      > >things are not pretty and I do admire your
      > >persistence.
      > >
      > >Words could not express how important a Curriculum
      > >Forum
      > >would be. Do I think there will be a huge turnout?
      > >Who
      > >knows. Can tell you this, it will open some
      > >dialogue if
      > >our teachers know they can speak up without some
      > >type
      > >of disciplinary issue. That is simply ridiculous.
      > >
      > >Please board members think about this.
      > >Taking a hard look at our curriculum and listening
      > >to "our" experts can do nothing but GOOD for all
      > >concerned.
      > >
      > >As a parent, it was necessary to educate myself
      > >on Open Court due to some challenges it brought
      > >to my son last year.
      > >Please Please Please for the children here in this
      > >district, hear some stories and learn how Open Court
      > >is
      > >doing TODAY.
      > >
      > >Thanks
      > >Alicia Medina
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >--- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, "Elizabeth
      > >Jaeger"
      > ><elizabethjaeger@h...> wrote:
      > >
      > >If all parties commit to profound and sustained
      > >dialogue about
      > >teaching and learning (including the research which
      > >points
      > >overwhelmingly to the expertise of teachers as the
      > >single most
      > >important factor in student achievement)and to then
      > >taking action
      > >based on the results of that dialogue, all we have
      > >gone through will
      > >be worth it.
      > >
      > >--- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, SarahCreeley@a...
      > >wrote:
      > >>
      > >>Dear Glen,
      > >>Scottie told me you two talked Sunday morning, and
      > >that you were
      > >interested
      > >>in having a forum on curriculum practices, which I
      > >hope would
      > >include
      > >>professional latitude and teacher input. I urge
      > >you to conduct such
      > >a forum, with more
      > >>than one meeting to start an ongoing dialogue that
      > >will support
      > >teachers in
      > >>the work we do, and most importantly help our
      > >students. Please keep
      > >me posted on
      > >>what you are doing in regard to this forum. If I
      > >can be of help
      > >with this,
      > >>please let me know. Thanks!
      > >>
      > >>Also, this resolution was passed unanimously at
      > >yesterday's UTR
      > >Rep. Council
      > >>meeting.
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>>Motion: "Reflective of the West Contra Costa
      > >USD's avowed
      > >repudiation of
      > >>>top down management, the UTR is opposed to the
      > >administrative
      > >transfer from
      > >>>Downer School of the teachers, Elizabeth Jaeger
      > >and Lina Prairie."
      > >>>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>Finally, I don't know if you know Emily Vogler, an
      > >outstanding
      > >teacher who
      > >>retired last year. It is my belief that she would
      > >still be teaching
      > >if the
      > >>climate toward teachers were different. I remember
      > >when she
      > >interviewed for the
      > >>position I have at Hanna Ranch. She had seniority,
      > >so it was hers,
      > >but she
      > >>decided to stay at Downer because she felt the
      > >kids needed her more
      > >there. We are
      > >>losing great teachers!
      > >>LOVE,
      > >>Sarah
      >



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Cathy Travlos
      I m an alternate member of the Academic Subcommittee and have attended all the meetings. I think this is the place for many of these discussions about
      Message 2 of 5 , Dec 6, 2005
        I'm an alternate member of the Academic Subcommittee and have attended
        all the meetings. I think this is the place for many of these
        discussions about curriculum issues, and I know that Open Court is on
        the list of future topics. The agendas are posted on the district web
        page so you can see what's being discussed.

        This is a new thing in this district to have open discussions about
        curriculum, but it's a good thing. I've found it really interesting to
        sit in a room with board members and administrators and teachers and
        parents and have real conversations about curriculum. It feels good, and
        hopeful, to talk and have an administrator really listen, and vice
        versa, and to find that there are people in the current configuration at
        Bissell who actually care and are willing to work to make change. We
        have a very long way to go, but open communication is the only way it's
        going to work. This committee is one small step.

        Cathy

        >>Good Morning,
        >>
        >>I would like to remind you that the Board has convened
        >>an Academic Subcommittee to have exactly this
        >>discussion. This committee is open to the public,
        >>meets next on December 12 at 6 to 7:30 pm at Alvarado
        >>School. You may find our agenda and other information
        >>on the District web site. I chair this committee and
        >>you may contact me or Jan Mettler (clerk of the
        >>committee) to have items place on the agenda. there is
        >>much work to do in this arena and I welcome you
        >>participation.
        >>
        >>Thank you all for your continued efforts to improve
        >>our district.
        >>
        >>Karen Pfeifer
        >>
        >>510-417-5896
        >>
        >>
      • Ms. Ott
        I m sure many teachers would like to have input into a curriculum forum. I wonder, though, about a few logistical issues. (1) How can someone such as myself
        Message 3 of 5 , Dec 6, 2005
          I'm sure many teachers would like to have input into a curriculum
          forum. I wonder, though, about a few logistical issues.

          (1) How can someone such as myself who works on Monday nights have
          any input? All of the Academic Subcommittee meetings have been on
          Monday evenings. I guess that permanently shuts me out of the
          discussion. What about all the other people who can't make it to
          the meeting? How do they get the opportunity to have input?

          (2) How are teachers at large going to know about these meetings?
          In Sarah's posting, she quoted a message from Karen Pfiefer (which I
          assume was posted in the March4Education yahoo group) that
          said, "You may find our agenda and other information
          on the District web site." Then again, you may not. I went to the
          district web site, and after poking around for awhile, I finally
          figured out where information on the subcommitte was posted
          (www.wccusd.k12.ca.us/committees/academic/index.htm). It says the
          next meeting will be on November 14th. The Nov 14th meeting minutes
          still have not been posted. And, there's no information on that web
          site about what an academic subcommitte is (mission statement).

          --Ms. Ott


          > >>Good Morning,
          > >>
          > >>I would like to remind you that the Board has convened
          > >>an Academic Subcommittee to have exactly this
          > >>discussion. This committee is open to the public,
          > >>meets next on December 12 at 6 to 7:30 pm at Alvarado
          > >>School. You may find our agenda and other information
          > >>on the District web site. I chair this committee and
          > >>you may contact me or Jan Mettler (clerk of the
          > >>committee) to have items place on the agenda. there is
          > >>much work to do in this arena and I welcome you
          > >>participation.
          > >>
          > >>Thank you all for your continued efforts to improve
          > >>our district.
          > >>
          > >>Karen Pfeifer
          > >>
          > >>510-417-5896
          > >>
          > >>
          >
        • rcs101@att.net
          --Cathy: I agree that, if productive actions are the outcome, these meetings are a good thing. But in light of what has happen to the Downer 5, I am concerned
          Message 4 of 5 , Dec 6, 2005
            --Cathy:

            I agree that, if productive actions are the outcome, these meetings are a good thing. But in light of what has happen to the Downer 5, I am concerned about productive outcomes. You said that Open Court is on the list for future topics, this would appear to be a problem, since Open Court has been a major concern for teachers in the district for some time and it is only placed on the list for future topics. Also, Glen stated something to the effect on KQED that over 100 teachers have the same concerns as the Downer 5, yet the curriculum committee or the District has not taken any actions to deal with the problem. The lack of inaction on the part of the curriculum committee and District has forced the Downer 5 to try, at their site, to deal with what they see as blocks to student learning and as a result of their open letter, the District has transferred 2 teachers and the others 3 are waiting for the axe to fall. If as Glen alluded to on KQED yesterday about other teachers, why are these teachers being single out and hard handed punishment? Why is there no open dialogue about their concerns at the top of the list and some type of productive actions that would resolve the issues. NCLB is a good ghost to hide behind, but in this case the district is violating some of the provisions of NCLB.

            It is my belief that the Downer situation need to be resolved independently or in a forum focusing on the issues raised by the Downer 5 and the many other teachers. The District has forced this matter to the top of the agenda when they removed the two teachers, particularly when they sent one of the best "highly Qualified" teachers to a non Title I school, knowing full well that Title 1 schools are the last schools to attract "highly Qualified" teachers. Look at the current status of teachers at schools like Downer and Downer itself.

            Indeed, the committee is a small step, but my concern, again would be the focus it has taken. I am not sure of the current/past focus of the committee and would appreciate it if you would send out the link to the District website on the Agenda and any minutes of the past meetings. You know my computer skills are below grade level and I do do have the time to play hide and seek at the District Site to find the information. If you can't send a link, please send me the step by step instructions to the agendas and minutes.

            Scottie Smith



            -------------- Original message ----------------------
            From: Cathy Travlos <cbt@...>
            > I'm an alternate member of the Academic Subcommittee and have attended
            > all the meetings. I think this is the place for many of these
            > discussions about curriculum issues, and I know that Open Court is on
            > the list of future topics. The agendas are posted on the district web
            > page so you can see what's being discussed.
            >
            > This is a new thing in this district to have open discussions about
            > curriculum, but it's a good thing. I've found it really interesting to
            > sit in a room with board members and administrators and teachers and
            > parents and have real conversations about curriculum. It feels good, and
            > hopeful, to talk and have an administrator really listen, and vice
            > versa, and to find that there are people in the current configuration at
            > Bissell who actually care and are willing to work to make change. We
            > have a very long way to go, but open communication is the only way it's
            > going to work. This committee is one small step.
            >
            > Cathy
            >
            > >>Good Morning,
            > >>
            > >>I would like to remind you that the Board has convened
            > >>an Academic Subcommittee to have exactly this
            > >>discussion. This committee is open to the public,
            > >>meets next on December 12 at 6 to 7:30 pm at Alvarado
            > >>School. You may find our agenda and other information
            > >>on the District web site. I chair this committee and
            > >>you may contact me or Jan Mettler (clerk of the
            > >>committee) to have items place on the agenda. there is
            > >>much work to do in this arena and I welcome you
            > >>participation.
            > >>
            > >>Thank you all for your continued efforts to improve
            > >>our district.
            > >>
            > >>Karen Pfeifer
            > >>
            > >>510-417-5896
            > >>
            > >>
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
          • Ms. Ott
            Here is the web site for the academic subcommittee: www.wccusd.k12.ca.us/committees/academic/index.htm As of today, though, you ll notice that the page says
            Message 5 of 5 , Dec 6, 2005
              Here is the web site for the academic subcommittee:

              www.wccusd.k12.ca.us/committees/academic/index.htm

              As of today, though, you'll notice that the page says the next meeting
              will be November 14th and the meeting minutes from the 11/14 meeting
              minutes have not been posted yet (that was over 3 weeks ago).

              The meeting minutes from 10/3 and 10/10 provide precious little
              information, and if anyone doesn't understand the buzzwords (such as
              "double blocking") such notes become meaningless. In a previous
              posting I learned that Karen Pfieffer chairs the committee and Jan
              Mettler is the clerk of the committee, but their names are not listed
              on the web page.

              --Ms. Ott


              --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, rcs101@a... wrote:
              >
              > Indeed, the committee is a small step, but my concern, again would
              be the focus it has taken. I am not sure of the current/past focus of
              the committee and would appreciate it if you would send out the link
              to the District website on the Agenda and any minutes of the past
              meetings. You know my computer skills are below grade level and I do
              do have the time to play hide and seek at the District Site to find
              the information. If you can't send a link, please send me the step by
              step instructions to the agendas and minutes.
              >
              > Scottie Smith
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