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Re: [wccusdtalk] Re: K8 option and middle schools No School Board action

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  • Tammera Campbell
    Mr. Woo, Thank you for providing information. I still contend that if all those elementary school parents actually took all their energy and put it toward the
    Message 1 of 31 , May 3, 2007
      Mr. Woo,
      Thank you for providing information. I still contend that if all those elementary school parents actually took all their energy and put it toward the middle schools, think of how much better those schools would be.

      I can only tell you from my direct experience over five years at Pinole Middle that the only thing I would have really changed was to get more parents involved and provide better parent education. The more parents, the better the school. Frankly the Pinole Middle School teachers embrace parent involvement. You have no idea how happy they were to find out that the PTSA would reimburse them $75 for school supplies. No one has ever really paid them much attention, but they still come out of pocket for our kids and they do a hard job teaching adolescents.

      It saddens me that for some reason some parents seem to opt out at this age level. Middle/high school years are the years our kids need us most. I presume that you are not at this age level at this time, but I can tell you it is a wonderful age. One full of many surprises for both parent and student.

      Like I said I would be willing to work even harder to ensure that my child would have the elective base that they have at Pinole Middle. I believe that providing those children with such opportunities gives them the world and having adult participation is paramount. Achievement is directly tied to how much the school community is involved in the school. Olinda did not have the scores it does today a couple of years back. Those scores came as a result of hard teamwork across the school. It took concerted parent involvement at that school to get it where it is. Why can't that effort be given to the middle school kids? They would exceed even your wildest dreams if our society gave them the time day.

      As I have stated, I am not against K-8 and would only oppose it if it take millions of dollars from the current budget to convert schools and provide the curriculum parents would demand. For years this district has enabled the elementary level to encroach on the general fund which takes a toll at the secondary level. Many small elementary schools can also take a toll on the budget. When you have a child at the high school level you will see what I mean. High school students are children too and they require an extraordinary amount of effort to educate. I know that you would not want to sacrifice their education.

      Parents need to fight for what they believe in, but you have to remember that for every decision which is made, there is an impact on someone else. Things are not black and white and to simplify major decisions across the district would be a disservice to others. I have been at this for over 20 years now and I have changed my mind numerous times because someone has taken the time to explain their side of the educational picture. I would hope that the community out their would change their mind and give to the middle school kids. They need our help and they deserve our love and attention.
      Tammy Campbell


      Mark Woo <fangwoo@...> wrote:
      As I said in my email, we don't know why so many families are leaving
      the District between elementary and middle school - though they are
      clearly leaving as evidenced by District attendance records we
      studied. That could have been answered by the survey if the District
      had been responsive. I think that if we want families to stay in the
      District we have to understand why they leave.

      I did venture a guess about why they might feel compelled to leave.
      It was NOT a statement about the families that stay. As for why
      District indifference becomes such a big issue at teh middle school
      level; middle grade education is complex and vexing for all schools.
      I would refer you to the Rand Corp study that I mentioned about the
      huge challenges. This immense challenge in middle grade education
      requires a school district that can think creatively and is willing
      to change when necessary. Since the Board rejected K-8 on the basis
      that it is too hard to do while numerous other urban schools
      districts are doing it; it signals to me that they want to maintain
      the status quo.

      Finally, K-8 supporters have always said that there should be a mix
      of K-8's with middle schools and that families should have a
      choice. The middle school sucess stories are to be applauded, but
      the overall low achievement and the loss of students means that we
      have to do better for the sake of all students.

      --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, Tammera Campbell
      <tammeracampbell@...> wrote:
      >
      > Mr. Woo,
      > Your statement that parents leave because they see a poor
      performing middle school and an indifferent district saddens me.
      Isn't this the same district you seem to be happy with in the
      elementary school and that is why you stay and volunteer? Why does
      the district seem so indifferent the moment children arrive in the
      middle school years? And let me ask you, if all those high performing
      students who leave the district were to stay at the middle school, do
      you really think the scores would be that low? How can Juan Crespi's
      leadership class be recognized at the state level for having one of
      the top leadership classes amongst all middle schools if something
      good was not happening at that school? How could Pinole Middle send
      51 out of 124 science projects to the district wide science fair and
      many onto the Bay Area science fair and beyond, if nothing was
      happening at that school? How could Pinole Middle be able to provide
      beginning, intermediate, advanced band; choir;
      > drama; storytelling; home ec; computers; spanish; yearbook; art;
      etc. as electives if it wasn't a performing school?
      >
      > I too was apprehensive about having my sons go to Pinole Middle,
      but I decided that since I was involved at elementary school I needed
      to be involved at the middle school. I can tell you that I am
      forever grateful to the staff, students, and parents that I met at
      Pinole Middle. My sons had a great time in middle school and learned
      more than if they had stayed at Ellerhorst. They were ready and I
      needed to let them grow. As I have always said, middle school is not
      for everyone, but for my boys it provided a great opportunity to
      learn and grow. It also helped me become the better adult to
      understand, nuture and help teenagers find their potential. My boys
      and I would have missed out on so much if I had left my boys at
      Ellerhorst.
      >
      > Like I have always said, a school is only as good as the staff,
      students and parents in it. If our community does not support our
      secondary schools, then what can we expect. Though I am not against
      K-8, I want to encourage people to embrace the middle school years,
      get really involved and help these kids get through adolescence. I
      am working one child at a time to improve our secondary schools. I
      hope you can join me.
      > Tammy Campbell
      >
      > Mark Woo <fangwoo@...> wrote:
      > The K-8 subcommittee had hoped to answer that exact
      question with
      > telephone surveys of families taht had recently left the District
      > between grades 6 and 7. We presented the District with a protocol
      > and a proposed confidentiality agreement for a group of UC Berkeley
      > grad students to do the surveying. After four months of delaying
      and
      > the need for outside legal counsel, we finally got the go ahead.
      > Unfortunately it took so long that the students were no longer
      > available. Furthermore, the outside attorney the District hired
      > apologized it had taken so long, since the proposed confidentiality
      > agreement that the Subcommittee provided was virtually identical to
      > the final one. Another missed opportunity by the District.
      >
      > However, I do have a guess as to why families leave. I think
      parents
      > have their kids in the District and participate at the elementary
      > level because they are happy with the elementary school. They want
      > to preserve a good thing so they are willing to volunteer. Then
      > comes middle school, many people see a poor performing middle shool
      > and an indifferent school district. They know if they leave for a
      > private school or another district, they can choose one that
      already
      > has strong performance and is responsive. I'm sure these other
      > options are not perfect, but they are a lot easier than trying to
      > reform a school district.
      >
      > For those of us that volunteered for the K-8 Subcommittee to reform
      > the school district's approach to middle grade education, the
      > Ramsey/Pfeiffer explanation that it is too hard to do left a lot of
      > us shaking our heads. If other urban school districts around
      > California and the country can do it, including the district Sup.
      > Harter's previously worked at, is WCCUSD staff just less capable or
      > was that an insincere explanation? In either case, it further
      > degrades parents' willingness to stay for middle school or to try
      and
      > reform the educational system.
      >
      > --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, jim cowen <jimcowen@> wrote:
      > >
      > >
      > > Robert Studdiford <robert@> wrote:I still do not understand why
      > > Kensington and Madera parents walk away from the things that made
      > their
      > > childrens elementary education a success. I'm baffled by it and
      so
      > are a lot
      > > of other people.
      > > ---------------------------------
      > > Frankly, I am baffled by it also. But both Robert and I agree
      > that the fact is, parents DO leave with their children at middle
      > school.
      > > One option is to continue to wonder why that is, and to hope the
      > district might somehow, someday come up with a solution.
      > > A second option is to offer K8, which overnight will bring many
      > of those parents back into the district (along with all their
      > volunteer spirit and efforts).
      > >
      > > I come at this from the business perspective. The district is
      > selling blue widgets. Many prime customers are off buying red
      > widgets (at a higher price!). The district keeps wondering why
      > people want red, and hope they will change their mind. The K8
      > advocates want the district to add red widgets to the product line.
      > >
      > > Even if you don't know or care whether red or blue widgets are
      > best, it's a simple decision. ADD THE RED WIDGET OPTION TO YOUR
      > PRODUCT LINE.
      > >
      > > And, to answer the Karen Pfeifer mantra that people arent leaving
      > the district for K8 but for other middle schools, the correct
      > analysis is that people leave THIS district's middle schools, and
      the
      > surveys show they would STAY for THIS district's K8 options.
      > >
      > > Jim Cowen
      > >
      > >
      > > ---------------------------------
      > > Ahhh...imagining that irresistible "new car" smell?
      > > Check outnew cars at Yahoo! Autos.
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ---------------------------------
      > Ahhh...imagining that irresistible "new car" smell?
      > Check outnew cars at Yahoo! Autos.
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >






      ---------------------------------
      Ahhh...imagining that irresistible "new car" smell?
      Check outnew cars at Yahoo! Autos.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Tammera Campbell
      Mr. Woo, Thank you for providing information. I still contend that if all those elementary school parents actually took all their energy and put it toward the
      Message 31 of 31 , May 3, 2007
        Mr. Woo,
        Thank you for providing information. I still contend that if all those elementary school parents actually took all their energy and put it toward the middle schools, think of how much better those schools would be.

        I can only tell you from my direct experience over five years at Pinole Middle that the only thing I would have really changed was to get more parents involved and provide better parent education. The more parents, the better the school. Frankly the Pinole Middle School teachers embrace parent involvement. You have no idea how happy they were to find out that the PTSA would reimburse them $75 for school supplies. No one has ever really paid them much attention, but they still come out of pocket for our kids and they do a hard job teaching adolescents.

        It saddens me that for some reason some parents seem to opt out at this age level. Middle/high school years are the years our kids need us most. I presume that you are not at this age level at this time, but I can tell you it is a wonderful age. One full of many surprises for both parent and student.

        Like I said I would be willing to work even harder to ensure that my child would have the elective base that they have at Pinole Middle. I believe that providing those children with such opportunities gives them the world and having adult participation is paramount. Achievement is directly tied to how much the school community is involved in the school. Olinda did not have the scores it does today a couple of years back. Those scores came as a result of hard teamwork across the school. It took concerted parent involvement at that school to get it where it is. Why can't that effort be given to the middle school kids? They would exceed even your wildest dreams if our society gave them the time day.

        As I have stated, I am not against K-8 and would only oppose it if it take millions of dollars from the current budget to convert schools and provide the curriculum parents would demand. For years this district has enabled the elementary level to encroach on the general fund which takes a toll at the secondary level. Many small elementary schools can also take a toll on the budget. When you have a child at the high school level you will see what I mean. High school students are children too and they require an extraordinary amount of effort to educate. I know that you would not want to sacrifice their education.

        Parents need to fight for what they believe in, but you have to remember that for every decision which is made, there is an impact on someone else. Things are not black and white and to simplify major decisions across the district would be a disservice to others. I have been at this for over 20 years now and I have changed my mind numerous times because someone has taken the time to explain their side of the educational picture. I would hope that the community out their would change their mind and give to the middle school kids. They need our help and they deserve our love and attention.
        Tammy Campbell


        Mark Woo <fangwoo@...> wrote:
        As I said in my email, we don't know why so many families are leaving
        the District between elementary and middle school - though they are
        clearly leaving as evidenced by District attendance records we
        studied. That could have been answered by the survey if the District
        had been responsive. I think that if we want families to stay in the
        District we have to understand why they leave.

        I did venture a guess about why they might feel compelled to leave.
        It was NOT a statement about the families that stay. As for why
        District indifference becomes such a big issue at teh middle school
        level; middle grade education is complex and vexing for all schools.
        I would refer you to the Rand Corp study that I mentioned about the
        huge challenges. This immense challenge in middle grade education
        requires a school district that can think creatively and is willing
        to change when necessary. Since the Board rejected K-8 on the basis
        that it is too hard to do while numerous other urban schools
        districts are doing it; it signals to me that they want to maintain
        the status quo.

        Finally, K-8 supporters have always said that there should be a mix
        of K-8's with middle schools and that families should have a
        choice. The middle school sucess stories are to be applauded, but
        the overall low achievement and the loss of students means that we
        have to do better for the sake of all students.

        --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, Tammera Campbell
        <tammeracampbell@...> wrote:
        >
        > Mr. Woo,
        > Your statement that parents leave because they see a poor
        performing middle school and an indifferent district saddens me.
        Isn't this the same district you seem to be happy with in the
        elementary school and that is why you stay and volunteer? Why does
        the district seem so indifferent the moment children arrive in the
        middle school years? And let me ask you, if all those high performing
        students who leave the district were to stay at the middle school, do
        you really think the scores would be that low? How can Juan Crespi's
        leadership class be recognized at the state level for having one of
        the top leadership classes amongst all middle schools if something
        good was not happening at that school? How could Pinole Middle send
        51 out of 124 science projects to the district wide science fair and
        many onto the Bay Area science fair and beyond, if nothing was
        happening at that school? How could Pinole Middle be able to provide
        beginning, intermediate, advanced band; choir;
        > drama; storytelling; home ec; computers; spanish; yearbook; art;
        etc. as electives if it wasn't a performing school?
        >
        > I too was apprehensive about having my sons go to Pinole Middle,
        but I decided that since I was involved at elementary school I needed
        to be involved at the middle school. I can tell you that I am
        forever grateful to the staff, students, and parents that I met at
        Pinole Middle. My sons had a great time in middle school and learned
        more than if they had stayed at Ellerhorst. They were ready and I
        needed to let them grow. As I have always said, middle school is not
        for everyone, but for my boys it provided a great opportunity to
        learn and grow. It also helped me become the better adult to
        understand, nuture and help teenagers find their potential. My boys
        and I would have missed out on so much if I had left my boys at
        Ellerhorst.
        >
        > Like I have always said, a school is only as good as the staff,
        students and parents in it. If our community does not support our
        secondary schools, then what can we expect. Though I am not against
        K-8, I want to encourage people to embrace the middle school years,
        get really involved and help these kids get through adolescence. I
        am working one child at a time to improve our secondary schools. I
        hope you can join me.
        > Tammy Campbell
        >
        > Mark Woo <fangwoo@...> wrote:
        > The K-8 subcommittee had hoped to answer that exact
        question with
        > telephone surveys of families taht had recently left the District
        > between grades 6 and 7. We presented the District with a protocol
        > and a proposed confidentiality agreement for a group of UC Berkeley
        > grad students to do the surveying. After four months of delaying
        and
        > the need for outside legal counsel, we finally got the go ahead.
        > Unfortunately it took so long that the students were no longer
        > available. Furthermore, the outside attorney the District hired
        > apologized it had taken so long, since the proposed confidentiality
        > agreement that the Subcommittee provided was virtually identical to
        > the final one. Another missed opportunity by the District.
        >
        > However, I do have a guess as to why families leave. I think
        parents
        > have their kids in the District and participate at the elementary
        > level because they are happy with the elementary school. They want
        > to preserve a good thing so they are willing to volunteer. Then
        > comes middle school, many people see a poor performing middle shool
        > and an indifferent school district. They know if they leave for a
        > private school or another district, they can choose one that
        already
        > has strong performance and is responsive. I'm sure these other
        > options are not perfect, but they are a lot easier than trying to
        > reform a school district.
        >
        > For those of us that volunteered for the K-8 Subcommittee to reform
        > the school district's approach to middle grade education, the
        > Ramsey/Pfeiffer explanation that it is too hard to do left a lot of
        > us shaking our heads. If other urban school districts around
        > California and the country can do it, including the district Sup.
        > Harter's previously worked at, is WCCUSD staff just less capable or
        > was that an insincere explanation? In either case, it further
        > degrades parents' willingness to stay for middle school or to try
        and
        > reform the educational system.
        >
        > --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, jim cowen <jimcowen@> wrote:
        > >
        > >
        > > Robert Studdiford <robert@> wrote:I still do not understand why
        > > Kensington and Madera parents walk away from the things that made
        > their
        > > childrens elementary education a success. I'm baffled by it and
        so
        > are a lot
        > > of other people.
        > > ---------------------------------
        > > Frankly, I am baffled by it also. But both Robert and I agree
        > that the fact is, parents DO leave with their children at middle
        > school.
        > > One option is to continue to wonder why that is, and to hope the
        > district might somehow, someday come up with a solution.
        > > A second option is to offer K8, which overnight will bring many
        > of those parents back into the district (along with all their
        > volunteer spirit and efforts).
        > >
        > > I come at this from the business perspective. The district is
        > selling blue widgets. Many prime customers are off buying red
        > widgets (at a higher price!). The district keeps wondering why
        > people want red, and hope they will change their mind. The K8
        > advocates want the district to add red widgets to the product line.
        > >
        > > Even if you don't know or care whether red or blue widgets are
        > best, it's a simple decision. ADD THE RED WIDGET OPTION TO YOUR
        > PRODUCT LINE.
        > >
        > > And, to answer the Karen Pfeifer mantra that people arent leaving
        > the district for K8 but for other middle schools, the correct
        > analysis is that people leave THIS district's middle schools, and
        the
        > surveys show they would STAY for THIS district's K8 options.
        > >
        > > Jim Cowen
        > >
        > >
        > > ---------------------------------
        > > Ahhh...imagining that irresistible "new car" smell?
        > > Check outnew cars at Yahoo! Autos.
        > >
        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ---------------------------------
        > Ahhh...imagining that irresistible "new car" smell?
        > Check outnew cars at Yahoo! Autos.
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >






        ---------------------------------
        Ahhh...imagining that irresistible "new car" smell?
        Check outnew cars at Yahoo! Autos.

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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